TCU head coach Gary Patterson, Athletic Director Chris Del Conte, and representatives from the Peach Bowl and Chick-Fil-A met in the Four Sevens Room on TCU's campus Tuesday to talk about the Peach Bowl.
During the press conference Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl president and CEO, formally invited the Horned Frogs to participate in the game, with Chris Del Conte accepting on behalf of the University. The two, along with Gary Patterson and Chick-fil-A Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Steve Robinson also held a brief press conference, and took questions afterwards.
Here are the highlights.
Gary Stokan, president and CEO, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
"First off, let me start by complimenting Gary Patterson, not only for the five coach of the year awards, but to me, more importantly, the class that he's exhibited through the whole College Football Playoff process. In this business you teach as much as you coach. I think what Gary taught, not only his players but all of us in this business to rise above, and I'm sure that those kids are going to be able to use this later in line, on how to handle adversity."
"I want to congratulate the Big 12 co-champs, TCU Horned Frogs, and in particular Trevone Boykin and Paul Dawson for not only becoming Players of the Year in the Big 12, but also for becoming All Americans. Quite a tribute to a team to have the Coach of the Year, the offensive and defensive players of the year in the conference."
"This team could do something very special. This team could be only the fourth team in the 91 year history of TCU football to win 12 games, which is pretty special. And, they can finish in the top 5 in the country."
"We're ecstatic, we'll be the first College Football Playoff New Year's Six bowl game in history on December 31st. A lot of people have expressed that this is the best bowl game in the country, other than the two semifinal games, and we believe that."
"It's been a while since we've had a Big 12 team because of our relationship with the ACC and SEC, but I want you to know that we take this very seriously. We love southern hospitality. We love to treat people in out city. Not only is it the game, but it's the whole bowl week experience that we focus on."
Steve Robinson, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Chick-fil-A
"Well it's cliche, but it is an unbelievable treat to be a part of helping to host TCU in this year's Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. It's hard to believe that this is the 18th year that Chick-fil-A has been associated with this game."
"Since 2002 the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl has distributed over $16 million in charity and scholarship. The last five years it has been over $1 million a year. Part of those donations go to endowed scholarships to both TCU and Ole Miss for being a part of the bowl game."
"We're thrilled about what Atlanta has to host you with, and of course that will also include Chick-fil-A food."
Chris Del Conte, Athletic Director, TCU Horned Frogs
"What a journey. I think about three years ago when we joined the Big 12 and I sat down and was talking to Coach Patterson and he said 3-5 years, we will win the Big 12. Coach, it was a three year plan. What you have done for TCU, our football program and our city, it is phenomenal."
"11-1, I would have taken the Peach Bowl the first day."
"We're the first game of the new era of the playoff era. It speaks volumes of Texas Christian University."
"We will have Purple Reign in Atlanta. Fear the Frog."
On Gary Patterson's new contract: "When you have a coach of his magnitude you can't take it for granted, so it's my job to take care of him and his assistants. We waited until the end of the year, sat down, I said 'here's what we can do for you,' stood up, shook hands, next subject."
On the current state of the program: "We've won a conference championship in every league we've been in. For him to bring in Sonny and Doug Meacham speaks to the kind of coach he is."
On the CFP system: "We've been talking about TCU since October 28, it's been fantastic. We wanted college football to be at the forefront of America and it has been. It's not time to panic. I thought the committee did a phenomenal job. Would we have liked to be in the four? Absolutely. Now you can sit back and look at anything else but at the end of the day we need to let this process go for a couple of years before we decide if anything needs to be done."
On if the Big 12 needs to make changes: "No, because if you think about being insane, or being a genius, it's a fine line. If Florida State lost or Ohio State played a close game you could be talking about two Big 12 teams in and how smart they were. It can go either way, we knew that going in."
On Big 12 expansion: "That's not even entering our thought right now. There's no need to panic. The violin is still playing on the deck."
On TCU getting to the title of football "royalty" (I promise, I didn't ask this question): "Since 1998 we've been on the national stage. So I understand what the concept is. We've had a long standing tradition of our brand. We're one of the finest schools in the country."
On the recruiting difference since being in the Big 12: "I think being in the Big 12 is a huge difference, because in the region it is the power conference. When you think about Andy Dalton, it was between us and UTEP. We've been known to develop players. Now all of a sudden a kid flips from Baylor to TCU, we've got a kid from Texas coming, all these kids coming because you're relevant in a major player conference. And you know, it took some schools 16 years to win a Big 12 Championship, it took us 3. Just saying."
Gary Patterson, Head Coach, TCU Horned Frogs
"Obviously we're going to the Southeast Conference part of the country and we're excited about that. It's a great team in Ole Miss and it's been a great bowl for a long time."
"TCU, since we've been here, it's always been about how you win. I see and hear a lot about the players experience and our experience as a staff, and I just want the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl to understand that we come to play well. It's about fun, and we spell fun w-i-n. When we get there, we're coming there to work hard and play and give you a great ball game."
"In the short time that we've [Hugh Freeze and GP] known each other we've gotten along pretty well. It was about 6:50 yesterday morning I got a text from him, and he said 'I just want to request my Christmas gift. And that's that you'll just line up in one base defense.'"
"When you can play in a bowl game and you play against someone you respect and you like, it makes the bowl game so much better. You're playing an opponent that is play really well on both sides of the ball. They lost a great player about three quarters of the way through the season that hurt them a little bit but they have great players across the board, and defensively they've been playing phenomenal."
"For us, we thought we played our best football the last half of the season, especially defensively. Everybody we talked about offensively with Trevone, we ended up leading the league in scoring defense, and second in the league in total defense, so we feel like defense-wise and special teams wise we came on and are able to give you the full package."
"We feel like this is a playoff game. Ole Miss was as high as third in the nation, they play at a very high level. They do a great job in every phase of the ball game, and we understand we have an unbelievable challenge ahead of us. We're just hoping that we can give the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl our very best and have an opportunity to win it. Go Frogs."
On Trevone Boykin and the Heisman: "He's in a situation now, where he's one of the frontrunners going into next year. It's all how you finish, not how you start. You can win ball games and people notice. I think the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl is a really good stage for him moving forward to show what kind of player he is. His best advertisement is himself. He can be his best press release."
On how hard it will be to replace this year's seniors: "[It won't be] harder than replaing 27 seniors from the Rose Bowl team, where 10 guys went to the NFL off that team. Recruiting wise, it gets easier to replace them than it was. We've got a great response from people."
On a chance to get to play an SEC team: "I think playing a high level SEC team is definitely something that [the team] was looking forward to. Obviously kids listen to the media, and they know a bunch of kids on that Ole Miss roster. All that plays a part. Great competitors want to play great competition. It's as simple as that. It makes it a lot easier on the head coach to have practices and to do the things you need to do when they know they're going to play somebody who's really good, that they have to play their best ball game to win. This will be an easy December for me."