We have known for a long time what the rest of the nation found out last night - Coach P is as good as it gets in college football.
“Do not go sideways!” he said and laughed after an Oklahoma play failed to gain much ground in overtime against Georgia. “Have we not made ourselves clear?”
Patterson, the most successful coach in TCU history, repeatedly drew on his previous matchups against Oklahoma to spot potentially successful plays, and recognized formations that Georgia used against TCU in the Liberty Bowl last season.
Early on, he spotted trouble for Oklahoma with its three-lineman approach on defense against the Georgia attack.
GP did more for TCU’s national perception last night than any bowl win could.
Now, Coach Patterson doesn’t seem like the type that ever searches for that gratification. If he did, he would’ve left TCU a long time ago. Instead, he saw this program through Conference-USA, the Mountain West and finally the Big 12 conference. He’s had opportunities, but he’s always passed. Now, he’s one of the top-10 highest-paid coaches in the country and has a program that is recruiting at a Power 5 level and has won at least 11 games in three of the past four seasons. Following the collapse of the Southwest Conference, TCU is producing the way many people expected they would be able to had they ever had the chance to get back into a Power 5 conference. Heck, this is what many in the Big 12 were afraid of TCU becoming if they ever got the opportunity again to play with the big boys. Much of that is thanks to coach Patterson.
The Frogs could really use a bounce-back win tonight on the road.
“We’ll see,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said, asked if it is an advantage or disadvantage to see the Sooners again so soon. “There’s too many other things happening in these next two weeks.”
Before the Frogs get to their next meeting against OU, in Norman on Jan. 13, they first have to travel to Waco for a Tuesday night game against Baylor, then a Saturday night game against Kansas.
After that, it’s a Jan. 10 trip to Austin against Texas.
Then on to Norman for the rematch.
“It’s going to be a long season, and there are going to be tough games like this, so we’ve got to be ready to play every night,” TCU guard Kenrich Williams said.
It is a tough five-game opening set. OU begins the week ranked third in RPI. Kansas is 16th. Texas is 59th, and Baylor is 125th. Combined, their records are 41-10.
Baylor may be without two important players tonight, and both teams are coming off heart-breaking losses, though they lost in very different ways.
“We’ve got to get better defensively,” Dixon said. “I’ve been saying it and saying it and saying it. The 12 wins have kind of hid that.”
Meanwhile, Baylor (10-3, 0-1) has a more extensive list of problems.
The Bears played without key reserve forward Terry Maston for the last four weeks of nonconference play. Maston averaged 11.7 points and 7.7 rebounds in the first six games of the season and was leading Baylor with 15 points when he suffered a broken right hand in a loss at Xavier on Nov. 28.
Then, on the afternoon of Baylor’s Big 12 opener on Friday at Texas Tech, the team announced via Twitter that 7-foot forward Jo Lual-Acuil was out for the game with a left foot sprain. The announcement came with a possible upside that Maston could return versus the Red Raiders.
The Bears don’t have a ton of depth, so the return of a healthy Lual-Acuil is a big deal.
“TCU is a very veteran team that returned a lot from last year,” Drew said. “It’s a team we knew was going to be very good this year, and like most Big 12 teams, they rebound really well. So we’ve got to do a lot better job on the glass than we did last game. As far as defensively, they’re very solid at what they do. You have to earn everything. They have people who have been there for a while, and they’ve expanded and do additional things on offense which makes them hard to guard.”