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The TCU Horned Frogs football team is the intercollegiate football team at Texas Christian Universitymarker. TCU competes as a member of the Mountain West Conference. The Frogs have won two national championships and fourteen conference championships. Additionally, the program has had a few legendary players, including Sammy Baugh, Davey O'Brien, and LaDainian Tomlinson.

The Horned Frogs play their home games in Amon G.marker Carter Stadiummarker, which is located on campus in Fort Worthmarker. The stadium opened in 1930 and holds 44,008. On November 14, 2009, TCU posted on its official Twitter page that that night's game against Utah "broke the attendance record in Amon Carter Stadium with 50,307.". The current head coach of the program is Gary Patterson.


The beginning

TCU's first year of football was 1896, when it still went by the name AddRan College. That year the team's record was 1–1–1. Its first win came against Toby’s Business College by the score of 8–6, apparently not having to use any substitutes.In the era prior to joining the Southwest Conference (SWC) in 1923, TCU amassed a record of 89–84–19. In 1912, TCU went 8–1–0 and scored 230 points while only allowing 53 points the whole season. The Frogs' one loss came against the University of Texasmarker Longhorns, a team they would not beat until 1929. In 1920, TCU won its first conference title while it was a member of the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association (TIAA). The Horned Frogs' 9–1–0 record earned them a spot in the Fort Worth Classic, also known as the Dixie Bowl, against Centre Collegemarker. The game was played in Fort Worth, but TCU would lose the game 63–7.

Early Southwest Conference era

In 1923, TCU endured a 5-game losing streak during its first year in the SWC, but it earned a 2–1–0 conference record and a 4–5–0 overall record. One loss that year was a 40–0 decision against TCU's emerging rival, the Southern Methodist Universitymarker (SMU) Mustangs, whose record was 9–0 that year. The Mustangs were the champions of the SWC that year. The next year, TCU would finish in last place with a 1-5 SWC record and another 4-5 overall record. The Horned Frogs would not hit last place again until 1953. Matty Bell, who began coaching the Frogs in 1923, had his best year in 1928, his last year as coach. That year's only losses came at home 7–6 to the Baylor Universitymarker Bears and to Texas by a score of 6–0. That year the Frogs finished in third place in the conference at 8–2–0 overall and 3–2 in conference play.

The 1929 season saw the arrival of Coach Francis Schmidt and TCU's first SWC title. The title was won in the last game of the year on November 30, 1929 against SMU. Coming into the game TCU led SMU in the conference standings. TCU had 4 wins, while SMU's conference record was 3–0–1. Since this was the last conference game of the year for both teams, TCU could win its first SWC title with a win or a tie. The first half of the game was scoreless, but in the third quarter Weldon “Speedy” Mason tacked on 40 yards to a 16-yard pass from SMU quarterback Bob Gilbert. After the extra point, the Mustangs led 7–0. TCU would not score until its second time on the SMU] 1-yard line in the fourth quarter. That is when TCU quarterback Howard Grubbs ran behind All-SWC fullback Harlos Green and Mike Brumbelow for the game-tying score. The Frogs left plenty of time on the clock for SMU to answer their score, but Grubbs, now playing defense, intercepted Gilbert's pass. TCU then ran the clock out to force the tie and to win its first SWC title.

Dutch Meyer/Abe Martin era

1935 began the first year for TCU coach Noah Everett. That year TCU and SMU again met to decide not only the SWC title but the first trip to the Rose Bowlmarker for a team from the SWC. Grantland Rice of the New York Sun called it the "Game of the Century" and reported the following:
In a TCU Stadiummarker that seated 30,000 spectators, over 36,000 wildly excited Texans and visitors from every corner of the map packed, jammed, and fought their way into every square foot of standing and seating space to see one of the greatest football games ever played…this tense, keyed up crowd even leaped the wire fences from the top of automobiles…”

SMU scored the first 14 points of the game. TCU, led by All-American quarterback Sammy Baugh, tied the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Then, with seven minutes left in the game SMU, on a 4th and 4 on the Frogs' 37 yard-line, lined up to punt. Quarterback Bob Finley threw a 50-yard pass to running back Bobby Wilson who made what is described as a “jumping, twisting catch that swept him over the line for the touchdown.” TCU would lose the game 14–20, but would be invited to play the LSUmarker Tigers in the 1936 Sugar Bowl, where the Frogs would be victorious 3–2 at messy and muddy Tulanemarker Stadiummarker.

