Despite loss, Frogs still have hope

Fret not. The Horned Frogs still have a shot – although a slimmer shot than before – at the Mountain West Conference Championship.On Thursday, the Frogs lost to the BYU Cougars 31-17, but the game wasn’t all they lost.

Four major streaks came to an end against the Cougars.

TCU’s nation-leading undefeated streak of 13 games, the team’s undefeated streak against conference teams since joining the Mountain West, senior quarterback Jeff Ballard’s winning streak of 11 games as a starter and junior place-kicker Chris Manfredini’s perfect field goal percentage at TCU all came crashing down.

And, although the hopes of a Bowl Championship Series berth are just about gone, Ballard emphasized the team’s goal of still capturing the conference championship for the second-straight year.

“We need to take it as one game and not let this ruin our season and continue to have a great season like we did last year,” Ballard said. “The one goal that we want to reach right now is the conference championship and, with one loss right now in the conference, we still can.”

With the loss, the Frogs, who had been ranked No. 15 in the USA Today Poll and No. 17 in the Associated Press Poll, fell out of the top 25 in both polls. Texas Tech, whom the Frogs defeated 12-3, is now ranked ahead of TCU in both polls and even is in the top 25 in the USA Today Poll.

But to head coach Gary Patterson, the BCS was not a major concern until after the conference was locked up, which gives the team more room for error to ensure that it doesn’t get down on itself too harshly.

“I learned a long time ago, here at TCU, you’ve got to win those kinds of games we just lost tonight to do those (BCS) kinds of things,” Patterson said. “Gary Patterson doesn’t talk about it. That’s how you’ll turn one loss into two.”

Following the loss, Patterson also referenced the surprising upset loss to SMU last year after the Frogs came off a big win of their own against the Oklahoma Sooners in week one.

“For some reason, in this program, we don’t seem to be able to handle success,” Patterson said.

The team will now have to regroup and go to Salt Lake City to take on the Utah Utes, a must-win game for Frogs to stay in the hunt for a conference championship.