Dallas Colleges: Byu Cougars

Future nonconference slate: SMU

April, 4, 2013
4/04/13
12:00
PM CT
Last Wednesday's announcements that Connecticut had agreed to a home-and-home series with Boise State and that Cincinnati would be heading to the Big House in 2017 were the latest in a trend that has seen BCS-conference schools boost their nonconference schedule strength.

While the soon-to-be-former Big East is entering its last season as a BCS school, before the four-team college football playoff takes into effect in the 2014-15 season, aggressive scheduling is one way to keep the league on the national radar.

The slates will provide several opportunities for big national upsets in the coming years, so here's a look at some of the notable future opponents for SMU.

SMU: The Mustangs have quite the in-state home-and-home lineup. They canceled this season's home game with Baylor, and while it is unknown if the 2013 game will be made up or bought-out completely, the schools still have a home-and-home scheduled through 2019. The Battlle for the Iron Skillet with TCU will continue through 2017, with the Horned Frogs playing host this season. SMU will go to Texas A&M this year and host the Aggies in 2014, closing out a four-year home-and-home. They begin this season with a Friday night home contest against Texas Tech.

BYU quarterback's fake spike lifts team

December, 30, 2011
12/30/11
3:38
PM CT


UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas -- The BYU coaching staff -- not to mention a slew of players standing on the sidelines -- were jumping up and down signaling quarterback Riley Nelson to spike the ball and stop the clock with the Cougars at the Tulsa 2-yard line and down 21-17.

But Nelson saw an opportunity and called his own play, giving the signal for a fake spike and a quick pass in the end zone.

"Half our guys didn't even get the signal and stood up, which was good because the defense stood up too," Nelson said.

But wide receiver Cody Hoffman got the signal. He ran into the end zone and then curled back toward his quarterback, catching the pass in the front corner of the end zone to give BYU the lead with just 11 seconds left. That gave BYU a 24-21 lead and eventually the win in the 2011 Armed Forces Bowl played on the campus of SMU just north of downtown Dallas.

"We have a fake spike play, where you fake it and throw a touchdown -- or you better throw a touchdown," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "He did that completely on his own."

The game-winning drive, which took 4:07 minutes and went 48 yards on 12 plays, included a fourth-down conversion by Nelson. He ran 14 yards on fourth-and-9 at the Tulsa 47 to keep the drive going. BYU also converted two other third downs to set up the winning touchdown.

"We were going to stop the clock and run two plays," Nelson said. "But I looked at the clock and where we were. We practiced that. We had a signal for it and I figured this is low risk, high reward because if it's not there, I can throw it in the stands. But the call from the sidelines was to spike the ball and we just decided to go for it. It was great."

Nelson said he was only looking at Hoffman, who had caught two touchdown passes earlier in the game and finished with 122 receiving yards on eight catches. He was named BYU's player of the game.

"His stance was square and had no stagger in his feet," Nelson said about Hoffman. "It added to the effect. He hurried up and lined up. When I faked it, he turned his back and I had his eyes and he caught it. He's a beast and a big security blanket for me."

Apparently it didn't worry Nelson that he'd never run the fake spike in a game or even completed it in practice. The last time BYU worked on the play was early November.

"It just never worked," Nelson said. "We ran it six or seven times in practice and I threw it away every time."

Nelson admitted that once he returned to the sidelines after the play, he thought about Dan Marino and his famous fake spike play against the Jets in 1994. Marino threw a touchdown pass to Mark Ingram after rookie cornerback Aaron Glenn was fooled into thinking Marino was spiking.

"I remember watching that all the time," Nelson said. "That's Dan Marino 101 right there. Maybe watching TV isn't all that bad. What a great way to end the season. I've seen that play time after time and it's classic. To put this one in the record books and send the seniors out with a win is special."

Instant analysis: BYU 24, Tulsa 21

December, 30, 2011
12/30/11
2:29
PM CT
UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas -- It was an exciting finish as BYU got the victory with time running out at the 2011 Armed Forces Bowl. The Cougars won it, 24-21.