Even with the loss to SMU, who later lost to Stanfordmarker in the 1936 Rose Bowl, TCU claims 1935 as a national championship year. Dan Jenkins states that one of the first statistical national polls was created by Frank G. Dickinson in 1924. By 1935 there were several other polls, and “…only one of them was big and caught on big and rivaled Dickinson. This was the Paul O. Williamson System out of New Orleansmarker. It quickly gained nation-wide respect and a large syndicated circulation.” The Williamson System awarded TCU a shared championship with LSU in 1935, the year before the first sportswriter poll by the Associated Press. The Dickinson poll awarded SMU the national title, and several smaller polls designated the University of Minnesotamarker and Princeton Universitymarker as their championsTCU would go undefeated in 1938 under the tutelage of coach Dutch Meyer and behind TCU’s only Heisman Trophy winner—quarterback Davey O'Brien. That year the Frogs' closest game came against the University of Arkansasmarker where they beat the Razorbacks 21–14 in Fort Worthmarker. They were invited to the 1939 Sugar Bowl and beat the Carnegie Tech Tartansmarker from Pittsburghmarker by a score of 15–7 in front of more than 50,000 spectators.

Dutch Meyer coached TCU from 1934 to 1952. His record of 109–79–13 is the highest amount of victories at TCU. He also is responsible for three SWC championships. Meyer coached and won the first Cotton Bowl Classic game in 1937.

When Dutch Meyer retired, his backfield assistant, Abe Martin, became head coach at TCU. One of his three tries at a SWC title came in 1958. The Frogs only losses were to Iowa by a score of 0–17 and at #18 SMU, 13–20. The 1958 season ended in a scoreless tie against the Air Force Falcons in the 1959 Cotton Bowl Classic. Martin-led TCU teams amased a 1–3–1 record in bowl games. The lone win came in the 1957 Cotton Bowl Classic against a Jim Brown-led Syracuse team in front of 68,000 spectators. A blocked extra-point attempt was the difference in the game and allowed the Horned Frogs to win 28–27.

Small victories and probation

After TCU won the 1959 SWC championship, the Horned Frogs wouldn't earn another share of the conference title until 1994. During this time, TCU played the role of the underdog. In 1961, Bill Van Fleet of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram called the Horned Frogs' 6-0 win at then-No. 1 Texas, "the season's greatest upset of the year." In 1965, TCU traveled to El Pasomarker to play in the Sun Bowl against UTEPmarker; the Frogs lost 13-12. The state of football at TCU eventually got so bad that from 1974 to 1983 the Frogs never won more than two games in a season. TCU would have a successful year in 1984 in sports under coach Jim Wacker. That year TCU leaned on All-American running back Kenneth Davis. The Frogs would be invited to the Bluebonnet Bowl in Houstonmarker for their first bowl invitation in 19 years to play the West Virginiamarker Mountaineers. The Frogs would lose to the Mountaineers 31-14. TCU wouldn't attend another bowl game until the 1994 Independence Bowl in Shreveport, Louisianamarker. Again, they would lose that game 20-10 to the Virginiamarker Cavaliers.

In 1986, the NCAA placed TCU on three year probation. They found that 6 boosters provided football recruits and football players with cash and other forms of payment. The final penalty of the NCAA was to ban TCU from post-season play for one season, a forfeiture of TV revenue for the 1983 and 1984 seasons, only 10 scholarships for the 1987-88 academic year and only 15 scholarships for the 1988-1989 season. The NCAA said it would have given TCU a harsher penalty: a three-year ban from postseason play, a three-year television appearance ban and no new scholarships for two years. In the NCAA’s public release they imposed a reduced penalty because TCU self-reported the violations, suspended the players in question, full cooperation with the enforcement committee and a lack of previous infractions.

The renaissance

The breakup of the Southwest Conference (SWC) sent TCU to the Western Athletic Conference (WAC), along with Rice and SMU. Houston joined the newly formed Conference USA. TCU's first two years in the WAC were not good years. Coach Pat Sullivan went 4-7 (3-5 WAC) in 1996 and then only defeated SMU in the last game of the season for a 1-10 record in 1997.

