FORT WORTH, Texas - Gary Patterson does not agree, but the two previous times his teams' chances of playing in a bowl game were better than what he is dealing with today.
What he and his team were facing in 2001 and 2004 were much "easier" than the set of circumstances he has in front of him. Again, he does not agree.
As it stands today, TCU will miss a bowl for only the second time since he took over as head coach in 2001, and third time since 1997. The Horned Frogs (4-6, 2-5 Big 12) must win their final two games to keep their postseason streak alive.
The odds ain't great.
TCU plays at Kansas State (5-4, 3-3) on Saturday in Manhattan; the Frogs are a 10.5-point underdogs. It finishes the season against Baylor; chances are decent the Frogs will be an underdog in that game, too. Probably. Maybe. Perhaps.
Here is a look at the two other times in the Patterson era when TCU's status of bowl eligibility was in doubt, and how it went:
In Gary Patterson’s first season as head coach, TCU was 4-5 after a 38-17 loss against Alabama-Birmingham on Nov. 10. In the Frogs' next game, they upset No. 17 Louisville, 37-22, to even its record at 5-5.
TCU had to upset Southern Miss to secure a bowl bid, which it did with a 14-12 win. The Frogs finished the season 6-6 after losing to Texas A&M in the Gallery Furniture Bowl.
TCU dropped to 4-5 after losing 55-28 at No. 12 Louisville on Nov. 10. The next game, the Frogs defeated Southern Miss to even their record to 5-5 and needed one win for a bowl.
In the regular-season finale against Tulane, the Frogs lost 35-31 to finish 5-6. It is the only time in Patterson’s tenure the team missed a bowl game.
I asked GP if there are any comparisons between these teams, and his answer was injuries. TCU's offensive line has been depleted by injury, a quitter, and guys who aren't good enough.
Other than the bowl appearance bonus in their contract, what no college coach wants to miss out on a bowl are the extra practices for the underclassmen. I asked Gary if that was a concern, which he said it is not.
"One of our best recruiting years we weren’t working on bowl practices. We had one of our best recruiting classes," GP said. "There are plusses and minuses to all of it. Right now I don’t see two ways that would make me happy."
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