TCU's Rose Bowl victory calls for a celebration in Fort Worth

PASADENA, Calif. -- In the storied college football game called "The Granddaddy of Them All," the TCU Horned Frogs won just like back in Granddaddy's day.

As the final seconds clicked away in the Rose Bowl, Malcolm Louden began remembering names.

"I can't help but think of all the great people who helped bring the Frogs here," said a teary-eyed Louden, chairman of the TCU alumni athletics committee, as the Horned Frogs closed out a 21-19 victory over not only Wisconsin but also the ruling elite of college football.

"Thanks to all the players, the coaches," he said, naming coaches and chancellors from the past 15 years and current coach Gary Patterson.

"And a big thanks to Fort Worth."

Now, Fort Worth, it's time to share the celebration.

TCU and Fort Worth officials tentatively discussed a victory parade or rally, with specific plans to be announced as soon as Monday, a city spokesman said.

Horned Frogs fan George Young Jr. of Fort Worth explained why:

"This," he said, "is bigger than Dallas."

On national TV in the sport's most famous bowl game, wearing purple helmets with a Horned Frog clutching a red rose, TCU earned an undefeated finish and a probable No. 2 national ranking with a victory to remember forever.

"This game is the Holy Grail of college football," said Jerre Todd of Arlington, an advertising executive and former newspaper sportswriter who followed the Frogs through a half-century of both hope and humiliation.

"This gives TCU respect it never had."

Oilman Dick Lowe, the TCU alumnus who tried to rebuild the team in the 1980s before running afoul of NCAA rules, pointed to one man.

"I think Gary Patterson is the best coach in America, and this validates it," he said.

State Rep. Charlie Geren was in the Rose Bowl for two Texas Longhorns victories in the past decade.

"But this is better than either of those," he said.

"This means more. And this is more purple than anyone's ever seen."

Interviewed before game's end, Chancellor Victor Boschini chose his words carefully.

"TCU is a big winner no matter what," he said.

"We won just by getting here."

Fort Worth lawyer Neely Fortinberry, 36, one of the young alumni who made California a New Year's weekend getaway, said, "The whole nation was watching."

She mentioned how Horned Frogs fans almost dominated Rodeo Drive and made swanky Beverly Hills restaurants seem as homey as the Railhead Smokehouse.

"It was like everybody in Fort Worth packed up and came to L.A. for the weekend," she said.

Those who didn't will wish they had. And might claim they did.

Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Twitter @budkennedy; 817-390-7538

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