FORT WORTH, Texas -- Gary Patterson can be mistaken for a gruff, old-fashioned football coach who laughs at little, but don't undersell the man. The TCU Horned Frogs coach can laugh it up when he wants, and on Tuesday he couldn't help but chuckle at the irony that Saturday's showdown against the No. 5 Boise State Broncos will be played on the blue turf instead of in his backyard.
The game was originally scheduled to be played at TCU (because Boise took over Utah's schedule upon its departure to the Pac-12), but nearly a year ago when the Frogs announced that they were big-timing it to the Big East, the MWC board of directors stepped in. They couldn't take away the Frogs' new conference, so they nabbed TCU's biggest football game and handed it to its proud, new member.
Well, since then things have changed just a little. Along with TCU bailing on the Big East to replace Texas A&M in the Big 12, Pittsburgh, Syracuse and West Virginia all ditched the Big East and, lo and behold, after all that shifting, the Boise State Broncos are on the cusp of joining a handful of others in -- that's right -- the Big East.
"If Boise State does leave for the Big East I already called the chancellor to see if we could get the game back here on Saturday," Patterson said with a sly smile. "Because that's why we changed the game, to make sure the Mountain West was taken care of."
No laughing matter are the stakes riding on this game and how the home field is a major advantage. The Broncos must win to keep their BCS hopes alive and must win big to keep the window cracked on a national championship game debate. The Frogs won't make the BCS this season, but they want a third consecutive MWC title and their goal is to leave the league with a 24-game win streak that now stands at 21.
"There's a reason they wanted to move the game," Patterson said of Boise State.
And here it is:
No team in the county has won more at home since 2000 than the Broncos. They're 72-2 on the blue turf in that time and have won 35 in a row. The Frogs, meanwhile, would have loved this game at Amon G. Carter Stadium, where they've won 24 of 25 and are 54-7 under Patterson. Earlier this season, SMU snapped TCU's 22-game home win streak.
"Obviously, the way we play at home and they way they play at home it definitely gives an advantage to somebody," Patterson said. "I do think it's ironic that if they do leave and go to the Big East, for all the things that everybody did for them that they no longer will be there either. But, I just thought we had done more and tried to handle ourselves with the kind of class as a program for the Mountain West that I just thought we'd be treated different. But, obviously, it's still about what have you done for me lately.
"Now we're going to try and win the conference title this Saturday in Boise against a really, really good football team."