As if the statue erected in front of Amon G. Carter Stadium didn’t say it, CBS Sports decided to let the college football world in on what must still be Fort Worth’s little secret: Gary Patterson is a darn good football coach.
Actually, everybody knows this. At least they should. It’s not like Patterson just got this thing rolling. The 2016 season will mark his 17th as TCU’s head coach. Wow, how time flies when you’re winning football games (Patterson is 143-47).
But, in fairness to the outsiders, it’s only been four years for TCU in the Big 12, which is sort of like instantaneously going from out of sight (stuck in a second-tier conference) to top of mind (competing for a playoff spot two years in a row).
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Anyway, CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli has put together a list of the top 25 college football coaches. Patterson came in at No. 3. You can probably guess the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 men — yes, Alabama’s Nick Saban and Ohio State’s Urban Meyer. They’re the last two coaches to win the national championship.
That’s pretty heady company for a small, private school such as TCU that not so long ago was scrapping like crazy in the WAC, Conference USA and the Mountain West, never really knowing if it’d ever get back to the main stage after getting drop-kicked 20 years ago by the power brokers that jumped from the Southwest Conference to the Big 12.
Here’s what Fornelli had to say about Patterson earning the No. 3 spot:
“The first two years in the Big 12 were rough for Patterson and the Horned Frogs, but things are back in order the last two seasons. TCU has gone 23-3 the last two years, winning a Peach Bowl and putting together a comeback for the ages against Oregon in the Alamo Bowl. What's most impressive to me about last year, however, was how TCU nearly beat Oklahoma in Norman at the end of the season without Trevone Boykin or Josh Doctson. In my mind, that just helped prove that Patterson is one of the best coaches in the country, and he's done so at a school that isn't exactly considered a power player.”
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops comes in at No. 4 coming off the Sooners’ run to the College Football Playoff just one season after many OU fans were ready to dump him.
The list also includes Baylor’s Art Briles. “In my mind, the only thing that is keeping Briles out of the top 10 is the lack of postseason success,” Fornelli writes. Kansas State’s Bill Snyder comes in at No. 17 and Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy is No. 20.