TCU has sights set on Stanford after loss in the Big 12 championship game
TCU started the football season picked sixth in the Big 12 Conference and ended up playing, and losing to, Oklahoma in the league championship game. Yes, the Horned Frogs surprised plenty of people but don't think for a minute that winning 10 games came anywhere close to satisfying coach Gary Patterson and his players.
They wanted and expected more. The Horned Frogs might have reached those goals if they hadn't had to play the Sooners, who are bound for the College Football Playoff and played their best football over the final two months of the season, twice over the last four games of the year.
"I'm very proud of this football team, very proud of these guys," Patterson said after the 41-14 loss on Dec. 2 to OU. "Seniors, you got a group that's 10-3. Fought themselves into this ball game. Preseason we were picked sixth, and really had to overcome a lot of things. We probably had one of the tougher off-conference schedules as far as we had to travel in six ball games at tough places, and I thought they fought through all of that."
Now TCU will turn its attention to making a few more memories when the Horned Frogs play Pac-12 Conference runner-up Stanford in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28 in the Alamodome in San Antonio.
The Frogs are 3-3 in their past six games after a 7-0 start that prompted College Football Playoff hopes. TCU fashioned its third double-digit win campaign in four seasons and will be aiming for their second 11-win season in three years.
"Our mindset is to keep grinding," Patterson said. "We are excited how our season has turned out and excited about the Alamo Bowl and facing a really, really good team in Stanford. We will play an opponent that is very physical and plays the game the right way. I'm looking forward to getting back on the winning track."
All-time, TCU is 15-16-1 in bowl games following last season's loss to Georgia in the Liberty Bowl. But the Horned Frogs have won 11 of their past 17 appearances, beginning with a Dec. 31, 1998, Sun Bowl victory against USC in Patterson's first season as defensive coordinator on the TCU sideline.
Since then, the Frogs have played in the Mobile Alabama Bowl twice, the Galleryfurniture.com Bowl, the Liberty Bowl twice, the Fort Worth Bowl, Houston Bowl, Poinsettia Bowl three times, Texas Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Rose Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and Peach Bowl.
TCU played in the Alamo Bowl after the 2015 season and produced one most spectacular games in bowl history. The Horned Frogs trailed Oregon 31-0 at halftime before mounting a comeback behind backup quarterback Bram Kohlhausen making his first and last start in his TCU career and winning 47-41 in three overtimes. It tied for the largest comeback in bowl history.
TCU set school records for points in a bowl game (47), yards in a bowl game (545), passing yards in a bowl game (371) and passing attempts in a bowl game (47). Kohlhausen's 28 completions, 45 attempts and 351 passing yards were all TCU bowl records.
Stanford (9-4) is 14-13-1 in its bowl history, including three straight victories, most recently a 25-23 victory against North Carolina in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 30, 2016. This will be Stanford's first time at the Alamo Bowl.