Uh-oh...they've got a ginger.
Boise State's final test of the season is a doozy. The #11 TCU Horned Frogs bring a nation-leading defense to the quiet confines of Qualcomm Stadium and the #9 Broncos bring a battle-tested offense and a freshman QB with moxie. Most fans, like me, know next to nothing about the 10-2 Horned Frogs outside of LaDainian Tomlinson and that one 4-eyed coach guy. Needless to say, there is a lot to be learned about our bowl foe (don't worry, Kellen Moore already knows their defense intimately)...so let's explore through the magic of factoids and childish jokes. For the mutual benefit of the Horned Frog faithful, I will let you get to know us a little bit too...so take notes.
Ten things Bronco fans might not know about TCU
10. Texas Christian University was founded by brothers Addison and Randolph Clark in 1873. The brothers, using the contraction of their first names, called the school AddRan Male and Female College (no, that isn't a joke). Addison, being the wordsmith that he was, actually named his first son AddRan as well; either because he really loved his brother or hated his kid.
9. The TCU mascot, the "horned frog" is actually a Texas horned lizard and not a frog at all. These fearsome creatures eat mainly harvester ants, termites, and grasshoppers and have the ability to puff up their bodies or shoot blood out of their eyes to dissuade predators. If the lizard's predator is actually Predator, however, I would imagine they are screwed.
8. The Horned Frogs play their home football games at Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, TX. The Stadium, which seats 44,000, is named for Amon G. Carter, the founder and publisher of the Fort-Worth Star Telegram newspaper. Carter had a well-publicized disdain for Fort Worth's neighbor-city Dallas, and when taking business trips to the city would bring a sack lunch so he didn't have to spend any money there...kind of like when Boiseans visit Garden City.
7. The Professor from Gilligan's Island was said to have a PhD from TCU, among his six degrees. Now that it has been established that fictional degrees can be handed out, I propose that Boise State immediately award Darrin Stevens an MBA (the first one, not the second one).
6. Slingin' Sammy Baugh, who sadly just died on December 17th, is one of TCU's most famous alumni. Baugh was a two-time All-American for the Horned Frogs playing quarterback, defensive back and punter and played 15 years in the NFL for the Washington Redskins. Baugh was among the first inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and even did a little acting on the side. They just don't make guys like that anymore, unless they are willing to spend six million dollars, of course.
5. TCU won the national championship in 1938, only one year after finishing 4-4-2. On their way to the title and an 11-0 record that year, TCU defeated the likes of Arkansas, Temple, Texas A&M, Texas, Rice and SMU and eventually downed Carnegie Mellon in the Sugar Bowl. The very next year, TCU went 3-7. Weird.
4. The longest tenured coach in TCU history was Leo "Dutch" Meyer who coached for 19 years while posting a 109-79-13 record. A model of inconsistency, Meyer only posted 9 winning seasons in his 19 year career, but made them count...winning the aforementioned national championship in 1938 and posting a 12-1 record in 1935. Also, Meyer's 1936 squad could've given this years' Horned Frog defense a run for their money...they posted 7 shutouts.
3. The TCU head coach with the highest career winning percentage was Francis A. Schmidt, who won nearly 85% of his games in his 5 years at the helm. Schmidt seemed to drop off a bit after moving on from TCU, winning only 70% of his games at Ohio State and then completely lost it at Idaho, winning only 36%...but then again, it was Idaho.
2. The namesake of the award for the nation's best college quarterback, the Davey O'Brien Award, is named for...you guessed it...Davey O'Brien—a TCU quarterback who won the Heisman trophy, Maxwell award and the Walter Camp award in 1938. O'Brien was only 5'7" and weighed but 150 lbs. when he won the awards (and the national championship) with the Frogs, which is like Frankie Muniz tearing up NCAA defenses.
1. Horned Frog Miscellany: TCU, for all their storied past and successes, has only won 52% of the games in their history. The Frogs have won 14 conference championships (only 9 outright) in 5 different conferences since 1920 and are 10-13-1 in bowl games in that same span. The Horned Frogs last bowl loss came in 2003 to none other than the Boise State Broncos. Their #11 ranking that they bring in to the Poinsettia Bowl is their highest ranking since 2005, when they finished the year at #11 in the AP and #9 in the Coaches poll. The last time TCU was shutout was in 1991.
