The Horned Frogs moved down in ranking to No. 5 in both the USA Today and AP polls after defeating the SMU Mustangs 41-24 in the Battle for the Iron Skillet Friday night.
The University of Oregon jumped the Frogs in both polls after defeating Arizona State 42-31, while the University of Texas dropped 14 places to No. 21 in the AP poll after losing to UCLA 34-12.
The top three teams, Alabama, Ohio State and Boise State, have been consistent in both polls the whole season. The other non-automatic qualifying school in the Top 5 besides TCU is Boise State. Boise stayed at No. 3 in the rankings after defeating Oregon State 37-24 on Saturday.
Head Coach Gary Patterson said he looked at the rankings each week because Athletics Media Relations Director Mark Cohen puts the rankings on his desk before he arrives at work. In response to whether the Frogs would drop in ranking after their performance Friday night, Patterson said he has no control over the rankings, especially now that he isn’t part of the voting process anymore.
“I haven’t had any luck controlling the pollsters, AP or (USA Today) Coaches, since I started,” Patterson said. “The only thing we can control is if the end of the season we have an argument if we’re still undefeated.”
Patterson said he is going to worry about taking the team to 5-0 and then to an undefeated season, and he doesn’t have the control over the rest of it.
Senior wide receiver Jeremy Kerley said that the polls take care of themselves and that the team can only control the game, not the rankings.
The cross-town rivalry was played in front of 35,481 fans, the largest crowd at Gerald J. Ford Stadium. The Frogs were winning going into halftime, but came out in the third quarter to increase the lead.
The Frogs had a short week to prepare for the Mustangs after taking down in-state rival Baylor the week before. Patterson said the Frogs took the Mustangs’ best shot and ended up coming out with a win.
“That was an emotional rivalry,” Patterson said. “We played them back-to-back, Baylor and SMU.”
TCU senior quarterback Andy Dalton came into the game against the Mustangs after a strong performance against Baylor last week, but during the first half he threw an interception and several incomplete passes.
In the Frogs’ first drive Dalton threw two incomplete passes, the same amount he missed during the entire game against Baylor. The scoreless first drive broke the Frogs’ streak of earning touchdowns on the first possession of the past two games.
SMU running back Zach Line was a powerhouse for the SMU offense and was able to push through the TCU defense early on in game. The Mustang offense kept pushing through the Frogs, which gave SMU the first touchdown of the game early in the first quarter.
Sophomore running back Ed Wesley took a tackle by the Mustangs during the second quarter and was out for the remainder of the game with a concussion.
Red-shirt freshman running back Waymon James entered the game in place of Wesley and finished the game with two touchdowns.
Patterson said James came out and accomplished what he wanted back-up players to accomplish.
“Every year I talk about when guys have to come in and play, back-up guys, that’s how you win championships,” Patterson said.