Two months ago, when many pundits expected TCU to contend for the Big 12 championship, QB Casey Pachall and DE Devonte Fields were two of the biggest reasons why.
Five games into the season, both have suffered significant injuries and the Horned Frogs are 0-2 in league play.
TCU coach Gary Patterson said Wednesday that Fields will undergo season-ending surgery on his foot.
Media reports suggest Fields will seek a medical redshirt to retain three more years of eligibility.
The Horned Frogs still face several tough Big 12 games. They must now do so without Fields, the 2012 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year thanks in large part to his 18.5 TFLs.
With Fields and Pachall out, even making a bowl game is no guarantee for TCU – though it’s still a likelihood. The Horned Frogs need four wins in their last seven. The remainder of their schedule includes four home games.
TCU hosts hapless Kansas this week. Even with both key players out, Vegas likes the homestanding Horned Frogs by 24 points.
TCU’s schedule also includes remaining games against West Virginia, Iowa State and Kansas State.
Injuries and a slow start to the season have all but sunk the Horned Frogs’ Big 12 title hopes, but don’t look for Patterson’s team to fade away just because of a few injuries. With TCU’s still-proud defense, it can absolutely steal a game it shouldn’t somewhere before the season ends.