It’s a great start, but it’s just the start. TCU is far from satisfied with one big win.
"It basically gives you a road map," Patterson said.
While there have been some minor adjustments over the years, the pyramid always peaks with the same goal — #1 National Champions. There are two rows for the Big 12 schedule, one for the home games and another for the road games, with postseason goals on top of that.
"We want to see that thing full purple," receiver Ty Slanina said. "We know it takes little bits and pieces every time."
You know GP is so mad that TCU has started so strong. It will be interesting to see how his group responds to the lights getting brighter.
Just as they were this season, the ’05 Frogs were coming off a losing season. The ’04 campaign was Patterson’s first losing season at TCU, and just as he did this season, he knew the group he returned would be much, much better. That ’05 team opened the season by beating Oklahoma. Patterson flung open the doors, welcoming the publicity that rode on the vapor trail of a win against a blue-blood program. “We never got our kids’ heads out of the clouds,” Patterson says. “We got beat by SMU, and that was our only loss of the year… You just have to understand people handle failure a lot better than they handle success. You have to be careful telling them too much, because that’s what they start believing.”
That will be Patterson’s challenge this week as his Frogs prepare to face West Virginia. ESPN’s College GameDay will begin rolling into Fort Worth on Thursday, and by Saturday morning TCU will be the center of the college football universe. No remote has been invented that can lower the blinds on a production of that scale. And Patterson doesn’t prefer playing from this position. “I’ve been probably a better underdog,” he says, “than I am a front-runner.”
Here at Frogs O War, we have been saying this for weeks.
“They both have a toughness to them,” Patterson said of the 2014 team, which started seven seniors, and the 2017, which starts 12. “And I’ve said that. Going into the season, I thought this group did. I thought they were more mature, I thought they liked each other.”
And as in 2014, Patterson wants to squeeze everything out of the 2017 team.
“You want to make sure that you play well on a big stage,” he said. “Like I said, there’s games you’re supposed to win, and then big games take care of themselves. I think this is a big game. They don’t need any added incentive or pressure from me. I just need to get them ready.”
Life-longer learner Gary Patterson is taking all he can from other programs.
“You’re not very wise if you’re not paying attention to everybody else,” Patterson said. “Through the years, I’ve watched how Mike has done it at Oklahoma State. One of the things Dana’s done from when he got to West Virginia is that they run the ball more. I think all the moves he’s made have been unbelievable. It’s not my place to say he’s grown, but I’ve really been impressed with how he’s done things.”
Will WVU-TCU VI be a low scoring affair? At least one writer thinks so.
TCU 37, West Virginia 27
Both of these teams want to play at pace. Both of these teams want to run the ball. Both of these teams want to use the run game to prop up their quarterbacks. But the big difference in this one is the run defense. TCU has the best run defense in the Big 12, allowing just 94.5 yards per game. West Virginia’s run defense is No. 9 in the Big 12, giving up 226 yards per game. Ask Oklahoma State how that worked out for them when TCU ran the ball with impunity, controlled the clock and kept the Cowboys off the field (TCU held the ball for nearly 40 minutes in that game). West Virginia’s run defense is going to have to play much better that its statistics show, or they’re going to need a huge game out of QB Will Grier, to win this one. This is not the best time to catch TCU, either. The Horned Frogs are 12-3 after their last 15 bye weeks.