TCU Horned Frogs: A Case Proposal for a BCS Playoff System

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TCU Horned Frogs: A Case Proposal for a BCS Playoff System
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
Nov. 29, 2010: In Forth Worth, Texas, TCU's athletics director, Chris Del Conte, discusses the school's move to the Big East. Horned Frogs officials have been relatively quiet regarding the BCS National Championship Game.

When was the last time a team from a non-BCS conference appeared in the Rose Bowl Game?  How about, um, never.  That was before Texas Christian University this season. 

That’s right, TCU is the first non-BCS conference school to appear in your grandfather's favorite bowl game. 

TCU’s Rose Bowl Game invitation suggests something to me: BCS officials are afraid the Horned Frogs could win a national championship from a non-BCS conference. 

Is it their nickname, “The Horned Frogs,” BCS officials are scared of?  I don’t blame them; a Christian-based private university should have a better nickname.  A corny mascot, however, shouldn’t keep TCU from getting an official shot at the national championship. 

This year, officials made a nice gesture by signing TCU for the Rose Bowl instead of Stanford.  But it was like the BCS delivered farewell black roses to the Frogs instead of “I love you” red ones.

There is nothing wrong with black roses, except that they don’t exist in nature.  They are sometimes used as symbols of rare beauty.  In literature, they symbolize shame, dishonor or even the dark side of a person’s soul.  They are also known for representing pain, mourning and death. 

The Rose Bowl, this season, marks the death of the Horned Frogs national championship aspirations for yet another year. 

There’s nothing wrong with the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.  If it wasn’t for the smog, Pasadena could be like my second home. 

It is possible, however, that a team from Fort Worth, Texas could be expected to cower to Rose Bowl officials.  TCU should consider it an honor of the highest order to play in the game, at least, perhaps, in Pasadena’s views.  It’s also possible that Rose Bowl officials expect TCU officials to show public reverence.

“Knowing I'm going to get a chance to stand on that field is truly an honor,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. 

The turf, sir, is not sacred.

I hope TCU's officials aren’t expected to keep their mouths shut about the national championship picture.  I hope the Rose Bowl isn’t “hush money.”  

Traditionalist and romantic fans wanted Stanford in the Rose Bowl, keeping the Big Ten/Pac-10 rivalry game in place.  TCU, hailing from the frostbitten Mountain West Conference, got their bid per a new BCS rule stating that the Rose Bowl must invite the highest-ranked non-automatic BCS qualifier. 

The rule was exercised, since Oregon advanced to the BCS National Championship Game and can't  play in the Rose Bowl.

The Horned Frogs eagerly accepted the invitation to be their replacement.  The Oregon-Auburn matchup for the national championship made their decision easy for them.   

"We figured that Oregon and Auburn would get the job done, and we were totally satisfied with going to the Rose Bowl," said Frogs linebacker, Tank Carder. "Last year when they told us when we were playing Boise, we had already played them the year before that."

The upperclassmen at TCU should be upset with the compromise of their honor and dedication—if that is what happened.  Horned Frog officials should speak up for the players, but they seem content to be Cinderella.

Unlike America’s favorite Cinderella team, Boise State, No. 3 TCU finished the regular season undefeated.  And for the second year in a row, their players have been told they cannot play for the national championship.

No school should have to go undefeated and not play for a national championship.

The Frogs (12-0) still hoped for a national championship until last Saturday.  They likely would have earned a bid had Oregon or Auburn lost. 

"It would have been fun to see what would have happened if one of the teams went down, but that's not how it happened," said TCU quarterback Andy Dalton.  “We'll go out and prove how we play, and hopefully people will see that." 

That’s the spirit of a kid who has won over 40 games in his college football career and has made a name for himself. 

I'm inclined to believe it's the Horned Frogs national title-caliber game, not their name, that the BCS finds frightening.  So it's off to Pasadena for TCU, where they will face No. 4 Wisconsin (11-1).  The Badgers won a three-way tiebreaker in the Big Ten; I bet they wish there was a playoff system in place.

While a playoff system is not needed within conferences, it is needed beyond that.  It’s possible, and I’ll explain to you how it can be done. 

Make the NCAA football postseason like a tournament—the Final Four of college football.  Take the six automatically qualifying conferences for instance.  Make the six conference championship games preliminary playoff games, leaving three BCS teams.  Selecting five more wild card teams will make up the eight BCS Tournament teams.

The Final Eight will play a first round, semifinals and finals. 

The student athletes could be given one or two weeks off after conference championship games.  Then, two or three weeks of playoffs—using BCS bowl games—could decide the national champion.  The season would end around Jan. 10 with the national championship game—the Rose Bowl—"The Granddaddy of Them All."

To be clear, I’m advocating that BCS officials make the Rose Bowl the national championship game every year. 

It seems to me that Stanford should be playing TCU in the Rose Bowl this season, or at least facing them in the Orange Bowl.  That game would have pitted No. 3 against No. 4.  No. 5 Wisconsin should have faced No. 6 Oklahoma instead of UConn-OU.

What do you, my readers, think of the way TCU was treated in the national championship picture? Also, what are your thoughts regarding my proposition for a BCS playoffs?

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