FORT WORTH — TCU’s final opponent of the regular season, Baylor, won’t be headed to a bowl game.
The Bears have struggled in Matt Rhule’s first season as coach, losing 10 of 11 games heading into the game Friday at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
That might be why TCU coach Gary Patterson isn’t taking the Bears lightly heading into the heated rivalry between the two schools separated by 86 miles along Interstate 35 in Central Texas.
“They’re not going to a bowl game,” Patterson said. “This is their bowl game.”
The Horned Frogs have won the last two meetings in the series. TCU’s 62-22 triumph over the Bears last season was the largest triumph by the Frogs in the series’ 106-game history.
The game Friday is shaping up as perhaps the most lopsided on paper in the series. But Patterson doesn’t see the game as a cupcake — not with a short week of rest and an entirely new Baylor coaching staff calling the shots for the Bears.
“You’re almost two days early on this one. It’s hard for us to keep game plans and it’s hard for us to get rest,” Patterson said. “It’s always difficult when you haven’t played someone, and it’s the same problem they have, too.”
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Limited practice time won’t be the only wrinkle on Friday. While high stakes remain on the line for TCU, all that matters for Baylor is knocking off its rival in its final game of their season — even if the Bears are 24 1/2-point underdogs.
Patterson said he expects Rhule and the Bears to be a schematic challenge against a TCU defense that has battled injuries in recent weeks.
“I expect to get reverses and double passes to whatever you can make up. They don’t have anything to lose,” Patterson said. “We’ve got to get ourselves ready to play.”
Despite the lackluster record, Baylor’s offense has the weapons to pull off such trickery. Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer completed a program-record 43 passes by a freshman in a loss to Texas Tech on Nov. 11. The Bears also boast wide receiver Denzel Mims, who has hauled in a team-best 1,061 receiving yards in 2017.
Kickoff for the TCU-Baylor game is set for 11 a.m. CT on Nov. 24. The game will be televised on FS1.