Let’s start with the fact that both TCU and Ohio State fans would probably deny that this is a rivalry at all, but the distaste between the two schools is all too real. So for the purposes of this article, I will be referring to this game as a “rivalry”. The “rivalry” doesn’t show the typical trademarks of a match between hated adversaries. These foes aren’t in the same conference, not in the same state, and haven’t even played a game against each other since 1969. Yet, over the past 8 years, the animosity between the two has been palpable. The two schools couldn’t be more opposite. They stand 1,084 miles apart (according to Google maps). Ohio State is the epitome of a large state school that provides affordable education to many students from the Rust Belt’s middle class, while TCU is a small private university that has more students from the Top 1% than the bottom 60%. Even their stadiums are wildly different game day experiences. The Horseshoe is built for the masses holding 100,000 plus screaming fans every week, while Amon G. Carter stadium is described as the Camden Yards of College Football built for luxury and the comfort of big donors over capacity.
You may be thinking that all these facts make for a nice juxtaposition but don’t see why this game is any different than any other matchup. That’s where this story gets interesting. The tension between the two over the last eight years has been caused by a series of events starting with a university president’s comment, a group of billboard responses, a playoff snub, and absolute dismal of the prowess of the other from both fan bases.
Let’s go back to when it all started in the fall of 2010 when Ohio State’s President, Gordan Gee, decided to irrevocably taunt TCU by trashing their opponents as the “Little Sister of the Poor”. This set off a firestorm throughout the college football world as the debate on non-BCS conference teams being included in BCS games and the national championship had been fully torqued and ready to explode as fans clamored for a playoff over the flawed BCS system. Both sides had powerful points playing in the Big Ten was harder than the Mountain West for sure, but undefeated is undefeated and that’s an accomplishment.
That being said, TCU was pre-peak on the trend of playing top-tier opponents in the opening weeks of the season, scheduling Oregon State at their peak under Mike Reilly and Baylor, a Big 12 opponent and in-state rival. But the bluster was short lived that season as Oregon and Auburn both finished the season undefeated causing little controversy in who would be in the BCS Championship game. This is where things got interesting- TCU went to the Rose Bowl to take on the Best of the Big Ten-Big Ten Co-Champion Wisconsin (who beat Ohio State handily that season). TCU ended up beating Wisconsin in a down to the wire thriller that proved that the Frogs could hang with the big boys.
Then came the billboards… after the miraculous overnight Rose Bowl Victory, 20 billboards in and around Columbus popped up.
The taunt was another stoke in the fire turning up the distaste between the schools ever so much. I personally loved the move. It was an epic clap back after an epic slight. It had TCU fans elated and Ohio State fans slightly annoyed yet still dismissive of TCU program’s strength. All of the bitterness was short lived since there was no reason for beef over the next three years.
That all changed December 7th, 2014 when TCU was inexplicably dropped from #3 in the country to #6.
This was the turning point; the controversy was in full swing. For weeks the entire college football world couldn’t stop talking about the committee’s decision. Big 12 fans ranted about the injustice of being screwed out of a playoff spot, while Ohio State fans relished that they deserved the spot due to one extra win. I still contend to this day that the college football playoff committee sucker punched us from behind and stole the national championship ring right off our fingers.
Don’t get me wrong, my peach bowl ring from the 49-3 trouncing of Ole Miss is pretty awesome, see for yourself:
Literally Swag for days, the only thing that would make this swaggier is if it was a Natty Ring
The 2014 team was likely the greatest team TCU has had to date. To make matters worse, if we didn’t blow a 21 point lead with 11 minutes to go in the fourth quarter this all would have been avoided. In the future, I will be funding a 30 for 30 with the name “11 Minutes In Waco” to paint the full picture of this tragedy, but for now- back to the build-up for Saturday’s showdown.
After the 2014 snub Twitter barbs flew fervently back and forth between fans on both sides, the bitter distaste between these two was at an all-time high. I continually trash talk all of my Ohio State friends telling them we would have smoked them in 2014 (likely it would have been a close game but hypothetically blowing them out is a far better trash talk) and they fiercely protest to my taunts. There is no way to tell who would have won in 2014, which makes this year’s match up all the more interesting. Eight years of build-up has led us to an epic week 3 matchup in Jerry World, the home of the 2014 national championship game located in TCU’s backyard. The crowd will be 100,000 strong 1/2 TCU grads, 1/4 Ohio State Grads, and 1/4 random people from Ohio without a college degree.
At this point, you may still not think it’s a “rivalry” but I sure as hell am treating it like one and I am ready for vengeance. After four long years of waiting and an eight-year build up, we finally have our chance to prove our dominance on the national stage. TCU, it’s time for our revenge.
Video Credit: Glaser Highlights
Let’s GO FROGSSSS!!! If you’re not amped after that video then you’re blood doesn’t bleed purple one bit!
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