FORT WORTH, Texas - Kudos to TCU head coach Gary Patterson for refusing to publicly stoop so low as to state the obvious - that Texas Tech deliberately avoided playing TCU last season. Because I am quite certain he is not mentioning this to his team over and over and over again this week in preparation for TCU's highly anticipated home game against Texas Tech on Saturday.
There are two ways to do this: Talk about what is at stakein the Big 12, and the return of TCU to its Southwest Conference roots and playing home to a regional rival. How exciting.
Or ... we can talk about how one year ago Texas Tech told TCU it would not play them, as originally scheduled. Tech needed to drop one game from its non-conference schedule last season, but rather than drop Texas State, New Mexico or Nevada the Red Raiders took a pass on TCU. Now this is what makes a rivalry fun.
I asked Patterson today if his players are aware of the fact that Texas Tech appeared not to want to play TCU last season.
It would seem that GP maybe, just maybe, was aware of the fact that a little more than a year ago I posed this scenario to Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville, which he candidly admitted. BTW - major props to Tuberville for being honest about it.
"It wasn't that their team didn't want to play us. You keep making that being that," Patterson said.
ME: Their coach said it.
Gary Patterson: "Their coach said it was because they were new, and they were young, that they would be better to schedule it a different way. That's the way I took it. They are upset with us right now as a revenge game. They are saying we said they were chicken. Nobody at TCU, not Gary Patterson, not my team, nobody said it. It can be for the fans or you media people, but outside of that I'm going to play a game on Saturday."
No. 1: GP has his PhD from the Bill Snyder School of Non-Conference scheduling, so he can appreciate what Tuberville was doing in trying to build the Red Raiders. If you are trying to keep your job, and you don't have the greatest team, you do not deliberately schedule a risk game.
Playing TCU, at that time, was a risk for Tech. Today? The Red Raiders are 2.5 favorites on the road.
"Everybody changes games. (TCU's future) game against Arkansas has been pushed back 10 times, nobody makes a big deal out of that," GP said. "To be honest with you, if I had my choice, not because I don't want to play LSU, I wouldn't play LSU (next season). Because of the Big 12 schedule. ... Everybody does things for their own reason. He was trying to build his program and get to six wins. ... Coaches, we make business decisions. There is no such thing as a coach or a team that doesn't want to go play somebody. I didn't give it a second thought about him changing that ball game last year."
Suuuuuuuuuuuuure you didn't.
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