In its third year as a Big 12 member, TCU hoisted its first football conference championship trophy.
The Horned Frogs defeated Iowa State 55-3 on Saturday and finished with an 8-1 league record. They started the day tied for first with Baylor and Kansas State, and the winner between those teams in a game that began at 6:45 p.m. in Waco will share the championship with the Frogs.
But there may be an even bigger prize out there for TCU. The Horned Frogs were ranked third in the most recent College Football Playoff poll. The top four teams announced today by the CFP selection committee will comprise college football’s first playoff bracket.
Saturday, TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin passed for a career-best 460 yards with four touchdown passes, and he was on the receiving end of a touchdown pass on a trick play in the blowout.
TCU joined the Big 12 in 2011 when the league added the Frogs and West Virginia to replace Texas A&M and Missouri to maintain a 10-team conference. The Frogs didn’t exactly ease into their new environment.
After a 4-5 league record in 2012, TCU dropped to 2-7 last year, and 4-8 overall. One year later, the Frogs are 11-1 and accepted a trophy.
Two decades ago, TCU was crushed not be included among the four Texas schools from the Southwest Conference that helped formed the Big 12 in the mid-1990s.
The original idea was to include only Texas and Texas A&M, but Texas politics got involved. The governor and lieutenant governor were Baylor grads. The president pro tempore of the Senate was a Texas Tech grad.
Representatives from the eight Southwest school met in Austin in 1994, and TCU, SMU, Houston and Rice didn’t make the cut.
“It was a shocker,” then-TCU athletic direcotr Frank Windegger said in a 2005 interview with The Star. “We found out that day we had been left out in the cold, and yes, bitter would be a good way to describe our feelings about it.”
TCU made the best of its situation by winning. The Frogs joined the Western Athletic Conference, then Conference USA and finally the Mountain West. They won a football championship in each.
The Frogs also owned a share of the 1994 Southwest Conference title, giving the program league titles in five conferences over the past 21 years.
None were as satisfying as the one TCU won Saturday.