Having done all they could do, their testimony emphatically delivered, they took a symbolic knee.
And another knee. And another and another.
“I don’t know what happens tomorrow,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said Saturday, “but the bottom line is we’ve done everything we can do.
“Now we’ll just wait and watch.”
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If hammering Iowa State 55-3 on Show-Me-Again Saturday wasn’t enough, if winning 11 games and showcasing the Big 12 Conference’s best balance of championship offense and defense hasn’t sufficed, then Patterson is right — nobody can blame the Horned Frogs.
Ranked third in last week’s College Football Playoff voting, it would seem a cruel joke — at best, an unwarranted deception — to suddenly drop TCU from the chosen four.
Patterson, nevertheless, stuck to his routine and took a knee, literally and symbolically, Saturday afternoon. He didn’t wave an American flag, hire a PR firm or jump onto the bully pulpit of a live College Game Day set to plead his team’s case.
His one nod to the “head-to-head” argument came when Patterson was asked directly whether he felt TCU deserved to be in the playoff.
“Yes,” he answered. “Why wouldn’t I think that?
“We’re 11-1. Just think about this — if Arizona and Oregon wouldn’t have played again, Arizona beat them head-to-head and they beat them at their place. So is Oregon not a good football team?”
The Ducks appear to be a virtual shoo-in for one of the four spots after rolling over Arizona 51-13 for the Pac-12 title Friday night.
“We said we were going to put it in the hands of people that weren’t going to be political, that were going to do it because this is what they thought,” Patterson said of the CFP voters, “and I’m going to leave it at that.
“The committee is made up of a lot of good people, a lot of coaches that have won a lot of football games, and have a lot of knowledge of what goes on.”
Patterson didn’t say it, so I will. When the coach at Baylor questions the integrity of the CFP committee, he’s challenging the integrity of Tom Osborne and Barry Alvarez, to name just two.
“I think you’ve got to be able to play defense and offense if you want to win championships,” Patterson added, “and if you want to play on a week-to-week basis and play different people.”
Patterson has always shouldered the blame for the manic 61-58 loss in Waco. His young defensive backs were seven games younger that afternoon. Patterson says he compounded their problems by calling a lot of “wrong defenses.”
Clearly, his TCU defense has grown up. In the seven games since the Baylor defeat, the Frogs are allowing an average of 18.4 points a game.
Iowa State was able to muster only 236 total yards Saturday and converted only 3 of 18 third-down plays. The Frogs are the national defensive leaders on three-and-outs.
The TCU offense, led by quarterback Trevone Boykin, also showed its championship prowess after a slow-starting first half. Boykin threw for four touchdowns and 460 yards, before going to the bench early in the fourth quarter.
“I’m just a little small piece of the puzzle that helps make this team go,” Boykin said after the game.
Humble pie, indeed, seemed to be on every Frogs’ plate Saturday afternoon. Yes, Boykin said, they would be watching the CFP announcement show Sunday morning. No, he said, they have nothing more to say about that.
The Frogs’ one concession to Show-Me-Again Saturday were the gray caps that they were given, which read, “2014 Big 12 Champions” across the front.
At a makeshift podium, Patterson, even more hoarse than usual, rasped out his love for the celebrating TCU fans.
“Gar-y! Gar-y!” they shouted over and over.
Patterson, his coaches and his team had done their part.
Now comes the anxious wait.
Gil LeBreton, 817-390-7697