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13-0 TCU deserves a piece of the title

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Thayer Evans

Senior College Football writer Thayer Evans previously wrote for The New York Times and Houston Chronicle, as well as contributed to The Economist, USA Today, The Washington Post and more. Follow him on Twitter.

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PASADENA, CALIF.

Texas Christian coach Gary Patterson knows the argument.

And after his third-ranked Horned Frogs outslugged No. 4 Wisconsin 21-19 on Saturday in their first Rose Bowl appearance to cap a magical 13-0 season, voters in the Associated Press poll should heed his words about whether his team deserves a share of the national championship.

“Yeah, we do,” Patterson said after TCU's first Bowl Championship Series victory.

Forget that the BCS national title will be decided by No. 1 Auburn and No. 2 Oregon on Jan. 10, because this gritty TCU team could beat them both if it got the chance.

Of course, we’ll never know thanks to the corrupt BCS monopoly that’s tilted against non-BCS conference teams like the Horned Frogs. It’s the same closed society whose members have leaders such as Ohio State president Gordon Gee, who popped off earlier this season about them playing “the Little Sisters of the Poor.”

But luckily, the Associated Press poll smartly divorced itself from being part of the BCS formula six years ago. That’s why its voters are the only ones who can award reparations for the atrocities of the BCS.

And they should by voting TCU first on their ballots. That’s the only way the Horned Frogs can claim a piece of the national championship.

Even if you don’t agree that they deserve it, it’s worth doing in protest of the BCS. Better yet, it shows support for what college football’s totalitarians won’t give the masses: a playoff system.

“We want our chance,” Patterson said.

TCU will finally have a better one when it leaves the Mountain West Conference for the Big East in 2012, but that's a travesty. These Horned Frogs aren’t some overnight sensation.

They’ve quietly been one of college football’s best teams the last three seasons with a 36-3 record and were a second away from playing for the national championship last year. But they had plenty of doubters entering this game.

Sure, the smaller, speedier Horned Frogs were the favorite entering the game, but hulking Wisconsin was a popular pick. After all, the Badgers entered the game having run up the score on opponents at will late in the season.

But despite outgaining TCU and having the ball for almost 13 minutes longer, they still lost to the “little guys.”

“That’s what they call us,” Horned Frogs defensive tackle Cory Grant said. “We’re not as little as they think. We’re just as big.”

Take note, because TCU’s victory is another stark reminder that college football’s best aren’t all in BCS conferences. That’s a lesson Wisconsin won’t soon forget.

“It was a war,” Patterson said of beating the Badgers. “You notice how they wouldn’t even shake our hands afterwards?”

That’s what happens when a team is humbled like Wisconsin was Saturday. And Badgers coach Bret Bielema knows it.

“Give all the credit in the world to TCU,” Bielema said. “That is not just lip service. That is a very good football team.”

But TCU already knew that and has been trying to get that respect nationally for years. It’s just now that the rest of college football is finally noticing.

“Do I think we have a national championship team?” TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said as glittery confetti rained down on him after the game. “Absolutely. No doubt about it.”

TCU celebrated on the field afterwards like it had won the national championship. There was more hugging and crying than at a wedding.

“This is the best feeling I’ve had in life,” safety Tejay Johnson said after bawling while hugging assistant coach Don Sharp.

In the locker room, TCU players took turns posing with the Rose Bowl trophy while teammates photographed them with their cell-phone cameras. That uncharacteristic scene was the only sign of the Horned Frogs' unfamiliarity with BCS success.

“You can smile,” one of the players shouted as cameras snapped.

TCU should, but a national championship would be an even better reason to.
 

Tagged: Texas Christian

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