No. 5 TCU coach doesn’t sweat winning margins

TCU was coming off a one-win season when Gary Patterson arrived

12 years ago as part of the new coaching staff.

Any victory, even by only a single point, was enough to make the

Horned Frogs happy back then.

Patterson has never really wavered on that feeling, but what

others expect out of his program has certainly changed. No. 5 TCU,

after all, has been a BCS buster, become a perennial Top 25 team

and won at least 11 games four of the last five seasons.

”Everybody has high expectations, and you sometimes forget

winning is winning,” said Patterson, a defensive

coordinator-turned-head coach.

While winning by one or two points is still plenty for TCU, a

margin of two or three touchdowns now sometimes isn’t good enough

for everybody else – especially poll voters. The Frogs dropped in

the AP poll after a 17-point victory last month.

”It just goes to show the ladder that we’ve climbed here at

TCU,” senior receiver Jimmy Young said. ”I think essentially it’s

a good thing.”

For the second week in a row, the Frogs (5-0) are favored by

nearly five touchdowns. They play Wyoming (2-3) on Saturday in the

first of three consecutive home games.

TCU got its first road shutout under Patterson last weekend with

a 27-0 victory at Colorado State, but it was only 6-0 at halftime

and 13-0 late in the third quarter.

”If you stay in this business long enough, at some point you’re

not going to have the team that you want to have and you’re going

to get criticized,” said Patterson, in his 10th season as head

coach. ”Or you’ll have a team that you have and you’re not quite

as good as everybody wants you to be.”

TCU remained No. 5 in the AP and USA Today coaches’ polls after

the shutout at Colorado State. But a week earlier, after a 41-24

win at SMU, the Frogs dropped a spot in the AP poll and were passed

by Oregon in the coaches’ poll.

After winning or sharing titles in three different leagues the

past 11 years, and finally making it into a BCS game last season,

the Frogs have gotten to the point where most outsiders believe

they should be much, much better than most of the teams they

play.

”Yeah, it’s a big compliment, everybody wants us to win big,”

right tackle Zach Roth said. ”Whatever happens happen. If we win

by one point or by 20, we’re just going to go out and do the best

we can.”

The Frogs have won 18 consecutive regular-season games and 31 of

34 games overall, including a loss to Boise State in the Fiesta

Bowl last January. The other losses in that span were to

sixth-ranked Oklahoma and No. 10 Utah.

During a 16-game home winning streak that goes back to the 2007

season, TCU has outscored its opponents by an average margin of 36

points. Since 1999, they are 58-6 at soon-to-be renovated Amon G.

Carter Stadium with an average winning margin of 23 points.

Patterson isn’t one of the poll voting coaches this season so

he’s not having to pay attention to teams he doesn’t face. He does

know what Oregon State has done since losing to the Frogs in the

season opener.

Oregon State’s losses are to TCU and Boise State – by nine

points to the Frogs and 13 to the Broncos. But the Beavers are

coming off a victory over Arizona State, which had already been in

tight games with third-ranked Oregon and 20th-ranked Wisconsin.

Plus, after playing Wyoming and struggling BYU the next two

weekends, the Frogs get to play two ranked opponents – at home

against No. 25 Air Force to end their three-game homestand Oct. 23

and at 10th-ranked Utah on Nov. 6.

”Down the road, for us, you control your own destiny in a lot

of ways,” Patterson sad. ”(Utah) gives you an opportunity as far

as a computer ranking and all those kind of things to give you a

chance. I go back to the very beginning. If we just win, all that

just takes care of itself.”

Even, he insists, if there aren’t a lot of lopsided

victories.

”We’ve got seven games left. We need to try to find a way to

win by one point,” he said. ”And it starts this week against

Wyoming.”