A dream of spring is not only the name of a book that won't come out until three Presidents from now; it's also a time in which college football fans briefly reflect on the season that has just passed--and more importantly, focus on the one that's on the horizon. For TCU fans, last season was definitely a pleasant surprise. The general consensus was that TCU would be better, but it would take some time before they'd resemble a team like they had from 2008-2010. Well, they got one that was better--and also got one that nearly ran the table in the inaugural College Football Playoff.
So to celebrate a wonderful 2014 campaign, and hoping for a brilliant 2015--let's reflect on last season through the eyes of a Gary Patterson favorite, Tom Petty...
Samford: Learning to Fly
"Well I started out down a dirty road...I started out all alone"
That’s what the Air Raid offense did--it learned to fly in this game. And on the first drive, and in under two minutes, and on their first possession, they scored. Having lost the faith of the fans, much less the talking heads of the college football, this was Boykin’s first step on 2014's breathtaking staircase. The Stamford game initially seemed like a dubious glimpse of hope, but as it turned out: it was a microcosm of the season.
Minnesota: I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better
"Now I've got to say that it's not like before…"
This was TCU’s first real test of the season--and they picked the Gophers apart. The 30-7 victory was supposed to be a sleeper game, and one that Minnesota could have won had the TCU team from 2013 shown up. However, it was clear from early on that this was indeed a team that had improved significantly.
While Trevone Boykin was impressive (27/46, 258 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 92 rushing), what still impresses me the most from this game is holding All-Star tight-end Maxx Williams to 3 catches for 26 yards--albeit Williams still managed a touchdown. This was also the game where Josh Doctson made his SportsCenter Top-10 debut.
After this game, I knew that 2014 would be nothing like 2013.
SMU: Yer So Bad
"My sister got lucky, married a yuppie...took him for all he was worth"
Yes, SMU is really bad. And, yes--they are our rival. I wrote a piece last September about how TCU needed to basically play Czar and dictate their relationship with their crosstown rival--or is it neartown? Anyway, the sleepwalk-blowout was indicative as to how terrible the Mustangs were last season. While they may not win more than 6 games next year; the Chad Morris hire is flat out brilliant and breathes new life into a (once?) dying rivalry.
Oklahoma: I Need to Know
"If you’re leading me on...I need to know"
After a really hot start against not so great talent (minus Minnesota)--many folks who are keen on college football, and not just TCU fans, were asking themselves this same question. Going into the game, the Frogs had cracked the polls for the first time in the season, and many--justifiably--were skeptical about it. Many thought it was just the equivalent of serving Burger King on fine China. However, much to the Sooners’ chagrin, the game lived up to the hype and tasted more like a filet mignon than it did a Whopper.
The Frogs nearly gave the game away late in the 4th, but thanks to some juicy defense by Paul Dawson and Co., they got their most important win at home in years. And as it turned out, TCU was not leading their fans on after a great start in 2015. Oklahoma? That’s another story.
Baylor: You Got Lucky
"You better watch what you say"
Yes, as a fan, I'm allowed say Baylor got lucky. Are they a really good football team and is KD Cannon going to give me gray hair the next couple of years? You bet. (And next week, we’ll get to a certain scene in a certain television series that reminds me of this game). However, despite the Frogs having had the Bears in a trap, TCU simply tried to get too fancy and danced around them in their own cave.
Were there bad calls? Sure. But when you’re playing on the road, against a team that can fire off touchdowns like they’re playing with a Chicago typewriter; use the damn ground attack. ps: I’ve actually gone back and forth as to whether or not this was a good strategy or not. Ask me again in a few weeks, my answer will probably be different.
Despite the loss, and its repercussions--I'm kind of glad this game happened. The Revivalry isn't the rising college football rivalry for nothin'...
Oklahoma State: Refugee
"We got something, we both know it, we don't talk too much about it"
Although he was never forced to leave Oklahoma State: based off their 2014 season and what their fans had to say about it; Doug Meacham got cut down to size by his alma mater. Hindsight is always twenty-twenty, but if we’re comparing apples to apples; Meacham versus Mike Yurcich isn’t even close.
As for the game itself, TCU really let their post-Baylor frustrations out. At the 9:23 mark in the 1st quarter, the Frogs scored on a tantalizing run from BJ Catalon. A minute and a half later--after some salty defense--they scored again on a bomb to Josh Doctson. Three minutes after that--after which they squeezed in yet another score--the Frogs scored yet again on what was probably my favorite play of the year (and definitely Gus Johnson’s); an 84-yd trick bomb to Josh Doctson to make 21-3 with 4:41 left in the first. If you’re keeping up, that’s 21 points in four and a half minutes. The monstrous 42-9 win was a just an overall perfect performance by both the offense and defense, and a nice way to get revenge on the Cowboys for the two previous years.
Texas Tech: You Wreck Me
"yeah, you break me in two..."
