There’s a new coach at Baylor, but from TCU’s perspective, nothing has changed. The Bears are still a handful.
“They haven’t lost a step,” defensive end Josh Carraway said.
The Horned Frogs will be facing a team in the Big 12 championship hunt when they arrive Saturday in Waco. No. 17 (in CFP rankings) Baylor is fourth in the country in offense and rushing and leads the Big 12 in defense. This is the school’s 59th consecutive week in the AP rankings (where they are 13th).
Sounds like the same old Bears, all right.
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“They’re going to give us a run for our money, and we’re going to do the same,” Carraway said.
I know the teams get after each other when they play. Gary and Art had a little bit of a, I don’t know, very competitive relationship, I should say.
Baylor coach Jim Grobe, on the rivalry between TCU coach Gary Patterson and former Baylor coach Art Briles
But one thing has changed.
Gone is the intangible conflict at the top, the tension of opposite vs. opposite between the head coaches.
Gary Patterson remains at TCU, but Art Briles is out in the wake of a football sexual assault scandal at Baylor. In his place is a coach Patterson calls “a great guy,” former Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe.
It will be TCU versus Baylor on Saturday, but it won’t be the same.
It won’t be Patterson versus Briles.
“Well, I know it’s a rivalry,” Grobe said. “I know the teams get after each other when they play. Gary and Art had a little bit of a, I don’t know, very competitive relationship, I should say. I know a little bit about that. But I know it’s been a good rivalry.”
TCU is 5-3 against Baylor since the breakup of the Southwest Conference and 2-2 against Baylor as Big 12 opponents, all under Gary Patterson. All time, the series is tied 52-52-7.
Patterson doesn’t expect that to change, but he acknowledges a new dynamic.
“I know there was a lot of moaning among Baylor people about Jim and I are good friends,” he said. “You know, to be honest with you, 90 percent of the people, guys that are in this profession that are head coaches, I get along with really well.”
That remark raised eyebrows at Patterson’s Tuesday press conference. His audience quickly figured 10 percent of 128 teams ... “So that leaves 12 coaches?” someone asked.
Patterson coyly played along.
“It could have been 99 percent,” he said.
It was as close as Patterson got to actually mentioning his former rival by name. But he left little doubt about his view of the big picture.
I’ve always tried to do what’s right for TCU, and to be honest with you, I’ve always tried to do what was right for college football.
TCU coach Gary Patterson
“I’ve always tried to do what’s right for TCU, and to be honest with you, I’ve always tried to do what was right for college football,” he said. “And I think we just need more and more of us to be able to take a stand and make sure we have a voice in what’s right for college football. I’m worried someday that it’s not going to be around if we’re not great stewards of what we’re trying to get accomplished.”
In July, at Big 12 Media Days, Patterson said he and his wife have taken trips with Grobe and his wife, and he noted their past service together on the NCAA Ethics and Sportsmanship Committee.
Baylor’s Jim Grobe is 116-116-1 in 20 seasons as a head coach. He has never coached against TCU.
Grobe hasn’t forgotten, either.
“Gary and I are friends, and we’ll enjoy seeing each other before the game,” he said. “During the game, we’ll try to knock each other down as much as we can. But I do think there’s not a better defensive coach in the country than Gary Patterson.”
And he knows what to expect this weekend from his old friend.
“To see what they did this past weekend with Texas Tech was really impressive,” Grobe said. “He’s doing exactly what I would expect. I would expect their defensive kids to get better and better and better. ... They’re playing some of their best football. It’ll be a great challenge for us.”
TCU at No. 17 Baylor
2:30 p.m. Saturday, KDFW/Ch. 4