How the game was won: BYU quarterback Riley Nelson, a comeback specialist, did a great Dan Marino impersonation, faking as if he was going to spike the ball at the Tulsa 2-yard line, then throwing a touchdown pass to Cody Hoffman in the end zone with 11 seconds left in the game. That gave the Cougars the three-point victory. The drive was 12 plays and 48 yards and took up 4:07 to leave Tulsa with barely any time left to attempt a few plays at the end of the game.

Turning point: Tulsa led 14-3 with time nearly out in the first half when junior J.D. Ratliff went back to receive a punt. But he wasn't able to catch it cleanly and BYU's David Foote recovered the fumble at the Tulsa 17-yard line with 25 seconds left in the half. BYU scored on the next play when Nelson found Hoffman for a 17-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-10. That gave BYU some momentum and closed the gap as the teams headed for the locker room.

Stat of the game: It's not often that you see the winning quarterback complete just 17 of 40 passes (42.5 percent). Give Nelson credit for this: He hung in and made the throws he needed to down the stretch to help his team win the game.

Player of the game: BYU wide receiver Hoffman had three touchdown catches, including the game winner. The three TDs set an Armed Forces Bowl record. Hoffman finished with eight catches for 122 yards, including several big catches on third down to move the chains.

Unsung hero of the game: Junior BYU punter Riley Stephenson had a tremendous day, forcing Tulsa to go a long way on most of its drives. Stephenson had eight punts, and seven of them were inside the 20-yard line. That included a punt downed at the 1-yard line midway through the fourth quarter with the Cougars down by 4. When the defense got the stop, BYU was able to get good field position to get into position for the winning drive.

Honorable mention: BYU's Kyle Van Noy and Tulsa's Dexter McCoil. Van Noy, a sophomore linebacker, was all over the field, forcing Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinne to scramble and hurry throws. He also was a big part of BYU's run defense, which held Tulsa to 37 rushing yards. Van Noy forced a fumble midway through the fourth quarter to help end a Tulsa drive.

McCoil, a junior defensive back for Tulsa, had a penchant for key plays. He had two interceptions and actually caught a third, but it was called back because of an offside penalty.

Jeers to: Tulsa's ground game, which couldn't generate much of anything against BYU's solid rush defense. The Golden Hurricane had 37 rushing yards on 27 attempts, allowing BYU to key in on Kinne throughout most of the game.

What it means: The victory gave BYU 10 wins for the fifth time in Bronco Mendenhall's seven-year tenure with the Cougars. He is 5-2 in bowl games. Tulsa falls to 8-5 on the season after going 7-1 in Conference USA.

Tulsa grabs lead back in fourth quarter

December, 30, 2011
12/30/11
1:54
PM CT
UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas -- Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinne threw his third touchdown pass of the game as Bryan Burnham caught a 30-yard touch pass in double coverage to give Tulsa the lead again at 21-17.

The drive went 58 yards in nine plays and came not long after BYU had taken its first lead of the game.

We are nearly midway through the final quarter, setting up for what should be a good finish here at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on the campus of SMU.

Big pass play helps put Tulsa up, 14-3

December, 30, 2011
12/30/11
12:07
PM CT
UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas -- A long pass -- 55 yards from G.J. Kinne to Bryan Burnham -- helped set up Tulsa's second touchdown of the game. Kinne found tight end Clay Sears for a 14-yard TD to cap the drive and give Tulsa a 14-3 lead midway through the second quarter.

BYU is just 2-for-6 on third down and hasn't been able to move the ball consistently against Tulsa.

Tulsa has the ball back with just under seven minutes left in the half.

Tulsa penalty helps put BYU on the board

December, 30, 2011
12/30/11
11:39
AM CT
UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas -- Tulsa had what appeared to be an interception to stop BYU deep in Tulsa territory, but the Golden Hurricane were offsides. After an incompletion on third down, BYU kicker Justin Sorenson made a 35-yard field goal to put the Cougars on the scoreboard.

The kick came with 17 seconds left in the first quarter and at the end of the first frame, Tulsa leads 7-3.

The Golden Hurricane had an impressive first drive, but the BYU defense has since stiffened up.

Tough Baylor hands BYU rare home loss

December, 17, 2011
12/17/11
6:18
PM CT


For one scary moment, Perry Jones III feared he was done for a long time.

