TCU gets a chance to make people remember Frogs

They were BCS busters each of the last two years with a pair of

undefeated regular seasons. They won the Rose Bowl and were No. 2

in the final AP poll only 10 months ago.

Remember the Horned Frogs?

TCU has been somewhat forgotten since losing to Robert Griffin

III and Baylor in a nationally televised Friday night opener this

season for all to see, even though the Frogs have since been

winning at a record pace in the Mountain West Conference.

Until this week, there hadn’t been any more big games to give

TCU (7-2, 4-0 MWC) a chance to prove itself again.

The Frogs play Saturday at fifth-ranked Boise State (8-0, 3-0)

in what will be the only meeting as conference rivals for the two

BCS busters since TCU is moving to the Big 12 instead of the Big

East next season.

”You can’t have a perfect season every single year. … Yeah,

it’s going to be a statement game for both teams, us and Boise

State,” left guard Kyle Dooley said. ”They’re trying to get to

where they want to get back in that national spotlight, and

obviously we want to also.”

Even after winning a record 21 MWC games in a row and matching

another mark by winning 11 consecutive road games in the league,

TCU is a two-touchdown underdog against Boise State.

”Look at oddsmakers and everybody else, we don’t stand much of

a chance,” coach Gary Patterson said. ”We haven’t been in that

situation very many times. … That means we have no


Before switching leagues for the fourth time since being left

out of the original Big 12 that started play in 1996, the Frogs are

going for the third consecutive Mountain West title. They also won

or shared titles in the WAC and Conference USA.

Since the loss at Baylor, there have been lopsided victories

against New Mexico (69-0), Portland State and Louisiana-Monroe,

with solid wins over Air Force, BYU and then last week at Wyoming.

Yet, none of those were attention-grabbing games and an overtime

loss at home to SMU certainly didn’t help.

Boise State is more similar to the kind of games TCU will start

playing regularly in the Big 12, which boasts four Top 25 teams and

previously had two others.

”We’re not going to shy away from it. You just want to play

against people that aren’t as good as what maybe you are sometimes

talent-wise, that gets pretty boring,” Patterson said. ”It’s the

same way as going into the Big 12. Did my job get harder? Yes. But

guess what, why you would want anything different?”

TCU has a pyramid of season goals, with each shaded purple once

it is accomplished. There are clear spots on it, but the pyramid’s

top goals of winning a national championship and going to a BCS

game haven’t changed.

The Frogs are finding out how hard it is hard to keep climbing

toward that peak each year, and the challenge will only increase in

the Big 12.

”Our standards have been the same,” Patterson said. ”One of

the driving points is now changing conferences, more goals, tougher

situations. That gives you more energy because you’re trying to get

there and trying to do that. Already I’ve heard out there you’re

going to lose more games now that you’re in the Big 12, that (wins)

are not going to come as fast. That’s all you needed to tell


At least the Horned Frogs will go into the Big 12 with some

experience they didn’t have this year.

TCU began this year without Andy Dalton and seven other

offensive starters. After several key losses on defense, the Frogs

are giving up 349 yards a game this season after leading the nation

in total defense the last three years.

Dalton, who passed Sammy Baugh as the winningest quarterback in

TCU history by winning 42 games in four seasons, is now the rookie

starting quarterback for the AFC North co-leading Cincinnati


Sophomore Casey Pachall, the sophomore who went through three

springs with TCU before getting his chance as the starter, has

completed 161 of 235 passes (69 percent) for 1,940 yards with 19

touchdowns and five interceptions. He is on pace to break many of

Dalton’s single-season marks.

The top three running backs are all underclassmen with at least

500 yards this season. Top pass catcher Josh Boyce (46 catches, 704

yards and six TDs) is a sophomore and the Frogs are loaded with

talented freshmen receivers.

”It will probably be another year to where you feel like you

have a really older football team to compete. … But I’ll feel

probably a little bit better because I’ll know a little bit more

about our quarterback going in,” Patterson said. ”It makes a

difference when you’re going through all your lumps right now and

you’re still able to find a way to win.”