5 Things @TCUSchieffer: What to Watch for When TCU Plays in the Fiesta Bowl

Schieffer Sports Stories: Fiesta from the Fort

This winter break looks a little different for our Horned Frogs as they ring in the new year at the Fiesta Bowl. This football season has showcased amazing talent both in the stadium and outside of it. Communication and sports are directly intertwined in Schieffer College, from our Sports Broadcasting major to Sports Communication and Sports Journalism courses. Here are five things to watch for when TCU plays in the Fiesta Bowl.

#1: Watch for TCU’s tenacity.

First and foremost, Charity Robinson from Film, Television and Digital Media says to watch this unique moment for TCU and this team. “The audience should be watching out for TCU’s tenacity. This team plays hard in all four quarters of play and has earned a reputation as a second-half team that can wear down any opponent. Strength and conditioning Coach Kaz Kazadi is due a significant amount of credit for his work with these TCU student-athletes.” Robinson added, “as a school that can often be overlooked as a powerhouse D1 competitor, TCU consistently competes and challenges some of the top programs in college athletics, in football and a myriad of other sports.”

#2: Look out for media coverage and how TCU is being represented on a larger scale.

Broc Sears, Strategic Communication, spoke about this moment for TCU, “Students are consumed with TCU football right now, and they have an opportunity to see how we as a team and a school are seen from a perspective outside the campus.” Sears suggested that audience members watch to see how TCU is covered compared to Michigan, “Nationally, how are we framed in comparison to Michigan? Is there a bias for or against us from mostly bi-coastal news centers as a “valid” contender? Are sportscasters jumping on the TCU bandwagon?” Additionally, Sears suggested audiences think about “who did the network put in as our team in the booth and on the field? Did we get the “A” team, or are they over in Atlanta for the [University of] Georgia game?  How balanced is the coverage, especially if the game tips in favor of one team; is there a perception of a favorite by the sportscasters? Our Athletic Communication people do an incredible job of providing the networks with details, statistics, backstories, etc., so do the sportscasters paint a knowledgeable and genuine picture of our team and university?”

#3: See if you can spot Hypnotoad.

This season Hypnotoad has taken off as the unofficial mascot of TCU Football, even making an appearance in Times Square! Strategic Communication professor Catherine Coleman, Ph.D. talks about Hypnotoad as a marketing tool, “the Hynotoad phenomenon is a great example of creativity, storytelling and brand strategy. The intertextual references draw meaning from popular culture and allow, in fact, encourage people, to share content such as memes featuring the Hypnotoad, now closely associated with the TCU Horned Frog, to communicate a range of social meanings. It’s humorous; it’s intriguing; it’s sharable and it has a curious power. Hypnotoad has social currency, and we’re mesmerized.”

#4: Cheer on all TCU athletes at the game—not just the football players.

Various students will be on the field representing TCU, from the football team to the Showgirls and Super Frog. Coleman urges audiences to think about the variety of talent and athleticism both on and slightly off the field, “It’s interesting and important not only to consider what we see on the field, but also on the sidelines, as well as what is unseen with the hard work of a lot of different people. For example, we think of the football players, but there are a lot of different athletes participating at the game, including TCU’s cheerleaders and Showgirls. All of these athletes are important ambassadors for the TCU name.”

Learn more about Schieffer College student, George Kamar, and his experience as a drummer in the TCU Marching Band.

#5: Follow along with our TCU student journalists on and off the field.

Our student journalists will be covering the Fiesta Bowl for TCU student media. Micha Pearce, Tristen Smith, Dru Kennedy and Lys Marquez will be on-site reporting the game. Make sure to follow their reporting on Twitter and Instagram and check out @TCUShcieffer, where we will share their reports.

Read more about sports in Schieffer College in our series Schieffer Sports Stories including 5 Things at TCU Schieffer: Future of Fans and (College) Football.