Baylor's big man was writhing on the court in pain and wasn’t sure he could come back into the game, let alone how much of the season might be missed.

Jones had knocked knees with BYU’s Brandon Davies atop the perimeter on a drive with 1:26 left and his seventh-ranked Bears up 84-83. Without its star forward, Baylor looked like it might lose not only the game, but its shot at a glorious season.

“I was scared,’’ Jones told ESPN.com by phone Saturday. “I couldn’t move my leg on my own. I thought I tore something.’’

But Jones quickly made a decision while on the bench.

He wanted back in.

“I didn’t want to let my team down,’’ Jones said. “I just wanted to ignore the pain, get to the weak side and get the rebound. I was there at the right time.’’

Jones’ tip-in follow with 21 seconds left gave Baylor an 86-83 lead.

“That was huge,’’ BU coach Scott Drew said. “What was really special is that normally a player gets injured, limps around and doesn’t make the big play. He got the big play.’’

Brigham Young had one more chance to tie the game when Davies had a 3-pointer at the buzzer. But Pierre Jackson, a 5-foot-10 guard, came from the side and blocked the 6-9 forward’s shot.

“I was closest to him,’’ Jackson said after the Bears' 86-83 victory. “I know I can jump pretty high. I wanted to contest it but I happened to block it. It was a big block, and it saved the game for us.’’

Drew said Jackson is as athletic a player as Baylor has and that he wasn’t surprised Jackson found a way to block Davies’ shot.

Jones, a clear contender for All-America status and Big 12 player of the year, finished with a career-high 28 points and eight rebounds, while Jackson added 13 off the bench. Brady Heslip made six of 10 shots from beyond the arc and finished with 18 for the Bears.

Baylor hadn’t been tested yet this season, blowing out all its competition, even in the one previous road game at Northwestern.

[+] EnlargePerry Jones III
Douglas C. Pizac/US PresswireBaylor's Perry Jones III led all scorers with 28 points, adding eight rebounds and four assists.
So Drew wasn’t sure how his team would handle going into the Marriott Center, a notorious graveyard for BYU opponents.

“You’re not going to find a tougher atmosphere in college,’’ Drew said. “They were 48-2 in their last 50 games. This definitely gets us ready for Big 12 play and tells us a lot about our team. It showed we know how to execute at the end of games. Toughness is required to win on the road. We weren’t ready early on, and we got dominated on the glass.’’

The Cougars added UCLA transfer Matt Carlino for this game, and he tied Davies for the team lead with 18 points. But Baylor did have length, size and depth advantage in the frontcourt with BYU missing sixth man Stephen Rogers.

However, it was Cal transfer guard Gary Franklin who played a key role Saturday. He made two 3s in 12 minutes, but Drew said Franklin’s defense was just as crucial.

“Normally you like to bring in a player that you add midseason for a home game,’’ Drew said. “But he was tremendous. He guarded very well.’’

It's pretty clear the Bears are more than capable of competing for the Big 12 title and a deep run in March, possibly long enough to get to New Orleans.

But there still are some potholes ahead. Baylor plays Saint Mary’s and West Virginia in Las Vegas next week, and then squares off with Mississippi State on Dec. 28 in Dallas.

The length of Arnett Moultrie and size of Renardo Sidney will certainly test Jones, Quincy Miller and Quincy Acy, while Heslip, Franklin, Jackson and A.J. Walton will have their hands full with Dee Bost and Rodney Hood.

So plenty of tests remain for the unbeaten Bears. But one of the biggest of all was passed in Provo.

“We got through the adversity together,’’ Jones said. “We just have to play smarter and play better together.’’

3-point shot: Baylor relishes BYU matchup

December, 16, 2011
12/16/11
11:37
AM CT
Baylor coach Scott Drew said he relishes the idea of playing at BYU’s Marriott Center on Saturday for what will easily be the Bears’ toughest game to date. The Cougars have been nearly unbeatable, with one loss in the past 49 games at the Marriott Center. BYU coach Dave Rose said the Cougars will have to pick up the pace to get space on rebounding against the Bears.

