Welcome to our new weekly column here on Frogs O' War Frog Abroad- where the world's furthest frog fan HawkeyedFrog goes on a rant about how he'd like things to be. In the future this will doubtlessly include issues on TCU, college football, football in general, basketball or who knows what else, but I'll try to keep it amusing and informative. Since we're always desperate for college football content on FoW I've decided to first take on an issue that's near and dear to my heart as a Frog fan, non-conference scheduling of in-state programs.
Since the program's darkest days in the WAC after the demise of the SWC, the Frogs have been on the outside looking in as the biggest programs in Texas (and also Baylor) looked down their noses at us and left us and our fellow SWC castoffs off the schedule. We went from being Baylor's most played and most hated rival to having the bears off the schedule for over a decade, while Texas wouldn't dignify us with a return home game after their decade of absence from the schedule. Tech too departed from our schedule for nine years, only for new coach Tommy Tuberville to issue his famous statement (famous among frog fans anyway) of essentially "We'd love to play TCU every year! . . . When we're better." And, despite Coach Fran's campaign to get A&M on the TCU schedule when he was coach here, as soon as he took the A&M job we saw him go full Aggie and refuse to discuss a possible series with the Frogs- even as a one game deal. This was the frustration of frog fans everywhere, as despite our resurgence in the WAC we weren't able to rub our success in the faces of our ancestral enemies. Now, at last, TCU is a member of the Big 12 conference, where the pantheon of successful programs in Texas (and also Baylor) reside, which means we don't have to worry about teams like Texas or Tech bailing from our schedule if we become too good to be a guaranteed win (I wonder why programs haven't shied away from scheduling SMU and Rice). This is a fantastic thing for the TCU football program, and our place is certainly well deserved, but now that we are officially one of the "haves" in the state it leaves me feeling like we are the ones who have a responsibility to the other programs in the state of Texas to play them and show that the Big 12 is a cut above in on the field situations, rather than sitting on our laurels and declaring that any success that a Houston or a UTEP may have in the future is merely the result of playing a weak CUSA/Mountain West schedule. I want to continue the "anyone, anyplace, anytime" at more than just the level of playing the Big 12 and some of the major programs in the nation (LSU, Arkansas, Ohio State). I want to establish dominance over this entire state of ours- a state with more FBS level football programs than any other.
This may seem like a selfish enterprise, or maybe just the sign of a guilty conscience to other frog fans, and I totally understand that opinion. I don't agree with it though, as I think that travelling around Texas- not just in the D/FW/Austin/Lubbock/Waco areas- will be great for the program's perception and visibility in the state. One of the reasons I was gung-ho about the prospect of playing in the Big East (before the cork was pulled and the good teams started draining away) was that we would have a chance to be something entirely different to recruits. The only Texas school playing in a non-Big 12 BCS conference? Playing in hubs of humanity like New Jersey, New York, Pittsburgh and Tampa? That would have been something exciting- and that uniqueness of being part of a BCS league that isn't the Big 12 has certainly paid dividends for the aggies this year (on the field and in recruiting). By playing the other Texas programs (preferably in a 2 for 1 split) the frogs would be putting their product on display in front of all of the recruits of South Texas, West Texas, North Texas and Central Texas- and be in a position where parents of recruits would know they get to see their kids play close to home sometime in their college career- and winning the parents is a huge step towards winning the recruit. Over the course of the "Let's play" series I'll be looking at all of the non-Big 12 programs in Texas, what they have to offer as frequent non-conference opponents of the frogs, and the history of the two schools together and will set up a poll for you readers to have your say on in what capacity we should play each team (if we should play them at all).
Let's own Texas in a way that even K-State can't dream of touching. Go Frogs.