Despite its loss last week, nothing has changed about the TCU football team, receiver John Diarse said.
“You still have the same 7-0 team,” he told reporters Tuesday during the Horned Frogs’ midweek press conference. “There’s nobody different. There’s no different strategies. There’s no new coaches or players. It’s the same exact team.”
The same exact team with the same exact hopes — win the Big 12, make the College Football Playoff.
The 14-7 loss at Iowa State clouded the Frogs’ chances for both goals. But if they can find the formula that worked for the first seven games, their odds will only increase if they keep winning.
“Win or lose from last week, we control our own destiny,” defensive tackle Chris Bradley said.
The Frogs are now one of four teams tied at the top of the Big 12 with one loss each with four games to go. There’s no telling any team’s destiny, whether it’s a spot in the Big 12 title game or beyond.
Two of the teams in the four-way tie — Oklahoma and Oklahoma State — play this week.
TCU will visit Oklahoma next week.
Oklahoma State still must go to Iowa State, now with two top 5 wins to its credit.
TCU and Oklahoma State are the only teams among the leaders to have played (and beaten) West Virginia.
Iowa State gets its turn in Morgantown this week.
“There’s a lot of football to be played by a lot of people,” coach Gary Patterson said. “There’s a good chance — a really good chance — that the second team in the championship game will have two losses, and the way it’s going, maybe three. The tiebreaker may be on three losses, not two losses.”
TCU dropped from fourth to 10th in the AP Top 25.
But the rankings don’t get any team closer or farther from the Big 12 championship, a thought that the Frogs kept in the front of their minds as they got back to practice Sunday.
“Absolutely,” Diarse said. “It’s easier to get up after a week like that, understand that there’s still a four-way tie for first place. Anything can happen these next couple of weeks.”
The Big 12 no longer has an unbeaten team. That had been TCU’s distinction for three weeks.
It made the Horned Frogs appreciate how difficult it is to go unbeaten. They were one of six unbeatens in the country going into last week.
“I said a couple of weeks ago that it’s games like that that those top teams tend to lose because they lose focus on the small details, the small executions, the small opportunities to increase the lead,” Diarse said. “And so that was just our learning lesson. And every team has one, whether they lose by a touchdown or whether they win by one point. They all have something to learn from in games like this.”
Patterson said the Frogs were “business as usual” on Sunday.
“Really, we were probably the most attentive we’ve been in three or four weeks,” he said. “Probably various reasons, not as much as ‘we lost.’ Our kids like playing against Texas.”
But first, the the goal for the Frogs is to return to playing like the team that got to 7-0.
“We’re still that team that was 7-0,” Diarse said. “The same exact team — same players, same guys, same positions. We missed out on a lot of opportunities to execute and perfect details. Understanding that as a whole makes it so much easier.”
TCU vs. Texas
6:15 p.m. Saturday, ESPN