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PURPLE REIGN
Dan Jenkins
August 05, 2008
In its glory years, which ran from 1929 through 1959, when the college game ruled, TCU was the best team in the Southwest Conference, and Fort Worth was the football capital of the universe
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August 05, 2008

Purple Reign

In its glory years, which ran from 1929 through 1959, when the college game ruled, TCU was the best team in the Southwest Conference, and Fort Worth was the football capital of the universe

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Produce more All-Americas (16) than anybody else in the conference.

Turn out the SWC's first Heisman Trophy winner, Davey O'Brien, in '38.

Become the first team in the conference to go to the Sugar Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Orange Bowl and Bluebonnet Bowl.

Maintain a winning edge over all six of their conference opponents. The Frogs were 19-11-1 against Rice, 18-10-1 against Baylor, 18-11-2 against Texas A&M, 16-10-5 against SMU, 15-12-2 against Arkansas and 16-15 against Texas.

The most impressive part of this era was the first 10 years, or pretty much throughout the Depression that I thought was so fun-filled.

It so happens that TCU was the best football team in America from 1929 through '38 because the Frogs won more games (90) than any other major college. Well, O.K., if you want to be picky and figure it by percentages, the Frogs were the fourth-best team in the nation behind Alabama, Pitt and Fordham, but not bad, huh?

NOT UNTIL MY FIRST CAR DATE YEARS LATER did I experience anything as thrilling as the Saturday afternoon of Nov. 30, 1935. It was the day TCU and SMU played a football game of such monumental dimensions that my dad took the precaution of bringing along an extra flask of "cough medicine" to the stadium.

Two prizes of unbearable importance were at stake in the game: the national championship and a bid to the Rose Bowl. Neither prize had ever been earned by a Texas team. To the fans of the two neighboring cities, Fort Worth and Dallas, the game meant something more: bragging rights for all eternity.

My relatives and everyone else began playing the game weeks ahead of time, for it was clear that TCU and SMU were so strong they were bound to arrive at their meeting with unblemished (10-0) records, which they did.

What I mostly remember about the game was the constant noise in the stadium, SMU running sweeps and reverses in a blur of red-and-blue uniforms and the Frogs dropping Baugh's passes, although he kept hitting his receivers in the chest and hands. Sammy threw an amazing 43 passes that day, which was unheard of among civilized people, according to Grantland Rice's game report.

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