BCS broke records for TCU despite loss

The Frogs’ 17-10 loss to Boise State in the 2010 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl changed the team’s record from unscathed to tainted, as they finished 12-1, giving them a No. 6 ranking in both the USA Today Coaches’ Poll and the Associated Press Poll.

While this unsavory record change might be the most obvious result of the game to most fans who either traveled to Arizona or watched the game on national TV, the game should be appreciated for its record-breaking qualities, which extended from team selection to trophy presentation.

The record breaking began with the selection of two BCS non-automatic qualifying schools to a BCS bowl for the first time.

Then, Frog quarterback Andy Dalton re-wrote the school record books. Dalton finished the 2009 season with 7,396 career yards, making him TCU’s all-time leading passer.

Dalton earned his spot at the top of the Frog leader board on a 34-yard pass to junior wide receiver Jimmy Young in the fourth quarter of the game.

Despite the record Dalton achieved, he had a less-than-stellar performance going 25-for-44 for 272 yards, with three passes going to Boise State players. The first interception was returned 51 yards to open the Broncos’ scoring for a 7-0 lead, and the last, made with 45 seconds left in the game, ended any chance for the Frogs to continue their four-year bowl winning streak.

“You know, (Boise) had a good game plan coming in,” Dalton said after the game. “It’s hard to win the game when you lose the turnover battle. That hurt us.”

The Fiesta Bowl was also the first bowl game in which Dalton played and did not receive a Most Valuable Player award.

After the loss, the Frogs’ bowl record moved to 11-13-1, and 5-4 under head coach Gary Patterson.

“It is like I told them in the locker room; we came into this game, two teams together, we’re 48-3 (over the last two seasons)” Patterson said after the game. “Now our total record is 49-4. Somebody is going to have to win. Somebody was going to have to lose, and that’s the way this game was going to go down.”

Boise State, on the other hand, saw its record move up to 14-0, also moving the Broncos up to No. 4 in both major postseason polls. With the Texas loss in the BCS National Championship, Boise State now owns the record for the nation’s longest winning streak, at 14. This streak, along with the Fiesta Bowl win, have many thinking the Broncos will begin the season with a lot of stock in national championship arguments, but after the game, the Broncos weren’t buying.

“We’ll have a decent ranking coming into the season, preseason rankings,” said Bronco head coach Chris Petersen after the game. “I’ve said this before all along; (rankings) just don’t mean much to us. Certainly with the schedule we’re going to play next year, you know, I think we could be ranked low. If we could beat the teams on our schedule, we would jump dramatically.”

With both teams returning many of their starters, the season-long battle for the best of the non-automatic qualifiers will continue between the Frogs and the Broncos.

“We’ve got a lot of guys coming back, a lot of starters,” Dalton said. “Everybody knows the feeling of this loss. I think it is just going to be motivation for us. We’re going to work really hard this off-season and hopefully get back here.”

Patterson said he thought that TCU has become a good program, not just a good team for one season. He said he believes the team will regroup and be ready to go for 2010.

“You got to decide, you got to decide how you want to handle this,” Patterson said. “Just like when you are growing up, a kid knocks you down; how are you going to get back up? Are we going to get back up? Are we going to get back up crying, or are we going to get back up, dust ourselves off, get ready and jump right back into it?” Patterson said.

“That’s what I intend for this program to do. jump right back in.”