It was Nov. 29, 2010 when TCU athletics director Chris Del Conte puffed his chest a bit and said it was ''a great day to be a Frog.''
That was the day TCU accepted an invitation to become a full-fledged member of the Big East Conference, beginning, well, earlier this year.
At the time, TCU was ranked third in the BCS standings and was unbeaten at 12-0, and the general thought was teams in the Big East had two more chances to win a league title before the Horned Frogs took over at the top.
TCU wanted out of the non-BCS AQ Mountain West, with Del Conte saying something about how they bought a home, only to see the landscape change with BYU and Utah leaving and Boise State heading in.
Fast-forward to Oct. 6, 2011. That was the day the Big 12 voted to invite TCU into its conference, with the Frogs having never played a game, sat on a lily pad, or took a class as a member of the Big East.
Pitt and Syracuse had already vowed their intentions to join the ACC, and days later (Oct. 28, 2011), West Virginia agreed to join the Big 12 and begin play immediately, no matter what the Big East said about its 27-month waiting period.
TCU (5-3, 2-3) at No. 23 West Virginia (5-2, 2-2)
Milan Puskar Stadium (60,000), 3 p.m., ET
Spread: West Virginia is a 7-point favorite
Series: West Virginia leads the series, 1-0
Broadcasts: TV: Fox - (Craig Bolerjack - play-by-play, Joel Klatt - analyst, Petros Papadakis - sideline). Radio: Mountaineer Sports Network - (Tony Caridi - play-by-play, Dwight Wallace - analyst, Hoppy Kercheval - host, Jed Drenning - sideline). Satellite Radio Broadcast - The West Virginia - TCU game can be heard live on Sirius Channel 138 and XM 203. Live Statistics - WVUsports.com Twitter Updates - Twitter.com/WVUSportsBuzz; WVUSportsScores
Notes: This marks the second meeting between the two schools and the first between the two coaches. West Virginia defeated the Horned Frogs, 31-14, in the 1984 Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston. As the offensive coordinator at Texas Tech in 2006, WVU coach Dana Holgorsen faced TCU coach Gary Patterson's squad. TCU defeated Texas Tech, 12-3, in Fort Worth, on Sept. 16, en route to an 11-2 season. Patterson has never faced West Virginia.
Talk about a landscape change.
One way another, this WVU-TCU game was going to be played this season. The Mountaineers and Horned Frogs replaced Missouri and Texas A&M, and what figured to be the best teams in the Big East has turned into a pair of middle-of-the pack Big 12 newbies who are both riding two-game losing streaks.
In the case of the Mountaineers, a bye week followed those losses, meaning the Mountaineers haven't won a game in nearly a month.
Still, coach Dana Holgorsen said the team's mood is an upbeat one.
''It's the reality of the situation,'' Holgorsen continued. ''Every game is going to be tough. We've got a strange combination of a bunch of older kids that want to finish the year strong, that want to keep winning, that want to show improvement, that want to get to a good bowl game and win games. Then there's a bunch of young kids that don't understand any of this. It's a combination of both and it's our job as coaches to keep the attitude good.''
Looking at the Horned Frogs, who have dropped back-to-back games for the first time since 2007, redshirt freshman Trevone Boykin has taken over at quarterback after run-ins with alcohol got starter Casey Pachall suspended, and ultimately, out of school and into rehab. The Frogs are 1-3 since his departure.
Boykin, who was 21 of 40 for 185 yards last week in a game in which the Frogs failed to score at least 20 points for the first time in 33 games, left with a knee injury and his status was in peril for most of the week. Sophomore Matt Brown, who was moved from quarterback to receiver in fall camp, had six rushing scores as the backup last season.
Patterson joked that he might play the position this week.
''He can keep the play alive with his legs and still look to get the ball downfield," Holgorsen said of Boykin. "They're a dangerous offense that moves the ball well and he's done a good job of stepping in.''
For the season, Boykin is 101 of 164 for 1,122 with 11 touchdowns and six interceptions, and he became the first quarterback in TCU history to throw for four touchdowns in back-to-back games earlier this season. He also has 66 carries for 252 yards and a pair of scores. He's one of three TCU ballcarriers who average 36 or more yards per game, along with leader Mathew Tucker (45.71) and true freshman B.J. Catalon (45.25).
Still, the Frogs are more likely to score through the air than on the ground, as 21 of their 29 touchdowns this season have been passing.
Josh Boyce, the Frogs' career leader in receiving touchdowns with 20, and Brandon Carter are the leading receivers, averaging 83 and 85 yards per game.
The TCU defense, despite playing a number of young players (nearly 70 percent of guys who have seen action for TCU this season are freshmen or sophomores), ranks 23rd nationally, yielding 333.13 yards per outing. Linebacker Kenny Cain is the only senior to start and see playing time on the defensive side of the ball. Defensive end Devonte Fields, a true freshman - get used to hearing those words -tops the Big 12 in tackles for loss (14) and sacks (8).
Like Texas earlier this season, TCU is coming off a game against Oklahoma State, meaning its basically preparing for the same offense it just saw.
Patterson, who said he thinks he has a ''tired'' football team, sees little advantage there.
''They're similar to Oklahoma State, but Oklahoma State doesn't have the caliber of the two wide receivers (Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin) that West Virginia does.
''They can really get past you, and get down the field one-on-one.''
Bailey has 59 catches for 800 yards and 14 touchdowns. Austin is the school's all-time leader in 100-yard receiving games (11), is ranked No. 1 nationally in receptions per game (10.43), and No. 8 in receiving yards per game (113.57).
''The thing that makes West Virginia very good is they do a great job calling the game,'' Patterson said. ''They run the ball a lot better than people give them credit for, and you're in a situation where they have guys like Tavon where they can throw it over your head at any second.
''You have to understand that you have to play the deep ball and you have to stop the run.''
The TCU special teams are worth noting. They haven't allowed a touchdown off a kickoff return in an FBS-best 121 straight games. Skye Dawson is the only player in the Big 12 to rank in the top five in both punt returns (second at 14.3 yards per) and kickoff returns (fourth at 23.0), while, true freshman Deante' Gray set a TCU single-game record with 160 punt return yards against Grambling State, both part of a team that has at least five punt and kickoff returns of at least 52 yards this season. They have blocked three punts dating back to last season and true freshman placekicker Jaden Oberkrom is 14-of-18 on field goals and 32 of 32 on PATs. True freshman punter Ethan Perry's 47.2 average is tops in the Big 12 and ranks sixth nationally.
''What really stands out is their special teams play,'' Holgorsen said. ''They lead the Big 12 in many categories. Their punter is booming the ball. They have a lot of bodies and a lot of moving parts. They have a tremendous returner in Skye Dawson. He returns punts and kicks. He is dangerous when he gets out in the open. They have a lot of young guys that they play on their special teams units, and they do it well. It will be a challenge. We are looking forward to the matchup.''