Hey, Bud, where are the fans?
columnist Bud Kennedy '76 asks the 46,000-seat question.
help from the Psychic Hotline or some rookie subbing for Miss Cleo, I
can safely predict what will happen in Fort Worth come Nov. 17.
On that Monday
morning, in a campus office on Stadium Drive, a telephone will ring.
those Frogs!" the caller will say, or somesuch. "So when's the next game?"
The answer will be: "Uh, that was the last home game."
fall lately. Another barnburner of a Horned Frogs football team tears
its way up the national Top 20.
of Fort Worth and Texas don't catch on until it's too late.
By Nov. 17,
you won't be able to see the Frogs without a passport for eastern travel.
TCU's last three games will be in Dallas, in the Gulf region of Mississippi
and at some bowl site, ideally either Memphis, Tenn., for the Liberty
Bowl or maybe New Orleans for the national championship.
I have no
idea why the Metroplex doesn't pick up on TCU in September or October.
It's not like the Rangers or Cowboys are doing anything important.
Of all the
puzzles in Texas sports, this is among the most chronically confounding.
TCU is not
the only local team to reach the pinnacle of college football last fall
-- a major conference championship. The University of North Texas also
won its championship.
Of the 11
Division I conferences, two of the champions came from Fort Worth and
Denton. By my math, that means that 18 percent of the nation's football
hardware came to this part of Texas.
sports fans -- and also the Dallas-driven sports reporters and radio hosts
--seem more interested in monitoring the Syracuse game or the latest pronouncement
from Dirk Nowitzki.
championship games last fall, TCU and UNT drew 44,647 fans.
In a region
of five million people, in what is supposed to be the most football-crazy
state in America, with trophies on the line, neither TCU nor UNT could
sell enough tickets to fill more than two-thirds of their stadiums.
give me that old line about how Texas and Texas A&M are the most popular
college football teams here and how their TV games are unbeatable competition.
Neither the Longhorns nor the Aggies played the day the Horned Frogs won
their third conference championship in four years.
For a few
grand moments last fall in the sunshine of a perfect afternoon, the Frogs
conjured up memories of Jim Swink and Davey O'Brien, or at least of LaDainian
Tomlinson. They drove 80 yards in the closing minutes, led by teen-ager
Lonta Hobbs, to score a do-or-die touchdown for a share of the Conference
USA championship and a trip to an honest-to-gosh bowl game with a long
tradition, the Liberty Bowl.
I figured a TCU championship might have rated a lead report on the 10
o'clock sports. Maybe even a news report from the scene of TCU-area revelry.
the No. 1 sports story in the Metroplex that night?
For a routine regular-season game.
No. 2: the
Stars. Surely, I figured, the Frogs would be No. 3.
behind ... Oklahoma State?
One of the
TV stations even covered Miami and the other national college games before
TCU. "Oh, and by the way, there's a champion right here."
did manage to show two play highlights.
the North Texas fans felt. The Mean Green won a trip to the New Orleans
Bowl and still got stuffed into the end of the TV newscast, right before
Pet of the Week.
a suggestion for TCU and the other regional college football programs:
schedules to avoid competing for casual sports fans' walk-up ticket sales
-- and for TV time. Team up to promote buying tickets and encourage TV
news coverage for all the good college football teams in the Metroplex.
got a suggestion for Fort Worth folks: Come see the Horned Frogs early
this fall. The first three home games will be Sept. 6, Sept. 20 and Oct.
half the chances will be gone to see TCU at home in what might be a very
historic Horned Frogs season.
you'll be glad you were here.
from a column in the Star-Telegram. Comment at email@example.com.