Doubters gonna doubt, but how can you after watching TCU take down vaunted Michigan to advance to the national title game?

I’m seldom at a loss for words, at least when it comes to writing. Y’all who have been so kind to read my often-long posts can attest to that.

After watching the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs, given a chance by absolutely no one but themselves and their faithful to beat No. 2 Michigan, lead from start to finish in the Fiesta Bowl to advance to the Jan. 9 national championship game, I’m pretty much speechless.

Giddy, proud and thrilled, but it’s hard to know exactly what to say about such a rousing performance. And I didn’t even attend TCU — my sweetheart Kay did, graduating in 1987. She was there loyally attending games during a period that included the Frogs’ first bowl game in 19 years (1984), followed by devastating NCAA penalties when beloved coach Jim Wacker turned in his program after learning several players had taken illegal payments from boosters.

But I’ll offer some words of observation after TCU’s impressive, momentum-swinging, naysayer-disproving 51-45 victory Saturday over a storied Michigan program. Because that’s what the Frogs, from a small private school in Fort Worth, were up against — the history and stature of a huge school with more national football titles (11 claimed) and more wins (989) than any other program in the country.

The Frogs, who gave up a 54-yard run on the first play from scrimmage to leave me worried seconds in, displayed the same grit, determination and refusal to lose they’d shown in 13 previous outings, only one of which they’d lost — the Big 12 championship game in overtime to Kansas State.

This time, they didn’t fall behind early and come charging back in the second half like they did several times during the regular season. They denied the Wolverines after that first long run, took charge with stingy, opportunistic defense and built a 21-6 halftime lead.

Against a defense that ranked among the nation’s best in allowing just two second-half touchdowns in its previous 8 games, the Frogs doubled that total and scored 30 points after the half. The frenzied pace of the second half saw TCU’s lead shrink to 5, then grow to 19 and fall again to 3 at 41-38 early in the final period.

But the Frogs, as they had 12 other times this season, found a way on both sides of the ball to prevail, making their fans — and the entire city of Fort Worth and beyond — incredibly proud. For the ninth time in a season they started unranked and were picked to finish seventh in the Big 12, they won by 10 or fewer points.

Now, thanks to defending champ Georgia’s comeback against Ohio State, the Frogs get another chance to show they’re for real, this time against the No. 1 team in the land. The Bulldogs are 14-0 (Michigan was also unbeaten at 13-0) and of course will be favored by everyone — everyone except the guys who matter: The ones wearing the TCU helmets and led by Heisman finalist Max Duggan.

As I told a childhood friend in a text Saturday night, as the Frogs have shown all season, you can’t count them out of any game — and that goes for before or during it. I expect another all-out effort like TCU gave against Michigan, and if that happens — well, anything can happen. May the team that plays the best football at SoFi Stadium in SoCal win.

Kay gives the Horned Frog sign as the TCU band plays the alma mater after the game.

I told Kay this morning that this may be a once-in-a-lifetime shot at glory for TCU football … or is it? As successful as the Frogs have been over the past 20 years, can they become consistent national title players with the elites like Alabama, Georgia, Clemson and Ohio State? It’s awfully hard to go through a season with zero or one loss to make the current four-team playoff.

But with the rules changing starting in 2024 to expand the playoff field to 12, there’s no reason to think TCU can’t be in the annual mix for a contending spot. Kids will want to come to Fort Worth to play for first-year coach Sonny Dykes, who left SMU to guide the Frogs. What they’ve achieved this season will do even more to elevate TCU’s standing in recruits’ eyes.

Kay and I would love to go to California to see the Frogs take on the Dawgs in a bid for their first national title since 1938, but I can’t get the time off from my new job. Plus, there’s the matter of the expense it would take to get us there and into seats.

So we’ll have to be content knowing that we made it to three awesome TCU wins this season — two of those comebacks against Oklahoma State and Kansas State and a blowout of Iowa State in the regular-season finale — and cheer the Frogs in the championship game from our living room. It should be a GREAT game.

Happy New Year and GO FROGS!!! 🐸😊💜


2 thoughts on “Doubters gonna doubt, but how can you after watching TCU take down vaunted Michigan to advance to the national title game?

  1. I heard about it on NPR this morning and figured you two were happy as could be!

    Congrats and GO FROGS!

    (Didn’t know they had a “sign” — cute pic of your sweetie.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Missy and thank you!! I guess every school has its own little sign, lol, like the thumbs up for us Aggies and the Horns sign for UT and the “guns up” for Texas Tech! Baylor has one too! Kay is very, very excited. We didn’t honestly think they would win, but we hoped they would keep it close and show that they “belonged.” They definitely did more than that! Happy New Year!! 🙂

      Like

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