BYU likely won’t be able to rebound in the halfcourt against Baylor’s length (see Perry Jones III and Quincy Acy). This game has to be up and down for BYU to have a shot. Meanwhile, the Bears get Cal transfer guard Gary Franklin eligible for this game, deepening an already solid perimeter.

TCU and BYU: Big 12 foes?

October, 28, 2011
10/28/11
1:44
PM CT


FORT WORTH -- Cowboys Stadium is the site for tonight's midseason nonconference showdown between TCU and BYU. Forgive the parties involved if it doesn't feel like an out-of-league affair.

"We consider this like a conference game," Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson said of the 7 p.m. kickoff on ESPN. "We played BYU for so long."

The two private schools were conference opponents for six years. This year they're not. Perhaps in the future, they could be again.

Such is the revolving door that is realignment.

BYU left the Mountain West for independent status this year. TCU bolts the MWC next year for the Big 12. Tonight, the Horned Frogs and Cougars are playing more so out of necessity than familiarity.

"I'd rather not play a non-conference game in the middle of the season," Patterson said. "This is the only time BYU and ourselves could work it out."

Lineup changes in the MWC, plus Texas Tech pulling out of this year's scheduled trip to Amon G. Carter Stadium, left TCU with slots to fill. BYU was also in a scramble mode after ditching the MWC.

PODCAST
Trey Fallon and Landry Locker of ESPN Dallas discuss TCU's dominant win over New Mexico, preview the back half of the schedule and discuss this weekend's game against BYU.

Listen Listen
ESPN and Cowboys Stadium entered the picture, and a marriage was made. Not much courting was needed.

"We've played them since 2005, so I don't think it's any different than playing Colorado State, Wyoming, Utah," Patterson said.

Now, could these two meet again in the Big 12? The Cougars had been at the top of the heap when it comes to potential expansion candidates before the additions of TCU and West Virginia. BYU craves the automatic BCS qualifying status that TCU will enjoy and rival Utah gained in the Pac-12.

Asked if BYU was a Big 12-caliber program, Patterson answered: "I don't know." It makes sense not to offer an opinion, especially since TCU won't be in the Big 12 until next summer.

TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte has taken part in a few Big 12 meetings and said the subject of posible expansion schools hasn't come up with him. Del Conte added he hasn't been asked about BYU.

"We've never been asked anything about any member," he said. "Those conversations are happening above my pay grade."

Del Conte did say he prefers a 10-team league, going back to his days in the Pac-10. The Big 12 expects to be at 10 next season with West Virginia coming onboard.

Patterson said the membership of the Big 12 eventually is going to be a subject of interest.

"It will, but right now it's the games that I have left," he said. "Is the chicken going to be warm in Wyoming as the pregame meal? Is it going to snow? What kind of crowd are we going to have at the BYU game? Are my kids' legs and shoulders going to be back by Friday? Those things are what's important to me know."

The Jimmer Show makes a stop in Texas

February, 19, 2011
2/19/11
7:21
PM CT

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Jimmer Fredette didn’t gaze into the stands very often during BYU's 79-56 win over TCU. If he did, he would have found plenty to make him smile.

No. 32 jerseys dotted the crowd.

During pregame warm-ups, fans crowded the front row stands to snap photos of the star.

After the game, a few hundred more crowded the same space and took cell phone video and flashed photos while he did a TV interview. Security was needed to help BYU get past a crowd to the team bus.

Grown men with duffel bags of deflated basketballs ask him to sign as many of them as possible. One tells a BYU official shooing them away that they have no plans to sell them, but there’s no promise that the hand reaching for another ball inside the bag didn’t have its fingers crossed.

“Jimmer: Kiss my baby!” read a sign held up by a couple who were, yes, holding a baby behind one of the baskets at TCU’s Daniel-Meyer Coliseum on Saturday.

Fans waved disembodied Jimmer heads.

[+] EnlargeJimmer Fredette
Ray Carlin/Icon SMIJimmer Fredette had 23 points, two rebounds and two assists in BYU's win over TCU.
A couple of Texans -- the nerve! -- even played off one of the state’s slogans, warning TCU: “Don’t mess with Jimmer.”

