Yesterday, we linked to a listicle from Dallas Sports Day that gave their version of the top ten TCU Football games of the last decade. It was met with... opinions... on the twitter machine, most of them in stark disagreement. So, I decided to take a stab at in myself, and ask y’all to chime in, as well. Here we go!
10). TCU 14, Clemson 10 (September 26, 2009)
On a wet and rainy day, a TCU team that was expected to be overmatched shutout the might Tigers offense, one that featured CJ Spiller and Andre Ellington, both future pros. The Frogs were led in rushing by Andy Dalton, who executed the read-option to perfection in the abysmal weather, with help from Ed Wesley and Jeremy Kerley. It was a game that kickstarted an undefeated regular season, one that led to TCU’s first BCS berth, and build the foundation for the Rose Bowl team a season later.
9). TCU 28, Baylor 21: Double OT (November 27, 2015)
You want to talk about weather? How about a torrential downpour on Black Friday between two teams that could not have hated each other more. It wasn’t a pretty game, by any stretch - Trevone Boykin was playing on one leg and his top target was out of commission, but he was able to do just enough to lead the Frogs to three touchdowns, with the fourth coming on Josh Carraway’s fumble return for a score. The image of the TCU Student Section refusing to leave the stands during a rain delay, the pictures of the Showgirls dancing in the rain, the memory of Tre truly gutting it out for four quarters and two overtimes, all of these have burned themselves into the brains of fans and players alike. Though it wasn’t enough to erase the memory of the previous year’s matchup between these two rivals, it was healing in it’s own way, and represented the last meeting before the Revivalry changed due to the issues swirling around Briles and the Baylor program.
8). TCU 39, West Virginia 38: Double OT (November 3, 2012)
The Frogs struggled in their first year as a member of a Power Five Conference, scuffling to a seven win season as they tried to find a way to bridge the gap at QB due to Casey Pachall’s off-field issues. Though one could argue that beating Texas in Austin two weeks later was the more important game, this two OT thriller finally gave Frog fans some hope for the future. Rallying from down 10 late to force overtime, Trevone Boykin made one of his first signature plays, connecting with Josh Boyce for a 94 yard score with just 91 seconds remaining. The teams would trade scores in OT, as TCU turned to the bag of tricks on a WR pass for the touchdown, and turn to the Boykin-Boyce connection for the two point conversion to win it. Gamblin Gary, back at it again. Often forgotten (including by me, until Mason reminded me), is the importance of the Jason Verrett blocked field goal in the first overtime. Jaden Oberkrom missed his attempt wide right (yes, that occasionally happened, I suppose), but Jason Verrett bailed him out by blocking the Eers a possession later. It was sweet redemption for JV, who had struggled so much the year before, but turned himself into one of the best corners in the country that season.
7). TCU 55, Utah 28 (November 14, 2009)
Revenge is a dish best served cold, and though it was hard to be too chilled surrounded by 50,000 of your closest Frog friends, the revenge tasted plenty sweet. A year after the Utes handed the Frogs their only MWC defeat of the season, TCU destroyed their then rival in front of a then-record crowd, giving them their 10th straight win to open the season. With representatives from three BCS bowls in attendance, the team and fans put on an absolute show, and made the rest of the country take notice of the top five team in Funky Town. It was cathartic, it was important, and it was a heck of a lot of fun.
6). TCU 36, Boise State 35 (November 12, 2011)
Fondly remembered as the birth of Gamblin’ Gary, the victory over the Broncos on the Smurf Turf is most fans favorite Casey Pachall memory (though there’s not much competition). It was a back and forth affair that seemed destined to come down to the final moments, and the football gods did not disappoint, as Big Case connected with Brandon Carter with just minutes remaining for a 25 yard touchdown. Trailing by one, Patterson had the choice whether to play the tie and head to OT, or go for two and risk going home unhappy. He chose the latter, and Josh Boyce made the play that would prove the difference. It took a missed field goal to sew up the win, but it’s one that TCU fans will remember, fondly, for a long time.
5). TCU 37, Oklahoma 33 (October 4, 2014)
One of the most fun seasons in memory, there are a plethora of great games to choose from in 2014. But it all started here, as TCU took on the #4 ranked Sooners on their home turf and pulled off a massive upset. The game was neck and neck through the first three quarters, as Trevone Boykin and Trevor Knight traded blows, with the help from talented supporting casts, until the Frog defense absolutely locked the Sooners down. Four consecutive OU drives ended in turnovers, highlighted by Paul Dawson’s pick six - which resulted in the loudest roar I have ever heard in Amon G Carter Stadium. Boykin was electric, announcing himself to the world with a 400 yard performance. What we didn’t know then was that it was just the beginning.
