Fans should honor legacy of senior Horned Frogs

Freshmen, I envy you. As a true TCU football fan, I have been extremely proud to watch the Horned Frogs dominate the opposing competition this season. TCU has been the only college football team I have ever supported, and the future is brighter than ever before. While TCU has won at least 10 games in five out of the last seven seasons, don’t take this level of excellence for granted. At 10-2, the team was one fourth down stop away from a potential berth in the Sugar Bowl.

But with the disappointment of a missed opportunity, you have to look at the accomplishments of this senior class. From 2005 to 2008, Jason Phillips, Robert Henson, Shae Reagan, Blake Schlueter and others helped TCU win 40 games in four seasons. A feat only matched one other time, from 1932-35. That ’35 team won the national championship.

This year’s seniors won’t be playing in the national championship game or even a BCS bowl. But they have elevated TCU football to new heights, and their greatness has paved the way for future Frogs to continue the march toward the goal of a national championship.

I have had the privilege of watching five seasons of Frog football at Amon G. Carter Stadium. When I graduate Dec. 20, I will miss weekly tailgates and screaming until I can’t talk, with the yelling directed mostly at the opposing players.

While the product on the field now is one of the best in the country, that was not the case my freshman year in 2004. In the last game of the season that year, the Horned Frogs lost to Tulane, 35-31 at home, which put the team’s record at 5-6 and disqualified them from bowl consideration.

The next season, however, things changed for the better. In the first game of the season, TCU shocked star running back Adrian Peterson and the Sooners in Norman, 17-10. Peterson only gained 63 yards on 22 carries, harassed by a swarming Frogs’ defense. That will always be one of my favorite sports memories of my time here.

The team finished 12-1 that season, including a 27-24 victory over Iowa State in the Houston Bowl.

They followed that up with an 11-2 campaign in 2006. While last season might have been considered a down year, the team won eight games and won another bowl game at Reliant Stadium in Houston. There are several schools in Texas and around the United States that would love for a down year to be that good.

But now as I prepare to leave college behind, I vow to never turn my back on the Frogs. Never will I ever turn my allegiance to the evil empires in Austin and Norman, Okla. I have made Fort Worth my home and in a state where football is king, the Horned Frogs are slowly but surely rising to power.

The 2009 TCU recruiting class already has 15 verbal commitments from high school players. Four of those players are four-star recruits and may form the backbone of the best class in the history of the university. But that will have to be proven on the field. They have big shoes to fill, but with the athletic department putting them in a position to succeed with brand-new facilities and great strength and conditioning programs, I expect to come back as an alumni and see a team further evolve into a national power.