FORT WORTH, Texas - Double-digit wins are the norm for Gary Patterson and TCU, and the 2018 campaign is not letting up on the expectations. The Horned Frogs are ranked No. 16 in the nation in the preseason and will get started living up to that billing when they host Southern in the season opener on Saturday.
TV: Noon, ET, FS Southwest. LINE: None
TCU had a Big 12 title and a possible trip to the playoffs in its sights last season before suffering a pair of losses in the final month to Oklahoma - including the Big 12 championship game - and will try to close that gap with an offense featuring a new quarterback.
Shawn Robinson secured the starting job in camp, though the Horned Frogs will likely give backup Michael Collins some time in Saturday's game as well.
"Our kids our excited, tired of hitting each other," Patterson told reporters. "We’re playing a Southern team I think that does a lot of good things. They do a nice job coaching. They do a lot of things that cause you problems. We’ve taken them very seriously."
The Jaguars held a quarterback competition in camp, as well, with sophomore John Lampley winning the starting job.
ABOUT SOUTHERN (2017: 7-4)
The Jaguars finished second in the Southwestern Athletic Conference's West division in each of the last two seasons after failing to top Grambling in the Bayou Classic. Southern is hoping the switch to Lampley can help it get off to a better start after opening the season 1-3 in 2017.
"We have three very good quarterbacks," Jaguars coach Dawson Odums told reporters. "John is just slightly above those guys from a consistency standpoint and that’s really what we look for out of that quarterback position."
ABOUT TCU (2017: 11-3)
The Horned Frogs are counting on their new quarterback as well, and Robinson drew raves from Patterson for his maturity.
"Shawn is really starting to step up, own the offense, understand what’s going on," Patterson told reporters. "He lost 10-12 pounds, which has made him even faster and probably more durable, better shape than he was maybe at the end of the school year last season. He's done everything up to this point we've asked him."
Robinson inherits an offense that averaged 33.6 points and finished off the 2017 season with a 39-37 win over Stanford in the Alamo Bowl.
1. TCU has won its last 16 home openers.
2. Southern OL Jeremiah Abby and DB Andre Augustine were named to the preseason All-SWAC first team.
3. The Horned Frogs return 11 starters, including top RB Darius Anderson and WR Jalen Reagor.
PREDICTION: TCU 58, Southern 10
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