If Texas is, indeed, the hotbed of the football world, then TCU, at the moment, represents the heart of the Lone Star State.
The traditional college powers such as Texas and Texas A&M are going through rough times. Baylor is in the middle of a massive overhaul after its rape scandal and Houston, despite recent success, is starting over with its fifth head coach since 2011. Texas Tech is undefeated but coach Kliff Kingsbury is on the hot seat after finishing no better than fifth in the Big 12 his first four seasons.
Even the state’s NFL teams have issues. Sure, big things are expected of the Dallas Cowboys, but they’re coming off a lopsided loss to the Denver Broncos in which their star running back was seen giving up on a play.
The Houston Texans are also 1-1 and likely to fall to 1-2 after traveling to the Patriots on Sunday. Neither the Cowboys nor Texans (nor Oilers) have done anything in the playoffs in more than 20 years. The last time any Texas football team at the college or professional level had any kind of dominating “perfect” success was the Horned Frogs in 2010, who went 13-0 while winning the Rose Bowl.
No. 16 TCU, which has a huge game Saturday in Stillwater, Okla., against No. 6 Oklahoma State, is keeping its eye on what’s in front of the Horned Frogs.
But the Frogs carry the expectations of the state’s football reputation with them to Oklahoma, whether they realize it or not.
“I think we’ve played good. It’s not really my job to assess everyone else,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “I can only assess TCU and we ended up 3-0, so that’s about all I can talk about. Those other coaches don’t care about my opinion.”
True, nobody outside of Fort Worth will be weeping if the Horned Frogs lose, but it’ll be sad for the state, not just TCU. A win could catapult the Frogs into the Top 10 and poised to be in a good spot when the College Football Rankings debut on Oct. 31.
“All the wins have given us a lot of confidence and we will definitely be ready to go this weekend,” TCU cornerback Ranthony Texada said. “We are not really worried about what people outside of TCU are saying. We don’t really look at rankings, especially this early in the season. We are just taking it game by game and the rankings will work itself out.”
It is early, but Saturday’s game in Stillwater could have lasting ramifications.
Don’t sweat it, TCU, but the state of Texas is counting on you.
No. 16 TCU at No. 6 Oklahoma State
2:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN