LOS ANGELES -- Perception is everything, and TCU Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson believes it. That's why when asked what a win over the Wisconsin Badgers in Saturday's Rose Bowl would mean for all the "little guys" out there, Patterson went off on a riff of his own targeted at the reporters that will chronicle the big game.
"If we do win, how are you going to write it?" Patterson asked reporters during his Friday morning press confernece. "Are you going to write it because Wisconsin didn't play well, TCU won the ball game? That would be my question to you. Because that's what we've gotten for 13 years. When we've beaten somebody, they didn't play well."
Isn't that the way it goes. Small school beats big school so big school must not have played its best? Small school never gets the credit. Take when James Madison beat Virginia Tech after the week after the Hokies lost a heartbreaker to Boise State. Well, clearly, Virginia Tech suffered an emotional let down. Sorry, James Madison.
But, hold everything. Entering Saturday's Rose Bowl, the third-ranked Frogs are actually favored against the fifth-ranked Wisconsin Badgers.
No matter to Patterson. To him, the Frogs are and always be the underdog.
"Even in the state of Texas, we've battled the Cowboys and the Longhorns and all the groups. People always ask me, 'How do you measure up against the Mountain West?' Well, we've never had to be measured against the Mountain West. We've always been measured against the State of Texas where you have the Big 12, the SEC that come in and recruit and do things. That's where our recruiting has been," Patterson said.
"That is the question I'd ask yourselves when you write it when you watch the ballgame. Once it's over with and you get going, you're not going to have any control as a head coach. But one thing you'll find out about me is I'm always honest, sometimes to a tact. If you listen to my players they're going to know where they stand with me whether they like it or they don't. I think you'll find tomorrow maybe it's a 70-14 blow-up, Wisconsin wins. Maybe it's 42-14, TCU wins. Who knows what that's going to be. But I have a suspicion it's got a chance to be a 23-20 or 34-31, or 14-13 ballgame. And if it is, what are you going to write? That is the key."
Patterson said that no matter how his team performs on the emerald Rose Bowl field field, the final perception will be what's written in black and white.
"To be honest with you, the nation's going to read whatever you guys tell them," Patterson said. "My team's going to be what you tell them. Not what I think, not what I say, what you tell them. What do you think TCU is? That would be my answer to that question as far as what it is. How are you going to write it?"
We will certainly find out.