For this game, I was at a Wedding--a very lovely Wedding by the way. I saw the first half at home, caught an Uber, and for the first time in my life, restrained myself from checking my phone. If you remember, the game was pretty close going into the second half, so once I saw the late 3rd quarter score, it’s pretty fair to say that I was elated. But no win like that comes without controversy, namely from Travis Hale of the newly christened Red Raider website, Staking the Plains. Despite not liking Bob Seger or TCU, I think Hale does a really good job with his new site, just as he did with his old one. But this? C’mon, this was like watching a moon landing conspiracy video at 3 in the morning.
Diatribes and slander aside, this was one of my favorite games of the year. After two coinflip games in 2012 and 2013, it was nice to let the steam out and put a cheeky 82 on the Red Raiders.
West Virginia: "Runnin’ Down a Dream"
"I rolled on as the sky grew dark, I put the pedal down to make some time"
In some ways, this is the most butterfly-effecty game of the year. Had West Virginia pulled it off, TCU still probably would’ve made a New Years Six bowl. Only in this case, Baylor very well would’ve snuck into the College Football Playoff, which means, fourth seed, and National Champion, Ohio State, likely would not have made it--and thus not won a Championship. Maybe this thing does need more than 4 teams…(cough, cough)
About half of TCU’s games were hard to watch start to finish. And about 10 of them were hard to watch until the 3rd quarter. This game definitely belongs to the former. The day after Halloween, and wearing the Frogtrooper uniforms, West Virginia gave TCU their [WVU’s] second best game of the season. The Frogs’ narrow escape in Morgantown thanks to Jaden Oberkrom’s heroics, wasn’t without sacrifice. This would not only be the last game BJ Catalon would play in 2014, it was the last one of his TCU career. But silver linings; it left the door wide open for Aaron Green to emerge as TCU’s premier running back.
Kansas State: Won’t Back Down
"there ain't no easy way out..."
Aside from the Ole Miss game, this was TCU’s best game of the season--and arguably most complete. After what could’ve been a disaster after Tyler Lockett nearly closed out the first half with a big return, TCU responded in full force the second half and beat the Wildcats 41-20. The Wildcats really should’ve had 13 had it not been for a garbage time touchdown. But in my opinion, Bill Snyder is always allowed one of those.
"...go ahead and do it"
I watched this game in limited light, on a very rainy day. My roommates said it was like watching a tea kettle steam. Thankfully, Cameron Echols-Luper prevented whatever disaster awaited had TCU not pulled the game in Lawrence off.
Do you see what happens, Larry? Do you see what happens when you play a football game in bad weather and nobody attends? Bad things.
Texas: Don’t Do Me Like That
"Baby, you’ll bury me...if you're in a public eye...give someone else a try"
The Thanksgiving shellacking was a statement on many levels; (1) it somehow became a trendy pick to go against the Horned Frogs—granted Texas had just come off two really good wins against West Virginia and Oklahoma State respectively. Thus winning was a nice little middle finger and a sigh of relief after the dumpster fire that was the Kansas game. And (2), it was a final push at a playoff run, which despite not making it in, the dominant performance was the best Thanksgiving dessert I could ask for. So take that, Clay Travis--keep doing you, man.
Iowa State: The Waiting" // Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around
"You take it on faith, you take it the heart"
You can play perfect football and yet, still fall out of your playoff spot. That’s a big reason why having college football playoff rankings, or any rankings at all until the last day of the season is bullshit. Yes, I get why we have them. It’s hard to advertise games without rankings. However, TCU, or any team, shouldn’t be penalized because said teams in their conference happen to fall later in their schedule rather than earlier. It’s also another reason--and trust me, we will get into this in much greater detail next week--as to why TCU should play Baylor every Black Friday until hell freezes over or college football ceases to exist--whichever comes first.
"Baby, you'll come knocking on my front door Same old line you used to use before"
So I beg you College Football committee, quit using this same bullshit line you used on us in the BCS era. Also, in your high castle, have empathy for the fan and don’t release your rankings until the Tuesday after the last weekend of the season. You’d be saving me a lot of once-brown hair, anger, money, junk food binges, and gin.
Ole Miss: Rebels
"Honey don’t walk out, I’m too drunk to follow"
A song called "Rebels" on an album called Southern Accents. This was too good to pass up. By the way, if albums are your bag and you listen to a Tom Petty album not called Damn the Torpedoes or Full Moon Fever--make it this one. Also, if you’re going to watch one game from last season, make it this one as well.
As a fan, this is the perfect game. Yes, the offense was a little rough around the edges; but the pure intensity and saltiness the Frogs played with that day is something you don’t see very much in the Gary Patterson era. Maybe the SEC’s knee-jerk predisposition to consider any team not playing surrounded by pine trees inferior, peppered in with an arguable playoff snub, made GMFP a little salty. And while the coach may have been full of sodium chloride: for the fans, the peaches were nothing but sweet. Seeing Paul Dawson and a few others use the "landshark" hand sign against the Rebels made me want to hug everyone around me.
"Wait until you see an SEC defense" was the common, paraphrased message the weeks leading up to the game
We’re still waiting...