Horned Frogs season one for the books

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    TCU head coach Gary Patterson stands with wide receiver Ryan Christian and other graduating seniors who gave a bouquet to their families before the home game against University of New Mexico on Nov. 28.
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    With the 2009 regular season in the books, it’s finally time to broach the subject that’s been taboo all year.

    It’s the topic head coach Gary Patterson had refused to even speculate on until the last win was in the books. It’s that goal in the second-to-last brick in the pyramid that hangs in the Horned Frog locker room.

    With a win over 1-11 New Mexico, we can finally – finally! – discuss what many fans have had on their minds since before the season even began: the Horned Frogs in the BCS.

    Right?

    Well, not yet. Although the Frogs finished their season unbeaten and a trip to a BCS bowl is all but certain, the BCS bowl committees won’t make their selections until next Sunday. That means Frog fans still have to wait one more week before TCU’s entry into the Bowl Championship Series becomes official and students and alumni can start making travel arrangements. Until next Sunday, the most TCU fans can do will be to sit back and root for Nebraska.

    Regardless of whether the Huskers manage to knock off the Longhorns, an upset that theoretically would push TCU into the national championship game, this season has certainly been one for the books.

    From College GameDay and sellout stadiums to big wins over BYU and Utah and the first undefeated regular season in 71 years, 2009 will be remembered as something special, wherever the Frogs end up in January.

    Consider what this team has accomplished. TCU didn’t just beat opponents in 2009, it crushed them with an average margin of victory of 28 points. They beat three teams currently ranked in either the BCS Standings or the AP Top 25, and two of those teams they played on the road.

    In 2009 the Frogs finished their season with the fourth best offense in the country and the second best defense.

    But more than anything, 2009 should be remembered as the culmination of a decade-long process that put TCU back on the college football map.

    When Patterson arrived in Fort Worth back in 1998 as part of Dennis Franchione’s staff, the Horned Frogs were coming off half a century of mediocrity and a 1-11 season. That just makes the past decade even more impressive. Since Patterson arrived, the Frogs have gone to ten bowl games and won seven. The team is regularly ranked in the Top 25 and sends players into the NFL draft virtually every year.

    The bottom line is Coach Patterson has done more than just put together a great team. He’s built a great program.

    So if Nebraska folds the same way Texas A&M did and the undefeated Frogs are left out of the championship game, it won’t mean the end of the world. TCU will still have gone undefeated and will still get to play in a BCS bowl.

    More importantly, the future is bright, and it’s likely the Frogs won’t have to wait another 71 years for their next special season.

    So until Sunday, let’s enjoy the 2009 season for what it is and has been, not what it could be or could have been.

    And go Huskers.

    Jordan Smith is a junior news-editorial journalism major from Austin.