In perhaps the best example this week of irony, TCU played its archrival Baylor the day after Thanksgiving and for a moment something relative to all hell broke loose.
Not that there’s anything unusual about that. According to some scholars, issues of faith between the Apostles and other early Christians led to physical confrontations.
The faith of football is bound to as well.
But don’t tell that to TCU coach Gary Patterson, who was at the point of furious over a fight that broke out on the Baylor sideline at the end of the third quarter between a sleuth of Bears and a handful of Horned Frogs.
As the pile up swelled like a disrupted fire ant mound with Baylor players, TCU’s sideline too started making its way to the scene for perhaps a reenactment of West Side Story.
Who said with Baylor’s recent demise this rivalry is over?
“We don’t do that,” said Patterson, whose team ultimately defeated the Bears 45-22. “That didn’t need to happen. We can have a rivalry without acting the way we did. We need to do better.
“And we’re very fortunate the officials handled it the way they did. We could have lost players for a big game.”
An ejection of Baylor players would have had no effect on the Bears’ season, which ended with the final snap of Friday’s game.
An ejection of TCU players could have had far greater consequences.
They wouldn’t have been able to play in the first half of next week’s Big 12 Championship Game on Saturday at AT&T Stadium, and possibly longer.
That wouldn’t be a good thing for obvious reasons, but particularly in light of TCU’s recent bad starts, including falling behind 9-0 on Saturday. During the Oklahoma game in Norman on Nov. 11, the Frogs fell behind 24-7.
There still is a possibility officials of the Big 12 Conference will review the incident, and they could mete out punishment. The likely only way that would happen is if someone was caught throwing a punch.
Game officials on Saturday gave every active player on each sideline an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
That was the decision when a number of players from both teams left the sideline to say something other than happy holidays.
It all started with a short pass from Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer to Ish Wainright. TCU’s Chris Bradley led the pursuit to the Baylor sideline. There, Bradley gave Wainright a push out of bounds.
Something or some things were said and some pushing ensued.
Baylor’s bench was on the scene first with the Bears coaches trying to break up what appeared to be quite a schoolyard recess tiff.
A number of TCU’s players, doing their best baseball impersonations, charged to the scene.
Leading the pack was middle linebacker Montrel Wilson, who was caught just before midfield by a TCU assistant coach.
Other Frogs then followed suit in defense of fellow horned lizards.
Most of those were met by Patterson, who ordered his players to return to their sideline.
In the end, everybody was in trouble.
“Just football. Guys competing,” said Desmon White. “The refs did a good job of separating it. It didn’t get too out of hand. We got back to playing. It’s a physical game.”
The traditional handshake between the teams went off without incident. Many players, as is common, embraced.
“I’m very appreciative of the officiating group,” Patterson reiterated. “We need to learn how to act better when it comes to those kinds of things.”