He sees the signs -- literal and figurative -- signifying his new celebrity, he admits. Rarely does he acknowledge them, instead electing to go about his business on the floor.

Aren’t conference road games supposed to be hostile atmospheres? Most often, it’s not the case for Fredette. BYU, a Mormon institution and one of college athletics’ only truly national universities, has fans everywhere, but they out-numbered and out-cheered TCU’s fans on Saturday as the Cougars improved to a program-best 25-2.

“It’s been like this pretty much everywhere we’ve been going,” Fredette said.

Most often, Fredette is the catalyst.

This is The Jimmer Effect, produced by The Jimmer Show, and it’s in the thick of a winter tour the Cougars hope will crescendo into an April run at the national title.

Seconds into the game -- in TCU’s arena, remember -- a boisterous “B-Y-U” chant dominated the arena noise.

The same occurred in the game’s closing minutes.

“It’s a really great experience for our players,” said BYU coach Dave Rose. “I think it’s a tribute to this team, and the fact that it’s the last time through this league.”

It was the sixth time this season a BYU road game sold out, and even Cougars officials admitted the Jimmer Effect was on high in Saturday’s game.

The TCU student section was full, but the rest of the capacity crowd -- 7,258, the first sellout for the school since Nov. 23, 2004 and the third-biggest crowd in school history -- wasn’t drawn in by TCU’s 10-18 record and one conference win in 13 tries.

“Ya’ll about to get Jimmered,” read another sign in the arena.

TCU got Cougared more than it got Jimmered. Fredette, who averages more than 27 points a game, scored 23 on 6-of-16 shooting. But road games featuring Fredette are unlike almost anything one can experience in sports today.

What The Heatles -- that three-headed monster in Miami -- are to the NBA, four-year senior Fredette is to college hoops.

The biggest cheers of the night came when Fredette was introduced and when he buried one of his trademark 3-pointers. He finished 3-for-9 from beyond the arc on Saturday.

The Horned Frogs supporters in the building were delighted by a second-half Fredette air ball, and serenaded him with reminders each time he touched the ball for the handful of possessions that followed.

With a little more than two minutes left in the game, he left to a standing ovation from most of the BYU fans in the stands.

“Obviously, I look forward to the day that [the fans] are here to see TCU and it’s all purple, but again, this is a special season for Jimmer and for their team,” said TCU coach Jim Christian.

He draws in fans from everywhere. Except when they arrive, they do it ready to cheer, rather than jeer.

Jerry and Bernadette Izu made the 150-mile trip from Fort Hood to Fort Worth and grabbed some seats near the top of the arena.

“We had six kids just so we could spell out 'Jimmer,'" Jerry Izu said. "J-I-M-M-E-R" read their sign, with the assist of their sign-holding six kids.

Anytime the Cougars are in Texas, the Izus are there, too. But the biggest draw this year? Well, he goes by one name.

“Jimmer,” Jerry Izu said.

Thanksgiving trifecta for Cowboys Stadium?

January, 27, 2011
1/27/11
2:04
PM CT
A potential football feast is being lined up at Cowboys Stadium over Thanksgiving weekend.

The Dallas Cowboys will kick off the festivities with their annual Thanksgiving Day game, and negotiations on two fronts are in the works to bring two college football games to Arlington.

Texas Tech and Baylor hope to soon finalize their Big 12 Conference game at Cowboys Stadium for Saturday, Nov. 26. Those two teams played in North Texas the last two seasons, at Cowboys Stadium in 2009 and at the Cotton Bowl last season.

On Friday, Nov. 25, how about TCU vs. BYU?

Th0se two schools, no longer Mountain West Conference rivals now that BYU has gone independent, are in negotiations to play a non-conference game at Cowboys Stadium, according to two sources. The Thanksgiving date is not a firm one, but one that makes sense. The Frogs initially offered to play Tech at JerryWorld after the Red Raiders last week dropped TCU from the 2011 schedule. Tech didn't take the offer, likely because it was already negotiating to play Baylor there. Two games in one season at The Big Yard is unnecessary.

