TCU leads 'untapped potential' programs

Updated: June 14, 2012, 1:01 PM ET
By Travis Haney

FORT WORTH, Texas -- As the interview continues, it's becoming increasingly difficult to hear TCU Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson over the sound of jackhammering and that beeping noise that large trucks and construction vehicles make when they're in reverse.

Surely this has to get old for Patterson, whose office overlooks the bustling work site at Amon G. Carter Stadium. After all, it's been like this for more than a year. Aren't his ears worn by now?

"Nope," Patterson says, beginning to smile as if he's an 8-year-old on Christmas morning, "I love that sound. I can't get enough of it."

The din signals progress to Patterson, and it correlates with the on-the-field advances the 12th-year head coach has helped the school achieve. Set for completion by the Sept. 8 home opener against Grambling, TCU is now in the homestretch of a $164 million overhaul of its football venue. It aimed for advances in quality over quantity in its makeover, which is already paid off thanks to private donations: The capacity will stay near 45,000, but the environs -- suites and lounges all over the place -- will have a shine to them.

"There might be bigger stadiums in the country," TCU AD Chris Del Conte said, "but there will not be a finer facility."

In addition, the Frogs will move into a new locker room next month. The team's meeting space and two-level weight room were finished a couple of years ago. Progress, indeed.

In this examination of programs with the most untapped potential throughout college football, TCU is already hopping down the path of realizing its prospects. The 2011 Rose Bowl trophy affirms that. But the Frogs could be on the verge of a more substantial and sustained leap, with the facilities taking shape by the day as they join the Big 12.