When the TCU Horned Frogs take the field against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs on Wednesday, they'll be appearing in the bowl for the third time in six years. Following two straight BCS appearances and the departure of Andy Dalton to the NFL, TCU weren't expected to make a BCS appearance, but they came close. They went 10-2 and won the Mountain West, but finished in 18th in the BCS rankings. They needed to finish 16th to get in.
Because they missed a possible BCS berth by two spots, they drop down to the Poinsettia Bowl. There, they take on WAC champions Louisiana Tech, a bit of a step down from the BCS. Fortunately for TCU, this is their last year in the Mountain West conference. They will be a member of the Big 12 next season, and their agreements with bowls are a bit more high-profile (and financially lucrative) than the Poinsettia Bowl.
Not only is TCU less likely to get dissed by the BCS in the Big 12, the drop-off isn't nearly as severe if they miss out.