The move to the Big 12 has obviously been a massive success for the TCU Horned Frogs, but Gary Patterson and company had their best season in recent memory while still members of the Mountain West.
The 2010 Horned Frogs posted an unblemished 13-0 record and beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl to cap off a season for the ages. Future NFL starters like Andy Dalton, Tank Carder, Marcus Cannon and Jeremy Kerley were among those that donned the purple and white that year. But, as was far too often the case in the BCS era, the Frogs were denied a chance to compete for a national championship, and finished the year ranked No. 2 in the AP Poll to Auburn.
SBNation’s Ian Boyd ranked the undefeated Group of 5 teams since 1984, and placed the 2010 Frogs at No. 2, just behind 2004 Utah.
“The Frogs had a few defenses around this time that were better than their 2010 unit, but this was their best all-around team,” Boyd wrote. “Highly experienced Dalton in (then-OC Justin) Fuente’s advanced scheme was a fright, and when paired with a typical Gary Patterson 4-2-5 defense that was also ahead of its time, you had a team that punched above its weight.”
That Wisconsin team was no slouch, either, with all-world end JJ Watt on defense and Montee Ball carrying the rock on offense. But TCU held strong, and as Boyd said, punched above its weight for an undefeated season.
The Horned Frogs were four points away from an undefeated season in 2014, with only a 61-58 loss to Baylor keeping TCU from a likely appearance in the inaugural College Football Playoff. As it stands now, that 2010 team is still the standard-bearer for success in the Gary Patterson era.