A TCU-Tech mathup would have been played in September. However, BYU's 12-game 2011 schedule is booked through Oct. 29, the first of two bye weeks. The other bye week is Nov. 26. Because of a provision that allows teams that travel to Hawaii, which BYU does, to add a 13th game, the Cougars' Thanksgiving bye is rather convenient.

TCU has just two non-conference games scheduled (at Baylor, Sept. 3; vs. SMU, Oct. 1) and would have flexibility within its Moutain West Conference schedule, which won't be set for likely another month, to play BYU at Cowboys Stadium on Thanksgiving Friday. That matchup would seem a perfect fit for ESPN, which struck a deal with BYU once it left the MWC.

Is MWC preparing for a TCU departure?

November, 19, 2010
11/19/10
10:32
AM CT
Hawaii in and TCU out?

More signs indicating conference change continue to appear since the Big East Conference was first rumored to be interested in grabbing TCU to save its suffering football league. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser is reporting that Hawaii officials are close to sealing a deal that would add the school's football conference to the Mountain West Conference.

Next season, BYU and Utah will leave the conference with Nevada and Fresno State already signed up to step in. As currently constructed, it would give the MWC an uneven 11 football teams, which would seem to suggest that one program might be on the way out.

The third-ranked Horned Frogs have been the jewel of the Big East's eye for some time now. The move makes sense for both the conference and TCU.

Big East football is a national embarrassment. With its status as a BCS conference, the league is threatening to send a representative to either the Sugar Bowl or Orange Bowl without being ranked in the BCS Top 25 rankings. At the moment, only Syracuse has at least seven wins and no one as fewer than three losses.

Meanwhile, the Frogs (11-0), living in non-automatic-qualifier limbo in the Mountain West, are currently ranked third in the BCS. Yet, depending on how the final few weeks play out, TCU could be vying for a national championship or left out of the BCS games all together.

With options like that, hello Big East.

TCU wants door to hit BYU on way out

October, 12, 2010
10/12/10
12:11
PM CT

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.

Frogs will have eyes on K-State tonight

October, 7, 2010
10/07/10
1:20
PM CT
The No. 5 TCU Horned Frogs will become big backers of the undefeated, yet still unranked Kansas State Wildcats (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) when they take on the No. 7 Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-0, 0-0) in Manhattan, Kan., on ESPN.

Meanwhile, the Frogs (5-0) begin a three-game homestand Saturday against the Wyoming Cowboys, followed by the BYU Cougars and the No. 25 Air Force Falcons, all seemingly must-win games if TCU is to keep alive its BCS hopes.

Those hopes would be aided by a Kansas State victory tonight to knock the Cornhuskers from the ranks of the unbeaten. The bottom line for the Frogs is if they and fellow BCS-buster candidate, the No. 4 Boise State Broncos, finish the season undefeated, the Broncos are on course to likely get the one automatic bid the BCS grants to the champs of the non-automatic qualifer leagues (there is the thought that TCU could pass Boise in the rankings due to overall strength of schedule).

In the case Boise finishes ahead of TCU in the final BCS standings, the Frogs would be left to cross their fingers for an at-large bid, and the only way that would happen is if only two of the six power conferences get a second team into the BCS.

Here's how it works: Ten BCS spots are up for grabs. The conference champ from each of the six BCS conferences earns an automatic berth. One additional team from each conference can get in as an at-large selection. So, for example, if the Big 12, SEC and Big Ten each send two teams, and Boise gets the one automatic berth for the non-AQs, then there's your 10 BCS teams.

That's right, TCU can go undefeated and play in the Poinsettia Bowl. Boise experienced that buzz kill two years ago and then lost to TCU in San Diego.

So the Frogs will root hard for the Wildcats tonight. If K-State can't get the job done, then TCU will have to hope the unranked Texas Longhorns can get it together and topple Nebraska in Lincoln (Oct. 16). After that the Huskers' schedule is quite favorable.

TCU would also love to see the No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners get upset Saturday by the visiting Iowa State Cyclones. And if not, then they'll hope the Sooners get bit playing either at the Missouri Tigers (Oct. 23), at the Texas A&M Aggies (Nov. 6) or at the Oklahoma State Cowboys (Nov. 27). TCU wants the Big 12 South and North champs to have at least one loss heading into the Dec. 4 title game at Cowboys Stadium, ensuring that one will leave with two losses and likely out of the BCS mix.

