FORT WORTH, Texas -- On a day when Gary Patterson received a contract extension through 2016, the TCU coach stated that the Horned Frogs can win a national championship despite not being in a BCS conference.
And he believes they can do so without a playoff system.
Patterson, whose contract includes salary increases for his assistants, maintains that he's in favor of the bowl games and not a playoff system.
"Is it easier to win one game for a championship? Or to have to win four?" Patterson asked. "If you have a playoff, you practice and get on a plane and play. And if you lose, it's over. If you go to a bowl game, you're there seven days and the kids can enjoy a place and get rewarded."
Patterson noted there's still a chance his 12-0 team -- TCU's first undefeated squad since 1938 -- could play for a national title this season. For that to happen, No. 4 TCU would need Nebraska to upset No. 3 Texas in the Big 12 championship Saturday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
Then, the Horned Frogs would need the BCS formula to work in their favor.
"We had a vision nine years ago of reaching a BCS bowl and going to a national championship," said Patterson, who is 85-27 after completing his ninth season. "A lot of people laughed and shook their heads and said, 'Well, that's nice.' We're now crossing that threshold.
"We feel like we're very blessed. I do not feel like our work is done. We still have a mountain to climb, a championship to win."
Patterson, who has led TCU to five 11-win seasons in the past seven years, believes that playing for a national title is as much about reputation as anything.
"You have to show that you can play with everybody consistently," he said. "You have to establish you can do it every year."
Last season, TCU finished No. 7 in The Associated Press and USA Today polls, the highest-ranked two-loss team in the nation. If the Frogs win a BCS bowl this season, they could begin 2010 in the top five.
That means fewer teams to leapfrog on the way to a possible BCS national championship berth. TCU started this season 17th in both polls.
Patterson said even though TCU is not in a BCS conference, the program is gaining national respect and is proving it can play in the big games.
"Ninety percent of the teams [in the BCS] don't have an opportunity to win a national championship," Patterson said. "It's the same 10 teams. We've now gone to a BCS over 80 percent of the Big 12, 80 percent of the SEC, 80 percent of the Big Ten. We've achieved something that all those other teams talk about because they are part of a conference that can get there. We've now jumped over a hurdle by going to a BCS game."
Patterson quickly said a BCS bowl wasn't official, as bowl pairings will be announced Sunday.
"We're going into houses and everyone knows about TCU," Patterson said. "The only thing that was held over our heads was we couldn't play in a BCS game or play for a national championship."
Patterson believes strongly that isn't the case anymore.