It’s getting closer.
The TCU football team is less than a day away from making its Big 12 debut at Kansas. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. on FX. As usual, follow along with TCU 360 before, during and after the game. We’ll be live-chatting and posting content throughout the weekend. In the meantime, here’s 24 pregame thoughts 24 hours before kickoff:
1) TCU reached a television deal Thursday with Fox Sports Southwest. Read all the details here. Oklahoma and Texas Tech already had agreements Fox and there’s rumors both West Virginia and Oklahoma State are in talks with the company for similar deals. It’s almost as if Fox is in an arms race to scoop up the rights to as many schools as possible, especially the Big 12. Welcome to the Longhorn Network Era.
2) Linebacker Kenny Cain was great to talk to Tuesday at the team’s weekly press conference. Had some cool stories about defensive end Ross Forrest, who’ll likely miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. Still, Cain’s best quote came when he was asked about the Frogs’ other linebackers stepping up last week.
“It don’t matter if I’m playing with Super Frog or one of the kids in the stands,” Cain said. “Coach P is going to coach that guy up to be the best he can be.”
3) Speaking of Forrest, hate to see that happen to a guy like him. In all the times I’ve dealt with him at press conferences and over the summer at Big 12 Media Days, he couldn’t have been more polite or well-spoken. An Odessa Permian product, Forrest walked on in 2008 then eventually earned a scholarship.
4) In other injury news, safety Trent Thomas likely won’t be making the trip, Patterson said Tuesday. Also, HornedFrogBlitz.com reported Wednesday night that linebacker Danny Heiss’ career is over because of recurring injuries. Heiss, a former walk-on from Aledo, would’ve been a big part of the Frogs’ defense and likely would have started. By my count, TCU has now lost 30 players since last December’s Poinsettia Bowl, including graduating seniors.
5) Casey Pachall Haircut Watch: Pachall’s 2012 debut featured a mohawk with the flying TCU logo shaved into one side of his head and a No. 4 on the other. If you remember, this was the same look he had at the Poinsettia Bowl in December. Prediction for this week: Big 12 logo replaces TCU. The No. 4 stays.
6) Chancellor Victor Boschini and wife, Megan, will be in attendance for the Frogs’ Big 12 debut.
7) Patterson’s uncle, Harold Patterson, played football, basketball and baseball at Kansas in the 50s. The elder Patterson was a starter on the Jayhawks’ national runner-up basketball team in 1953 before going onto a hall of fame career in the Canadian Football League as a wide receiver. Read more about some more TCU connections to the Sunflower State here.
8) If you’re in Lawrence on Saturday, stop by The Jayhawk Cafe or The Wagon Wheel near campus after the game. I’m told both places are great spots to take in a full day of football, which you’ll have ahead of you after the Frogs’ early start.
9) In case you missed it, the incredible game ball delivery last week against Grambling State:
10) The Horned Frogs should get a second straight week of perfect football conditions. Forecasts call for partly sunny and 79 degrees with a slight breeze.
11) Stat to track: The Frogs’ quarterbacks completed 17-for-17 passes last week. It’ll be interesting to see how long Pachall (and Trevone Boykin, if he gets in) can keep the streak going tomorrow.
12) Here’s something to think about: The Jayhawks won the Orange Bowl in 2007, the Insight Bowl in 2008 and the first five games of the 2009. Since then, they’ve gone 6-27 and have fired two coaches.
13) Break out the breakfast tailgate skills, TCU fans. Tomorrow’s the first of back-to-back 11 a.m. kickoffs for the Frogs.
14) Blaize Foltz was the first player to sign with a Division I program out of Rose Hill, Kan., a town of about 4,000 southeast of Wichita.
15) Watch for Matt Brown to possibly get some action at receiver Saturday. The former quarterback was in on some series last week, and he’s been athletic enough to make a fairly smooth transition to the new position. For what it’s worth, Brown holds most of the school’s quarterback weightlifting records.
16) Devonte Fields had a big career debut last week with a sack and three tackles for loss. Still, keep in mind who the Frogs were playing. Kansas might have lost to Rice at home last week, but Fields should be put to test a bit more going up against a Big 12 offensive line.
17) Last time the Frogs played an 11 a.m. game they beat a Big 12 team on the road – Oklahoma in 2005.
18) Former Nebraska quarterback, Eric Crouch, who won the 2001 Heisman Trophy, will be providing color commentary Saturday on FX. Crouch and the Cornhuskers beat TCU 21-7 in the 2001 season opener, running Patterson’s career record to 0-2.
19) Kansas’ Memorial Stadium is the only Big 12 field surrounded by a track.
20) Senior Cale Patterson handled punting duties last week, but Gary Patterson said both Cale Patterson and freshman Ethan Perry will make the trip. Perry entered the season listed No. 1 on the depth chart.
21) How about those Louisiana-Monroe Warhawks? ULM, who gave TCU a fight last year before losing 38-17, beat No. 8 Arkansas 34-31 last week.
22) One more look at Boykin’s 34-yard touchdown run last week:
Wow. Talk about lateral movement.
23) Pretty slow week in the Big 12. TCU-Kansas is the only league game, and Texas is on the road against an improved Ole Miss team. Other than that, not too much going on. The full slate: West Virginia vs. James Madison, Sam Houston State vs. Baylor, North Texas vs. Kansas State, New Mexico vs. Texas Tech and Western Illinois vs. Iowa State.
24) It might not break any school records, but if Patterson’s 111th career win comes Saturday it could be just as memorable as his 110th, which last week made him the winningest coach in program history.