DALLAS, Texas - Finishing 4-8 does not lend itself to many positives, but on closer look there is a good reason to believe why TCU will finish with a winning record and better than its projected finish of seventh in the Big 12.
TCU was 4-8 last season, but "in" seven games. The "other" games that were decided before the fourth quarter - SE Louisiana, SMU, Kansas, OK State, Texas - the Frogs were 3-2.
"In" meaning they were either ahead, tied, or close in the fourth quarter of seven games. The Frogs' record in those games was 1-6:
1. Aug., 31: LSU 37, TCU 27
TCU trailed 30-27 with 7:30 remaining, but chased this game from the beginning. At no point did it feel like LSU would lose.
2. Sept. 12: Texas Tech 20, TCU 10
The game was tied at 10 in the fourth quarter. TCU out-gained Tech 401 to 336, but could not take the lead in a game that it felt like it should have won.
3. Oct. 5: Oklahoma 20, TCU 17
TCU trailed 13-10 after three quarters, but at no point did it feel like they were going to win this game.
4. Nov. 2: West Virginia 30, TCU 27 (ot)
This was a game TCU should have won, but deserved to lose considering how it played. The Frogs needed 10 points in the final three minutes to force OT against a bad West Virginia team at home.
5. Nov. 9: TCU 21, Iowa State 17
A dog-ugly game throughout; TCU led 14-7 at the half. ISU led 17-14 in the fourth quarter before TCU won it on a short touchdown run with 38 seconds remaining.
6. Nov. 16: Kansas State 33, TCU 31
The Frogs grabbed the lead late, but allowed a last-second field goal to lose.
7. Nov. 30: Baylor 41, TCU 38
This was the upset TCU should have had; Baylor returned two interceptions for touchdowns, and scored 21 points off turnovers. The Frogs were driving late but QB Casey Pachall threw another pick in the endzone to end the game.
If the results from just a few of those types of games flip for TCU in 2014, this should be a seven or eight-win team.
"I believe we can win every game," TCU safety Sam Carter said. "Those are in the past. We were close, but close doesn't get you anything. Those teams beat us. If we were close, we would have won. I am not big on, 'Oh, you were an inch short so it's OK that you lost.' Be an inch above."
Carter refused to buy my theory that those seven close games in 2013 are a positive for this team in 2014.
"You can look at it that way, but if I do that I would look at my whole life and say, 'What if I had done this or what if I had done that?'" Carter said. "We went 4-8 for a reason."
Facebook Mac Engel