Trevone Boykin finished with 388 yards in TCU's 40-10 Thursday night win over West Virginia in 2015.

Gary Patterson has long held the mantra of winning by one.

Even when the TCU football team beat Texas Tech by 55 points last season, Patterson said that wasn’t the goal.

The margin last Thursday may not have been run-out-of-fireworks size, but the No. 5 Horned Frogs’ 40-10 routing of West Virginia certainly made a statement.

At 6 p.m. this Tuesday, the College Football Playoff (CFP) Committee will release its first rankings of the 2015-2016 season on ESPN.

Rankings from different organizations have come out since August, but as TCU fans learned last year, the rankings that matter most are those from “the committee.”

Playing on primetime leading up to the first CFP rankings of the season may have helped the Frogs, and playing well, even more so.

“They chose us to be on TV on a Thursday night, and fortunately for us, [we played] well,” Patterson said.

The Frogs combined for more than 600 yards of total offense against West Virginia, averaging seven yards per play. The special teams unit didn’t allow a single punt return, and West Virginia’s only kickoff return was less than 20 yards. The defense, which has suffered multiple injuries to starters and been critiqued all season, held the Big 12 Conference opponent to 327 yards and allowed the Mountaineers to score only in the second quarter.

Patterson said his defense started to prove itself Thursday.

“I’m not going to try to talk to the committee,” he said. “All I hear is we can’t play defense. Well [West Virginia has] a pretty good offense, to be honest with you. Their receivers are good players.”

This year’s hype combined with last year’s heartbreak has given Patterson’s squad that much more to fight for. The players know what’s at stake. They are focused on the next game because they know what one loss can do.

“We only had one loss last year,” Patterson said Thursday. “That’s all it takes. Didn’t get in the playoffs.”

The head coach said despite an influx of injuries and critics this year, this group has kept fighting. Patterson said players may watch the playoff rankings show Tuesday night, but his star quarterback Trevone Boykin won’t be watching.

“I probably won’t even watch it to be honest, because it’s the first one and it really doesn’t matter until the season is over with,” Boykin said after the game Thursday. “Until [the end of the season], I really don’t care about it. Right now we’re just focused on our next opponent.”

According to its website, the CFP committee ranks teams based on conference championships won (nonexistent in the Big 12), the strength of schedule, head-to-head results (see Baylor and TCU last year), comparison of results against common opponents and other factors.

Analysts talk about which teams are the most complete, but Patterson isn’t a fan of the idea.

“I keep hearing, well, to be one of those four teams you’ve got to be four of the most complete teams,” he said. “Why is that? Why is it you can’t just outscore people to go win? Why is it you’ve got to be the most complete team? I’ve just got to hold them to one less.”

For now, his team just needs to beat No. 12 Oklahoma State by one.

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Sarah Breuner is a senior journalism major from Portland, Oregon. She is working as copy chief for as well as interning with Fox Sports Southwest.