Gary Patterson has rightfully taken the TCU-SMU rivalry to a whole new level.
In yesterday’s weekly press conference, the head coach ripped into all sorts of issues revolving around Saturday’s 40-33 overtime loss to SMU, mostly about the officiating. Or better to say, not the officiating itself, but Conference USA’s failure to recognize the officiating mistakes. After C-USA supposedly promised to make a statement regarding the officiating of Saturday’s game, then failed to do so, Patterson had a right to air his anger.
A questionable pass interference call canceled out a TCU interception in the first quarter and a possible motion violation went uncalled, allowing SMU to have a 71-yard pass that ultimately put them up 14-0. Both plays would have been drastically different in momentum swings for the Horned Frogs.
Whether the penalties would have changed the game, or if Conference USA decided that a statement needed to be made but failed to give one, Patterson clearly made it known to the rest of the college football world. It shows something that had been missing from Patterson this season: a fire and passion that takes TCU to new heights.
Patterson had a policy this year to go softer on the newer players to avoid a meltdown such as in the 2004 season. However, that’s not the Patterson style of play; Patterson is very much a “fire and brimstone” type of coach, one who is never satisfied and constantly demands more.
Patterson’s attitude is what made the Rose Bowl team of last year that garnered national respect for TCU’s program. This year, Patterson hasn’t shown that persona.
Perhaps TCU fans have finally seen the turning point for the football program this year.
Patterson is angry, and an angry Patterson makes a powerful and effective coach. Expect this week’s practices to grind out strong players to take on San Diego State on Saturday. Patterson is on the warpath and will do anything to get this team in shape.
If nothing else, Patterson’s reaction has given the Battle for the Iron Skillet and the rivalry between two great schools a whole new level of competition. For years, TCU has dominated the DFW duels. Dating back to 1999, SMU has had only two victories over the Horned Frogs.
With Gary Patterson’s remarks Tuesday, the rivalry now has a life that hasn’t been seen in decades. It shows a coach who is motivated and ready to take care of business.
J.D. Moore is a sophomore journalism major from Honolulu, Hawaii.