September 26, 2009: TCU 14, Clemson 10
-I know this one is a personal favorite for a lot of people, especially those that made the trip to South Carolina and lost their voices cheering on the Frogs in the rain. Why does it make the list, you ask? Only because I'm bitter that I didn't make the trip, too...and couldn't even watch the 4th quarter because of a wedding. Daryl Washington cloaked the Tigers' superstar CJ Spiller all day long, and Antoine Hicks made one of the most ridiculous one-handed catches of all time for the go-ahead touchdown.
December 31, 2002: TCU 17, Colorado State 3
-Our second honorable mention selection, like the first one, was played in a dreary rainstorm...and a cold one on New Year's Even in Memphis. The Horned Frogs, who had just won the CUSA title, were taking on a CSU squad that believe or not pretty much ruled the MWC at the time and was considered one of the best non-BCS programs. They were led by QB Bradlee (sic) Van Pelt and running back Cecil Sapp, both of whom were swallowed up by the TCU D. It was Patterson's first bowl victory as head coach, and my first time on Beale Street. Unforgettable trip.
November 28, 2009: TCU 51, New Mexico 10
-This game reminded me a lot of the last leg of the Tour de France, where the winner is all but decided and it's essentially a coronation. Nobody expected the Lobos to be able to hang with the Frogs, but the undefeated regular season and the MWC title and BCS trip that would go with it weren't official until this one was over. I really couldn't tell you a whole lot about what happened in the game, but I do remember going down on the field to celebrate afterward. As the Frogs hoisted the MWC trophy, there was a huge grin on my face while I had myself a little sports-cry: the Frogs had finally done it, and were headed to the BCS!
November/December 2001: Back-to-back, do-or-die W's get the Frogs a bowl berth
-There were a lot of people that were pretty grumpy about TCU football as the 2001 season wound down toward its conclusion. The Frogs had limped to a 4-5 record headed into the Thanksgiving break and needed two wins to get to a bowl game. The two remaining opponents on the schedule were Louisville, ranked #17 in the country, and Southern Miss- a traditional CUSA power that always played tough at home. But Ricky Madison and Adrian Madise led a 37-22 win over the shell-shocked Cardinals and then Kenneth Hilliard sealed a 14-12 win in Hattiesburg with an interception as the Golden Eagles were driving for the winning score. Very underrated couple of weeks in the construction of the legend of GP.
October 24, 2009: TCU 38, BYU 7
-This is another one that it was really hard to leave out of the Top 10, but that just goes to show you how great we've had it for the past decade...or maybe it's because I missed this one for a wedding as well (grumble grumble grumble). This trip to Provo looked like a tall order for the undefeated #8 Frogs, going up against the #16 Cougars who were looking for some revenge after the blowout they'd suffered in Fort Worth in '08. ESPN knew the BCS ramifications of the game, and sent their Game Day crew to feature the game- a first for TCU. Pretty much everything went right from the opening kickoff for the Frogs, who jumped out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back.
September 13, 2008: TCU 31, Stanford 14
-There will be a lot more people claiming to have been at "The Hurricane Game", as it has come to be known, than were actually there. Hurricane Ike was blowing through Texas, throwing high winds and sheets of rain on Fort Worth with the Jim Harbaugh-led Cardinal coming to town. There were a lot of (literal) fair-weather fans who stayed home for this one, but those of us that were there were one of the most vocal crowds in Amon G. Carter Stadium history...possibly because of the Gatorade jug of hurricanes we downed in the soaking-wet parking lot beforehand. Jason Phillips stopped Toby Gerhardt on a 3rd & short with a mammoth hit early on, and then hit Stanford QB Tavita Pritchard as he threw what amounted to the game-sealing interception to Steven Coleman in the second half. I think this game ended at about 3:30pm, and I was dead asleep by 5:00.
December 31, 2005: TCU 27, Iowa State 24
-A lot of times through the decades, and probably right now, beating Iowa State wouldn't be a very big deal. But the Cyclones were a very different program under Dan McCarney (now at UNT), and in fact had very narrowly missed an opportunity to play in the Big 12 Championship game. It was also at a time when beating a Big 12 team was still a VERY big deal for TCU. The Frogs controlled this one early on, but fell behind just before halftime. Down 17-14 late in the 3rd quarter, Jeff Ballard found Michael DePriest for an 84-yard touchdown pass that gave TCU the lead. Iowa State rallied to tie it at 24-24, but Peter Lococo won it with a 44-yard field goal in the 4th quarter. The win pushed the Frogs into the final Top 10 in the coaches poll, going a long way to erase the demons of '04 and the SMU loss earlier in the year.
September 18, 2010: TCU 45, Baylor 10
-Bragging about beating Baylor is a lot like bragging about beating Iowa State...but I defend my inclusion of this game because of A) how much trash Baylor fans & players talked before (and even since!) the game, and B) just how bad the Frogs kicked their asses. TCU jumped out to a 35-3 lead at halftime, and then mercifully took their foot off the gas to avoid embarrassing the Bears as bad as they could've and as bad as the crowd wanted them to. Andy Dalton was nearly perfect, completing 21 of 23 pass attempts, and afterward Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin called the TCU win "a fluke".
September 15, 2005: TCU 23, Utah 20 (OT)
-The first month of the 2005 was unforgettably topsy-turvy. The Frogs opened the year by beating OU in Norman, then lost to SMU...then hosted Utah, holder's of the nation's longest winning streak (18 games), in their first-ever conference game as a member of the MWC. The TCU offense was stuck in neutral for much of the night, but true freshman Aaron Brown busted loose for 168 yards as the Frogs overcame a 17-7 deficit in the second half to force overtime when Chris Manfredini tied it at 17-all with a field goal with just over 2:00 remaining. The Utes kicked a field goal on the first possession of overtime, but then Tye Gunn found Michael DePriest for a 4-yard touchdown pass to win it for the home team.
September 27, 2003: TCU 13, Arizona 10 (OT)
-On paper, this was just an ugly win over a bad Arizona team. But Tye Gunn had separated his shoulder in practice the week before this game, forcing Brandon Hassell to make his first career start. In the first quarter, he found Reggie Harrell for a 98-yard touchdown pass on a sweet option pass play that was one of the few awesome aspects of Mike Schultz's offensive scheme. That was the Frogs' only touchdown on the night, but Nick Browne kicked the game-winning field goal in overtime and the Frogs survived to get to 4-0 on the season. I sent my then-girlfriend to her Victory party without me that night so that I could watch this one. I wonder why things didn't work out between us?
There were even more games that I'd love to reminisce about, but I'm typing this up at about midnight and I've got a flight to catch in the morning. Please, though, share your memories from these games and any other that you feel like should've made the list- although if you think I forgot one, there's always the chance it's in the Top 10...which we'll get into next week.