Some people may see this title and balk, but if they really examine the body of work of the last few years, the case can be made that TCU is, at the very least, worthy of being in the discussion as the best team in Texas. The only other team really is Texas, but after their disastrous (and joyous, for me) demise last season, the honor goes to none other than the team from Fort Worth.
TCU has been on the rise for the past decade, and for the people who have paid attention to the Horned Frogs, then it comes as no surprise what they’ve accomplished. They’ve had tremendous team success, seen players get drafted to the NFL, and have been courted from the doldrums of college football conferences to BCS glory. Sure, for purely selfish reasons, I wish they wouldn’t go to the Big East, but it’s understandable why they are making the move.
The Frogs have been able to do work behind-the-scenes for years, and even when people were paying attention to them, this season will be decidedly different. For one, they are coming off of a Rose Bowl victory. Two, their four-year starter, The Great Andrew Dalton, has taken his talents to reinvigorate and reignite a porous and disparaged Cincinnati Bengals franchise (God bless that young man.)
Three, this will be the last season in the Mountain West Conference. They want to make sure they go out with a bang and also let the Big East know that when they get there next year, it’ll be on like King Kong.
For all the good things that TCU has going for them, and despite the fact that they are the best team in Texas, will that be good enough for them to continue the progress they have made over the years? Yeah, they have some players coming back like my cousin, Stansly Maponga.
*side note* I have been unbiased for the past two seasons about the Horned Frogs and, outside of a couple of Shock the World posts about the exploits of my sister and mine in the friendly skies and on the highways, I’ve been as neutral as can be. With that said, my boy Stansly will do work just as he did last season. Get familiar while you can. *end side note*
Okay, where was I?
Oh, right; they have some players coming back as well as one of the best coaches in all of America, but it just seems like a team that has gone 36-3 the past three seasons is due for a let-down. Shoot, just put this in perspective:
Records in the past three seasons:
Boise State: (38-2)
As we can see, there are five teams measured here, and the only team with a better three-year run than TCU from 2008-10 is Boise State. Granted, these records can be rationalized by anyone and, in fairness, each team either had untimely injuries (Oklahoma in 2009), or a gutless collapse (Texas last season), but the bottom line is TCU more than holds their own against programs that are considered the cream of the crop (well, not so much Boise State, who should be given more respect, but that’s another story for another day.)
OU dropped a game in 2008 and still played in the National Championship. Shoot, they dropped two last year and still made the BCS! Granted, they’re my team and all, and I love that they still made the games, but still. Texas dropped one in 2008 and still played in the Fiesta Bowl. Alabama dropped one in 2008 and still played in the Sugar Bowl a month later.
If TCU drops one, they won’t sniff a BCS game. The same goes for Boise State. They lost to Nevada last year, and it doomed their shot of a BCS game. It’s a harsh reality for them; they have to go undefeated to make the big money bowl games, and if they don’t, the Horned Frog Faithful will be making a trip to Houston for the Texas Bowl, which is cool, but it’s nothing like Glendale for the Fiesta or Pasadena for the Rose.
TCU comes into this season ranked as low as #16 in the AP poll, despite their recent success. Maybe they can use that to help fuel them to another remarkable season and eventually make the clowns at the BCS put them against a legitimate power (no disrespect, Wisconsin, but hey *shrugs*.) At the same time, TCU isn’t worried about what anyone thinks. They know how it goes with the polls, and it’s safe to say they aren’t nearly as worried about it in the locker room as people on the outside are.
TCU is here and here to stay, and they have 2011 to use as another example of why they belong with the big boys. If the polls and others wanna continue with the lack of respect, it's all good. The Frogs will make sure to come take it.