FORT WORTH, Texas -- TCU found out the fun way that it doesn't take an undefeated season to reach the BCS anymore.
The Frogs earned a huge win without Devonte Fields against LSU, but nobody questioned whether or not Casey Pachall would be back to his old self after shredding the Tigers for 280 yards and a pair of scores through the air, completing 24 of 30 passes along the way. Aaron Green and Waymon James sealed that game late and looked unstoppable, propelling TCU to a win.
Two weeks later, the Frogs rolled over a Texas Tech team in a Thursday night game that looked overmatched. By the end of the season, we knew that game told us more about the Frogs than it did Tech. SMU didn't have much of a chance a week later, but TCU partied like it was 2005 a week later when it beat Oklahoma in Norman. Pachall's 4-yard, go-ahead touchdown with 20 seconds to go can be thanked for that, capping an 85-yard drive that proved to be the game-winner.
All of a sudden, the Frogs were 5-0 with three quality wins on the schedule. Kansas was a speed bump, unlike last year's ugly affair, but TCU couldn't get revenge for Oklahoma State's blowout win last season. A second consecutive trip to Stillwater meant another loss, but a game-winning drive stalled on fourth down near midfield in the 31-27 loss.
The memory of that game was pretty hazy after a second consecutive win over Texas, this one in Fort Worth. The Big 12's top two defenses went head to head, but Jason Verrett's pick-six early in the second half energized the crowd and sideline for the Frogs, who pitched a second-half shutout in the 31-13 win. West Virginia and Iowa State didn't prove much of a fight, but TCU fans took notice when Oklahoma State fell to the Longhorns in Austin while TCU knocked off Kansas State.
The Frogs capped their season with a shootout win over Baylor but gathered as a team to watch Bedlam, which would decide their Big 12 title fate. The Sooners beat Oklahoma State in Stillwater to give the Frogs their first Big 12 title in just their second season in the league. Big 12 titles in half of their seasons as a league member? Who does this TCU team think it is? Oklahoma?
FINAL RECORD: 11-1
FORT WORTH, Texas -- Gary Patterson insisted he had two quarterbacks he felt he could win with and his decision to start Trevone Boykin against LSU proved him a truth-teller.
By the time both quarterbacks had played (and floundered), TCU was down 17 to LSU in the fourth quarter and it was clear TCU had zero quarterbacks capable of winning a Big 12 title. Boykin beat out Pachall in fall camp, but the LSU game was the beginning of a season-long carousel at the spot. The Frogs survived a home date against SMU, but lost a heartbreaker at Texas Tech the following week to fall to 2-2.
That began a season-long dance with bowl eligibility and the .500 mark, too.
Road losses to Oklahoma and Oklahoma State sandwiched an ugly win over Kansas that required some late heroics, but the Longhorns walked into Amon G. Carter Stadium and sent TCU to 3-5 with a power running game the Frogs had no answer for.
TCU bounced back with solid wins over West Virginia and Iowa State to rebound to 5-5, but two difficult games proved too difficult to close the season. The Frogs' season began with high hopes but ended with them challenging Texas A&M's 2010 team as one of the Big 12's biggest disappointments in recent history. It doesn't take much to fall from the top 15 to being home for the holidays.