South Carolina athletic director Eric Hyman was dreaming of a BCS berth for his current school and a national title shot for his former school when the Gamecocks faced Auburn for the SEC championship.
“I told the TCU people I wanted to beat Auburn so badly, I wanted South Carolina to beat Auburn in the championship game so it allowed TCU a shot at the national championship,” said Hyman, who served as TCU’s athletic director for more than seven years before leaving for South Carolina in 2005. “I mean, I wanted to beat them for a lot of other reasons, but one of the reasons I wanted to beat them was to allow TCU to compete for the national championship."
Hyman is the man responsible for promoting Gary Patterson to head coach in 2000 after Dennis Franchione left the program for Alabama despite some pushback that Patterson wasn’t polished enough for the position.
Both of Hyman’s children attended TCU and he is in Fort Worth visiting over the holidays.
Had South Carolina, the SEC East champions, knocked off No. 1 Auburn, the SEC West champs, in the conferende title game, it would have opened the door for the No. 3 Horned Frogs to slide into the top two in the BCS rankings for a chance to become the first team from a non-automatic qualifying conference to play for the BCS national championship.
“Now who in the world would have thought 10, 12 years ago," Hyman said, "that TCU would have been in that position? It's crazy."
But, the Gamecocks lost, 56-17, locking in Auburn as the No. 1 team in the final BCS rankings. The Tigers will take on No. 2 Oregon. TCU faces No. 5 Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day while No. 20 South Carolina will play No. 23 Florida State in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on New Year’s Eve.