To the part you care about — TCU defensive end Devonte Fields should be available for TCU’s first Big 12 game, at Texas Tech.Yes, it does stink he will miss the season opener Aug. 31 against LSU at Cowboys Stadium, but it could be worse. He could miss Big 12 games.Because that is what matters. Saturday is far more important than any other day of the week, and a Big 12 game has a bigger impact than a date against LSU.On Wednesday, TCU head coach Gary Patterson suspended the best defensive player in the Big 12 for the first two games of the 2013 season because of a violation of team and university policy.This feels like a good time to permanently suspend the notion that this program is above all of college football. Drop the holier than thou routine and accept that TCU is just a part of big-time college football, and the Horned Frogs are in the cycle of dirty laundry that happens to every team.It happens to Texas, Baylor, Miami, all of ’em. Just hope your team is winning when the bad news breaks.Whatever Fields’ error, which did not involve a police report, it must have been a good one to garner a two-game suspension. Either that or his head coach is sick of this stuff.Chances are 5,000 percent whatever Fields did was black and white and left no room for anything other than a suspension. You don’t suspend the Big 12 defensive player of the year, Big 12 defensive newcomer of the year and a player who recorded 10.5 sacks unless you really have no other choice.What happened with Casey Pachall in the late summer of 2012 when it was reported he told the cops he failed a drug test gave TCU an out not to suspend him because it was not a violation of university policy.TCU was not making any person available to talk about this latest incident.When it does, expect a steady dose of “We’re not talking about the past, but we’re just moving forward and trying to get better.” (Notice no one is ever hesitant to discuss the Rose Bowl, which is in the past as well.)For those of you who run your own College Football Fantasy League of Misfit Toys, the Frogs have done quite well over the past year or so.Four players, including some starters, were arrested and kicked off the team after they were accused of selling weed in February 2012.A few months later, Pachall reportedly admitted to the cops he failed a drug test, for which he was not suspended. In October, Pachall was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and then left school for a few months.Now Fields.Just when TCU cleaned itself up from last season’s messes, it has another one. This is what we call “a trend.” It won’t last forever, but for the time being, TCU is one of “those” programs.These episodes have likely happened before at TCU under GP, only you never heard about them because that’s what good programs do. They keep their stuff in-house.Spillage, even at the good programs, is unavoidable and the best you can do is clean it up, and cover your hide by winning on Saturday.Any idea that TCU has not sold out in the name of winning is gone. TCU did not sell its soul, but priorities have been altered, internal agreements made.This is what happens when you join the BCS.I’m OK with it, and so are you.Applications are at an all-time high. The inclusion of the Big 12 has been a financial godsend to Fort Worth. Property values around the school have jumped. Donations flow.There was a time when TCU players got in trouble, and the team was awful. That’s when a violation of team rules and university policy is truly unacceptable.In May 1997, four TCU football players were charged with felony assault after they beat up a student. The players remained on a team that finished 4-7. That simply cannot be tolerated.When a team loses and players are busted for drugs, or grades, or a DWI, that’s when the coach has “lost control” of a “bunch of bad kids.”When the team wins and players are busted for selling weed, a DWI, or suspended for a violation of team/university policy, that’s when the coach needs to “send a message” that “we don’t tolerate that stuff here.”This will blow over, and maybe if TCU is lucky a Red Raider, Bear or Aggie will get popped for something stupid.It is embarrassing and looks bad, but the important thing is it’s only two games. Fields will be back in time for the night game in Lubbock.And that’s what you care about.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7697 Twitter: @macengelprof