TCU head coach Gary Patterson instructs his team during an NCAA college football game against SMU Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

When TCU head coach Gary Patterson took the podium for his weekly press conference on Tuesday, he didn’t give many details about his team’s attitude the day after the loss against Oklahoma State on Saturday.

“Perception becomes reality, and perception isn’t always true,” Patterson said. “You have to stay in the confines of your group and have one message.”

Perception becoming reality may very well have been the theme of the day for Patterson.

With the college playoff committee now releasing their rankings on a weekly basis, the “eye test” is becoming a larger and larger factor in determining the best teams in the nation. Losing to the Cowboys by 20 points didn’t help the Frogs in that department this past weekend.

The loss coming in the final four weeks of the season hurts that much more, but it’s no secret that the Frogs have an incredibly difficult schedule in November, as they will face three current top 15 teams.

Oklahoma, Baylor and Oklahoma State have all yet to face each other as well, and Patterson said he is not thrilled with the Big 12’s decision to backload the schedules for its four best squads.

“I think [backloading] hurts conferences,” Patterson said. “People forget early losses. There is a chance that all four [TCU, Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State] lose two games by the end of the season.”

Forgetting early losses also seems to be a theme in the last year. Ohio State won it all last season despite losing to Virginia Tech in week two. This year Alabama is ranked No. 4 and is set to climb even higher after knocking off No. 2 LSU, despite suffering a loss to Ole Miss in the early weeks of the season.

Patterson even touched on how Oklahoma State jumped all the way from No. 12 to No. 5 in the AP poll after defeating the TCU, while the Frogs had not seen much progress in the polls all season even after starting 8-0.

“It seems we helped Oklahoma State more by losing than we would have helped ourselves by winning,” Patterson said.

Patterson, however, didn’t appear fazed by how the playoff committee might perceive his team in Tuesday night’s rankings show.

“I’ll let the experts tell me [where we stand],” Patterson said. “We have a great chance of a New Year’s Six bowl and an outside chance of the playoff…..Stranger things have happened.

Patterson said it doesn’t matter how his team gets to the top, pretty or ugly, complete or injured.

“We’re still 8-1 any way you cut it,” Patterson said. “We had one of the best two defenses in the league in 2013 and we went 4-8.”

For now, the Frogs will have to focus on running the table and finishing in familiar territory, with one loss on the season. Finish strong, and that final perception could become a dream-like reality.


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Dean Straka is a senior journalism major from Lake Forest, California. He currently serves as Sports Line Editor for TCU 360. His passions include golf, God, traveling, and sitting down to watch the big game of the day. Follow him on Twitter at @dwstraka49