Dallas Colleges: Amon G. Carter Stadium
The school announced Wednesday that it has sold out of season tickets, having hit a school-record 30,000.
It's the third consecutive season that TCU has set a new season-ticket mark, with 22,500 sold in 2011 eclipsing the 19,143 in 2010.
"We are incredibly proud of the Horned Frog Nation," TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte said in statement. "With the momentum in our program under (head coach) Gary Patterson, the new Amon G. Carter Stadium set to open this fall and the excitement throughout TCU, Fort Worth and the entire Metroplex with our Big 12 membership, this is an incredible time to be a Horned Frog.
"We truly thank everyone for allowing us to achieve this milestone."
TCU has sold out its last eight home games and 10 of the last 14. The Frogs open the landmark 2012 season at home Sept. 8 against Grambling State and play their first home Big 12 game Oct. 6 against Iowa State.
TCU's 2012 football schedule
Sept. 8 vs. Grambling State
Sept. 15 at Kansas*
Sept. 22 vs. Virginia
Sept. 29 at SMU
Oct. 6 vs. Iowa State*
Oct. 13 at Baylor*
Oct. 20 vs. Texas Tech*
Oct. 27 at Oklahoma State*
Nov. 3 at West Virginia*
Nov. 10 vs. Kansas State*
Nov. 24 at Texas*
Dec. 1 vs. Oklahoma*
*Big 12 game
The renovation will enable TCU to have a fully renovated stadium in time for the 2012 season, which marks TCU's first year in the Big East. The Horned Frogs host Oklahoma and Virginia next fall in addition to conference home games against West Virginia, Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida. Future home games at Amon G. Carter also include LSU and Arkansas.
Donors have contributed $143 million to date, exceeding the goal of $105 million when the initial announcement of a renovation to Amon G. Carter was made last August. At the time, the east side was a project marked for completion several years down the road.
"This truly defines the momentum we have on campus," said Clarence Scharbauer, chairman of the board of trustees. "We very much appreciate all those who have made it possible for TCU to have a facility that will rank among the nation's finest. The new Amon G. Carter Stadium is for all of TCU, Fort Worth and the greater community."
Capacity for the completed Amon G. Carter Stadium will be 43,000 with expansion opportunities that could allow for 50,000 or more in the future.
The new east side will feature a double deck similar to what has been created in the north end zone. The height of the upper deck will be at the level of the speakers that currently sit on the light poles of the existing stadium.
TCU has a school record 20-game home winning streak, a mark that currently ranks as the third-longest in the nation. Under Gary Patterson, TCU is 51-6 in 10 seasons at Amon G. Carter.
The Horned Frogs open the 2011 season at 7 p.m. Friday at Baylor on ESPN.
"They have a lot to prove," Patterson said of the upstart Aztecs, "and we have a lot to hang on to."
That starts with remaining unbeaten, moving to 11-0 and one step closer to securing a second consecutive berth in the BCS, which would be a Rose Bowl appearance. Of course, the third-ranked Frogs still believe they're in play for the national championship game if either No. 1 Oregon or controversy-riddled No. 2 Auburn slip.
Here's what else this team has going for it entering Saturday's 3 p.m. kickoff:
*To commemorate the final game at the 80-year-old stadium before it undergoes a $105 million renovation, several hundred letterman who played at the old yard over the decades are expected to be on the field.
"It's probably going to be crazy, probably going to be folks crying -- not necessarily the team -- fans and family," senior nose tackle Cory Grant said. "For the guys that were here way before us and played in that stadium when it was first built and for people to come back it is going to be emotional for them...To come here and not really knowing much about TCU and to be part of a program that has gone above and beyond what people expected that makes it all the more emotional and something to remember. And so, palying in that stadium will be something special for one last time."
*The nation's No. 1-ranked defense can become the first in college football history to lead the nation in three consecutive seasons. Allowing just 8.5 points a game, the Frogs are on pace to for the NCAA's lowest-scoring defense since Auburn in 1988.
*The senior class (26 players) is 41-8 and needs two wins to become the school's all-time winningest class, a mark Patterson continually brings up.
*The Frogs expect to play in front of the fourth home crowd in excess of 40,000, an unfathomable mark not long ago. Including the crowd of 46,138 at Cowboys Stadium for the season-opener against Oregon State, three crowds have eclipsed the 46,000 mark. TCU is averaging more than 41,000 through five home dates at Amon Carter.