Ten things TCU fans might not know about Boise State
10. Receiver Vinny Perretta's father Ralph was an offensive lineman for 6 years with the San Diego Chargers. The elder Perretta played out his career between '75 ad '80 on the same field on which Vinny will end his collegiate career...Qualcomm Stadium (formerly known as Jack Murphy Stadium). Pereta is italian for rubber syringe. Good to know.
9. In 1933, Boise State (BJC) head coach Dusty Kline liked all his football players to get vitamins. Being as it was the depression and vitamins were not exactly an easy get, coach Kline did the traditional thing for that time and gave the players a spoonful of cod liver oil every day. Only problem was that coach Kline gave everyone their dose from the same spoon, causing a nasty case of "trench mouth" (necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis) to break out among the team—some players even lost their teeth to the malady. Fortunately, with the lack of adequate protective headgear at the time...they probably would've lost those teeth anyway.
8. Until last year's draft that saw Bronco OT Ryan Clady go in the first round, Boise State's highest ever draftee was Defensive End Markus Koch. Koch was drafted 30th overall by the Washington Redskins in the 1986 draft. After returning to Boise State in 1993 for his Hall of Fame induction...Koch basically disappeared. Friends and ex-teammates completely lost track of the Bronco great and could not find him until the Clady draft story caused searchers to redouble their efforts. Koch was finally tracked down in Port Townsend, WA where he had been living and working as a yacht broker for 15 years. Koch sadly could not provide any information on the whereabouts of D.B. Cooper.
7. Boise State's lone alum that resides in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is linebacker Dave Wilcox. Wilcox played at Boise State in its Junior College days and as such, had a stop at the University of Oregon before being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers. Wilcox's son Justin, is the current defensive coordinator for Boise State.
6. Legendary Bronco coach Lyle Smith, often called "the father of Bronco football", won his first 37 games with the Broncos and never had a losing season in his 20 years as head Bronco (1947-1967). Smith's high school nickname was "Iron Man" and he lived up to that name when his coaching career started, often chalking the field, doing the team finances and even the laundry, his first year in Boise he was also the head basketball coach (his team went 24-9). After his coaching career was over, Smith became AD and handpicked his successor, Tony Knap—who also never notched a losing season at Boise State.
5. Boise State started out as a junior college in 1932 and became 4-year Boise College in 1968. Hal Zimmerman was the starting QB for BJC in 1967 and in 1968 was the starter for Boise College. How many can make that claim?
4. The first U.S. commercial air flight was an airmail flight in 1926 from Pasco, Wash., to Boise on Varney Air Lines, predecessor of United Airlines. The dirt landing strip was where Bronco Stadium is now. Prior to the campus being built, it was Boise's first airport...and before that: a landfill.
3. Many think that Boise State ripped off their colors and mascot from the Denver Broncos...well it may be the other way around. Boise State's mascot and colors were picked in 1932 by student Owen Sproat and others after a basketball game. As Sproat put it:
“most of the guys rode horses — it was pretty much cattle country in those days.”The johnny-come-lately Denver Broncos didn't come on the scene until 1960.
2. Bronco Stadium's Lyle Smith Field is the nation's first non-green collegiate playing surface. "The Blue" or the "Smurf Turf" as it is affectionately known was first installed in 1986 and is currently in its 4th iteration. Contrary to popular belief...geese do not break their necks after mistaking it for a white lined lake. Jimmy Hoffa is also NOT buried under the field (as far as we know)
1. Boise State's QB, redshirt frosh Kellen Moore, owns pretty much every high school football record in the state of Washington. Moore had 787 completions, 173 touchdowns, and over over 11,000 yards passing at Prosser High School. He threw 66 touchdown passes his junior year and 67 his senior year. His brother Kirby, the national record holder for career receiving TDs is joining Kellen on the blue next year. Consider this a warning.
Now that we're properly acquainted...let's kill one another on the football field tomorrow evening! GO BRONCOS!
Uh-oh...they've got a ginger.