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Gary Patterson thinks the Big 12 has incredible athletes up and down the conference.

TCU coach Gary Patterson hypes Big 12’s parity of ‘athletic ability’

TCU didn’t know what to expect when it joined the Big 12 in 2012.

What the Horned Frogs found was a conference with plenty of parity. And that parity stems from the quality of athletes on each team, according to TCU coach Gary Patterson.

During his weekly press conference Tuesday, the TCU coach expounded on his view of the athletic parity of the Big 12.

“I think the athletic ability is very close. When the level of competition is even, then where you play at home, how you play … all those things play a part,” he said. “You can feel like you’re a lot better than somebody athletically, but you can have a bad game still and win.

“That doesn’t happen very often when you’re equal. You’ve got to find ways, and so as a coach, how do you find ways?”

Patterson’s found plenty of ways during TCU’s time in the Big 12. The Horned Frogs have won a conference co-championship and finished second another season.

This season, Patterson said he started planning for this parity as soon as the calendar flipped to 2017.

“For me, it started back in January — it didn’t take very much to understand that we’d have to go to the places we’d have to go play and understand how mentally tough we were going to have to be,” he said. “That’s what we talked to them about all the way through spring, in summertime, in two-a-days.”

But the most important way to overcome the parity in the Big 12, Patterson mused, is defending home turf.

“If you want to win championships, you have to be able to hold a home-field advantage,” he said.

TCU will try to hold its home-field advantage at 7 p.m. CT Saturday against Kansas.