4). TCU 55, Texas Tech 52 (September 26, 2015) & TCU 50, Texas 7 (October 3, 2015)
Yeah, this is cheating, and no, I don’t care. But, it’s hard to choose between these two games, and since they happened in consecutive weeks, I am combining them into one. Come at me.
The Frogs went into a Lubbock, a place they have traditionally struggled, and went toe-to-toe with the high powered Air Raid, matching Pat Mahomes yard for yard. Boykin and Mahomes accounted for 99 pass attempts, six touchdowns, and almost 1,000 passing yards (so, what was just another game for Patty Ice in 2016) and Aaron Green and DeAndre Washington torched opposing rush defenses to the tune of 350+ yards. Josh Doctson was transcendent, absolutely unguardable as he hauled in 18 receptions for 265 yards and three scores. But it was Aaron Green that was the hero, being in the right place at the right time as Boykin’s pass deflected off of Doc’s hands and right into the waiting arms of Green for a “Tip Six”.
A week later, the world was introduced to KaVontae Turpin, the diminutive dynamite who torched the Horns for four receiving touchdowns, all but ending the Charlie Strong era in Austin - though they would wait a couple years before actually giving him the boot. Though Turpin was the star, the game itself might best remembered for Texas players tweeting about transferring at halftime. It was a good day for Frog Fans, not so great for the Burnt Orange.
3). TCU 47, Oregon 41 Alamo Bowl: Triple OT (January 2, 2016)
The greatest comeback in NCAA history. The night that ensured Bram Kohlhausen ensured he will never buy another drink in this town again. The game that killed Oregon Football. After trailing 31-0 at the half in a game that the Frogs started without their talented QB (we all know why, right? I don’t have to mention it again, do I?), the thousands of Frog fans that had traveled to San Antonio were antsy and angry. It didn’t help that the stadium concessions ran out of beer and water early, as the large TCU contingent looked for anything to soothe their wounds on drive after drive.
Well, it turned out, all they really needed was a new shirt.
As was well documented, Gary Patterson came out of halftime having ditched his black duds for a purple shirt, and #purpleshirtworks. The Frogs got on the board with a Jaden Oberkrom field goal (come back, you’re our only hope), and Bram happened from there. The former walk-on led drive after drive to the end zone, with plenty of support from Aaron Green and a ton of talented young receivers, most notably Shaun Nixon. Bram’s run in the final OT, and the image of him doing the ‘eat’ celebration, will live on in TCU lore. And Denzel Johnson’s diving deflection sealed one of the craziest comebacks we will ever see.
2). TCU 42, Ole Miss 3: Peach Bowl (December 31, 2014)
Quite possibly the best game played under the Gary Patterson era, the Frogs came out pissed off and blew the doors off a very good Rebels team, who never stood a chance. After dropping from 3 to 6 in the playoff polls, TCU had two choices: fold, or show the playoff committee just how wrong they were to keep the Frogs out. And show they did. Led by Trevone Boykin, Josh Doctson, and Aaron Green on offense, along with Paul Dawson, James McFarland, and Derrick Kindred on defense, TCU systematically picked apart the Landsharks on offense and barely allowed them to cross the 50 on D. It was an utter and complete thrashing, and an embarrassment to the mighty SEC.
1). TCU 21, Wisconsin 19: Rose Bowl (January 1, 2011)
Sure there are games on this list where the Frogs played better, you need only look to the second-ranked game to find one. But, for me, TCU winning the Rose Bowl represented more than just a victory, it became the beginning of the beginning of the journey we find ourselves on now. Without the Rose Bowl appearance and win, the Frogs may not have secured the invite to the Big 12, and they certainly wouldn’t have a student body population that was so heavily flavored by the West Coast. Also of note, they likely wouldn’t have freshman All-American pitcher Nick Lodolo, who fell in love with the Frogs after watching them play in Pasadena. More than just a game, it showed the nation that TCU could play with the big boys, and belonged in the Power Five.
Did I leave off you favorite game? Do you hate this top ten (plus one) list? Have thoughts of your own? Share them in the comments!