The revival of TCU football began under the watch of Dennis Franchione when TCU defeated the Trojans of USCmarker in the 1998 Sun Bowl. In the three years Coach Franchione was at TCU his bowl record was 2-0 and accumulated two WAC Championships. Franchione coached the entire 2000 regular season, but left for the head coaching position at the University of Alabama before the 2000 Mobile Alabama Bowl. In 2001 TCU left the WAC for Conference USA (C-USA). TCU would only stay in C-USA for four years before accepting an invitation to join their current conference, the Mountain West Conference (MWC). The current head coach, Gary Patterson, has won two conference championships. In 2002, TCU won a C-USA title, and in 2005, TCU won the MWC title their first year in the league. Coach Patterson has had a winning season every year but 2004 when the Frogs went 5-6. TCU has gone to a bowl game every year but one since that 1998 Sun Bowl. In the 2006 Poinsettia Bowl TCU defeated the Northern Illinois Huskiesmarker 37-7. In 2007 the Horned Frogs defeated the Iowa State Cyclones by a score of 20-13 in the 2007 Texas Bowl in Houston, Texas. In a return to the Poinsettia Bowl in 2008 the perpetually underrated #11 Frogs defeated unbeaten #9 Boise Statemarker 17-16 in what many described as the bowl that should have been a BCS game. Boise Statemarker was the second to last unbeaten team in the nation in 2008 besides the Utah Utes. TCU's Poinsettia Bowl victory helped them finish the 2008 season ranked #7 in the country. In 2009, TCU has finally attained national prominence with its first undefeated regular season (12-0) since Dutch Meyer led the Frogs to a perfect season in 1938. They are the #4 team in the nation and are currently awaiting a BCS Bowl bid, if not a chance to play for the National Championship.

Conference affiliations


Team Awards

National Championships

TCU recognizes two national championships one from 1935 and the other awarded in 1938. In 1935, TCU lost in their last game of the year to SMU who then lost to Stanford in the Rose Bowlmarker. That same year TCU defeated LSU in the Sugar Bowl. Since the wire services didn't award national championships until 1936, TCU recognizes a statistical poll created by Paul O. Williamson who awarded his national title to LSU and TCU for the 1935 season. The 1938 team was undefeated and was the #1 team according to the Associated Press poll.

National Championships

Year Coach Record Bowl
1935 Dutch Meyer 12-1 Won Sugar Bowl
1938 Dutch Meyer 11-0 Won Sugar Bowl
Total national championships 2

Conference Championships

TCU has won a combined 15 conference championships in 5 different conferences

Year Conference Coach Record
1920 TIAA* W. L. Driver 9–1–0
1929 Southwest Conference Francis Schmidt 9–0–1
1932 Southwest Conference Francis Schmidt 10–0–1
1938 Southwest Conference Dutch Meyer 11–0–0
1944 Southwest Conference Dutch Meyer 7–3–1
1951 Southwest Conference Dutch Meyer 6–5–0
1955 Southwest Conference Abe Martin 9–2–0
1958 Southwest Conference Abe Martin 8–2–1
1959 Southwest Conference Abe Martin 8–3–0
1994 Southwest Conference Pat Sullivan 7-5
1999 Western Athletic Conference Dennis Franchione 8-4
2000 Western Athletic Conference Dennis Franchione 10-2
2002 Conference USA Gary Patterson 10-2
2005 Mountain West Conference Gary Patterson 11-1
2009 Mountain West Conference Gary Patterson 12-0
Total conference championships 15

  • Note that the 1920 TIAA Championship was disputed between TCU and Austin College. Although TCU defeated the Kangaroos 9-7 on October 9, 1920, one of the TCU players, Allen Rowson, was declared ineligible after the 1920 Season due to transfer rules.

Bowl Games

TCU competed in and won the first Cotton Bowl Classic under Coach Dutch Meyer. TCU has won two Sugar Bowl games. After the Frogs last Sugar Bowl game, they would go 1-10 in their next 11 bowl games from 1942 to 1998. Since the '98 season the frogs are 5-3 in bowl games. In addition to the first Cotton Bowl Classic, TCU has had the honor of playing in several other inaugural bowls, including the Bluebonnet, Mobile Alabama, and both the Fort Worth Classic and Fort Worth Bowl games.

