Honors Heads to the College Football Playoff Championship

January 6, 2023

Photo courtesy of Tori Couch

With an exciting Fiesta Bowl win, TCU Football made history as the first team from Texas to advance to the College Football Playoff National Championship. We followed up with Honors staff and students who traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, to represent TCU at the Fiesta Bowl. Honors Academic Advisor Tori Couch ’14, TCU Ranger Mary Langford ’23 and TCU Band Member Leah Marut ’23 share their experiences and what to look forward to at the championship game. 

Share your favorite moment or memory from the Fiesta Bowl. 

Advisor Tori Couch on the Fiesta Bowl field

Couch: Attending the Fiesta Bowl was an unbelievable experience! As a member of the media, I got pregame and postgame field access, which made the game feel even more surreal. I could barely believe TCU took a 21-6 halftime lead. Then, held on throughout the wildest second half I’ve seen in a long time. Being on the field after the game, right next to players and coaches as they celebrated, is something I will never forget. 

Langford: My favorite moment was opening the Texas flag at pregame. The roar of the crowd upon seeing the flag was unlike anything any of us have ever experienced. We love opening the flag at the Carter, but this felt so incredibly meaningful to open it away from home and still feel so much support. The Texas and TCU pride was palpable. It was such a unique and once-in-a-lifetime experience.  

Leah Marut (fifth from left

Marut: Winning the game was undeniably incredible. The atmosphere was electric any time we scored, but I have to say that my favorite part was doing pregame on the field. Obviously, I was hoping that that wasn’t the last time we’d get to perform, but I wanted to soak up the moment. I remember just absolutely beaming from ear to ear, playing as loudly as possible, and turning to watch my color guard friends during “God Blessed Texas” (which has always been my favorite part of pregame.)  Then when we played the alma mater, it made me so emotional to think that this could possibly be the last time I would get to see the student section from this view. I genuinely teared up hearing the roar of the crowd and feeling the ground shake when they shouted “T-C-U” back at us. It really made me appreciate how excited, and supportive everyone at this school and in Fort Worth has been this whole season. Knowing that students and alumni drove all the way to Arizona just to cheer on the team in person shows how happy we all are just to be here, to be somewhere as significant as the CFP semifinal, and to be behind such a magical team that deserved their place.

Leah Marut (left)

What should we watch for at the championship game? 

Couch: My expectation for the national title game is for TCU to fight and make the fan base and university proud like the team has done all season. Beating Georgia will require a performance similar to the Fiesta Bowl win force turnovers, capitalize on mistakes (which Georgia rarely makes) and take advantage of every scoring opportunity. I hope the Horned Frogs pull off the win, which they definitely can do. Regardless of what happens, the 2022 TCU football team has already etched its name into college football history! 

Langford: The iconic, 100-pound Ranger battle flag! One of our seniors, Mason, has been waving it for the last three years, so it always looks incredible and effortless. The battle flag has been on the field for every home game this year and countless years prior. It’s a TCU staple, and we are all so excited to see the battle flag on a national stage! 

Mary Langford (kneeling on the left)

Battle flag photo courtesy of @ecsportsimages on Instagram

Leah Marut (fourth from left) at the TCU Band formal the night before the Fiesta Bowl

Marut: I would say to be on the lookout for more Mad Max action — after the Big XII championship game, we’ve all seen how hard he puts the team on his back, and that actually inspired us to add a new short to the music that we play in the stands. So, listen out for “Iron Man (Max)” Monday!


We are so proud of the Honors College representation seen on and off the field at the College Football Playoffs. Cheer on the Horned Frogs during the CFP National Championship at 6:30 p.m. CST Monday, Jan. 9. Join us at the TCU watch party in the Ed and Rae Schollmeier Arena — doors open at 5:30 p.m. 

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