The TCU Horned Frogs were the Cinderella story of the 2022 college football season. College football fans found joy watching the Horned Frogs go from a 5-7 record in 2021 to competing for a College Football Playoff national championship one season later.
Most of their turnaround is credited to Sonny Dykes, who took over TCU’s football program this season and led them to a semifinal win before losing to Georgia in the College Football Playoff national championship.
Could Auburn have a similar fate in 2023? College Wires’ regional editor Patrick Conn weighs in.
The Tigers, much like TCU, hired a new coach following a 5-7 season. TCU made a magical turnaround in Year 1 under Dykes. With Auburn’s success recruiting, it is possible the Tigers could see a similar rebound in the upcoming season. In a piece titled “Which first-year head coach has best opportunity to mimic TCU?” Conn wrote that Hugh Freeze and the Auburn Tigers have the ability to accomplish the feat.
After a tumultuous two-year run at Auburn for Bryan Harsin, new athletic director John Cohen went with a familiar name in Hugh Freeze. The head coach was at Ole Miss when Cohen served as the associate athletic director for their rivals, Mississippi State.
While Freeze has a very questionable past, he is viewed as a good offensive mind. He took a transfer from Auburn (Malik Willis) and turned him into an NFL draft pick at quarterback. He has some pieces in place and gave an immediate bump on the recruiting trails. Coaching in the SEC West makes his path to the CFP more difficult, but it is possible if he catches lighting in a bottle.