Despite the national hype, the No. 6 BCS ranking and a 7-0 record, the TCU football team is still grounded and focused on moving forward one game at a time.
Heading into the eighth week of play, head coach Gary Patterson talked to the media Tuesday about the upcoming game against UNLV, the program’s national attention and the importance of fan support.
“It’s not all on the shoulders of team. (Fans) need to get themselves out (and) it needs to be a loud crowd,” Patterson said. “We don’t need to be loud as soon as something good happens. We need to be loud as soon as we walk into the stadium.”
The presence of a large crowd, Patterson said, helped the team play well in previous games. This call to action for the fans is something Patterson believes will help make the rest of the season successful.
“Look at us when we play in big stadiums (such as) Clemson and BYU,” Patterson said. “When we play in front of those kinds of loud crowds, whether they are yelling for us or against us, we have played well and at a high level.”
With a victory over BYU, TCU moved to 7-0 for the 2009 season. This is the best start for the Horned Frogs since 2003.
TCU has advanced to 7-0 only three times since 1938, when it won the national championship. This week also marks the highest end-of-October ranking since that season, when the Frogs were ranked No. 2 in the AP poll heading into November.
Patterson said that despite the national attention, the 38-7 win against BYU is already far from the minds of the players and coaches.
“As soon as you get done with one game, you start on the next one the next day,” Patterson said. “BYU seems like a long time ago, and it’s just Tuesday.”
The victory over BYU pushed the Horned Frogs ahead of their leading competitor for the outside bid, Boise State, in the BCS standings.
“It’s a good feeling to have jumped them this early, but … we try not to pay attention to that stuff,” junior center Jake Kirkpatrick said.
Although the team is excited about the recognition, Patterson said that the Boise State Broncos, No. 7 in the BCS poll, are still a strong team about which they are concerned.
“Nowhere along the line will I do anything to discredit Boise State if both of us go undefeated, because I don’t think that is how you do things,” Patterson said. “I think that they are a good football team … Anytime we ever play each other it will be a great game. A lot of people should come watch.”
Patterson said the prospect of the BCS at-large bid is something fun for the team to think about but not the primary concern at this point in the season.
“To me, it’s just fun,” Patterson said. “The best part about this is for all the coaches, because you work so hard all year. It’s fun to be in a situation at the end of the year where all of your games count.”
Currently, the Horned Frogs hold the fourth-longest winning streak in the nation at nine games. They are also one of only seven undefeated teams this season.
Patterson said he was impressed with the toughness of the players in the very physical BYU game.