The Texas Longhorns and TCU Horned Frogs will meet on the football field for the first time since 2007, a game that ended as a 34-13 Longhorn win in Austin. It will be the first time the two teams will meet in a conference game since 1995 when they met as members of the old Southwest Conference.
But TCU head coach Gary Patterson isn’t making the trip to Austin for all the “it’s been a while’s” and historical footnotes.
“We wanted to play Texas, because you have to beat the best to be the best. If you want to win the Big 12 title, as a general rule, it has gone through Austin and Norman,” said an intent Patterson at his press conference on Tuesday.
Although it’s impossible for TCU to win the Big 12 this season, Patterson is not overlooking the importance of this game.
“You want an opportunity to be a part of history. Our biggest part of history was back in the 30s, and we are trying to recreate that. There will be those that say you can never do it, but those people have been around from the beginning. People said we couldn’t build this stadium, get into the Big 12 or win a Rose Bowl. We have been told that forever.” – Gary Patterson
And don’t let the Horned Frogs’ 3-4 conference record fool you. They’re an impressive 4-1 when playing on the road this season, including a thrilling 39-38 double-overtime win over the West Virginia Mountaineers on Nov. 3.
The Longhorns are used to playing in college football’s Thanksgiving Day game, but will be served a plate that’s a little bit different than they’re used to when they traditionally played the Texas A&M Aggies this time of year. Texas coach Mack Brown was asked if playing the Horned Frogs instead of the Aggies took away a little of the Thanksgiving flavor. His answer was simple. “No, I don’t think so.”
Brown went on to elaborate saying, “…our guys would have the same attitude toward a Thursday night game with an old rivalry that our fans look forward to, and all the TCU fans and the Texas fans will talk this week like the A&M fans. I don’t see it being that much different, very honestly.”
Despite the fact that their season has hit a couple of rough spots, Texas still has everything but the BCS National Championship to possibly play for. If the Oklahoma Sooners lose to either the Oklahoma State Cowboys or TCU to finish the season, then Texas will be in control of being involved in a three or four-way tie for the Big 12 title, as a Texas win over the Kansas State Wildcats would knock them down to two losses as well.
It gets a little hairy here, but the top-rated team in the BCS poll would become the Big 12’s representative in the Fiesta Bowl at that point. If Texas was the highest rated team they would be selected–unless Oklahoma was only one spot behind them. Big 12 conference tie-breaking rules indicate that if two teams are within one spot of one another in the BCS poll, their head-to-head meeting during the regular season would determine who would head to Arizona.
Likewise, if Oklahoma State finished only one spot above Texas in the final BCS poll, and they were the two top-rated teams from the Big 12, Texas would be the representative via their 41-36 win back in September.
It’s quite a bit to chew on, but today might be the perfect day for that.