TCU living it up ahead of bowl game in Arizona

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Fort Worth is "Where the West Begins." Scottsdale, where the TCU football team is sleeping, practicing and hanging out this week, is "The West's Most Western Town."

Not so sure that motto, which the first mayor coined in the early 1950s, fits now, with the expansive upscale development that fills much of the town.

Regardless, the city has been a great host for TCU, according to players and coach Gary Patterson.

Everything from the team hotel to the practice facilities to the Buffalo Wild Wings personnel have been "awesome," Patterson said.

The Horned Frogs (7-5), back in the Phoenix area for the second time in four seasons, have enjoyed their first three days of mostly sunny, 50-degree temperatures as they prepare to play Michigan State (6-6) at 9:15 p.m. Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe.

About the only complaint -- though no one from TCU complained -- was a pesky fire alarm that sounded intermittently during Wednesday's morning practice at Chaparral High School.

"I guess we just created a lot of heat out here," Patterson said after the Frogs' 98th practice of the season. "The people, the facilities, the food have been unbelievable. It's what you want your kids to have -- something that's really nice and they can enjoy it."

The sunny but cool weather is a stark contrast to the snow and frigid temperatures back in Fort Worth, Patterson said.

"So we're jumping up and down," he said. "There's not many times you get a chance to stay in a $400 room."

The Frogs' hotel -- the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch -- offers plenty of relaxation, entertainment and food for TCU players.

The team has hung out in the hotel's giant hot tub and more than 10 heated pools.

Much of the team took shuttles to Old Town in Scottsdale for its lively restaurant and night life scene on Monday. After practice on Tuesday, the team went to a local bowling alley.

"It was nice to see the town and the community, and everybody loves TCU down here; that's also a nice thing," TCU offensive lineman Blaize Foltz said.

Typical game week

TCU's Gary Patterson is habitual about his team's routine. That's why he likes having the bowl game fall on a Saturday.

"It makes it a lot easier," Patterson said. "[Coaches are] all creatures of habit."

The late start, which is 8:15 p.m. local time, 9:15 Central, will be the latest start for TCU since an 8:36 p.m. start at home against Northwestern in 2004.

But that's also a perk, Patterson said. After today's final practice of the year, not including Friday's walk-through, Frogs players will have more than two days' rest before kickoff. Michigan State didn't practice last weekend or Monday.

"We've practiced hard," Patterson said. "[MSU] took off Friday, Saturday, Sunday and really Monday, so they got four days. We took some days off, but we didn't take as many. So after Thursday morning, we get the rest of the day Thursday, all day Friday and all day Saturday. So you're talking about over 48 hours of rest before you go play a ballgame."

Caroling Frogs

After Gary Patterson's post-practice comments on Christmas Day, the Frogs erupted into a manly rendition of Jingle Bells. No official word on which festive Frog was choir director for the idea, but Blaize Foltz sounded as if he were in on the sing-along.

"We were a little pitchy at times, but I feel like we came through in the clutch," Foltz said.


"You'll remember this one more than any of the season's games. This is the one everybody will talk about when you go home. When you go back to your town, this is the one they'll talk about, right here." -- TCU coach Gary Patterson on reminding his team of the importance of finishing with a win.

Stefan Stevenson


Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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