Not Your Father's TCU

8/30/2012


In 1897, Texas played Add-Ran College (known as Texas Christian University since 1902) for the first time. 
UT and TCU played each other off and on for years, but the game didn't become a regular series until the Horned Frogs joined the SWC in 1923. It was 1929--their 13th meeting--before TCU was able to beat the Horns, 15-12.

The 30s, 40s, and 50s were big for TCU, showcasing famous players (Sammy Baugh, Davey O’Brien, Johnny Vaught) and equally famous coaches (Matty Bell, Dutch Meyer). By the 60s, they weren’t much of a threat, although in 1961, they did spoil Texas’ undefeated season and their bid for the national championship, prompting Coach Darrell Royal to compare TCU to “a bunch of cockroaches. It’s not what they eat and tote off, it’s what they fall into and mess up that hurts.”

By the '70s, TCU football was completely irrelevant. The low point was the 81-16 whipping the Frogs took from Texas in 1974. TCU spent 1967 through 1997 in football hell, never achieving better than a .500 season. Attendance at games was embarrassingly low.The final insult came when Texas, Tech, A&M, and Baylor cut and ran to the Big 8 in 1994 to form the Big 12, leaving TCU in their dust.

Dennis Franchione arrived in '98, and by the time he left to coach 'Bama in 2000, he’d won .714 of his games. Since hiring of Gary Patterson in 2000, TCU’s success has been explosive. First, they regained respectability. Then they became spoilers again, upsetting big-time teams. And now, they’re legit contenders. TCU’s record for the past 9 years is 109-30 and they’ve won 11 games in each of the last four seasons. On January 1, 2011, the Frogs capped off their undefeated season by beating Wisconsin, 21-19, in the Rose Bowl.

They’ve dominated the Mountain West, but scoffers deny they're ready for life in the Big-12. How will TCU fare in the Big 12?