Bob Stoops doesn’t think his team has lost focus as they turn their minds to Big 12 Conference play.
"We haven't performed as well as we need to," Stoops said. "But to say, all of a sudden, 'Oh, now we're going to get focused and try harder,' I don't believe that. Our guys have been working hard. We need to execute better, I get that, but guys have been putting in the effort ahead of this."
Both teams feature transfer QBs who are making the most of their second stops.
The transfer quarterbacks. Oklahoma’s second-year starter Baker Mayfield is the former Texas Tech transfer, and new TCU starter Kenny Hill began his college career at Texas A&M. Mayfield has passed for 793 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions this season after leading the Sooners to the four-team playoff last year. Hill is the only player nationally in the top 10 for total offense (413 yards per game), passing yards (1,487) and rushing touchdowns (six).
Gary Patterson is excited about what should be a fired up crowd Saturday, but he’s hoping that his young team finally starts to feed off of each other.
"One of the things you can't take for granted, the home crowd can give you emotion, but it can't be your emotion," Patterson said. "That's one thing as a young football team you've got to learn. You can feed off of it, but you already have to have it."
These are amazing. Don’t at me.
The blacked out helmets have a huge purple outline of a frog on the side. The team is asking fans to wear black to the game as part of "Blackout the Carter" at the Horned Frogs' Amon G. Carter Stadium.
There is more at stake for OU than just an 0-1 start in conference play Saturday.
OU's losses to Houston and Ohio State have focused on how disappointing has been this Sooner September. But lose to TCU, and 2016 shifts quickly from disappointing to disastrous. Historically disastrous. Only once in the last 50 years has Oklahoma started a football season 1-3 or worse.
While Oklahoma holds the series lead, the games have been more closely contested or not since Gary Patterson came to town. Most expect Saturday to be a new chapter of the same story.
Oklahoma is the more talented team, but the Horned Frogs are in form and at home. Expect Mayfield and Mixon to gouge the TCU defense for big plays, but sustained drives could be a problem for OU. If TCU can crank up the no-huddle and get into a rhythm, the Frogs will defend their home turf against the Sooners. Whatever happens, expect a close game -- as it always seems to be when these two teams meet up.
This is a joke. I think. Maybe.
Now, look, I know there are plenty of articles, many of them from the SBNation family,suggesting potential realignments. Personally, I think many of these suffer from projection and wishful thinking. We want to redraw the maps to give us matchups we want to see, geography that makes sense, that sort of thing. But we're not treating the conferences as fully-drawn characters with their own motivations. I may not like it, but there's absolutely no reason to think that the Big Ten would have reason to consider Cincinnati as a candidate. I'm not saying what I'm going to suggest here is likely - but I think the motivations are sound.
The bar is being set high by Jamie Dixon in his first year in Fort Worth, despite a lack of historical success in the program.
"There is no rebuild here. I told our guys that the other day," said Dixon, who compiled a 328-123 mark in his 13 seasons at Pitt, including 11 NCAA tournament appearances. "I know it's not what you're supposed to say as a first-year coach. You're supposed to say, 'Give me time. We need to rebuild. I need to get my guys.' These are my guys. We're here to compete right away. We expect to and you can't settle for anything else."