Since the TCU’s arrival in the Mountain West Conference, its rivalry with BYU has quickly grown into one of the most anticipated games of each season for the Horned Frogs.
Although the last two match-ups between the two ended in lopsided victories for the Frogs who won 32-7 in 2008 in Fort Worth before beating the Cougars 38-7 last season in Provo, Utah, with the conference championship at stake most years, the rivalry has quickly grown in intensity.
TCU even went as far as to place a BYU helmet on one of its tackling dummmies to motivate players for the game in 2008.
Saturday’s game, though, will have added emotion because it is the last time the teams play as conference rivals.
Next season, BYU will leave the Mountain West to become an independent football team. Patterson said that BYU’s departure won’t affect the game.
“As far as this game is concerned, it doesn’t have anything to do with what’s going to happen after the season,” Patterson said. “This is about trying to be 3-0 in the conference.”
BYU (2-4) has struggled this year. The Cougars are starting freshman quarterback Jake Heaps after junior starting quarterback Riley Nelson was injured in a 34-10 loss at Florida State.
The Cougars record may be misleading. After winning their season opener against Washington, the Cougars lost their next three to top 25 teams Florida State, Nevada, and conference rival Air Force.
BYU has also struggled on defense. After going 1-4 for the first time since 1973, BYU fired defensive coordinator Jaime Hill. The Cougars responded by defeating San Diego State 24-21 last week.
The Frogs, on the other hand, seem to have found their groove on defense after two straight shutouts. TCU now ranks first in the nation in total defense after its 45-0 win over Wyoming last week, a victory that helped the Frogs earn first-place votes in the AP and USA Today polls.
“I’m really glad for our kids and our fans because that’s a sign of respect of where we’ve gotten to and what we’re trying to accomplish as a program,” Patterson said. “It makes me feel good inside.”
Just because the teams have had an intense rivalry within the conference, it doesn’t mean Patterson is happy about BYU leaving.
“I feel badly about it because you have relationships with the people at BYU and Utah,” Patterson said. “You see them in the spring, you see them at media days and you see them on the field of competition. Some days you win, some days you lose. You respect them for what they do. To not have that relationship, at least as league competition, is different.”
For a game that is already emotional enough, this particular game has a deeper meaning. Saturday’s contest marks the sixth annual “Frogs for the Cure” game. Five dollars from every ticket sold online goes to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure in Fort Worth, a foundation that advocates breast cancer awareness. Approximately 800 breast cancer survivors are expected to be on the field during a halftime presentation.
No. 4 TCU Horned Frogs vs. BYU Cougars
When: 3 p.m. Saturday
Where: Amon G. Carter Stadium