Date Bowl W/L Opponent PF PA
January 1, 1921 Fort Worth Classic L Centre Collegemarker 7 63
January 1, 1936 Sugar Bowl W LSU 3 2
January 1, 1937 Cotton Bowl Classic W Marquettemarker 16 6
January 2, 1939 Sugar Bowl W Carnegie Techmarker 15 7
January 1, 1942 Orange Bowl L Georgia 26 40
January 1, 1945 Cotton Bowl Classic L Oklahoma State 0 34
January 1, 1948 Delta Bowl L Ole Miss 9 13
January 1, 1952 Cotton Bowl Classic L Kentucky 7 20
January 2, 1956 Cotton Bowl Classic L Ole Miss 13 14
January 1, 1957 Cotton Bowl Classic W Syracuse 28 27
January 1, 1959 Cotton Bowl Classic T Air Force 0 0
December 19, 1959 Bluebonnet Bowl L Clemson 7 23
December 31, 1965 Sun Bowl L UTEPmarker 12 13
December 31, 1984 Bluebonnet Bowl L West Virginia 14 31
December 28, 1994 Independence Bowl L Virginia 10 20
December 31, 1998 Sun Bowl W USC 28 19
December 22, 1999 Mobile Alabama Bowl W East Carolina 28 14
December 20, 2000 Mobile Alabama Bowl L Southern Missmarker 21 28
December 28, 2001 Bowl L Texas A&M 9 28
December 31, 2002 Liberty Bowl W Colorado Statemarker 17 3
December 23, 2003 Fort Worth Bowl L Boise State 31 34
December 31, 2005 Houston Bowl W Iowa State 27 24
December 19, 2006 Poinsettia Bowl W Northern Illinoismarker 37 7
December 28, 2007 Texas Bowl W Houston 20 13
December 23, 2008 Poinsettia Bowl W Boise Statemarker 17 16
Total 25 bowl games 11-13-1

Individual Awards

National Award Winners

Davey O'Brien, 1938

Sammy Baugh, 4th in 1936

Jim Swink, 2nd in 1955

Kenneth Davis, 5th in 1984

LaDainian Tomlinson, 4th in 2000

Davey O'Brien, 1938

LaDainian Tomlinson, 2000

Michael Reeder, 1995

Drew Combs, 2008

Jim Wacker, 1984

College Football Hall of Fame Inductees

The following Horned Frogs have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Famemarker:

Ki Aldrich, Center, 1960

Sammy Baugh, Quarterback, 1951

Madison A. "Matty" Bell, Coach, 1955

Darrell Lester, Center, 1988

Bob Lilly, Tackle, 1981

Rags Matthews, End, 1971

Dutch Meyer, Coach, 1956

Davey O'Brien, Quarterback, 1955

Francis Schmidt, Coach, 1971

Jim Swink, Halfback, 1980

AP 1st-Team All-Americans

Year Position Jersey # Name Hometown
1927 E 31 Rags Matthews Fort Worthmarker
1929 G 44 Mike Brumbelow Jacksboromarker
1930 HB 5 Cy Leland Lubbockmarker
1932 G 44 Johnny Vaught Fort Worth
1934 C 22 Darrell Lester Jacksboro
1935 C 22 Darrell Lester Jacksboro
1935 QB 45 Sammy Baugh Sweetwatermarker
1936 QB 45 Sammy Baugh Sweetwater
1937 QB 8 Davey O'Brien Dallasmarker
1937 T 22 I.B. Hale Dallas
1937 C 48 Ki Aldrich Templemarker
1938 QB 8 Davey O'Brien Dallas
1938 T 22 I.B. Hale Dallas
1938 C 48 Ki Aldrich Templemarker
1942 T 71 Derrell Palmer Albanymarker
1944 T 32 Clyde Flowers Perrytonmarker
1949 QB 43 Lindy Berry Wichita Fallsmarker
1951 C 34 Keith Flowers Perrytonmarker
1951 QB 49 Ray McKown Dumasmarker
1951 T 77 Doug Conaway Hillsboromarker
1955 HB 23 Jim Swink Ruskmarker
1955 C 54 Hugh Pitts Dumasmarker
1956 T 75 Norman Hamilton Guymonmarker
1956 HB 23 Jim Swink Ruskmarker
1958 T 75 Don Floyd Midlothianmarker
1958 FB 20 Jack Spikes Snydermarker
1960 T 72 Bob Lilly Throckmortonmarker
1963 FB 38 Tommy Crutcher McKinneymarker
1981 WR 7 Stanley Washington Dallas
1984 RB 36 Kenneth Davis Templemarker
1991 TE 86 Kelly Blackwell Richland Hillsmarker
1995 K 17 Michael Reeder Sulphur, LAmarker
2000 RB 5 LaDainian Tomlinson Wacomarker
2002 LB 44 LaMarcus McDonald Wacomarker
2003 K 9 Nick Browne Garlandmarker
2005 KR 17 Cory Rodgers Houstonmarker
Total 36

Top 25 Finishes

Year AP Rank Coaches Rank
1936 #16
1937 #16
1938 #1
1951 #11 #10
1955 #6 #6
1956 #14 #14
1958 #10 #9
1959 #7 #8
2000 #21 #18
2002 #23 #22
2003 #25 #24
2005 #11 #9
2006 #22 #21
2008 #7 #7
Sources: AP Poll, Coaches Poll


