Gary Patterson says having fans come to and stay at games will help TCU

TCU coach Gary Patterson ended his Tuesday media luncheon with a plea to fans to make Amon G. Carter Stadium a legitimate home-field advantage Saturday against Texas Tech.

He referenced the night in 2009 when the largest crowd in the stadium's history -- more than 50,000 -- watched the Horned Frogs beat Utah.

That was the weekend that ESPN brought its College Gameday show to the TCU campus and the Frogs capped the night with a blowout.

He also referenced No. 23 TCU's last game against No. 17 Texas Tech, a 12-3 Frogs win at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Patterson said there were more Red Raider fans than Frog fans, something he hopes has since changed.

Patterson thanked the TCU student section for "doing an unbelievable job of making sure we have a home-field advantage," but added, "we've got to get the whole stadium to be the same way."

"We've got to the point where everybody comes to the stadium because it's a social event," he said, while dismissing any notion that the crowd against Iowa State on Oct. 6 was lacking. "The next evolution of our stadium is we have to make it some place you don't want to come play."

The part fans play is what makes college football special, Patterson said, before declaring the Frogs' 2:30 p.m. Saturday meeting with the Red Raiders (5-1, 2-1) a measuring-stick game.

"This is one of those games where we find out what we can do," he said. "I need the emotion of that crowd I had at Baylor. The ones that were there, they were loud. Our [players] noticed it, and it made a difference. We need our stadium to be the same way."

Patterson downplayed the fact that Texas Tech backed out of a scheduled game in 2011, when Tech coach Tommy Tuberville said TCU was not the kind of team he should be playing at the time.

"Nobody at TCU, not Gary Patterson, not my team, nobody said that," Patterson said. "It can be for the fans and you media people, but outside of that, I'm going to go play a ball game on Saturday. Everybody changes games. I didn't think a second thought about him changing that ball game last year."

Tuberville, who is in his third year at Tech, wasn't around when the Frogs shut down Mike Leach's offense in 2006. It came two years after the Red Raiders blew out the Frogs 70-35 in Lubbock. Tuberville said he expects the inaugural league meeting between the teams is the start of a good rivalry.

"I'm sure they're looking forward to it as our players are," Tuberville said. "It should be a good one."

Both teams are coming off impressive wins. Texas Tech knocked off West Virginia while TCU won at Baylor. The Red Raiders' win was particularly dominating over a team previously ranked fifth. Quarterback Seth Doege threw for a career-high 499 yards and had six touchdowns while the Tech defense held West Virginia to its lowest output of the season. Doege said the rivalry is natural.

"I think it's just the fact that they're another Texas school," Doege said. "For being from Texas and we have a lot of guys that are from Texas that it's just one of those pride things that you want to be the best team in Texas. So any time you play a Texas school, there is a little more excitement there to win and play."

These regional rivalries are exactly why TCU was so excited to join the Big 12 and have games against Texas teams, Patterson said. Playing Colorado State and Wyoming didn't get fans stoked. More importantly, TCU fans likely did not have friends or family with ties to those schools.

"The fans have to come and they have to stay and they have to help us, or they've got to deal with what we have to deal with," Patterson said. "You have to understand if we don't win then you've got to deal with Tech people for the whole year until you play them the next year. That's what's going to happen now that you're playing in the Big 12 Conference. You have to deal with it for a whole year. If you got beat by Colorado State? Out of sight, out of mind.

"It's great for me; that's what makes college football what it is. That's why we wanted back playing the Baylors, the Texas Techs. Two years ago, it didn't matter if Tech was 10-2 and we were 10-2. They didn't play each other, so nobody cared. Now all of sudden everybody cares."

Stefan Stevenson


Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram