TCU coach Sonny Dykes praised his team Thursday for successfully navigating a difficult Big 12 schedule and reaching the College Football Playoff.
But in doing so, he sideswiped the mighty Southeastern Conference.
At a news conference in advance of Saturday’s CFP national semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl, Dykes highlighted the challenge of a schedule in which his team played 11 consecutive weeks from Sept. 24 to Dec. 3. He then contrasted that slate to the SEC, where teams often schedule an FCS opponent late in the season.
“In the Big 12, we don’t have the good fortune to play an out-of-conference like the SEC does in Week 10,” Dykes said, per Dean Straka of 247 Sports. “You are not going to catch The Citadel in Week 10. We caught Texas. That’s just kind of the way our league is designed. You have got to be on your best, and it takes a toll on your team. It is difficult is to get through that gauntlet of nine consecutive conference games, and we were beat up.”
The No. 3 Horned Frogs (12-1) played nonconference rival SMU in Week 4, then played 10 consecutive conference games culminating with the Big 12 championship game in Week 14.
If TCU can beat No. 2 Michigan (13-0) on Saturday, Dykes and his team might get the opportunity to prove their mettle against the SEC on the sport’s grandest stage. SEC champion Georgia, ranked No. 1 in the nation, is a 6 1/2-point favorite over No. 4 Ohio State in the other CFP semifinal.
TCU plays Michigan at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday.