The first point TCU coach Gary Patterson wanted to make at his midweek press conference Tuesday was simple.
“Every game past this point is a tough one,” he said.
He included Kansas.
Of course he included Kansas, the second-easiest team in the country to score on, the lowest-scoring offense in the Big 12, losers of five straight and winner just three times in its last 33 games.
In No. 4 TCU’s case, he should have. It’s the same Kansas that has played the Horned Frogs within an average of a touchdown the past five years. Against everyone else in that time, Kansas has been outscored by an average of three touchdowns.
Of course, Patterson included Kansas.
“KU’s played us well,” Patterson said. “They have guys on their staff that know us well. People who know you, they are going to play you well.”
Indeed, the connections are there.
But Kansas has been giving TCU problems since 2012 when the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12.
There’s no reason for Patterson to change his perspective about the Kansas game, no matter that his team is nearly a 40-point favorite.
“I know our kids are excited about it — playing this game,” Patterson said. “Because they’ve heard enough. They’ve heard, ‘played close.’ ”
So Kansas has been tough on TCU. It could be a tough game again.
What about the rest of the teams on the schedule?
“There’s not anything easy trying to win next week when you go to Iowa State,” he said. “You get to November, then you’re talking about four emotional games. Because you have three in the state — Texas, Texas Tech and Baylor — so that makes them emotional. And you have Oklahoma. Those are your last four. So for us, we just need to try to navigate October, try to see if we can win by one more point.”
There’s one more factor.
As TCU continues to win and rise in the rankings, the bigger a target it becomes.
“What our kids will find out is, if we can keep winning, that every game becomes tougher,” Patterson said. “Because more and more people are going to pay attention. And then you have to become smarter about how you act and what you say and how you do things. Because it becomes more and more magnified, everything that you say. I’ve found out that the higher you get, like the Rose Bowl year, the less I say, the better.”
Maybe that’s why Patterson kept it simple Tuesday.
It’s Kansas Week.
What else could he say?
“Every game past this point is a tough one.”
That included Kansas.
No. 4 TCU vs. Kansas
7 p.m. Saturday, KDFW/4