|Although it's a classic look, this helmet represents an era of futility|
As our beloved Frog basketball team rattled off 13-straight loses to end yet another inexplicably bad season, it reminded me how blessed and spoiled TCU fans are these days. With the exception of men's basketball, we are fiercely competitive in every sport and among the best in the nation in two of the big 3, Football and baseball. It's awesome enough that our football program is the perennial contender it is. However, there was a time when 6 wins for our football program seemed like an unattainable goal and only the most die hard of fans (like my Grandpa) supported the hapless Frogs year in and year out. In homage to those by gone days (and thank God they are indeed by gone), I have compiled my list of the Top 10 Worst TCU football teams of all time. Here's hoping this list doesn't depress you too much.
Although freshman receiver, Stanley Washington, would eventually become a stud for the Frogs, it didn't change the fact that the team just plain sucked. Their only two wins came against Rice and Tulsa (albeit on the road). The highlight of the season was a 3-3 tie against Texas Tech in Lubbock. That was a big deal back then, but nothing to write home about now-a-days. These 3 non-loses granted the Frogs an 8th place finish in SWC play (2nd to last). TCU was outscored by their collective opponents in '79 by a combined total of 127-226. 1979 brought the dismal decade of the '70s to a close for Frog fans, however the '80s held relatively little more progress.
9. 1985 - 3-8 (0-8 SWC):
Leading rusher and Heisman candidate, Kenneth Davis, was gone and so were TCU's hopes of winning a conference game. With Coach Jim Wacker at the helm, they mustered wins against Tulane, Kansas State, and North Texas State (UNT). Conference play was one embarrassment after another. The Frogs were pulverized by every conference opponent except Rice and Houston, which were still loses. The worst of which were a 41-0 home lose to Arkansas, a 45-0 drubbing at the hands of hated rival Baylor, and a 63-7 loss to Texas Tech. The only thing that was "Unbelieeeeeevable" about this Horned Frog team was their impotence across the board.
Despite high numbers in the loss column, TCU fans really had someone to cheer for in the form of electric RB Kenneth Davis. Fans would have to wait until '84 for Davis to lead their team to victory and an ever elusive bowl bid. But as for '83, losing remained the standard. Ties against Kansas and Tech showed tenacity, but an inability to put games away. The lone win against Rice was a high point, as TCU won 34-3 on the road. The other two highlights were close loses of 21-17 against SMU's Pony Express and 20-14 against #2 Texas in Austin.
7. 1978 - 2-9 (0-8 SWC):
No star power, no defense, and no conference victories. The 70's marched on with another losing season. Wins came against Tulane and on a long road trip to Oregon, but the Frogs remained winless at home. Among the worst losses were a 58-0 blowout at Penn State, a 41-0 home loss to #9 Texas, and a 63-6 clinic put on by the Houston Cougars and their pass heavy offense. TCU's offense never scored more than 21 points all season (against Baylor in a 28-21 loss). '78 was another year to forget.
6. 1977 - 2-9 (1-7 SWC):
It was star WR Mike Renfro's senior season, but TCU still couldn't break .500. The Frogs rattled off back-to-back wins against Rice and Miami (Fl.) at mid-season, but before you get too excited, Miami was just as awful as TCU in the 70's. Loses came against the usual suspects: SMU, Arkansas, Baylor, and A&M including loses against the #1 and #2 teams in the nation (USC and Texas respectively). At least you couldn't accuse this TCU team of having a weak schedule.
5. 1980 - 1-10 (1-7 SWC):
If you're starting to notice a pattern, Head Coach F.A. Dry ('77-'82) never had more than 3 wins in a season. 1980 was his worst. Texas Tech was the lone upset win at home by a score of 24-17. To this team's credit, they were at least within 3 points of beating A&M, SMU and Auburn. But a loss is a loss and this team did a lot of just that. There were plenty of blowout losses to teams like Arkansas, Houston, and Texas. But probably the worst loses came against Tulsa and Rice. The two teams that were usually the only ones the poor Frogs could beat disposed of TCU with 23-17 and 28-24 scores respectively.
That's right folks, a season outside of the '70's and '80's made my countdown! It was LT's freshman season, but before you start hoping for the best, he didn't play very much at all. In Coach Pat Sullivan's last season, TCU did just about nothing but lose, to the tune of 10 straight losses. Only this time it wasn't the Texas, Arkansas, and A&Ms of the world doing the beating. It was teams like UTEP, Vanderbilt, and UNLV. Utah, BYU, and UNC all beat TCUTCU decided to show up for the season finale against hated rival and former bully SMU. TCU squeaked by with a thrilling 21-18 win, and for the first time ever, fans tore down the goal posts after a losing season. Luckily, this win signaled better times that were to come.
3. 1975 - 1-10 (1-6 SWC):
Another year in the 70's, another losing season. In similar fashion to the '97 Frog squad, the '75 Frogs waited until the season finale to tally their first win. Only this time it came against Rice. SMU on the other hand, was one of a long list of opponents to rack up an easy win against TCU. To put this teams sheer badness in perspective, they lost the season opener to UTA (and yes, they were as bad as you think). Two shutouts came against Alabama and Texas Tech. The '75 Frogs were outscored 103-325 throughout the year. #4 Nebraska, Baylor, and Arkansas gained easy victories. Besides the 28-21 victory against Rice, 1975's shining moments came against #6 A&M and #7 Texas. TCU managed to only lose 14-6 and 27-11 against both top 10 foes.
2. 1974 - 1-10 (0-7 SWC):
'74 was much the same as '75, except that their lone win came in the season opener against UTA. They never won another game, conference or otherwise. This TCU team was outscored 79-345 combined. Their highest scoring game was 16 points against #7 Texas, unfortunately the Longhorns scored 81 in that same game. #20 Arkansas, #8 A&M, and Texas Tech all posted shutouts. Alabama was close with their 41-3 win. The closest lose was a 9-7 contest @ Minnesota. The only good that can be said about this team was freshman WR Mike Renfro. Clearly he wasn't enough.
The single WORST season in TCU history and the only season that the Frogs never managed to win one measly game. WR Mike Renfro was a stud, but if you'll notice, every team he was on still managed to make it on this list (1974-1977). This time, TCU was outscored by 128-430. Tennessee and Miami both posted shutouts. That's right, MIAMI! Miami beat TCU 49-0 in fact. Ugh. #6 Nebraska and #16 A&M won 64-10 and 59-10. The Frogs came within 4 points of beating #10 Texas Tech, but it wasn't meant to be. A close loss also came against Rice. Not much else can be said for this team other than that they were God-awful. Thank the Lord fortunes have improved for this program.