Similar scenarios in the other power conferences are also preferable to TCU's quest. Having said all that, the Frogs could benefit from relatively weak power conferences this season. The Sooners look vulnerable. Which is the SEC power team beyond the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide? How about behind the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes in the Big Ten?

If TCU can't help elsewhere, what are the chances Boise loses one of its remaining eight games? The Broncos' most difficult challenge would seem to be the No. 21 Nevada Wolf Pack (Nov. 26). TCU, as of this week's rankings, faces two more Top 25 teams, No. 25 Air Force and at the No. 10 Utah Utes (Nov. 6).

That's the system, folks.

Gary Patterson 'surprised' by report

September, 28, 2010
9/28/10
10:13
PM CT
video
If Tuesday's report in the New York Post suggesting TCU is on the Big East's radar caught Horned Frogs football coach Gary Patterson by surprise, perhaps he's had his nose buried in playbooks.

"Surprised," Patterson said via text message. "I have been working on CSU."

OK then. During football season, Patterson is a here-and-now guy and that means full-time preparations for Saturday's Mountain West opener at Colorado State. But, what if in a few years the conference opener was at Syracuse or UConn or Pittsburgh or West Virginia or Louisville? And what if the end game was an automatic bid to a BCS game? Should TCU be intrigued?

"Don't know!" Patterson typed. "Too busy to think about it right now!"

The man TCU pays to know, athletic director Chris Del Conte, did not return a phone message.

Right now, Patterson knows he can't afford to lose. One loss and the No. 5 Frogs won't be going to any BCS game. That's not the case for teams in the six major conferences that have automatic access to BCS games and millions of dollars in revenue annually.

But, does the Big East make sense for TCU? At first it would seem the Big East makes no sense logistically for sports other than football. But, that argument loses steam when you consider the new Mountain West once Utah and BYU leave and Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada come in.

"Travel is about the same," Patterson noted, and it is.

The bottom line is it might not be safe for TCU to hold out for an invite to the new Big 12 with 10 teams. And, who knows when the next major conference shakeup occurs and where it will shuffle schools. As TCU knows well, there are no guarantees.

The real winner in a move to the Big East might just be the men's basketball program, the one underachieving sport at TCU. The Big East is a college powerhouse and it could open all kinds of recruiting avenues, not to mention bringing in nationally ranked programs to Daniel-Meyer Coliseum every week, including Pitt and its coach, TCU's own Jamie Dixon.

For those concerned about TCU's baseball program, the Big East boasts a 12-team league. What's so special about MWC baseball again?

According to the report, everything is preliminary. Even so, it is intriguing.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS

Fitzsimmons and Durrett: OSU scandal

Part 2 of the articles on OSU's involvment in academic fraud was released. Some claim the expose is unfounded. Ian and Richard warn that there are two sides to all stories.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Longhorns talk

Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss Mack Brown, Manny Diaz and all the latest with the Texas Longhorns.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Barkley on Manziel

Fitzsimmons and Durrett give you the latest on the Johnny Manziel story and Charles Barkley weighs in. You won't believe who the outspoken NBA Hall of Famer is disappointed in and what he thinks about the autograph allegations.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Kirk Herbstreit

Kirk Herbstreit joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett for his weekly visit to preview the 2013 college football season.

Fitzsimmons & Durrett: Andy Dalton

Former TCU and current Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the expectations for the Bengals this season, give a prediction for the TCU-LSU game and talk about what it's like having the Hard Knocks cameras follow him.

Galloway and Company: Manziel talk

Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley, and Mark Friedman react to Dez Bryant's comments regarding the NCAA's ongoing investigation of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

Fitzsimmons and Durrett: Dez Bryant sounds off

Richard Durrett, Ian Fitzsimmons and Glenn "Stretch" Smith react to Dez Bryant sounding off yesterday after practice about Johnny Manziel and the shadiness of the NCAA.

Fitzsimmons and Durrett: Dan Beebe

Former NCAA investigator and Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to weigh in on the Johnny Manziel drama and give some insight as to what goes on during an NCAA investigation.