Yours truly has never set foot on the TCU (Texas Christian) campus, but I've always rooted for their football team from afar. How can you not like a school that calls itself the Horned Frogs?
For years -- decades -- they were doormats. But in recent times they've become quite good. Perhaps not a perennially elite team such as Alabama or Ohio State, but right up there with the second-tier squads like Stanford, Michigan State, and Notre Dame. That in itself is very lofty company considering how terrible the Horned Frogs were for so long. They are pushovers no more. Much credit to their administration, coaches, and certainly the players for the amazing turnaround of late. Though many still look for ways to discount them, TCU is regularly a top 20 -- even top 10 team.
A bowl game against another worthy opponent is a given for TCU any more. Granted, the sheer quantity of bowl games has become ridiculous (see TV and marketing cha-chings) -- a team has to be pretty bad to NOT make one somewhere -- but we'll normally see TCU in a "respectable" post-season contest.
And so it came to pass. TCU would take on Oregon in the Alamo Bowl. Not a whole lot was at stake, other than winning a trophy and ending the season with a win. All eyes these days are on the Final Four. Make that the final two. Bama and Clemson.
For a while, actually the entire first half, the Ducks ran TCU out of the stadium, building a 31-0 lead. Alas, the Frogs had croaked. Or had they?
In the second half, the exact opposite happened. TCU shut out Oregon by the same 31-0 tally. At the end of regulation, the game was tied. This was the largest comeback ever in a bowl game. Did the Ducks quack their way into complacency? Run out of gas? It's hard to believe halftime adjustments by TCU would make a 31 point difference. But somehow it did.
By that point, with the game being played in San Antonio, which is a whole lot closer to the TCU campus in Fort Worth, Texas, than that of Oregon in Eugene, there was no doubt who the crowd wanted to see win. The same could likely be said of TV viewers around the country and beyond. Little private college TCU had come back from a 31 point deficit against Enormous U from the great northwest to take the game into overtime? Oh my.
But overtime wouldn't decide it. Nor would the next overtime. Both teams traded scores. Finally, in triple overtime, TCU scored yet again and held back Oregon on their last gasp chance to tie.
A 47-41 victory was officially in the books. All the hail the Horned Frogs. 2016 champions of the Alamo. Davy Crockett and Jim Bowie would have been proud.
It's not always easy being a Frog fan. But hey, they were playing the Ducks -- right? One eats those pesky mosquitoes and flies and the other poops in your back yard. This was a no-brainer.
I knew they could ribbit their way to victory eventually. It was just a matter of keeping the faith.