He knew the question was coming.
After capturing a share of the Big 12 title and drubbing an outmatched Iowa State team 55-3, coach Gary Patterson was asked if his team deserves to be in the inaugural College Football Playoff.
“Yes, why wouldn’t I think that?” Patterson responded.
Amid the CFP selection debate, Patterson and the Frogs felt they had to prove their mettle in their final regular season game.
“We knew we had to make a statement,” Patterson said. “I don’t know what happens tomorrow, but bottom line is we’ve done everything that we can do.”
About an hour and a half south via I-35, ESPN’s College Gameday highlighted TCU’s biggest rival this morning, the source of the Horned Frogs’ lone 2014 loss.
The Baylor-TCU CFP debate has been raging for weeks, and Patterson has generally stayed quiet. But he did offer a small takeaway from what he saw on TV this morning.
“I didn’t see many signs saying Beat K-State today,” Patterson said. “TCU got a lot of publicity I can tell you that.”
Baylor fans have said that the 61-58 win over TCU in Waco should see the Bears leapfrog the Horned Frogs in the rankings.
But as Patterson pointed out, Oregon’s 38-point win in the Pac-12 Championship last night shows the value of head to head.
“Just think of Arizona and Oregon when they played again,” Patterson said. “Arizona beat them head to head [in the first game.]”
The four teams participating in the College Football Playoff will be announced tomorrow morning, and statistician Nate Silver gives the Frogs a 98 percent chance of making the Playoff.
Patterson has won conference championships before, but none rosier than this Big 12 Championship that shows TCU can excel in a Power Five conference.
He said this season has been especially memorable, considering last year’s 4-8 record and the group of seniors that is graduating.
“Well, we wouldn’t have been thinking these thoughts a year ago,” Patterson said. “I’ll probably remember this group as much as the Rose Bowl year.”
Quarterback Trevone Boykin, who broke Andy Dalton’s single-season record for passing touchdowns in the 55-3 win, echoed his head coach.
“This journey has been crazy for us these past few years,” Boykin said. “I really can’t explain it, I’m so proud of these guys.”
The junior quarterback made his last push for Heisman consideration with a 460-yard, four touchdown performance Saturday.
“I feel like I have had a Heisman season,” Boykin said. “But it’s all about this team becoming Big 12 champions.”
The last game of the 2014 season didn’t always feel secured for the Horned Frogs.
TCU entered halftime with a 14-point lead, and Patterson said he had to refocus the locker room.
“I told them: Quit worrying about the style points, just go win a championship. Go play,” Patterson said.
The Horned Frogs took the advice to heart, scoring 31 points in the third quarter and blanking the Iowa State offense for the rest of the game
Now, Patterson can relax.
“I’ve been so tight for four months, I’m probably going to go smile and enjoy it,” Patterson said.
For one more night, Patterson and the Frogs will have to wait to see where they will end up in the postseason shuffle. But Patterson can still joke about it.
“It’s out of my control,” Patterson said. “Just like going home….I’m not in charge when I go home. I just say yes, dear.”
Although, defensive tackle Chucky Hunter promised that the Horned Frogs aren’t done yet.
“We haven’t finished our journey, ” Hunter said. “The Rose Bowl team finished their journey, now it’s [our turn.]”