It’s been a banner year for pessimism (or “realism” as some are calling it) and optimism at TCU.
Yes, we hear you Mr. and Mrs. Realist - Mike Tuaua’s arrested and suspended. And yeah, Mike Freeze is back at the family farm. And of course, James McFarland lost his valiant battle against lawn watering equipment. And sure, this is just the start of TCU’s defensive injury woes.
And sure, we hear you Mr. and Mrs. Optimist. America never stopped after the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor, the Hillbillies did just fine in Beverly Hills and Lloyd and Harry definitely still went to Aspen even when their pets’ heads started falling off.
And yes, yes, we know Mr. and Mrs. Realistic Optimist, we recognize that time old coachism of “one game at a time.”
But here’s the thing - whether fans are adjusting expectations expecting the worst or still believing that TCU’s running the table by thrashing the competition, all answers are acceptable. There’s not a right or wrong answer here.
It’s fine to be optimistic. It’s fine to be a realist. It’s fine to be both as well.
It’s fair for the realist to worry that as TCU prepares to play this weekend against Tech, likely without Davion Pierson due to injury, Derrick Kindred will serve as the only remaining defensive starter from the Peach Bowl’s dominating defense. It’s also fair to recognize that historically, it’s hard to think of any defense that’s lost that many players and gone on to win it all.
However, it’s just as fair for the optimist to note that history is all about breaking form and making new records. It’s fair to say that TCU’s still got the offensive machine to keep up with anyone, and given time, Gary Patterson can get any defense into a formidable unit.
And for that more-abundant-than-you-expect realistic optimist, it’s fair to say that Lubbock will likely be a shootout - a shootout TCU can win. If TCU could hang 82 on the Red Raiders last year, there’s no reason to not have hope that the Frogs will also put up high scoring numbers again.
The defense gets the same treatment. The realist has a right to be concerned that safety Michael Downing might not being able to fill the shoes of Kenny Iloka because he’s a walk-on.
It’s also fair for the optimist to point at former letterman Tyler Luttrell, another TCU walk-on - a walk-on who just happened to play a major role in getting TCU to the Fiesta Bowl and now sports a Rose Bowl ring on his hand.
But for the realistic optimist? They can remember that Gary Patterson kinda has a track record of coaching up great defenses. It’s just a matter of time before he gets this one into top form.
There’s certainly more issues that can be given this treatment, but as the realist, the optimist and the realistic optimist squabble about what’s the best expectation for this team, fans all need to just remember one thing. The season is only three games in. There’s still a lot of football to be played.
And it’s still fine to be a realist, optimist or both.