Despite its loss to Oklahoma, TCU in all likelihood can make the Big 12 Championship Game with two more victories. But coach Gary Patterson said his players aren’t thinking that far ahead.
During Monday’s Big 12 coaches teleconference, Patterson said the Horned Frogs are focused on Texas Tech, their upcoming opponent. Thinking toward the future could be problematic, he said.
“That’s how you make mistakes,” Patterson said. “You make mistakes if you look ahead, so for us, our whole season’s been ‘Eyes up. Keep climbing.’ You just look at the next ballgame and you take care of that ballgame and if you can get through that one, then you get to the next one.”
Patterson said the Horned Frogs can’t overlook the Red Raiders, especially given their offense. Texas Tech is 13th in the FBS in total offense and points per game while ranking seventh in passing yards per game.
Patterson’s players know about their championship possibilities, Patterson said, but he has them focused on the task at hand. At 5-5, Texas Tech has plenty of reasons to be motivated Saturday, so Patterson is aware his players need to come in prepared.
“I don’t have to tell them if they win their ballgames, they probably have an opportunity to be in,” Patterson said, “Only hope I need to give them is how I can give them the hope to make sure they can find a way to win on the road against a team that can score a lot of points and is playing a lot better on defense than a year ago and is very opportunistic as far as takeaways. For us, we’ve got a lot of work to do. They win this ballgame, they’re bowl-eligible, so they have a lot of inspiration themselves.”
By beating Texas Tech and Baylor in its final two games, TCU would make the Big 12 title game in all but one scenario. The only way a 7-2 conference record wouldn’t be enough is if Oklahoma and West Virginia also finished at 7-2 while Iowa State came in fourth in the conference standings, requiring Oklahoma State to end the season on consecutive losses to Kansas State and Kansas. West Virginia would win the regular-season title thanks to its victory against the Cyclones, who beat both the Sooners and Horned Frogs. Oklahoma’s victory over TCU would then put the Sooners in the championship game.
But a lot of that involves circumstances beyond TCU’s control. Patterson wants the Horned Frogs to focus on the Red Raiders, and it’s likely they’ll be prepared come Saturday.