Once Derided As Cockroaches, Horned Frogs Ready For Texas

Friday, September 7th 2007, 2:17 pm
By: News On 6

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) _ It's an insult that has lingered 46 years, uttered after one of TCU's biggest victories.

It was 1961 when the Horned Frogs stunned then-No. 1 Texas 6-0, leading frustrated Longhorns coach Darrell Royal to say: ``They are like a cockroach. It isn't what he eats or totes off, but what he falls into and messes up.''

Make no mistake: No. 19 TCU (1-0) has every intention of keeping on messing things up for No. 7 Texas (1-0) and the Bowl Championships Series this year. Beat the Longhorns on Saturday night in Austin and the Horned Frogs are the front-runners to be this season's BCS busters.

``It's a measuring stick game,'' TCU coach Gary Patterson said.

The Horned Frogs play in the non-BCS Mountain West Conference but have measured up quite well against the Big 12. A 5-0 run in recent years includes victories over Oklahoma (2005) and Texas Tech (2006).

Beating the Longhorns, old rivals from the old Southwest Conference, would be even more special for a school left on the sideline when Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor and Texas A&M joined with the old Big Eight to form the Big 12 in 1996.

That snub cast TCU as college football's vagabond as the Horned Frogs wandered through three conferences looking for the best place to play. With a one-game crack at the Longhorns this year, they would love to show that they can beat anybody, anytime, anywhere.

Lose and the Horned Frogs get stuck playing little sister to the big boys at Texas for a long, long time. The time is right to find out where they stand, Patterson said.

``If you don't do that in life, someday you wake up and you just wonder what you did do,'' Patterson said. ``I think that's what we're trying to get accomplished here, we're trying to find out.''

TCU has the look of a team ready to mess things up for Texas once again, although unlike 1961, a Horned Frogs win wouldn't carry nearly the same shock value.

The Horned Frogs have won 11 games three of past four seasons. They have a nine-game winning streak now and four conference titles (in three different leagues) the past eight years. Fans are so excited that ``Beat Texas'' T-shirts were being sold on the schools' Web site before the first game against Baylor.

Texas coach Mack Brown agrees the Horned Frogs should be excited. This is their big chance.

``They're the best-kept secret off all the non-BCS teams,'' Brown said. ``They have earned the right to be considered one of the best teams in the country.''

Texas players found themselves in the unusual position this week of being talked about as underdogs even with the higher ranking. The Longhorns looked very vulnerable in an unimpressive season-opening 21-13 win over Arkansas State, raising the prospect they are ripe for a beating.

History wouldn't agree. Although the teams haven't played each other since 1995, Texas is 27-1 in the last 28 meetings.

The first game-struggles all are fixable, said Texas quarterback Colt McCoy.

``TCU doesn't scare me,'' McCoy said, perhaps shocked that he would even be asked. ``They shouldn't. They're just another football team. They're going to come in here fired up and we've got to play as good as we can.''

Texas defensive tackle Derek Lokey said the game is just as important to Texas as the Horned Frogs. After their stumbles through the season-opener, a Texas loss now likely kills any chance of playing for the national championship.

``It's a big game for them and a huge game for us,'' Lokey said. ``They're trying to prove they belong on the national stage and we're trying to prove that as well.''

For fans in Texas who grew up on the old Southwest Conference, the game conjures memories of bitter in-state rivalries played every year.

Today's players were in grade school when the league broke up, but they've heard the stories.

``We're aware of that. We see all the old Southwest Conference records around here,'' McCoy said.

``All we did was add,'' Brown said, ``was add another Oklahoma or Arkansas with all the emotion around this game.''