Looks like Gary Patterson's hypothesis ended up being correct.
The Frogs won 11 games in 2011, including a win at Boise State. Last season, thanks to injuries, suspensions and players leaving the team, the Frogs limped to a 7-6 season in their first year in the Big 12.
"I think we gained a lot more respect fan-wise from being 7-5 than being 11-2 [and] beating Boise State at Boise State, which to me is an unbelievable win," Patterson told ESPN.com in a recent interview. "To me, that speaks volumes to where we’re at and I think our kids should understand that, what we’re doing."
I actually agree with him and had sensed some similar sentiments from the Big 12's fans, but left it up to you in a vote. You voted loud and clear, and it turns out Patterson was right. Fifty-three percent of voters said 2012's seven-win campaign in the Big 12, highlighted by wins over Texas, West Virginia and Baylor, was more impressive than the 2011 season. Just 47 percent of you voted for the 2011 season.
I'd chalk this up to an exposure issue. I don't think TCU's 2012 team was as good as its 2011 team, or a handful of others the Frogs have had under Patterson, but he and I talked about it a bit, and it's a matter of Big 12 fans being forced to watch TCU on a weekly basis. When they're forced to do that and TCU is hanging around in every game and beating a few teams along the way, Big 12 fans are faced with a truth: TCU is capable of beating my team.
That's easy to scoff at when TCU is bored and struggling with an average SMU team or beating the heck out of a terrible New Mexico team, but when it's going toe-to-toe with Oklahoma or Kansas State, people take notice.
The result: Respect.