Now that TCU fans have caught their breath from another thrilling comeback win in the Alamo Bowl, there’s just one more question they have to answer this season: will Frog Nation root for No. 2 Oklahoma to win the CFB Playoff?
The Star-Telegram posed that question to TCU fans in a recent Facebook post and the general consensus is ... well, there really isn’t one.
Some TCU fans and administrators, including coach Gary Patterson, will gnash their teeth and root for the team that crushed their school twice this season. For many Frogs fans, though, the list of unforgivable sins committed by Oklahoma is just too long.
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“I wouldn't root for OU even if they were playing against the Taliban,” Arlington resident Ron Glover said.
Setting aside the six games in the 1940s and 1950s, Oklahoma has controlled the series, winning nine of the last 12 matchups dating to 1990. Since the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12 for the 2012 season, the Sooners have won six of the seven games between these two teams.
Asking TCU fans to pull for this particular Oklahoma team is an even more difficult request, considering how thoroughly the Sooners have owned Gary Patterson’s group this year.
All it took was a half for Baker Mayfield and his prolific offense to put up 38 points en route to a breezy 38-20 regular-season win in Norman. Things didn’t go much better in the Big 12 title game, as the Sooners stormed out to a 17-0 first quarter lead that proved too much for the Horned Frogs to overcome.
“Not only no, but HECK no,” said Clint Dickinson, an Arlington resident. “I can’t stand OU fans’ obnoxious, football entitled attitudes. Even the fans I like (yes, some of them are family/or like family) are too loud about it.”
The only thing Frog Nation might hate more than Oklahoma is Mayfield himself. For years, the Lake Travis High School product has practiced the art of infuriating football fans everywhere, and he’s put together a collage of less than reputable antics this season.
Some of his greatest hits include the time he planted an OU flag in the middle of the field immediately following his team’s 31-16 road win over then-No. 2 Ohio State. Then there was the infamous crotch grabbing maneuver he directed at opponents from the sideline during a 41-3 blowout road win over Kansas.
For TCU fans, his most egregious act occurred when the two teams met in Norman. As the Horned Frogs came out of the tunnel for pregame warm-ups, Mayfield pegged one of Patterson’s players in the head.
In order to overcome the adversity he’s faced in his college career, Mayfield embraced a combative, underdog persona. The more confrontation there is — real or manufactured — the better he plays.
Just ask Gary Patterson. He and the brash quarterback’s long and contentious history has only fueled TCU fans’ distaste for the Austin native.
“Never Mayfield & Co., as though he were the center of the universe,” said Jan Raesz, a Circleville resident. “Time to give credit where credit is due, his receivers, blockers, etc. handed him the Heisman, which was tainted the second it touched his hands.”
No matter what he said in December, all of the hate emanating from Patterson and the city of Fort Worth has really served to raise the quarterback’s level of play against TCU.
In his three career games as a full-time starter against the Horned Frogs, all Oklahoma victories, he’s accounted for just over a 1,000 yards of total offense and 11 touchdowns (nine passing, two rushing).
“An Oklahoma win will do nothing to elevate TCU, we will always be considered the small school that doesn’t deserve an invite to the dance, so no, I will not be rooting for Oklahoma,” said Shawn Flaherty, a Fort Worth resident. “(I) Might have had Lincoln Riley held Mayfield even a little accountable during the season. Have to agree with Ron Glover!”
The number one reason fans have used to justify rooting for a conference opponent that has completely owned the Horned Frogs in recent years is pride for the Big 12 conference.
This will be Oklahoma’s second CFB playoff selection, and the Sooners remain the only Big 12 team to make the postseason since the final four format began in the 2014-2015 season. And despite having the worst national title odds of the four playoff contenders, first-year head coach Lincoln Riley’s team is still the Big 12’s only hope this season to end the conference’s 11-year national title drought.
“Next time TCU misses out on a top 4 BCS slot, some of you may wish that the Big XII has the respect of the (CFB playoff) selection committee,” said David Jones, a resident of Cedar Hill.
Some fans believe their TCU supporters should wish for the shared revenue an Oklahoma championship would bring. Others believe that their title would soften the blow and alter the perception of the Horned Frogs’ two previous blowout losses to the Sooners.
At some point, logic went out the window. The most common hypothetical scenario was one where fans could root for Oklahoma, but Mayfield (by some type of imagined injury or suspension) wouldn’t be the quarterback.
Eventually fans delved into the realm of desperate impossibilities. One TCU fan, Jeremy Moore, had a crude, yet simple solution for how to resolve the whole debate.
“Rooting for a crater to open up in the middle of the field,” he said. “Does that count?”