"Going from 17,000 people in the stands to where we have a chance to maybe average around 42,000 people this year for our six home games," Patterson said, "all of it coming together is what really has been cool for me because I've been part of the process the whole way."
Patterson, who prepared his team to play at Utah's noisy venue last week, has a message for Saturday's big home crowd in the rickety old stadium's final stand.
"What I want to do is I want somebody else this Saturday to have to worry about going silent count. That's how I want the crowd to be," Patterson said. "I want it to be so loud that they have to go silent count for the whole four quarters at Amon Carter Stadium, the last game that we'll ever play [there as currently constructed]. That would be a goal of mine, how the crowd can be involved, [that] they [San Diego State] have to take a timeout because they can't hear their signals."
Austin Commercial, the general contractor in charge of the stadium renovation, will implode the high-rising West grandstand of the stadium at 8 a.m. on Dec. 5.
TCU will announce viewing locations for the implosion in the near future.
Work on the stadium is set to begin shortly after the nation's third-ranked Horned Frogs complete their home schedule on Saturday. TCU plays San Diego State at 3 p.m. The renovation is scheduled to be
complete by the beginning of the 2012 season.
Well, well, well, look who's coming to town. The independent-bound BYU Cougars will visit Fort Worth on Saturday afternoon to face the No. 4 TCU Horned Frogs for the last time in maybe, well, forever.
And if intense Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson has any say in this one, the Cougars won't forget it for a long, long time.
The Cougars, struggling at 2-4 (1-1 in the Mountain West Conference), will walk into a cauldron at Amon G. Carter Stadium as they contiue their farewell tour before bailing out of the conference to begin an uncertain future as a college football independent. Color Patterson skeptical.
During fall camp, when rumors of BYU's thinking became public, Patterson had this to say: "You’ve got to be careful what you wish for. If you’re BYU, you better be careful what you wish for. It’s not my job to worry about what Utah (headed to the Pac-10) does, what BYU does, but I can tell you this: If you think being an independent is an easier way to get to a national championship, you’re kidding yourself. Why would anybody vote them a Notre Dame exemption? How would they play anybody?"
BYU has lined up home-and-home games with the Texas Longhorns and today the Cougars finalized a series to continue its rivalry with Utah for at least two years. BYU will fill out the schedule with WAC teams. For 2011, the Cougars have 10 games lined up, five in 2012 and three in 2013, so there is plenty of scheduling work to be done.
Could TCU show up on one of those future schedules?
"No," Patterson muttered.
With Utah and BYU leaving the conference, and Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada coming in, it's unclear how the changes might affect the Mountain West's attempt to gain automatic-qualifier status into the BCS, but the majority opinion seems to think it will take a knock.
"We’re going to see if these were the right decisions. Nobody knows. It’s just like when you buy a house or switch jobs; you don’t know if it’s the right decision," Patterson said back in August. "The key to this whole story is all the people that made these decisions, we’ll find out if they’re university is better off because of all the things that have happened."
Of course, TCU could be mapping out its own course for the future as rumors of a potential move to the Big East Conference persist. Neither the Big East, with its all-important automatic-qualifier status, nor TCU has gone out of its way to quell those rumors either.
For now, one last BYU-TCU battle should be a physical and emotional scrap. The Cougars know TCU (6-0), with its BCS hopes intact, are ready for this one on multiple levels.
We've seen TCU dump then-No. 24 Oregon State; Boise State beat then-No. 10 Virginia Tech, BYU bounce Washington and Utah take down Pittsburgh. On Friday night, the embarrassments continued for the big AQs as the WAC's Nevada Wolf Pack whipped the Pac-10's Cal Bears and Southern Miss routed Kansas, a Big 12 team that's already lost to a FCS foe.
The oddsmakers don't believe Baylor of the Big 12 has a chance to act like one of the big boys against the Mountain West's non-AQ Frogs. The Bears are more than three-touchdown underdogs.
What could play a major factor in the 3:30 p.m. kickoff at sold-out Amon G. Carter Stadium is the insufferable heat descending on the city. The temperature is forecast to soar to 96 degrees and well over 100 degrees on the field when taking in the heat index.
