Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Big 12 hubbub not distracting Frogs
By David Ubben
It's not often the dream of thousands is realized on one single Saturday.
This weekend, TCU will have the pleasure of hosting exactly that.
The final score of the Frogs' home opener against Grambling State is pretty far down the list of the most anticipated things for the purple people planning to partake in the Fort Worth festivities this weekend.
Gary Patterson can become TCU's all-time wins leader on Saturday.
TCU's been on the outside looking in at college football's circle of BCS conference teams since the breakup of the Southwest Conference in the mid-1990s. After five different conference stops, the Frogs are finally rejoining their former conference mates in the league they were left out of nearly two decades ago: The Big 12.
Excitement's at an all-time high in Fort Worth. The school just announced it had sold more than 31,000 season tickets, the most in history. It's putting the finishing touches on a $164 million upgrade to Amon G. Carter Stadium, which will be dedicated this week and officially christened when Grambling and TCU kick off on Saturday night.
In the middle of it all, Patterson doesn't sound very worried about the noise outside his locker room.
"I’ve been busy coaching," Patterson said. "I think people are excited, but to be honest, I haven’t really talked to anybody. I’ve been working."
The Frogs were off in Week 1, and held their annual fan appreciation day in lieu of a game, signing autographs and kissing babies, etc.
They also held mock games in the new stadium, but Saturday night, it's time to do it for real. Patterson's all too aware of the task in front of his team, even if his Week 1 opponent is a little less than daunting.
"For us, we’re in the office getting ready for what we’ve got to do against Grambling and people down the road," he said. "Obviously there’s a lot of good football teams ahead of us."
As if a new league and a new stadium weren't enough to have Patterson looking elsewhere, he's in position to become the Frogs' all-time wins leader on Saturday, too. A 110th win of his career would put him ahead of Dutch Meyer, who coached the Frogs from 1934-52 (and happens to have a hamburger joint named in his honor on TCU's campus).
His tenure also included a pair of national championships in 1935 and 1938, along with three Southwest Conference titles.
"For us to be able to break that record is definitely a great honor, but I know people around here won’t be too happy with me if I go 1-11, so this will be one of those honors I’ll probably reflect back on after the season," Patterson said.
It's a weekend that will go down in history for a handful of reasons for the Frogs, but the task is simple for Patterson, and ultimately, the same as it's always been.
"It’s time for Gary Patterson to keep his nose down," Patterson said.