The rest of the schedule “will tell the tale” for TCU in its bid for the Big 12 title and a spot in the College Football Playoff, starting Thursday night against West Virginia, coach Gary Patterson said.
“The games that we’re getting ready to play are going to speak volumes as far as our résumé, as far as what we need to do to win the conference and possibly get in the playoffs,” Patterson said Monday during the Big 12 coaches conference call. “Right now, we’re just going to worry about West Virginia. But the games coming up will tell the tale of whether we can get in the playoffs, win the conference or do any of the above. You can easily lose all of them; you can easily win all of them. We’ve just got to keep plowing through them.”
The games coming up will tell the tale of whether we can get in the playoffs, win the conference or do any of the above.
TCU coach Gary Patterson
The No. 5-ranked Horned Frogs (7-0) finish the season with three home games and two road games, starting Thursday night at home against West Virginia, then at Oklahoma State, home against Kansas, at Oklahoma and home against Baylor. The combined records of those opponents is 23-11, and two are unbeaten; three are ranked.
“We knew that probably some of the better teams athletically and record-wise were going to be at the end,” Patterson said. “I’m not sure that the ones that we’ve beaten already make any difference because of their ranking. Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Baylor — they’ve won all their games and lost only once between all of them.”
TCU fell from No. 3 to No. 5 in the AP poll after last week’s bye, perhaps falling victim to inaction while a team like Clemson elevated itself with a 58-0 rout of Miami.
Patterson acknowledged the “eye test” is a factor, but said he and his team have not concerned themselves with it in a 7-0 start that has included two last-minute conference victories on the road.
But now, after a few extra days off, Patterson is eager to see how well the Horned Frogs can play and perhaps make that case for themselves.
“Winning the ballgames in front of us will speak more than anything that’s happened before,” he said.
Bounce in step
The bye week appears to have left the Horned Frogs rejuvenated mentally and physically, Patterson said.
“Just clearing your mind, I can just tell it,” he said. “We have a lot more bounce in our step. Since Aug. 3, we’ve just been going. Just to go on the road as many times as we have, anybody that says it’s not more difficult, they’re kidding you. Missing class, leaving early, preparing, getting home at 3 or 4 in the morning — all those things play into how you do things.”
Patterson did not offer any injury updates, but he said the players who are healthy “feel a lot better.”
“Hopefully that’ll show up Thursday night,” Patterson said. “The next five ballgames are big ballgames. We knew that’s the way it was.”
Kickoff time announced
The Big 12 announced a 2:30 p.m. kickoff for TCU’s game at Oklahoma State Nov. 5.
It will end a string of three consecutive night starts for the Horned Frogs, who are coming off two road victories in prime time — 52-45 at Kansas State and 45-21 at Iowa State. Thursday night, the Horned Frogs get their own chance in front of a home night crowd when they host West Virginia.
Two start times remain undetermined for TCU — its Nov. 14 game against Kansas and Nov. 21 at Oklahoma.
The season finale at home against Baylor on Black Friday, Nov. 27, is a 6:30 p.m. kickoff.
All three games between TCU and West Virginia in the Big 12 have been decided on the last play — two in overtime and last season on Jaden Oberkrom’s 37-yard field goal for TCU.
The road team has won each meeting in the Big 12 series.
TCU and West Virginia are 2-2 all time. The non-conference meeting was a 34-14 victory for West Virginia in the 1984 Bluebonnet Bowl.