Does TCU have a claim on No. 1?

After TCU beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl last week, much of the talk surrounding the Horned Frogs wasn't whether they deserved to be ranked No. 1. Rather it was whether they would be able to finish the season ranked No. 2.

But after going 13-0, shouldn't the Horned Frogs have some claim on No. 1? David Ausiello of GoMids.com brings that point up today, saying the non-AQ coaches should forget about voting the winner of the BCS national championship game No. 1 and instead go with TCU to "send a shockwave through college football and help bring about a playoff."

That would be a great plan, except the coaches are required to vote for the BCS national champions in the No. 1 spot. Ausiello points out that Utah coach Kyle Whittingham did not follow protocol when he voted his team No. 1 following its win against Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl, which left the Utes 13-0.

I appreciate the point Ausiello makes in his column, and I believe it is one that should be debated. Still, the only shot TCU really has to claim a national championship is if the AP voters banded together and voted the Horned Frogs No. 1. That seems highly unlikely. The Horned Frogs only had one AP vote in the final regular-season poll.

To me, the larger question is whether the Horned Frogs themselves should be more outspoken about the injustice of it all. Austin Murphy points out in his article on TCU's win in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated:

As BCS executive director Bill Hancock is fond of saying, "Every game counts." Perhaps Hancock can explain to the 13-0 Horned Frogs why, if each of their games counted this season, they failed to contend for a national championship. (This is the eighth time in the BCS era that a team has run the table but not played in the national title game. Seven of those teams were from non-AQ conferences.)

TCU defensive end Wayne Daniels said in the aftermath of the win that he didn't care about the national championship. Coach Gary Patterson steadfastly continues to reiterate his support of the BCS system because nobody has told him how it would be any easier for an undefeated non-AQ school to make it into a playoff.

I understand his point. But what about a plus-one? I am a playoff proponent, but realize the chances of that happening are as great as TCU getting a national championship this year. But if there was a plus-one system, many of these undefeated teams that have failed to get a shot at playing for a national championship (this means you, too, Auburn) would get it. That does not dilute the regular season. In fact, it makes more than one bowl game mean something bigger.

Sure, the Rose Bowl win means plenty to TCU, the Mountain West and non-AQs everywhere. But in the grand scheme of things, it was just another game that had no bearing on the national championship. Same with all the other BCS games. Same with all the other redundant bowl games. A plus-one would keep the integrity of the bowl system, something that is important to coaches and administrators. And it would add more drama to the postseason than there is right now.

In any case, there is a valid argument to be made for TCU deserving a share of a national championship.