A Look at TCU Season Openers
August 29, 2018
As my 30th football season on the TCU Sports Network draws near, I can’t help but think about games, venues, players and coaches I’ve met along the way. And there are a lot of players. Good ones.
Today’s Extra Points Honoree is Jason Cauble, a tough defensive end/outside linebacker from Brownwood High in Texas, who played for high school coaching legend Gordon Wood. Cauble’s TCU coach was Jim Wacker and Cauble played four years, 1987-1990.
With the opener against Southern coming up, let’s look back at some openers from the past.
The 1980 opener at home against Auburn was there for the taking, but the Frogs offense sputtered in the 2nd half and War Eagle prevailed, 10-7. That was also the year that TCU followed up Auburn with three games in a row against highly ranked SMU at Texas Stadium, eventual national champion Georgia in Athens and No. 14 Arkansas in Fayetteville.
1982 — The home opener vs Utah State — the Frogs first win in an opener in eight years.
1984 — The Frogs opened on the road as 14-point underdogs to Utah State and won 62-18. At that time is was most points scored in a game by the Frogs since 1932 (68-0 over Austin College). Note: In the Patterson era, the Frogs have hung 62 or more on the board NINE times.
1988 — My first game on the TCU Sports Network in Athens against Georgia. Lee Newman put the Frogs up 3-0 with an early field goal before Georgia head coach Vince Dooley turned two running backs Rodney Hampton and Tim Worley loose on the way to 38 straight points. Georgia 38-10.
1991 — Jim Wacker’s last opener as TCU head coach. The Frogs poured it on a hapless New Mexico team 60-7. TCU would end up 7-4 that year, maybe Wacker’s best coaching job of his TCU tenure. Not near the talent or healthy team that he had in 1984, but he still got it done. Sadly, the Frogs were passed over for a bowl. It’s still the only TCU team in history to win seven games and not receive a bowl invitation.
1996 — Pat Sullivan takes his underdog Horned Frogs and controls Oklahoma with tough defense and a crafty offensive screen game the nets a 20-7 victory. And it really wasn’t that close.
1998 — The Frogs open the Coach Fran era with a 31-21 win at Iowa State. Things were going to be different — we just didn’t know how different. It was also the first game that Brian Estridge and I worked together.
2004 — The early 2000s were full of wild games, but none more crazy than this one. TCU and Northwestern went back and forth and it took two overtimes before the Frogs won it on a Peter LoCoco 47-yard field goal, 48-45. It was the Frogs’ fourth straight win over schools from BCS conferences, earning victories over Northwestern (twice – 2000 and 2002), Vanderbilt (in ’98) and at Arizona (in ’03). That seems strange to read that note about BCS schools now, doesn’t it?
2005 — TCU 17, No. 5 OU 10. Enough said. No wait, the Frogs defense forced two turnovers and held Adrian Petersen to 63 yards.
2007 — TCU opened against Baylor and shut out the Bears 27-0.
2009 — The Frogs started a Fiesta Bowl season with a 30-14 win at Virginia. The game’s start was delayed a few minutes while EMT’s checked on the Cavalier mascot who was thrown by his horse when a cannon went off to signal the entry of the Virginia football team. You can’t make up this stuff.
2010 — The Frogs play their first game at Cowboys Stadium (now AT&T) and protect their No. 6 ranking with a 30-21 win over Oregon State.
2012 — Gary Patterson becomes the all-time winningest coach at TCU with 56-0 win over Grambling in the first game in the new Amon G. Carter Stadium.
2015 — The Frogs traveled to Minnesota for the opener, looked rusty at times but came away with a win over the Big 10’s Gophers 23-17.
Fun to look back those games and think about what’s coming Saturday morning. From talking to the Frogs, they are ready to play someone else and get into game mode.
They’ll do it against an experienced (and big in places) Southern team.
More on them Friday.
Kick ‘Em High!
2018 TCU Football Schedule
Sept. 1 — Southern
Sept. 8 — at SMU
Sept. 15 — vs. Ohio State^
Sept. 22 — at Texas*
Sept. 29 — Iowa State*
Oct. 11 — Texas Tech*
Oct. 20 — Oklahoma*
Oct. 27 — at Kansas*
Nov. 3 — Kansas State*
Nov. 10 — at West Virginia*
Nov. 17 — at Baylor*
Nov. 24 — Oklahoma State*
Dec. 1 — Big 12 Championship Game^
^AT&T Stadium; Arlington, Texas
*Big 12 game