Let’s go back to 2011. The end of an era for a couple of schools, or nearing that. In the midst of the wild conference realignment phase of the early 2010s, TCU found themselves on an upward trajectory on their way to the Big 12, while Louisiana Tech faced uncertainty in the disintegrating WAC and a move to Conference USA in 2013.
TCU nearly made the BCS, ranked #18 and above Big East champ, West Virginia, but an early-season losses to SMU and Baylor spoiled their BCS hopes. On the other hand, Louisiana Tech went 8-4 and won a WAC significantly weakened by Boise State’s departure, as the sole team with less than two losses in conference.
While Louisiana Tech had solid wins over 7-win squads in Utah State and Nevada, and Ole Miss (a 2-10 Rebel team, mind you), they still had a bad loss to a 6-7 Hawaii squad. TCU on the other hand had a signature win over then #5 Boise State, who ended the year at 12-1. Mysteriously, this was only the second time a WAC team appeared in this game. This game had all the makings of a blowout for the Horned Frogs.
However, as the old adage goes, you don’t play the games on paper. In one of the better bowls of the 2011 bowl season, the teams went back and forth, with the score tied 10-10 at halftime. The Bulldogs actually took a 24-17 lead into the 4th quarter, before the Horned Frogs’ experience won them the game. TCU scored two touchdowns in the final eight minutes to cap an 11-win season.
Since then, the teams have been on two distinct paths. TCU has found success in the Big 12, winning the Peach Bowl in 2014 and the Big 12 title game in 2017. Louisiana Tech has had several strong teams, but has yet to win a conference title in their current home, and seems unlikely to break into the New Year’s Six anytime soon.
So here we are, nine years later, and nine years to the day, the teams will finally meet again. Although this game was scheduled less than two weeks ago, it still oozes with intrigue. Louisiana Tech has a chance to earn a signature win not only for their program, but also their conference, while TCU hopes to build some momentum heading into bowl season.
The script is similar with TCU coming in with a 5-4 record and strong wins over ranked Texas and Oklahoma State teams. But, 5-3 Louisiana Tech has much to prove, and could open the eyes of pre-Christmas bowl games like the New Orleans and Frisco Bowls with a win over a team like TCU. Just like in 2011, it is much better for these two to settle matters on the field than to write off the Bulldogs on paper.