Gary Patterson.
Years Coach Wins Losses Ties Pct.
1897 Joe Field 3 1 0 .750
1898 James Morrison 1 3 1 .300
1902 H. E. Hildebrand 0 5 1 .083
1904 C.E. Cronk 1 4 1 .250
1905-1907 E.J. Hyde 10 11 2 .478
1908-1909 J.R. Langley 11 5 1 .676
1910 Kemp Lewis 2 6 1 .278
1911 Henry W. Lever 4 5 0 .444
1912 W.T. Stewart 8 1 0 .889
1913 Fred Cahoon 3 1 2 .667
1914 S. A. Boles 4 4 2 .500
1915 E. Y. Freeland 4 5 0 .444
1916-1917 Milton Daniel 14 4 1 .763
1918 E.M. Tipton 4 3 0 .571
1919 T.D. Hackney 1 7 0 .125
1920-1921 W. L. Driver 15 4 1 .775
1922 John McKnight 2 5 3 .350
1923-1928 Matty Bell 33 17 5 .645
1929-1933 Francis Schmidt 47 5 5 .868
1934-1952 Dutch Meyer 109 79 13 .575
1953-1966 Abe Martin 74 64 7 .534
1967-1970 Fred Taylor 15 25 1 .378
1971 Jim Pittman 3 3 1 .500
1971-1973 Billy Tohill 11 15 0 .423
1974-1976 Jim Shofner 2 31 0 .061
1977-1982 F. A. Dry 12 51 3 .205
1983-1991 Jim Wacker 40 58 2 .410
1992-1997 Pat Sullivan 24 42 1 .366
1998-2000 Dennis Franchione 25 10 0 .714
2000- present Gary Patterson 83 27 0 .755


Because TCU was a member of the Southwest Conference for 72 years, they remain rivals with all of the schools in that conference, most of whom are located within the state of Texasmarker. In the years since the SWC's demise, TCU has added a few minor rivals in both Conference USA and the Mountain West, including Louisville, Southern Miss, BYU and Utah. Their three main rivals, however, remain:

Southern Methodist University

TCU leads the football series with SMU, 43-39-7., including the result of the October 3, 2009 game. When these two schools play each other in football, it is called "The Battle for the Iron Skillet", with the winning team gaining possession of the skillet. Since 1915 when SMU was founded and subsequently started playing football, there have been only three seasons that the two schools didn't meet on the football field (1919, 1920 and 2006) and in which both universities fielded a football team. The schools are scheduled to meet through at least 2016.

Last meeting: 3rd October, 2009 at TCU's Amon G. Carter Stadium. Final Score: TCU - 39 SMU - 14.

Baylor University

The series with Baylor is tied 49-49-7. This rivalry hearkens back to 1899 in the early days of TCU football when TCU was know as AddRan Christian University. When the series started TCU and Baylor were both located in Waco, Texasmarker. It is one of the most played rivalries in all of NCAA College Football. The two schools concluded a home-and-home series in 2007, with another home-and-home to be held in 2010 and 2011.

Last meeting: 2007 TCU 27 - Baylor 0

Texas Tech University

Texas Tech leads the football series dating back to 1926, 28-23-3. Texas Tech was the first of the 4 Southwest Conference schools that left to form the Big 12 Conference to schedule a game with TCU in the regular season in 2004. That game, which the Red Raiders won by a large margin in Lubbock and TCU's win in Fort Worth in 2006 have revitalized this rivalry. The two schools are next scheduled to meet in the 2010-2011 season.

Last meeting: 2006 TCU 12 - Texas Tech 3

Individual Seasons

Future Non-Conference Opponents

TCU has released a partial list of non-conference opponents for the near future:
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Sep. 4 vs. Baylormarker Sep. 3 at Baylor vs. Virginia Sep. 7 at LSU Sep. 6 vs. LSU at Arkansas vs. Arkansas
Sep. 11 at SMU Sep. 10 vs. Texas Tech at SMU vs. SMU at SMU vs. SMU at SMU
Sep. 18 Texas Tech dropped TCU from their schedule Sep. 17 at Navymarker vs. Navy
Oct. 1 vs. SMU vs. Oklahoma

Horned Frogs in the NFL

Pro Football Hall of Famemarker Inductees

National Football League Most Valuable Player Award

Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award

Current Players


  1. Amon G. Carter Stadium
  2. [1]
  3. 2006 TCU Football Media Guide p. 150
  4. >
  5. Text List of Final AP Top 25 Polls
  6. CFB Database html list of AP Top 25
  7. Texas Christian In the Polls
  8. CFB Data Warehouse Head-to-Head TCU vs. SMU
  9. [2]
  10. CFB Data Warehouse Head-to-Head TCU vs. Texas Tech

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