- David Ubben, College Football
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Saturday morning, teams and fans from all over the Big 12 will wake up all knowing the same thing: It's game day.
Well, everybody except for TCU players and fans.
The Horned Frogs have to wait an extra week to start their season. A date with Grambling State follows an opening week bye for Gary Patterson's team.
It's good reason for a frown from the TCU faithful, but the Frogs have plenty of reason to feel good about the development.
The biggest reason? More time to develop the youth on campus in Fort Worth.
"You usually get one extra short scrimmage for your young players," Patterson said. "This will probably be the youngest team we’ve put on the field in 15 years, and for us it gives us two extra weeks to keep working and keep growing ‘em up."
Patterson had 15 freshmen on his first two-deep, including five starters. He expects 8-10 may start by the end of the season. The extra week could prove important late in the season.
The extra week gives his team time to heal up, and for the Frogs' new stadium to continue to be built up. A $164 million rebuilding job has rendered Amon G. Carter nearly unrecognizable compared to its predecessor. The bells and whistles will get an additional week to be polished up, just like the freshmen Frogs.
That goes for more than just on the field issues.
"You get about three weeks to get in the routine academically before playing a ball game. If you’re a younger team, getting to study hall, getting your classes set, how you practice and get them into a routine of how things are going to go through the season," Patterson said. "Those are probably the biggest plusses."
The negatives? That extra week to heal up comes now, instead of during the season, when the Frogs may be in desperate need of another week to heal.
"Everybody else gets another ball game and gets to see what they can do under fire and they can fix some of those things," Patterson said.
After facing FCS Grambling, the Frogs jump right into Big 12 play, though it begins on the road against Kansas, which has lost 23 of its past 24 Big 12 games.
Patterson's not letting anybody into TCU practices this fall, and he doesn't plan on divulging the units whose improvement is necessary before the season kicks off.
"If I’d tell you that, I’d tell the whole conference that," Patterson said.
The best omen for the Frogs, though? History.
TCU's history-making, BCS-crashing 2009 season began a week late, too.
It ended with zero losses and a win in the Rose Bowl. Sometimes, patience does pay off.
22hDavid M. Hale