Gary Patterson remembers he had many questions about the 2014 as spring practice began. He may have even more about the 2015 team because of the schedule alone.
“I’m not thinking about us any differently than I did a year ago,” the veteran TCU coach said, speaking to reporters last week. “If anything, I have more questions. Because now, you’re not going to start off with a Samford. You’re going to start off with a Minnesota. Up there, packed house, where they’ve got a chance to make a statement in the first game of the season.”
The heavier travel in the schedule next year is one of the chief concerns for Patterson, whose team will almost certainly debut in the top 10 and perhaps the top 5. It will not have the luxury of playing all but two of its games in the state of Texas like the 2014 squad did.
“With the people that you’ve got to go play on the road this year compared to what you did a year ago, to me, this is a tougher year,” Patterson said. “I have more concerns right now than I had last year.”
The Horned Frogs open the season on a Thursday night in Minneapolis, at Minnesota’s still-new TC Bank Stadium. The facility — the first new stadium in the Big Ten since 1960 — opened in 2014, and the Gophers went 6-1 in it, losing only to national champion Ohio State, 31-24.
“They got a lot of good players coming back that played Ohio State to the bone up there,” Patterson said.
After that, the Horned Frogs must travel in the Big 12 to Texas Tech, Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. All told, it’s five trips out of state compared to two in 2014.
Patterson said for TCU to win on the road, the offense will have to be better away from home than it was in 2014. The Horned Frogs scored two of their lowest point totals of the year in the 31-30 win at West Virginia and the 34-30 win at Kansas (the two out-of-state games).
“I’ve got to go back to Oklahoma State. I’m 0-for-2 there,” Patterson said. “I’ve got to go back to Kansas State. I’m 0-for-1 there. I’ve won at Baylor, I’ve won at Texas. This university has won at Oklahoma, but that was a long time ago. We haven’t won at Tech. There are still road blocks, still hills we’ve got to climb.”
Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407