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The Rival that Wasn't: Or why did you choose the TCU era to fall off a cliff, New Mexico Football?

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Though it's hard to believe in hindsight, when TCU joined the Mountain West conference we were not considered to be a top contender year-in and out in football- we were expected to be an above average team, sure, probably make a bowl 3/4 years, but not a serious threat to the established top teams of the league- BYU, Utah and Colorado State- in most years. As a result, we were often tied together with our one border state conference mate, New Mexico, with whom we'd had some contact before (3-3 all time, all games in the 90s) as well as liberating them from their head coach (Coach Fran) and defensive coordinator (Coach Patterson) to fuel our late 90s surge into prominence... or at least relevance. Then a funny thing happened on the way to our natural rivalry being with the good folks from the desert... TCU came in and ran roughshod over everyone but Utah and BYU the first year (though we did win both tight contests as well) and suddenly discussions about the conference favorites wouldn't be complete without TCU from then on, while New Mexico responded with continued mediocrity, churning out six wins, six wins, nine wins and four wins before the administrators made the fateful decision to fire coach Rocky Long and bring in Mike Locksley to attempt to get the Lobos over the hump and the schedule gods decided to move New Mexico into the rival spot in the final week of the MWC season the next two years. This would prove to be a great disservice to all the Froggy faithful, as Mike Locksley proved to be the most incompetent coach in MWC history, marching his team on an 0-10 start to the season before upsetting almost equally woeful Colorado State, meaning that while TCU was hoping to get the BCS points needed to leapfrog Cincinnati if Texas dropped the Big 12 championship game to Nebraska... We were playing the most woeful sadsack of a New Mexico team since the '87 team went winless. Of course, Texas got a controversial second back in the Big 12 championship game which led to the point being moot, so New Mexico didn't hurt us too bad with their awfulness. Then came 2010... and "sure to improve with Locksley's boosted recruiting" New Mexico was again our last opponent of the year, and this year we were locked in a BCS deathrace with Boise State, hunting for every point we could as our marquee win against undefeated Utah was deflated by the Utes flopping on the road the next week. And so heading in to the last week of the season Boise had the points to pass us if they defeated Nevada, because wouldn't you know it, New Mexico was exactly as bad as the year before, stumbling and bumbling into Fort Worth at 1-10 once more. Fortunately Boise gacked up the end of the game at Nevada so it didn't come back to bite us that time either, but were it not for the un-clutchness of Kyle Brotzman TCU might have put together the second 12-0 season in school history and been rewarded with a bid to the Las Vegas bowl, and it is the firm opinion of this blog that the only team that deserves to go undefeated and be left out of a BCS game is Boise State and for good reason! (I kid because I love, Broncos). So is there a future to this "rivalry" with New Mexico? It is eminently possible that the Lobos will grace our schedule again (they've played series with UTEP, Tech and A&M all in the past three years) and they love to recruit the lower echelon kids of the metroplex (two of my classmates in my tiny, tiny private school got scholarship offers to play for New Mexico under Long), and TCU has no enmity against the Lobos- we have to indirectly thank them for the coaches which led to our current success. However it can be safely predicted that the Lobos will never again drag down the strength of schedule in the hunt for the BCS for the Mountain West's top team... Oh. Sorry Broncos.