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No time to debate or celebrate for TCU

11/16/2003 - College Football

FORT WORTH, Texas -- TCU didn't have time to celebrate its
12th straight win or worry about the BCS debate.

After beating Cincinnati to remain undefeated, the No. 10 Horned
Frogs (10-0, 7-0 C-USA) immediately turned their attention to
Thursday night's game at Southern Mississippi for the Conference
USA title.

"If you want to have a chance to win a championship, you have
to understand the boundaries," coach Gary Patterson said after
TCU's 43-10 win over the Bearcats. "We just got done with
Saturday, today is Monday. We skipped a day."

That meant no day of rest for TCU, which along with No. 1
Oklahoma are the only unbeaten teams in major college football. The
Frogs were back at practice Sunday.

TCU has to win at Southern Miss (7-3, 6-0) to keep alive its
dream of playing in one of the four big-money games that make up
the Bowl Championship Series. If not, the bowl prospects aren't
nearly as lucrative.

With a win Thursday night, the Frogs claim the outright C-USA
title and have only winless SMU left to complete the second
undefeated season in school history. The other was 1938, when
quarterback Davey O'Brien led TCU to its only national
championship.

Lose and the BCS debate is over.

The Frogs wouldn't even be the front-runner to play in the
Liberty Bowl, which gets the C-USA champion or its choice if two
teams are tied. Southern Miss finishes the season at East Carolina,
the last team to beat TCU.

That could leave the Frogs going to the Mobile Alabama Bowl, or
even staying home to play in the Fort Worth Bowl, a first-year game
on the TCU campus.

"It's exciting being 10-0. As far as the BCS, we know none of
that means anything if we don't go out and take care of business
these next couple of games," quarterback Brandon Hassell said.
"We have more to prove to ourselves than anybody."

TCU is likely to remain sixth in the new BCS standings Monday.
The Frogs reached No. 6 last week, the highest ranking ever for a
team from a non-BCS conference, and would be guaranteed a spot in
one of the top four bowls, likely the Fiesta Bowl, if they finish
there or higher.

"Everybody out there wants to know what being a Cinderella
is," Patterson said. "As a general rule on a day to day basis,
what you have to do is you've got to win on every given Saturday.
You just have to be better than that team, it doesn't matter how
you do it. And it's a lesson for all of us."

After winning five games by three points and another by just a
touchdown, TCU had its biggest win of the season against Cincinnati
despite just 298 total yards on offense.

Kenny Boyd returned a blocked punt 6 yards for a touchdown,
linebacker Marvin Patterson pounced on a fumble in the end zone and
Nick Browne tied a school record with five field goals. Three
takeaways (two interceptions and a fumble), three long punt returns
and a blocked field goal help set up four scoring drives of 27
yards or less.