The Red Raiders and Horned Frogs are a more bitter rivalry than just about anything in the state as this point, across three major sports. It’s great that the schools decided to revive this excellent trophy.
"We are excited to bring back the Saddle Trophy," Tech AD Kirby Hocutt said via the school’s official release. "[TCU Athletics Director] Chris Del Conte and I have discussed bringing back the saddle several times to honor this great series that dates back to our time in the Southwest Conference. We look forward to playing for the saddle for many years to come."
This trophy was used back when these two teams played in SouthWest Conference, which dissolved in 1990. The rivalry was the dubbed the West Texas Championship, and the two teams split the 10 games of the rivalry. According to Lubbock Online, the rivalry’s name was coined from Lubbock’s geography and Fort Worth’s motto, “Where the West begins.”
Things look a lot tougher for TCU in Lubbock after Tuesday’s injury report.
Safety Niko Small and linebacker Montrel Wilson, who has dealt with injuries all season, are also questionable.
Hill and Howard both took part in postgame interviews Saturday night after the Horned Frogs (8-2, 5-2 Big 12) lost 38-20 at Oklahoma to drop them out of a tie for the conference lead. TCU typically doesn’t have players in postgame if they are injured in a game.
Running back Darius Anderson, the team’s leading rusher, will miss the rest of the season after suffering an unspecific leg injury at Oklahoma.
I would expect the team to come out focused, and angry, Saturday morning.
“(Texas Tech is) a really tough place to play,” Patterson said. “So, for us, all it can be right now is just, ‘How do we find a way to win against Texas Tech coming off an emotional ball game?’ For us, that’s the only thing we’ve allowed ourselves to think about.”
The TCU-Texas Tech series has been fiercely competitive since the Horned Frogs came into the Big 12 in 2012.
The Red Raiders have won two overtime games, including a 27-24 double-overtime victory in Fort Worth last season. TCU has the only lopsided victory as it routed Texas Tech, 82-27, in 2014. The Horned Frogs followed up the huge win with a three-point victory in Lubbock in 2015 in which TCU running back Aaron Green caught a tipped pass in the end zone on fourth-down for the go-ahead touchdown with 23 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
This gets a little rambling, but Clam Gene makes some solid points.
TCU is not gambling that it’s going to be able to add more bodies to its upper deck, although if it added a canopy it would boost attendance by several thousand. With 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. kickoffs, nearly all of which are mandated by TV, too many fans are spooked by the specter of sitting underneath a baking sun for three-plus hours.
Hard Rock Stadium in South Florida, home to the Miami Dolphins, added a canopy to protect fans from the sun. Baylor’s McLane Stadium has a similar ring over its seats, not too different from the old Texas Stadium.
TCU is gambling that adding more exclusive high-dollar premium seats is the safer bet. TCU can’t fill up its stadium, but it can pack its high-dollar clubs.
Whether it’s adding more club seats or rationalizing Winstar as a sponsor for an NCAA event, all it is just more professionalization of big kids’ sports.
Just more proof as to how much money drives these rankings.
There are a few interesting points to consider with those night games. The Miami game was the least close of all three, but pulled the biggest national rating. Granted, it gets an edge over Alabama-Mississippi State just by being on ABC rather than ESPN (and thus, not limited to cable subscribers), and many may have also tuned in and/or stuck with it thanks to the upset in progress, but its ratings edge is also perhaps due to the playoff implications. Notre Dame looked like a postseason lock if they kept winning, while Miami’s upset moved the Hurricanes to 9-0 and vaulted them to second in the AP and coaches’ polls. The playoff rankings don’t come out until Tuesday, but it seems likely The U will make the top four there as well.
And that perhaps explains why many nationally were drawn to Miami-Notre Dame over TCU-Oklahoma. Yes, there’s a good chance the Sooners could make the playoff now (they’re #3 in the latest AP poll and fifth in the coaches’ poll), but their game didn’t necessarily have as clear playoff implications until Georgia and Notre Dame fell. The format of the playoff may urge many to watch the current top four teams, and that can hurt the ratings of teams just outside the current picture, like No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 6 TCU, and benefit those inside it, like Notre Dame (at the time of this game) and Alabama.