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TCU Football: The Real Story!

The TCU Press publishes the only comprehensive history of early TCU football.

TCU Football gets a lot of love from its fans. Who doesn't love "Frog" football? But, football in 1901, and football today, almost are not even the same game. It's pretty well known that forward passing was illegal before 1906. But did you know that before then a team needed only to advance the ball five yards for a first down? that teams could have 10 players? that there was no neutral zone, or penalties for hurding, unnecessary roughness? Even forward passing, new to the game in '06, was restricted beyond recognition. Passes had to cross the line of scrimmage off center at least five yards, could only be caught by an end, were turnovers if incomplete, and could not be caught in the endzone. Imagine football without touchdown passes! The ball, when passed out of bounds, belonged to whichever team recovered it first and was turned over if it touched an ineligible player.

So, yes, it was football, but it wasn't really football yet. Riff, Ram, Bah, Zoo! Football Comes to TCU, traces the origins of Texas Christian University, a tiny liberal arts college in Waco, Texas, to its induction into the Southwest Conference in 1922 as an up-and-coming collegiate football power.

All TCU fans will enjoy this interesting account of our football team's earliest years. Thanks to Ezra Hood and the TCU Press, the stories and photos offer fascinating insight into how the game of football came to TCU.
—TCU Chancellor Victor J. Boschini Jr.

Published and recently released by the TCU Press, Riff, Ram, Bah, Zoo! Football Comes to TCU is written by 2005 TCU Graduate Ezra Hood. Hood begins with the university's conception in 1873, when it was known as AddRan Male and Female College, and describes the rise of football's popularity in Texas. From there, the book chronicles each of TCU's football seasons from its first year in 1896 to its final year in TIAA play, before it joined the Southwest Conference and went on to become, in Hood's words, "the prince of the Southwest in the 1930s."

TCU has a proud football tradition, and we're excited that TCU Press is capturing its early years with this very special publication. It's a must read for any Horned Frogs football fan.
—TCU Director Intercollegiate Athletics Chris Del Conte

Hood captures particular details of each season—noting significant coaching changes and highly-touted recruits—all the while providing anecdotes from local newspapers (most notably from the TCU Daily Skiff) as a way to capture the community response to TCU football in both Waco and Fort Worth.