"It seems like we're getting to be the statement game for a lot of people," Patterson said. "This week SMU is having a 'Red Out' and a bunch of people are coming to the game. But there's no difference for us than any other. We just have to find a way to win by one point and be ready to play when we get there."
The No. 4 Horned Frogs will be the highest ranked team to play on SMU's campus in 28 seasons. The Mustangs have been successful in a similar situation when they stunned the then-No. 22 Horned Frogs in 2005 after TCU had opened the season with an upset victory at Oklahoma.
Patterson still remembers that loss and made sure to inform media members he hadn't forgotten during his weekly press conference.
"I can tell you this much -- I will show the celebration part of the game on video to all of them and show them how it looked," Patterson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "They made a DVD of the game and sold it. I guess it was a big deal."
TCU's readiness was a concern last week when Patterson fretted about flat practices as his team prepared for Baylor. Those worries were unfounded as the Horned Frogs scored touchdown on their first five possessions en route to a crushing 45-10 victory over the Bears.
The battle between neighboring schools has always been an emotional one. Patterson thinks his team will be ready to play, even considering a short work week before Friday's nationally televised kickoff.
"Number one, it's not the first time for us in this situation," Patterson said. "Our seniors here have been to Oklahoma and Texas, Clemson and Virginia. This year, we've had Oregon State, Baylor and now SMU. It's another step for us."
Patterson let his team skip practice Monday because of academic concerns. The Horned Frogs will practice in helmets and shorts during the rest of the week to prepare for SMU's emerging program.
Last season the Mustangs qualified for their first bowl since 1984 and could be even better this season, Patterson said. SMU's most noticeable improvement is in the trenches where Patterson has been impressed with the Mustangs' interior defense and a developing running game keyed by bullish 235-pound tailback Zach Line.
"SMU is probably the best defense we've played to this point of the season," Patterson said. "Their passing game will be the best true passing team we'll play to this point. And their offensive line is really playing well and they have that big back. It will be a challenge."
But the No. 4 Horned Frogs provided another strong effort in the Baylor victory. Tailback Ed Wesley rushed for 165 yards and two touchdowns and Andy Dalton finished by setting a school single-game completion percentage by completing 21 of 23 attempts.
SMU coach June Jones has been impressed with the across-the-board improvement in the Horned Frogs, calling them better than last season's Fiesta Bowl team.
"There's not a weakness on the team," Jones said. "They don't care what you do. They are going to do it better than you can."
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