As that noble New Jersey philosopher, Bill Parcells, once said, you are what your record says you are.
After getting (choose one) spanked, steamrolled, embarrassed by the Oklahoma State Cowboys 31-6 Saturday, the TCU Horned Frogs’ won-loss record fell to 5-5.
Which suggests, somewhat generously, that the 2016 Frogs are a very average football team. Capable of both impressing and embarrassing — sometimes all in the same afternoon.
They are a team that began the season as the coaches’ choice to finish second in the Big 12 Conference, but now one that will have to find another gear just to win a bowl-eligible sixth game.
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“Like I told coach [Mike] Gundy in the middle of the field, we got our butts kicked,” TCU’s Gary Patterson said after Saturday’s beating.
“You can’t sugarcoat things. Sometimes you’ve just got to tell them how it is.”
It's been a long time since we got our butts kicked at home.
TCU coach Gary Patterson
An easy, but overthrown halfback pass was the singular play that kept the Frogs from going to the locker room at halftime with a 13-10 lead.
But the Cowboys resolved the logjam with finality, marching for touchdowns on drives of 91, 76 and 94 yards the first three times they got the ball in the second half.
Patterson sensed that some dark history had been made.
“It’s been a long time since we got our butts kicked at home,” he said.
To be accurate, it was the worst defeat at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Patterson’s 16 years as head coach.
And while he repeatedly gave credit after the game to the job Gundy and the Oklahoma State team did, Patterson said it was time for the Frogs to look in the mirror and see what kind of team they want to be.
That’s a noble notion, I thought, but I asked Patterson if a football team of millennials even own a mirror these days, much less scrutinize themselves in one. Don’t they all just take selfies?
Yes, Patterson said, today’s student-athletes do have mirrors.
“If the adults will give it to them,” he said. “In this program, it’s about when you get done with football, can you go out and make it in the world? So we give them mirrors as soon as they check in.”
You’ve got to grow up or it’s not going to change next year.
TCU coach Gary Patterson
Patterson was quick to include himself in the group that needed to do the self-examining.
“We’re still young,” he said of his team. “We’ve still got to grow up. They’ve got to be able to look themselves in the mirror, just like I do, and say we got our butts kicked.
“You’ve got to grow up or it’s not going to change next year.”
Patterson knows the road, the ups and downs, the roses and the thorns. For whatever reason, this team has been plagued by inconsistency. The coach was baffled how, after a week off, the Frogs could sputter so badly playing at home.
He suggested that changes will have to be made. He didn’t say who or when.
“As soon as you start tolerating what happened today, you need to get into a different profession,” Patterson said.
“As a coach you put a lot into it. What you’ve got to realize is that you’re not going to change unless you can look at yourself in the mirror and say, ‘That didn’t work — so what’s your next answer?’”
Ten games into this 2016 season, the Horned Frogs are a 5-5 football team.
In other words, there are as many questions left as there are answers.