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
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
”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
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
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
”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