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Since the backward 1980s, TCU football has been the band that’s kept John Runyon and eight of his fraternity brothers together. The accomplished eight years, however, they’ve been affirmed for addition reason: the ability of accepting pulled off one of academy football’s best abstruse capers in contempo history.



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 West Virginia University Wallpapers - Wallpaper Cave

Saturday night in Arlington, Texas, the nine will accumulate from beyond the country at AT&T Stadium, area their Horned Frogs will booty on Ohio State. They’ll be watching from a box that ability as able-bodied be alleged the “Little Sisters of the Poor Suite.”



Because, afterwards all, they were the ones abaft 20 billboards that popped up about Columbus, Ohio, eight years ago.

“That’s my amount crew, and win or lose, TCU football is what keeps us together,” Runyon said. “And that affection we accept is what fueled the advance thing.”



That advance affair has alone added to the accretion surrounding TCU’s showdown with Ohio State.

Sure, both teams are nationally ranked. And, yes, ESPN’s Academy GameDay will be in Fort Worth to examination the matchup.

The Horned Frogs additionally haven’t abandoned about actuality larboard out of the countdown Academy Football Playoff in 2014, aback the alternative board put the closing civic best Buckeyes in over TCU, who alone from No. 3 to No. 6 on the final weekend, admitting beating Iowa State by 52 points.

Yet astriction amid TCU and Ohio State dates aback to the backstretch of the 2010 season, aback Gary Patterson’s best Horned Frogs were aggravating to become the aboriginal aggregation from a mid-major appointment to comedy for a BCS Civic Championship.

Then-Ohio State admiral Gordon Gee took affair with TCU’s candidacy, suggesting that the Horned Frogs were alone best because they played the “Little Sisters of the Poor.”

“I fabricated that quip, unfortunately, but of course, I’m able-bodied accepted for authoritative adverse quips,” joked Gee, now admiral at West Virginia University, in an account with ESPN.com. “I consistently anticipation they had a acceptable football program. … I anticipation it was aloof a funny statement.”

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 West Virginia University Wallpapers - Wallpaper Cave

In the end, Runyon and his buddies would accept the aftermost laugh.

TCU went on to break unbeaten. And admitting the Horned Frogs aloof absent out on arena for a civic championship, they were arrive to comedy in the Rose Bowl adjoin Big Ten best Wisconsin, which had additionally handed the Buckeyes their alone accident of the season.

Runyon and his eight accompany met in California and went to the bold together, watching on as TCU agape off the Badgers 21-19.

“That was the distinct best sports day of my life,” Runyon said. “I’ve got chills aloof alike cerebration about it. My ancestor and I, we rarely absent a home bold growing up. I’d been watching TCU lose back I was in diapers.

“Unfortunately, my dad anesthetized abroad in 2005. So I had tears of sadness, but tears of joy, because I was with all my buddies, and we got to bless the victory.”

Runyon and his aggregation weren’t absolutely satisfied, however.

Together, they had suffered through all the accident in the Southwest Conference. They had gone through the abasement of initially actuality larboard out of the Big 12 Conference.

And aloof two months earlier, they had endured the abuse of their aggregation actuality compared to the Little Sisters of the Poor.

They capital Ohio State to feel a little of that pain.

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 Wallpaper - West Virginia Athletics

And that aggressive an email chain, with Runyon accidentally suggesting two canicule after that they “share the amount of a advance abreast the Ohio State campus.”

Wes Hoaglund took Runyon’s email appeal actively and anon phoned adolescent TCU alum Dave Yacullo, who formed at an announcement bureau that helped with civic alfresco campaigns.

Yacullo was in.

“We got so advantageous because Columbus is the aboriginal bazaar area they were testing agenda alfresco announcement as a network,” Yacullo said. “So, there had been places area agenda had been done before, but they hadn’t absolutely congenital a abounding arrangement that covered the accomplished marketplace. Knowing that we could get up immediately, it aloof became an amazing opportunity. I said, ‘Well, we’re not activity to aloof put up aloof one; we’re activity to wallpaper the Columbus market.'”

That actual day, added than 20 agenda billboards went up about Columbus, with the aforementioned message:

CONGRATULATIONS TOTCUFor their BCS Rose Bowl Victory-Little Sisters of the Poor

Immediately, the antic drew account from about the country. Except cipher knew who was abaft it.

“There were all these burghal belief out there. Bodies anticipation it was some T. Boone Pickens oil guy,” said Yacullo, apropos to the Oklahoma State mega-booster.

Because Clear Channel was still experimenting with the abstraction of citywide agenda alfresco advertising, the absolute bill was absolutely aloof $5,000. Hoaglund covered that through his mortgage cyberbanking company, while the blow of the accumulation affiliated calm addition $5,000 to accord to the Little Sisters of the Poor adjustment of Oregon, Ohio, whose mission is confined the aged poor.

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 Wallpaper - West Virginia Athletics

“When you’re in my business, you accept to accept a acceptable faculty of humor, and I anticipation they had a acceptable faculty of humor, too,” Gee said of the bearding TCU advance contingent. “And of course, what is absolutely funny, I had no abstraction that there was a Catholic adjustment alleged the Little Sisters of the Poor. I still accept the bruises on my knees for allurement for forgiveness.”

Gee, who had additionally beatific a claimed analysis to the Little Sisters of the Poor, was forgiven by the sisters for axis them into a punchline aback he visited the adjustment the afterward fall.

Runyon, Hoaglund, Yacullo and the others, meanwhile, autonomous to accumulate their anonymity as a way to strengthen their friendship. Not alike TCU able-bodied administrator Jeremiah Donati knew who had been abaft the billboards.

“There were bodies demography albatross for it that I knew weren’t involved,” Donati said.

A few canicule ago, Runyon agitated the beans to Donati during a donor accident arch up to the Ohio State game.

Their advance abstruse ability assuredly be out.

But as they besiege afresh from all over the country for one of the bigger TCU amateur back that Rose Bowl, their accord has never been stronger.

“It could be addition absurd moment for TCU football, and acceptable would be bigger than losing,” Runyon said.

“But accepting together, for us, that’s what it’s about.”

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