Over the past two years at Frogs O' War we've been introduced to two full conferences worth of opponents in the "Getting to know U(niviersities)" series, covering their founding, football histories, traditions and rivalries. For at least two weeks this year we'll be doing it again, as we'll get to know both LSU and Southeastern Louisiana on their weeks, but as we already have a passing familiarity with the universities of the Big 12 and SMU we'll be working on a new series of posts for more practical information- how to deal with the fans of each team. Every fanbase has both friendly and antagonistic fans, and you may find yourself in a position where you'd like to make a friend or toss out a compliment to a Longhorn to get him to share his tailgate with you and have a few words with his beautiful sister. Just as likely though, you may wish to have a ready comeback or put down for a curmudgeonly older Baylor fan who doesn't approve of your dancing despite the recent policy change.
However, since we're all about fairness here at Frogs O' War the first thing we'll do is turn the microscope on ourselves to give our Big 12 brethren a bit of assistance in understanding the mindset of a frog fan before our second season as conference mates.
TCU Horned Frog fans
The Good TCU fans are: Accepting. It's been a long and strange road that led TCU to the Big 12, and there have been numerous disappointments along the way. All of the misfortunes along the way have given your average frog fan a good sense of humor and a general sense of serenity about the sea of change in college football that we've all been floating around in. Happily, TCU has managed to float to the top from the WAC and frog fans are excited for the opportunity that has suddenly been offered to us. In a few years the conferences may split asunder once again, but we're determined to make the best of the situation we find ourselves in now. As a result of crossing paths with fans from both coasts (San Diego to South Florida) and everywhere in between, frog fans will be generally quite happy to rub elbows with the fans of our new big conference brethren- we're really happy to be here.
The Bad TCU fans are : Insecure. Yes, the Frogs have gotten to the point where we often start the season in the top 25, we've been to multiple BCS bowls and have more national championships than any team in Texas bar UT (A&M has recently upped their claimed national titles from 1 to 3, but the groups that awarded the earlier two aren't recognized by other FBS institutions- If we were doing one of these for A&M this would be one of the facts that you tell the disagreeable Aggie fans), but still the sting of being abandoned by the big teams in the SWC (and also Baylor) still lingers. Despite the consistency of success the Frogs have enjoyed since 1998, there's a lingering fear that we're a bad season away from fading back into obscurity, or being left behind in another round of realignment. As a result, some frog fans get testy about slights to our accomplishments (weak scheduling, without Patterson you'd be nothing, etc.) and the insinuation that TCU doesn't belong in the big leagues. We do, in fact, belong in the Big 12, but frog fans have been trying to convince people of that for so long that getting out of that habit is a hard one for some of us.
When visiting TCU, expect: Excitement/Confusion that you're here with so many friends (the visiting fan turnout through the WAC/CUSA/MWC era was pretty pathetic, during a UNLV visit I'm pretty sure it was just one guy and his family), a long walk to the stadium, strange hand signs being made at you and a whole lot of Rose Bowl shirts. If you sit in the visitors side you'll typically be surrounded by the younger fans who may be feisty, while if you're on the alumni side... thank you for donating thousands of dollars to TCU.
When TCU visits you, expect: A small, but loud group (expect a much bigger group if you're Texas, Tech or Baylor) making strange handsigns. Frog fans try to make it a habit to be polite guests, so if you're not confrontational you shouldn't have any trouble.
How to compliment a Frog fan: Talk about the defense, talk about the Rose Bowl win, talk about how you wish Gary Patterson was your coach, talk about how Ladainian Tomlinson was not only a fantastic football player but a wonderful person as well, mention how glad you are we're in the Big 12, talk about what a shame it was that TCU didn't get to play Auburn or Oregon for the title.
How to aggravate a Frog fan: Talk about the drug bust, talk about the Fiesta Bowl, talk about how you're going to have Gary Patterson as your coach (only if you're Texas), talk about the 2011 Baylor game, talk about Ann Richards, talk about TCU basketball.
How to start a fight with a Frog fan: Use the phrase "Purple Baylor".
Thoughts? Additions? Opposing fans who might like to share their own stories of meeting TCU fans? Please share and discuss in the comments below.