Previously: Air Force
College football is all about rivalries: The Red River Shootout, Michigan/Ohio State, Georgia/Florida- every team worth caring about has another team that the fanbase just cannot stand. Whether it be across state lines feuds (Iowa/Minnesota, Oregon/Washington) Big Brother/Little Brother matchups (Texas/A&M, Michigan/Michigan State) or a series that defies geography to illustrate one constant of college football: everyone hates Notre Dame (Notre Dame/USC, Notre Dame Michigan), rivalries set college football apart from pro football by providing unsurpassed bragging rights. This is where TCU's status as the nomads of college football hurts us, all of our traditional rivals are in other conferences, so beating them has no connection to conference races or bowl slotting- and two of our biggest rivals (Baylor and Texas Tech) have made scheduling them quite difficult. One historical rival who the Frogs originally had scheduled to see on the field this season (and last season) is the Red Raiders from Texas Tech, and rather than wax poetic about a potential rivalry coming from TCU's first meeting with Lousiana-Monroe (who God willing will never be in the same conference as TCU), let's hop into the wayback machine and have a look at the Texas team I'd most like to play every year. Texas Tech after the jump
My earliest sports memory is of the TCU/Texas Tech game from 1992, we were trying to beat Tech at home for the first time since 1984, Tech was having a bad season but we were in the middle of a dreadufl one (we'd managed to beat a barely bowl eligible Texas team and a mediocre Oklahoma State outfit) and Tech was the last home game of the season before we went off to be massacred by one of the top 5 Texas A&M teams in their history. Tech had scored with two minutes or so left to take the lead, the Frogs followed up with a quick score that looked for all intents and purposes as though it would seal the deal. Then, somehow and some way, Jack Clemons found Lloyd Hill in the back corner of the end zone. Game over, Tech wins. I walked back to the car with my family and was just utterly mystified- TCU had seemingly controlled the entire game, and had been in the lead almost the entire way... then because of one play with no time left it was over. This is the story of the TCU/Texas Tech series- it's never been a series of tremendous upsets where ranked teams go tumbling off their perch as a result of plucky upstarts. When a team is much better than the other, that team has inevitably won. But the weird momentum shifts (I think all Frog fans will remember the 2004 Tech game, where what looked like a 21-0 halftime lead turned into a 21-21 tie, which turned into a 70-35 rout.), while Tech fans still remember the first time a Mike Leach team was held out of the end zone entirely in 2006, and this mutual heartbreak on both sides have made this game stand out in a very unique way in TCU history. In the breakup of the SWC Tech was one of the two tag-along teams, but for one reason or another I've never felt the same animosity towards them as I have towards Baylor for that- I assume it's because they're a public university so the state of Texas is at least somewhat justified in looking out for their best interest, as opposed to Baylor's entitlement of simply having the right Governor in place when the shift hit the fan. And Tech, like TCU, redoubled their football efforts in the Big 12 and put together a sustained run of success under Mike Leach that is arguably the best run in school history. Additionally, Tech fans are exceptionally well represented in the D/FW metroplex- and from personal experience they seem to have the same sort of view towards the rivalry as we do. Tech is also in the fairly miserable position of being (at least historically) the little brother to a little brother university. Tech fans loathe A&M, while A&M is fairly dismissive of Tech a rivalry (despite Tech dominating the series for the last two decades and almost pulling even in the overall series), while A&M is the little brother of Texas. And the less said about Tech and Baylor the better (Tech has won fifteen in a row in the series), which leaves Tech in a boat without a true rival either. With TCU in the Big East, both teams will finally be on equal ground in scheduling standing once again- both members of a BCS conference- and with plenty to prove against each other. Tech is a school you can hate for all the right reasons, we've got plenty of history together and Tommy Tuberville has actually come out in favor of an annual game as well (though he'd prefer it if TCU weren't quite as good as we've been for the past few years) so this is one rivalry that really seems to have light at the end of the tunnel for the frogs. That said though, there are no games currently scheduled between the universities and both of the last two previously scheduled games in the series have been postponed. Here's hoping we see the red and black men from Lubbock back in Amon Carter stadium very, very soon.