The road in the Big 12 has been anything but smooth for TCU since joining the Conference in 2012. After entering the Big 12, TCU has been out to prove they could play with the big boys and that they have long been deserving of a spot in a power 5 conference. While it’s great to have the mindset that you can and will win, head coach Gary Patterson knew it would take time. Patterson believed it would take 3-5 years for TCU to become competitive for a Conference Championship. In TCU’s third year, they are number 3 in this week’s rankings, on the cusp of earning a Big 12 championship. Patterson couldn’t have been more right. Although the Horned Frogs are finally earning the recognition that they deserve in the Big 12, success did not happen overnight. Having to get through year one and year two to find the success in year three proved to be a difficult journey. However, it is the journey that makes getting to the final destination all the worthwhile. So, in looking at how TCU got to be to where they are now, one could wonder how they ever made it.
In TCU’s inaugural Big 12 season, the Horned Frogs were faced with trial and tribulations. At the time, starting quarterback Casey Pachall had the Frogs and the fan base believing that we were going to do well the first year. Winning the first four games of the season before going into league play, everything seemed to be pointing up. However, with one bad night and one bad decision Casey Pachall found himself in handcuffs. This left the hopes of TCU’s season cuffed to red shirt freshman Trevone Boykin. Boykin was thrown into the fire and had to learn and adjust on the fly . His first outing was against Iowa State, and they lost to the Cyclones 37-23. Still, under Boykin’s guidance TCU did manage to make it to a bowl game.
As much of a roller coaster ride as the first season was, the second season in the Big 12 had far more downs than ups. Heading into the second season, former quarterback Casey Pachall was to return to the Horned Frogs after leaving to complete rehab. Rejoining the team, Pachall was in a quarterback competition with Trevone Boykin. TCU believed that it had a top-notch defense, and it did, led by cornerback Jason Verrett. The only thing missing for the Frogs was that extra lift on offense. That extra lift was supposed to be Pachall, but as misfortune has a way of playing out, Pachall broke his arm, and TCU was forced to look ahead. The offense was never able to keep up with the high-octane offenses in the BIg 12 and TCU finished 4-8. The 4-8 finish was the worst record during the Patterson tenure in Fort Worth.
Entering the third year of Big 12 play, Gary Patterson knew he had to solve the issues surrounding the offense. Like trying to find the reasoning behind strange disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle, there were was more questions and speculations then any real answers. However, as bleak as it looked at times for TCU, with all the misfortunes and shortcomings the program and fans had to go through, fortune would find the Frogs. Fortune, going by the names of Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie, whipped the TCU offense into what people see today. An offense that in recent years held back incredible efforts by the defense, soon would do more than carry their own weight.
As if rising from ashes to a blazing phoenix, TCU has been reformed under co-offensive coordinators Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie. From a former wide receiver to a Heisman candidate, Trevone Boykin and this offensive turnaround has been nothing short of spectacular. With opposing coaches no longer just having to worry about a tough defense, TCU has come full circle. This rise up the polls, from unranked in the beginning to number 3, with one week to play, has made this one of the most exciting seasons in TCU history. With a new shipment of fireworks needing to be ordered, TCU fans have got to enjoy a magical and explosive season. With this season’s journey almost complete, here is hoping it ends in Arlington Texas on January 6th.