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The Winner Finally Plays TCU: A Brief History Of The TCU-OSU Game

September 14, 2018 - 2:01 pm
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By Jonathan Harvick

For two teams who play in different conferences, TCU and Ohio State have certainly built a bit of a rivalry over the years.

The two teams have met six times in their history, the first of which in 1937, OSU won 14-0. The Buckeyes hold a 4-1-1 series record over the Frogs with all six meetings being in Columbus. TCU’s only victory came in 1957, they won 18-14. The two teams will meet again this Saturday for the first time since 1937, in the same stadium the Buckeyes won their last National Championship.

In 2010, TCU went undefeated in the Mountain West Conference. Not many took them seriously considering it was the MWC, and when they were selected to play #5 Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, those who did not take TCU seriously didn’t expect them to be competitive.

One of those who didn’t take TCU seriously in 2010 was, then Ohio State President, Gordon Gee who found his foot in his mouth when he made a comment suggesting teams like TCU shouldn’t be able to play BCS Title games because they don’t play anyone worthwhile. Going so far as to say “we do not play the little sisters of the poor.” After TCU won the Rose Bowl that year a group of TCU Alumni bought billboards around Columbus congratulating TCU on their BCS Rose Bowl Victory, signed, The Little Sisters of the Poor.

It seemed the Horned Frogs would have the last word on the matter until TCU Athletic Director, now AD at Texas Chris Del Conte, issued a challenge to Ohio State “any time, any place” which sparked an agreement to play a home-and-home in 2018 and 19.

Fast forward to 2014

It’s the first year of the College Football Playoff and TCU is settling quite nicely in the Big 12 ranks. TCU wound up finishing the season as co-Big 12 Champions sharing the title with in-state rival, Baylor, who gave TCU it’s only loss of the season that year, 61-58.The very next week Baylor traveled to Morgantown and was upset by unranked West Virginia for their first loss of the season.

Two conference Champions and no championship game kept the Big 12 out of the first-ever College Football Playoff. Rather than Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby stepping in and declaring a single Champion, TCU and Baylor were both left out of the top four, paving the way for Ohio State to slide into the four seed. Baylor finished No. 5 and lost to Michigan State in the Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium. TCU fell from No. 3 to No. 6 and was matched up against No. 9 Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl where they dominated the game, 42-3.

The four seed was all Ohio State needed to run the tables in the playoff and win the National Championship game. Urban Meyer and Offensive Coordinator Tom Herman led the Buckeyes to a 42-35 upset over No. 1 Alabama. Ezekiel Elliott rushed for 230 yards, the most in Sugar Bowl history and followed that performance up with 242 rushing yards in the National Championship game. And while it’s great to have a guy who can rush for 470 plus yards in two playoff games, it’s just as nice to have a defense that can hold an offensive powerhouse to their lowest score of the season and limit them to 2-12 on third down. This was an OSU defense full of names we recognize now as upper echelon NFL defenders such as Joey Bosa, Michael Bennett, Eli Apple just to name a few.

A group of TCU fans went to that game with a sign that read “WINNER PLAYS TCU”. After all, TCU finished the season with the same amount of losses as OSU, at one. Certainly small, but controversy nonetheless (if only in the minds of Horned Frogs), made smaller by the fact that OSU did come away with the Championship. And four years later, Winner Plays TCU. And while Saturday’s outcome won’t change the 2010 comments or the Buckeyes 2014 Championship, it’ll most definitely add to the TCU-OSU saga.