The aftermath of TCU's Fiesta Bowl loss to Boise State is proving once again that the journey is far more significant than the destination.
Time and accolades have tempered the bitter taste of the 17-10 defeat the Horned Frogs suffered at the hands of the mighty Broncos on Jan. 4.
Coach Gary Patterson added two more Coach of the Year Awards, from Liberty Mutual and the American Football Coaches Association, in the days that followed.
Hollow honors at the time, perhaps, but the TCU hits, as they say, kept coming.
The defense, which had lost seven starters off the 2008 team, finished the season ranked No. 1 in the nation in yards allowed with an average of 239.7 in 2009, edging out national champion Alabama's 244.1-yard yield.
The Frogs jumped atop the Football Bowl Subdivision defensive rankings for the second consecutive season and for an NCAA-tying fourth time, all since the 2000 season.
Patterson's name, meanwhile, popped up in media circles in connection with both the USC and Tennessee coaching searches—the mere inclusion of the Top Frog churning publicity gold for the program.
Maybe this young whipper-snapper can actually coach.
Another snapper, deep snapper Clint Gresham, earned an invitation in the Texas vs. The Nation Challenge at the Sun Bowl in El Paso on Feb. 6. He became the fourth TCU player to land an all-star game roster spot.
Offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse kicks off the Frog festivities today in the East-West Shrine Game. Defensive end Jerry Hughes and linebacker Daryl Washington will play in next Saturday's Senior Bowl.
Speaking of Washington, he was named to the Sporting News' All-Bowl Team for his performance in the Fiesta Bowl. He had 10 tackles, 3.5 for loss.
And for dessert, TCU garnered the No. 10 ranking on ESPN.com's top program of the decade. The Horned Frogs had a 95-29 record and posted seven 10-win seasons from 2000-09, winning four conference championships in three different leagues—the Western Athletic Conference (2000), Conference USA (2002), and the Mountain West Conference (2005, 2009).
All of which providing a not-half bad tonic for the post-Fiesta Bowl heartburn.
The continued wave of momentum for TCU bodes well as it enters recruiting crunch time. If the Horned Frogs can capitalize over the final two weeks before National Signing Day on Feb. 3, they have the potential, along with 16 returning starters combined on offense and defense, to take a run at celebrating the journey and the destination in 2010.
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