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Unrivaled: My own personal rivals, the BYU Cougars

Back in 1989 through the early 90s I lived in Plano, Texas on a little side street, and was lucky enough to have three kids around my age living on either side of me- one boy I played video games with, the other two I played football with. They were Alec and Jay and they were big BYU fans- the fact that they were Mormon meant little to me at the time, other than that for some reason their mother didn't allow them to play ball with me on Sundays. Being raised as a devout little frog, we would often discuss the merits of our teams- the teams had played a home and home in '87-'88 and split the home games, so there was no real way of defining whose program was better- TCU had two national titles to BYU's one, but BYU had one that was in our young lifetimes. Still we argued about which school was better at least twice a week, despite my wise grandfather telling me "If TCU and BYU played ten times, I'd bet they'd both win five," to try to end our discussion, with no success. Finally the boys and I all moved away, they were off to Utah while I was just moving a few blocks away- and it was fortunate for me that they were gone- the demise of the SWC had thrown TCU and BYU into conference competition in the WAC, and it didn't go well for the guys in purple as BYU put a hurting on the frogs in both '96 and '97. After that we didn't see the cougars again until our surprise barnstorming of the Mountain West in '05, and we triumphed in a very odd and somewhat flukey seeming 51-50 game. For the next two years, BYU reasserted itself in the MWC pecking order winning the next two games in tight fashion- but BYU wasn't able to put itself into a BCS bowl to capitalize on their momentum, and Gary Patterson had had just about enough with losing to the boys from Provo...

So every day in the 2008 offseason our linemen saw BYU lined up against them. That has a way of motivating teams, and in '08 and '09 the helmets on the tackling dummies spurred our men on to greatness, blowing out really good BYU teams both years and our Rose Bowl team continued the good work against a more mediocre Mormon team, keeping them out of the end zone entirely (a recurring theme for that team). And so after BYU left the Mountain West the lifetime series was tied at five games apiece, just as my (now departed) grandfather had predicted those twenty years prior. And it seemed that despite our simmering hatred (and grudging mutual respect) that our budding rivalry would die- at least if Coach Patterson had anything to say about it. Then all of a sudden we were faced with a few surprise scheduling moves, from a screw you sendoff from our Mountain West friends to a bit of cowardice from our old friends out west (see you in Fort Worth next year, Techies) suddenly forced TCU's hand to somehow find a home game (or near enough) to help fill the surprising scheduling gap, and the match with BYU will give us a leader in the all-time series for the forseeable future- unless BYU manages to end up in the Big 12 with us as well. And though it seems unlikely that BYU will be gracing our schedules again anytime soon, a big part of me would rather play the men of Provo annually- how often in sports do you really find someone who can win five and lose five out of ten? My grandfather never told me what he thought would happen if we played BYU eleven times, but for the sake of my five year old self I sure hope it's a happy ending for the Frogs.