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2016 Season Preview: Best 2015 Experience

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NCAA Football: Valero Alamo Bowl-Oregon vs Texas Christian Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to the best experience of 2015, it’s hard to decide between three pretty obvious choices:

  1. Aaron Green’s ‘Tip Six’ at Texas Tech
  2. Beating Baylor at home in a monsoon.
  3. Coming back from a 31 point deficit against Oregon in the Alamo Bowl to win in triple OT.

Well, my personal Baylor experience kind of sucked (it turns out tailgating outside in the rain for hours hopped up on medication because you had been diagnosed with walking pneumonia a couple days earlier isn’t a great decision on so many levels) and I watched the Tech game at home alone in a dark house mostly because it went exactly as I was afraid it would. So, while Baylor might be one of the most memorable home games in TCU history, and Tech might be the most shocking finish, neither are the best experience of the season, in this writer’s opinion.

That goes to option number three, and the first game the Frogs played after defeating Baylor at home - which was also the last game of their season. I am, of course, speaking of the Alamo Bowl.

It feels like most of what can be said about the greatest bowl comeback in college football history has already been said, but as we prepare to open the season, and hopefully begin the journey to another BCS/NY6 Bowl, it’s worth revisiting one of the more memorable moments in all of college football from the 2015 season, and Remember the Alamo (Bowl).

When I reflect back on the Alamo Bowl, the first thing that comes to mind is the rain-soaked walk back. That walked seemed to last forever, and was easily an hour plus. It was misting, as it had been all day, and within minutes my jeans and shoes were sopping wet. But as we wound our way down the streets, back to the team hotel, I couldn’t have cared less. Joyous chants and cheers would crop up sporadically - even I couldn’t help but let out the occasional whoop or holler whenever the feeling struck. We sang, we laughed, we cheered, we beamed. It was awesome.

But, really, I should start at the beginning. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day, where I watched Stanford dismantle the Iowa Hawkeyes with my brother in law on a picturesque So-Cal night. The day before I headed out to LA, I woke up to over 100 text messages, and just saw the word Boykin over and over again. The news was devastating, and it was everything I could do to try and enjoy what should have been my ultimate sports weekend. Without Boykin or Doctson, it seemed too much to ask for an injury-decimated TCU team to upend a powerful Ducks team, and the whole outlook of my trip changed dramatically. But, I went to the Rose Bowl, cheered for the Cardinal, and hoped the Frogs could at least keep it close the next day. A few (far too few) hours after the mission was accomplished in the first half of my double header, I was on a plane headed to San Antonio, exhausted but excited for what was going to hopefully be a fun night.

... and then the first half happened.

I’m pretty sure there was a game, but it was hard to tell through the hands covering my face for the first two quarters. To make matters worse, the stadium ran out of water, beer, many of the food options, and was approximately 1000 degrees. I wanted to leave. I NEEDED to leave. But, I had made a promise to a student of mine who was performing at half time that I would stay and watch her routine.

I owe that kid some extra credit.

I watched the performance and made my way to the upper deck to say hello after. I was in no hurry to get back to my seats or my friends - I wasn’t great company anyway so I doubt I was missed - so I chatted for several minutes. While we were talking, I heard something unfamiliar - the Frog Horn - so I turned just in time to see Jaden Oberkrom celebrating a made field goal. Hey, that’s something, I thought to myself as I started to make my way back down to my seats. A few minutes later, the Frogs had the ball back, and I watched them pull within three touchdowns from an aisle a few sections down from where I had been sitting. Well, if you don’t know me, I am VERY superstitious, and was pretty convinced that there was no way I could return to my seats as long as the mojo was squarely in the Frogs’ favor. So I saw us score from all over the second deck, but avoided my actual seats until midway through the fourth quarter. When I went back the first time, my group told me to stay away - either they were superstitious too or sick of me, hard to say - but I did get to see the final few moments of the game from my assigned spot. And of course overtime(s). It was epic. And I swore I never doubted, but let’s be honest, I had certainly lost hope up until halftime.

When we made it back to the team hotel, it was a celebration unlike anything I had seen. We were all so hungry - who knew San Antonio shut down so early? - but the lobby was packed with very happy purple people and the party lasted into the wee hours. We greeted players, coaches, trophies, and friends throughout the evening, and every time a new TCU Football affiliate waltzed in, it was as if the party began anew. I hugged everybody, including Jim Schlossnagle, Chris Del Conte, Travin Howard, and a bunch of board members that I had no idea who they were. It was great.

I think back to that game a lot... what could have been for Tre and TCU. And every time I start to wish it hadn’t happened the way it did, I stop myself - it truly worked out well for everyone involved. Tre has clearly learned from his mistake, and while it likely cost him a draft slot, he ended up in the perfect situation as an undrafted free agent, and has a chance to be an important part of a really good Seahawks team that runs the perfect offense for him. Bram Kohlhausen could have easily finished his career on the bench, but became an absolute legend among TCU fans, and will never pay for a drink or a meal in Fort Worth again. And for TCU as a whole, a relatively innocuous bowl became the stuff of legend and a symbol for what TCU is really about - a NEGU attitude and the heart of a lion. They made the best of what could have been a bad situation, and were the talk of the sporting world because of it. So, as we head into this season, with high hopes and great expectations, it’s good to reflect and remember - even when all seems lost, there’s always hope. And with this TCU team, we know they will never, ever give up.