TCU to Poinsettia bowl

SAN DIEGO -- TCU had been hoping for a berth in the Sugar Bowl, which would have been the Horned Frogs' third straight trip to a BCS game.

Instead, they'll have to settle for the consolation prize of another trip to San Diego.

"We're obviously disappointed after we had the opportunity to be in BCS games the last couple of years," coach Gary Patterson said after the Horned Frogs accepted an invitation to play Louisiana Tech in the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 21.

The Mountain West Conference champion Horned Frogs (10-2) needed to move into the top 16 in the final BCS standings on Sunday to earn an automatic bid.

TCU remained No. 18 in the BCS standings.

"In the three polls we're 15, 15 and 17, but in the BCS we were 18. Figure that out," Patterson said. "But I've got a lot more important things to do than to worry about that with the polls. All I know is this: They gave us an opportunity the last two years; we earned our part. We went to the Fiesta Bowl and Rose Bowl and we were 1-1, and there's a whole bunch of schools that have never been to any of those.

"Are we disappointed we didn't get where we wanted to? Well, it's our own fault. There's nobody to blame but TCU because we had two losses. If we had one loss, we probably wouldn't be in this situation," he said.

TCU beat Wisconsin 21-19 in the Rose Bowl last season. The season before that, TCU lost 17-10 to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl.

"We've been to two, but you've got a No. 6 Arkansas team that's not going to a BCS bowl game either," Patterson said. "Only 'X' amount of teams get a chance to go. We were fortunate a year ago. Boise got beat. The key to it is you've got to be a little lucky. I believe the football gods always make sure things happen the way they're supposed to happen. If we were supposed to be there, there's a good chance we would have been there.

"It's really quite a compliment to the program and where we've been just in three years for us to even be considered or to be an outside shot with two losses," he added. "It used to be common knowledge that if you didn't go undefeated and you weren't an automatic qualifier, you weren't going to get a chance to be a part of it. For us, I'm excited we were a part of the conversation. It means we've come a long way as far as the voters were concerned. Now we need to go win a ballgame against Louisiana Tech. They're a good football team and they will be fired up since it's been a while since they've been to a bowl game."

TCU has won seven straight games since an overtime loss at home against SMU on Oct. 1, including a victory at Boise State that ended the Broncos' 35-game winning streak. The other TCU loss was 50-48 to Robert Griffin IIIand Baylor in the season opener.

This is TCU's third trip to the Poinsettia Bowl. It beat Boise State 17-16 in 2008 and beat Northern Illinois 37-7 in 2006.

Louisiana Tech (8-4) clinched a berth in the game when it won its first Western Athletic Conference championship since 2001 with a 44-0 victory against New Mexico State on Nov. 26.

The bowl bid is the fifth in school history and Louisiana Tech's first since an Independence Bowl victory against Northern Illinois in 2008.