Was TCU The Worst Team To Ever Play in The College Football Championship Game?


Photo via Marcio Jose Sanchez/ The San Diego Union Tribune

Georgia Defensive Back Javon Bullard #22 makes an interception right in front of TCU Wide Receiver Derius Davis #11

Chad Greaby, Journalist

Was TCU (Texas Christian University) the worst team to ever play in the college football championship game? TCU went 12-0 in the regular season, their first loss coming in the Big 12 championship game to Kansas State. Now you may think they had a great season they even beat a tough #2 seeded Michigan team in the semifinals that rolled through their conference, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. 

TCU went into the championship game with a Heisman candidate in quarterback Max Duggan, and plenty of potential greats around him, such as running back Kendre Miller, and potential high round NFL draft pick wide receiver Quentin Johnston to make a run at the Big 12. Despite all this, almost nobody expected a title appearance from them, considering the fact that their opponent Georgia was one of the best college football teams in recent memory. They ended the season with 75 combined TDs. Georgia’s QB Stetson Bennett, another Heisman trophy candidate with a QBR of 86.3 which ended sixth in the nation behind players such as Oregon QB Bo Nix and Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker.

In the title game itself, TCU scored first, then didn’t touch the endzone for the next three and a half quarters. Their defensive line just got obliterated, letting up over 500 yards and nine touchdowns. On the offensive, TCU picked up 188 total yards, one touchdown and three turnovers. The TCU defense only finished the game with two tackles for loss. If you compare that to the 14 on the Georgia side, while also taking into account that the TCU defense was on the field for most of the game, their victory just wasn’t that impressive.

TCU Quarterback Max Duggan (Photo via Bleacher Report)

From the start of NCAA college football until 1997, the championship was decided by a vote from the sports writers. While most leagues and college sports have a tournament or championship game, the NCAA decided not to make one until 1997 even at that time, it was only one game between the two top teams that decided the champ; it wasn’t until 2014 that the CFP came into play. So without taking any of those champions into account, since 1997, there could be a case made for four teams for being the worst runner up of the College Football Championship game. 2004 Oklahoma, 2006 Ohio State, 2012 Notre Dame and now 2022 TCU. Taking a look at those other three past years the old consensus worst team was 2012 Notre Dame. That game ended 42-14 in favor of the Alabama Crimson Tide. The prior largest margin of loss in a championship game was the 2004 Oklahoma game in which they played a tough USC team led by a Heisman winner in RB Reggie Bush. The TCU game ended with a 58 point differential between the two teams that’s 22 points more than the differential of the 2004 game.

So in conclusion I feel that yes the 2022-23 TCU team was the worst to ever take the field for a CFB championship game. But this will not be the end of the road for the Horned Frogs. While they will lose some players such as QB Max Duggan and WR Quentin Johnston to the NFL draft, the publicity they received for their historic run could propel them to bringing in new recruits and a strong future down in Fort Worth Texas.