With Season on the Brink; TCU Digs Deep

With leadership from an accomplished and experienced coaching staff, a young TCU team grew up Saturday night in Waco.

It was everywhere this past week. Doom and gloom were all around the TCU program it seemed; at least it appeared that way through the eyes of the Horned Frog faithful. After starting off the season 4-0 with wins over a school from the SWAC and three lackluster performances over Kansas, Virginia and SMU, mistakes and inexperience finally caught up with the Frogs in a 37-23 loss to Iowa State.

With a rash of injuries, grade casualties and defections of every form and fashion, the Frogs were just too inexperienced claimed the pundits. I was guilty of it myself and predicted that TCU would fall to 4-2 on the season with a loss to Baylor on Saturday night. But a funny thing happened along the way to a supposed collapse; the Frogs dug deep and produced an epic 49-21 victory over the Baylor Bears in Waco. They refused to listen to the outside world and growing list of naysayers and instead, followed the lead of their legendary leader, Head Coach Gary Patterson, and strolled into Floyd Casey Stadium on a mission.

It would have been easy to close up shop, throw in the towel or wave the white flag. After all, the schedule was only going to get tougher, and as talented as these young freshmen and sophomores are, they weren't going to be able to overcome this gauntlet that lay before them, right? While nobody is claiming that Baylor is a juggernaut, it would have been easy for the Frogs to not show up Saturday night in Waco. Even after Baylor scored on the 2nd play of the game to take a 7-0 lead, TCU never wavered.

A team full of unproven freshmen and sophomores isn't supposed to be able to withstand that sort of mental onslaught but again, this TCU program proved that it was special. When you have a coach like Gary Patterson, a philosophy like TCU has instilled throughout the program, and the heart that the Horned Frogs displayed Saturday, the sky is truly the limit.

As Coach Patterson said on more than one occasion in the midst of all of the recent turmoil; "Better days are ahead." Does one win equal better days? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't but one thing is certain, this team won't lay down for anyone.

So here sit the Horned Frogs, (5-1) and in prime position to make some noise with a 2-1 record in conference play. Texas Tech comes calling next week in Ft. Worth and they too sport a (5-1), 2-1 record. Coming off an amazing 49-14 throttling of West Virginia, the Red Raiders will be sky high when they travel to Amon G. Carter Stadium next Saturday.

A national television audience will be on hand as the Frogs will battle the Red Raiders on ABC at 2:30pm. What they'll no doubt see is a young but maturing football team that will fight em' until hell freezes over, then fight ‘em on the ice.

While it was just one win, and the meat of the schedule remains, TCU proved to themselves and anyone else paying attention that they play best when their backs are against the wall.

TCU went to Waco Saturday night with nothing more than a glimmer of hope. They weren't supposed to win, they were too young. But what we all witnessed was a young team growing up before our eyes. By digging deep and persevering, the Frogs showed that they belong in the Big 12. A long, hard road is still ahead but they've now proven to themselves that they can play TCU football. Better Days are surely ahead for the Frogs but why wait? A wide open Big 12 conference is there for the taking.

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