Both teams are equally adjusted to broiler-like conditions, but whichever team is in the best physical condition as the game wears on will likely have the advantage if the game is close in crunch time.
The No. 4 TCU Horned Frogs and respect-seeking Baylor Bears will play in front of about 50,000 fans Saturday at sold-out Amon G. Carter Stadium.
TCU announced Tuesday evening that a limited number of standing-room only tickets, at $15 each, are available on-line at www.GoFrogs.com and at the TCU ticket office in the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.
It's the second home sellout in the last three games at the 80-year-old stadium, going back to last season's November showdown against Utah that drew 50,307, a single-game home attendance record. More than 46,000 attended TCU's season-opening win over then-No. 24 Oregon State at Cowboys Stadium, and 37,117 watched TCU dismantle Tennessee Tech in last week's home opener.
"It just proves where we're getting as a program," 10th-year TCU coach Gary Patterson said, "and the amount of people that are getting excited about being Frog Fans and are liking to watch good college football."
TCU has sold 19,020 season tickets (not including the student allotment) for this season, obliterating the previous school record of 14,490 in 2007.
Saturday's kickoff is at 3:30 p.m. The game will be televised on Versus.
The competing teams, one of which will be the Army Black Knights -- as long they become bowl eligible -- will still be housed in Fort Worth and all bowl activities during the week will take place in Fort Worth. The game is moving to SMU because of major renovations to TCU's Amon G. Carter Stadium that will begin at the end of the regular season in November.
The game will be broadcast at 11 a.m. on ESPN.
"Not many people are perfect and not many people repeat being perfect," Patterson said afterward. "But we're going to try to be."
That's life in a non-automatic-qualifying conference. Ninenty-nine percent of the time a BCS berth is going to require a perfect season. The pursuit begins Wednesday when the team reports and practices begin Thursday, just as temperatures are expected to soar above 100 degrees.
"We've got 54 lettermen coming back with a bunch of starters coming back on offense and defense, but chemistry and all the other things and how you stay healthy go into it," Patterson said. "People expect you to be 12-0. To live up to that you have to have something go right for you and it will be tougher to do this year. The teams are better than they were a year ago that we'll play in the conference and we play an unbelievable non-conference schedule."
The nonconference schedule begins in grand fashion on Sept. 4 when the Horned Frogs play Oregon State at Cowboys Stadium. TCU also faces improved SMU on the road, plus a home game against a bowl-or-bust Baylor team excited about the return of quarterback Robert Griffin.
"We understand what we have in front of us," Patterson said, "and what we have to be able to get accomplished to get done what we need to do."
*Stadium renovation funding near complete: Patterson said the school will soon announce that it has hit its fundraising goal and will begin a much-needed overhaul of Amon G. Carter Stadium after the season. Also, Patterson said, plans are in place to completely revamp the football weight room and locker room over the next two seasons.
*Uniform surprise? Patterson hinted that the Frogs could be wearing new duds for the Sept. 4 season opener at Cowboys Stadium. "We've got a couple games -- at least one game, could be two games -- where we've got a chance for a special uniform this year," Patterson said. "Who knows, it may even be the first game."
TCU debuted the Nike Pro Combat uniform that included the grey helmet with thin red striping (supposed to represent blood real Horned Frogs spit as a defense mechanism) last season against Utah and brought them back for the Fiesta Bowl against Boise State. Patterson said the team still has those uniforms, but he seemed to be suggesting that a new uniform could be in the fold for the opener. The Frogs, Patterson said, will also still wear their traditional uniform -- black paints, purple jerseys and purple helmets -- although he said those uniforms have changed "just a little bit."
*Practice at JerryWorld: TCU is working out a date for the team to practice at Cowboys Stadium in anticipation of the Sept. 4 opener against Oregon State.
Healthy squad: Patterson said his team enters fall camp with no significant injuries. Linebacker Tank Carder, who had shoulder surgery during spring practice, is cleared to begin practice.
“When you’ve dated a girl for three years and you’re getting ready to ask her to marry you, will she say I do? Will we get it completed?” Patterson said. “That’s what the key is. It doesn’t matter how far along we are, as long as it gets done.”
That’s not to say the project is in jeopardy, Patterson just seemed anxious to get the renovations done. He speaks passionately about wanting to create a stadium that speaks to both the university and the history of the city it calls home.
