By now, I am sure you have seen the video. But, just in case the rock you are living under doesn't have cable, here's the gist: after TCU pounded WVU last Thursday night, Coach Patterson and Coach Holgorsen met at midfield, as coaches do. Gary leaned over and asked a simple question "What do you think our chances are against Baylor?" Holgo answered, "You'll win, you're the more complete team."
The moment has spawned quite the controversy, and, to no surprise, has added fuel to the fire for the school south of here who takes great joy in Patterson's "obsession with Baylor". Well, I am here to tell you Baylor fans, that yes - you're right. Coach Patterson is obsessed with you. But you know what, that's not the terrible thing you make it out to be.
First and foremost, let's talk about the utter and complete hypocrisy of a school and fan base who still tout 61-58 to this day, who focused on it when Game Day came to town a month after it happened, and who still waves rally towels with those numbers on it a year later - talking about anyone else being obsessed with anything. Saying that GP is obsessed with Baylor, while completely ignoring just how obsessed with TCU, Baylor is, is laughable. Secondly, isn't that what a rivalry is? A borderline unhealthy obsession with someone whose daily existence has no bearing on your quality of life - except for those occasions when you have the chance to go head to head? Thirdly, let's be honest here - there is not a single loss on the schedule for either school that would hurt more than losing to the other.
So, I am a coach, hence the name. I have been coaching since I was 16, so that's... we will just say a while. When I was back in California, I coached high school girls basketball in one of the best leagues in the section, with stints at two different schools within it. I had the same rival at both - a program that was consistently picked to finish at, or near, the top of the league over the time period I was a part of it. We were ALL obsessed with beating DO. They had won the league, they had great players, a good coach, and some of the most obnoxious fans in the area - and they were oh so entitled to their (recent) success - is any of this sounding familiar? I prepared for every game my team played - I watched film, I scouted, I knew every player on every team's strengths and weaknesses and could recount them off the top of my head. But in between all the work I did for the next opponent, I spent my free time trying to figure out how I was going to beat THAT opponent. Before every game, basketball coaches mill around on the court and talk while their teams warmup; I had a good relationship with even my biggest of rivals and we all compared notes of the common opponents we played. We all wanted to beat DO, so while we all prepared for the next game on our schedule obsessively, we still found time to think about that one game that maybe meant just a little bit more. All this is to say, it's not at all weird that GP asked Holgo about Baylor, and said as much afterward:
That Patterson-Holgorsen exchange about Baylor after the game last week? Happens all the time between coaches, Patterson said.— Carlos A. Mendez (@calexmendez) November 3, 2015
As much as I, and the rest of the Frog Family hate to admit it, we are all looking up at the Bears right now. They have back to back championships - one that they share with us, lest they forget - they are a few spots ahead of us in the initial (meaningless) Playoff Rankings, and they are the team that most of the national pundits have picked as the best chance for the Big XII to make the postseason. While they don't have the history or the bowl success of TCU, they are a current regular season power and find themselves among the topics of conversation any time the conversation turns to the best teams in College Football. So you're crazy if you don't think the rest of the league is looking for anything to give them a leg up against the high flying Bears.
Those conversations happen every time - well, almost every time - and when you factor in that WVU had played the Bears in their previous game, it makes a lot of sense that Patterson would ask about them, first.
"Even from the conference, you get people, especially at the end of the year when they’ve already played people and you’ve got people coming up, asking how you match up, how you do things," Patterson said. "I mean, we’ve got what, four or five guys that have been through Oklahoma State that are on our staff, that know people there?"
Asked if coaches are honest in those exchanges, Patterson said, "As a general rule."
Asked if he and Baylor’s Art Briles have those exchanges, Patterson said, "No."
I promise you, he has spent plenty of time over the past few days, and will spend plenty more over the next three, focused on OSU. He rattled off stats and details about the Cowboys in his Tuesday presser, just to further prove that point. But yeah, Bears, you're right. GP is obsessed with beating you. So am I. So are 99% of the fans that visit this blog, show up to games, or follow the Frogs from afar. We all really, really, really want to beat you, and keep you out of the playoffs, because that's what rivals do. See you in 23 days, our house. We've got a really big team, and we are coming for some really big rings.