No. 8 TCU, No. 14 Oklahoma State, No. 15 Oklahoma and No. 6 Baylor are about to stage a round-robin tournament for the conference championship and, ideally, a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Maybe the Big 12 meant it that way. Maybe not.
“TV decides a lot of that,” Patterson said.
This is what we play the game for. We want to be in these big environments and make these big plays in big games like this. What we have set out is to win a Big 12 championship, and we know that’s the same goal for Oklahoma State.
TCU running back Kyle Hicks
But TCU is part of it, and Patterson has accepted it.
“You get an opportunity to play in a national spotlight, play undefeated teams, the games mean something, you have your say,” he said. “There’s a bottom line to them. I think it’s a lot bigger deal than playing them and as soon as the game’s over, nobody’s talking about it.”
One day, people may talk about how one of these Big 12 teams ran the table in November 2015. It might have to go down in legend.
TCU has lost both of its previous trips to Stillwater.
“This is what we play the game for,” TCU running back Kyle Hicks said of the Frogs’ November opener on Saturday at unbeaten Oklahoma State. “We want to be in these big environments and make these big plays in big games like this. What we have set out is to win a Big 12 championship, and we know that’s the same goal for Oklahoma State.”
TCU can make its case in November. So can Oklahoma State.
“It has an opportunity to hurt and help,” Patterson said. “If you go undefeated, I think it helps you. Everybody knocks everybody off, it puts us in a situation where we may not have a team in the playoff.”
I don’t think [play at Oklahoma State is] going to be any more emotional than the other ballgames we’ve had on the road. We’ve had some very emotional, some very big crowds. It’s always a great place, because they love their football in Stillwater. It’s always a great ballgame to be a part of.
TCU coach Gary Patterson
For now, Oklahoma State is Patterson’s bigger concern. In the Cowboys, Patterson sees a lot of similarities with the Horned Frogs. In Mike Gundy, he sees a lot of himself.
“I think both of us, one characteristic is just consistency, being somewhere for a while and understanding your program and what you need to get done, and your kids’ belief that you can turn it around and get it done, knowing what the pluses and minuses are and how you fix it,” Patterson said. “They’ve always done a great job defensively, kind of modified what they do offensively compared to what they did a few years ago.”
TCU has lost both its Big 12 trips to Stillwater.
Patterson has begun preparing his team to face an emotional atmosphere. It will be another scene where a team wants to make its season by knocking off one of the top teams in the country. Except this week, Oklahoma State is also one of the top teams in the country — with much at stake.
“I don’t think it’s going to be any more emotional than the other ballgames we’ve had on the road,” Patterson said. “We’ve had some very emotional, some very big crowds. It’s always a great place, because they love their football in Stillwater. It’s always a great ballgame to be a part of.”
Win in Stillwater. Win in that environment. It is merely Step 1 in November for the Horned Frogs.
“If you want to win championships, you’ve got to be able to go do that,” Patterson said. “You’ve got to be able to play in those kind of environments.”
No. 8 TCU at No. 14 Oklahoma State
2:30 p.m. Saturday, KDFW/4