Andy Staples of SI takes a look at the TCU program's journey back to a power conference.
FORT WORTH, Texas -- People at TCU still stew about getting abandoned by Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor, but Dick Lowe doesn't understand why. Lowe, who played offensive guard for Dutch Meyer from 1947-50 before going into the oil business, believes the Horned Frogs deserved to get left behind along with Houston, Rice and SMU in 1994 when the other members of the Southwest Conference decided to merge with the Big Eight and become the Big 12.
"It hurt a lot, but I think a lot of people took it wrong," said Lowe, a longtime TCU megabooster. "We deserved to be kicked out. We weren't carrying our end of the load. Most people thought we got screwed. I thought we screwed ourselves."
That abandonment set the Horned Frogs on an extraordinary journey through the conference landscape of college athletics. After spending 72 years in the SWC -- considered one of the nation's elite leagues for most of that time -- TCU would either join or announce its intention to join five different conferences. In October 2011, while planning to enter yet another league, the Horned Frogs finally got the invitation they had pined for since 1994. When the clock struck midnight on July 1, TCU finally became a member of the Big 12. Its long walk through the hinterlands had finally come to an end.