“If we complete it, it’ll be a great thing for TCU, it will be a great thing for Fort Worth and for all the community,” Patterson said. “It’s going to tell a story not only about football, but about the history of Fort Worth.”
He said there were plans for an area where the fans could see the streets of downtown Fort Worth as they were in the past, as well as a founders area that will highlight some of the larger donors’ contributions to the city and its history.
“It’s going to tell about the wildcatters, it’s going to tell about the cattle drives, it’s going to have something to do with all of Fort Worth,” Patterson said. “Those people, those visionaries, those founders that have helped us to get to that point [of building a modern facility]… Those are the people you want to talk about. Because not only have they helped build TCU, a lot of those families have helped build Fort Worth.”
Athletic director Christopher Del Conte said the stadium would also represent the program’s future.
He reiterated he didn’t see TCU bolting for another conference, he thinks the stadium renovation is in the best interest of the athletic department and university as a whole in making sure TCU is best positioned for the future of college athletics, whatever it may be.
“It’s another brick in the foundation,” “That strengthens your appeal to potential students. It appeals to more recruits, to more fan amenities, to the entire community of TCU. It’s all part of the project, or the product if you will.”
The alternative is a migration to the Pac-10 for six teams -- Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Colorado -- which would signal the destruction of the Big 12 and would leave Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and quite possibly Missouri -- which wants Big Ten membership, but might not get it -- in limbo.
For days now, Nebraska has been considered the Big 12 linchpin. If the Huskers leave, the conference dissolves. But does it have to dissolve if saving the league is really the No. 1 goal for Texas and the other Big 12 members? If only Nebraska leaves, what would be the quickest fix to replace one school?
Obviously, Nebraska won't be the only Big 12 school on the move. Colorado officially accepted a bid to join the Pac-10 on Thursday. So the Big 12 could operate as a 10-team league or look to fill two spots.
TCU and who? A fellow Mountain West Conference team? Houston from Conference USA? The Big 12 already owns the Houston market. Adding another MWC team like BYU or Air Force would seem the only logical route -- assuming Arkansas has no plans to vacate the revenue pipeline that is the SEC. Of course, the Big 12 could look at this model and deem a move to the Pac-16 as being a vastly more lucrative option.
Back in January in California when TCU coach Gary Patterson accepted his Coach of the Year award from the Football Writers Association of America, he said the Frogs wouldn't hesitate to join the Big 12 if asked. He even joked that it would be all the better if they could hop right into the weaker North Division.
TCU athletics measure up in nearly every sport except men's basketball. Patterson's Frogs completed an undefeated regular season and played in the Fiesta Bowl. The baseball team begins the super-regional round Friday in Austin against the Longhorns, a rematch from last year, for a spot in the College World Series. The women's basketball team has played in multiple NCAA Tournaments. TCU's other Olympic sports are competitive.
TCU has poured money into building first-rate athletic facilities and plans are in motion to renovate Amon G. Carter Stadium.
However, some close to the TCU athletic department are skeptical that the Big 12 would extend an invitation to TCU in its hour of need. One source cited the fact that, like Houston, the Big 12 already owns the Dallas-Fort Worth market. Plus, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech greatly enjoy the recruiting advantage they own with the Frogs in a lesser conference.
A Pac-16, with its massive reach, visibility and popularity would seemingly only accentuate that advantage.
But, say that Texas and friends opt to save a 10-team Big 12 without TCU. Would it pursue BYU and Air Force first? Those schools seem most logical because they at least secure Salt Lake City TVs, while Air Force, based in Colorado Springs, Colo., somewhat taps into the Denver market.
These are fast and crazy times.
Crazy is to think that the Baylor-TCU football game in September is now more likely to be rekindled as a conference matchup in the Mountain West and not the Big 12. Crazy.
The defending Mountain West Champions, the team that broke through the BCS barrier and played in the Fiesta Bowl, the team that finished No. 6 in both national rankings with a 12-1 record hits the field for four practices next week (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday).
The Frogs will play their annual spring game on April 10 at Amon G. Carter Stadium. But, coach Gary Patterson won't be done with the boys quite yet. He's scheduled three more practices after the spring game, wrapping up on April 15 and shutting things down until players report for fall camp in the sweltering heat of August.
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