The Big Mac Blog

TCU’s Patterson plea for fans one bridge too far

There is no good time to bag on the fans if you are the head coach of a football team that just finished .500, with a losing record in the Big 12. It helps, though, when you have your own statue.

Nonetheless, Gary Patterson selected just that time to charge forward and politely rip the thousands who wisely elected not to show up in the cold and the rain for TCU’s snore blowout home loss on Saturday to Kansas State.

But, good news, TCU fans — the Horned Frogs are going to the Liberty Bowl to play Georgia. That should inspire them.

After the loss to K-State, GP was understandably disgusted with a crowd that did not show up from start to finish ... kinda like his team.

The announced attendance was the laughably inflated 42,746. Call it a major upset if 20,000 showed at Amon G. Carter Stadium on Saturday. And those people deserve medals for sitting in that muck to watch that boring game.

“I was happy with the student section that was here. I wasn’t happy with the rest of it. Didn’t finish the deal. When we win championships we want TCU to be along but rain or shine, everybody’s got to be there. You’re all in or all out,” GP said. “I promise you, if we were in Manhattan, Kansas it would have been packed.”

Start with the reality that there is less than absolutely nothing to do in Manhattan, Kan., and move to the fact that TCU is a private school with an enrollment of 10,000 located in a major metropolitan area.

This transparent shot from the head coach at TCU fans is long overdue. It is also pointless. This is one hill not even GP can conquer.

This is simply a numbers game. While the support has grown exponentially for TCU athletics, and specifically TCU football, since the school was dumped during the original creation of the Big 12, there are not enough alums and T-shirt fans to create a demand to consistently fill a 45,000-seat stadium. Especially when the team is average or bad.

TCU attendance is the ultimate “It is what it is.”

When TCU hosted Arkansas on Sept. 10, the game had every necessary element for a capacity crowd. The weather was pleasant, it was a night kickoff, the score was close and it featured a long-time former Southwest Conference rival. And yet throughout much of the game there were too many visible empty seats to count.

There were certainly 45,000 people in the immediate vicinity of the game, but thousands elected not to use their tickets and simply drink beer at the tailgate.

The most damning evidence of the struggles GP and TCU has had with its fan base remains Oct. 6, 2012 — at home vs. Iowa State. TCU was undefeated and ranked 15th in the nation for its first-ever home Big 12 game. And to greet the team were thousands and thousands and thousands of empty seats on a cool, but not miserable, overcast Saturday afternoon.

The atmosphere and party scene around Amon G. Carter Stadium remains first-rate, but inside the venue it’s hit or miss. Too often it’s a miss.

From a winning team to a stadium that looks good and offers every toy possible, the school has done everything to create an attractive destination for fans.

The problem is the fans, apparently, now require TCU to be good, 72 degree weather, kickoff to be 2:30 or later and perhaps maybe some free fresh Maine lobster, too.

After doing so much for the team and the school over the last 15 years, GP was bound to go boom about a fan base that is showing its entitled side.

Granted, it doesn’t look good to do it after a blah game during a .500 season, but there is seldom a good time to harp on ticket-buying fans. He was whining, but who could blame him?

He got it off his chest. It’s too bad it won’t matter.

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