It wasn't long ago when Andy Dalton, dressed in his causal attire and madly fell in love with Southern California, sent a text message bragging about his arrival at Disneyland on Sunday afternoon. He looked very excited, he smiled heavily, his eyes widened and he wildly celebrated at the Happiest Place on Earth.
From there, of course, he mingled with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck on a brisk afternoon, thinking back of the memories from an unthinkable season that transpired in the weak Mountain West. Realizing that he's verified as the savior for the third-ranked Horned Frogs, proudly serving as the quarterback to illustrate one of the most remarkable seasons in school history, Dalton is one of the disregarded athletes in the sport.
He tried every attraction in his countless hours spent at the happiest amusement park, only to try and replicate his fearless attitude for rigorous preparation and then translate the same type of mentality for the Rose Bowl Game on Saturday. This has been a season of goofiness, chaos, corruption as figured in college football with a deranged system, which either snubbed or smeared a program worthy of national title hopes.
Unfair as it may be to discount TCU, the system with such a BCS crisis has no sympathy for the Horned Frogs. Maybe it's because of such a favorable schedule the Horned Frogs are faced with each season, even if some people inevitably believes Texas Christian deserves a shot when the university's football program has emerged into a top-ranked national power.
In other words, the Horned Frogs were too powerful in the Mountain West and unevenly pummeled their opponents as they ended the season unbeaten, with the nation's No. 1 defense for the third consecutive season and 36 wins in its last 39 since 2008. Nonetheless, as the Granddaddy game looms, it has drawn ceaseless complaints and malcontent critics can't endure the idea that the Horned Frogs earned a trip to play their first Rose Bowl Game in TCU's history.
Get over it...
"We're not just representing TCU," Dalton said. "We're representing all the non-AQ schools."
For once, the Horned Frogs are well-deserving of a respective opportunity to resonate greatness for a school without much triumph in the past, a school waiting for glory as TCU encounters the stiffest test by meeting a Big Ten powerhouse in the Wisconsin Badgers. It's ultimately interesting to see whether or not TCU is actually capable in securing the stunning upset in the next few days, above all the hearsay that the Frogs are incapable of matching the Badgers energy or immeasurable toughest. Fair enough.
"Obviously we've done something right to get to go to the Big East, and hopefully we'll make that league better," Dalton said. "I can't see us dropping off. I think we'll just keep getting better."
What fun to witness the Frogs, for once, face the hardest challenge all season with much at stake. This is probably, by far, the heaviest spotlight TCU has ever possessed, a noteworthy program suddenly adored by overzealous fans. Yes, in all honesty, dignity elevated in a year when the Frogs were untouched and never suffered a broken heart, dominating many of their opponents in a cupcake fashion, smothering opponents with their monstrous defense and forestalling a potent offense.
It comes as no surprise that TCU is virtually anointed nowadays, no longer classified as darlings of the BCS, but mettle crusaders to finally appear in a meaningful contest on a night the masses will likely watch, curious to find out if the Frogs can pull off the huge stunner. However, no matter what happens, it's considered a signature game for TCU, a team always coveted with a fierce mentality for big moments.
He is indeed credited for the renovation of a program below its standard, but of late, Gary Patterson, TCU's accomplished coach, has brought life to a school now one win away from transcending greatness. It's fair to say that Patterson is an expert, not only in show business, but for the way he hones his players and prepares everyone for pivotal moments. As a young teenager, he played the guitar in a rock band.
He is still cool, only this time a cool coach who understands the formula and style of coaching and has introduced it routinely to his players. From his early years, he desired to play football and someday become a head coach. And wouldn't you know his lifelong dream turned into reality, and now he's leading the Horned Frogs with his devotion to his knack and dexterity. Because he's a fiery coach, he's in his seventh season of double-digit wins in 10 full seasons as head coach.
For all those years, not as many cheers as there are now, the small university never had much worth celebrating but they will if TCU prevails Saturday night. Before World War II, TCU was on the national platform, but plunged shortly after and painfully dealt with 30 losing seasons from 1961 to 1997, including a dreadful eight-year drought at a period the Frogs never accounted for more than two wins in the entire season.
Since then, obviously, Patterson has recruited beloved figures. Since then, TCU has been elite. That explains why he's pocketing $1.6 million, the second-highest salary among any coach of a non-AQ school. Lucky to have a rifle-armed, pocket thrower like Dalton, who has thrown for more than 10,000 yards and has excellent mobility, release much stress off the heart and soul of Patterson. It's only fitting to have a pair of receivers, such as Jeremy Kerley and Jimmy Young, two reliable studs with athleticism and size. It has been a good four years, and Dalton has been hurling passes to his star receivers.
You see, Dalton is the coolest red-headed dude around. Patterson is the coolest guitarist around.
You'll see New Years Day.