TCU came oh-so-close to pulling off a massive upset over Oklahoma on Saturday, and if a football was able to fly just eight inches higher, the Frogs would still be in contention for a second straight Big 12 title.
Of course, thanks to a great play by Oklahoma defensive back Steven Parker, there was a sad ending for TCU’s quickly escalated comeback, which gave Oklahoma a 30-29 win over the Frogs.
As expected with high courses of emotion, fans and critics came out of the woodwork to blame Patterson for making a bad play call. The following are the three real arguments that have been submitted through social media, message boards and articles about the game, and the counter-arguments below it are the reasons why they are wrong.
Reason 1: TCU had momentum
This is by far the most common reason that has been cited on social media by fans and pundits alike, and is by far the weakest argument to decide to not go for the win.
Sure, TCU had come back from a 17-point deficit with a chance to tie the game with 50 seconds remaining in the game. Unquestionably, TCU had the momentum during the fourth quarter with Bram Kohlhausen and Aaron Green tag-teaming to silence the Oklahoma home crowd.
But it was that momentum which meant TCU was supposed to go for two.
Consider this: TCU had Oklahoma’s defense on its heels. The Sooners were reeling and had no answer to TCU’s late surge of offense.
In that moment, why would TCU decide to stop going for the jugular?
Even with all that momentum, TCU would have to kick the ball back to Oklahoma with 50 seconds on the clock. Assuming Oklahoma doesn’t get lucky on a deep pass or a kick return, TCU then has to wait for overtime to begin, while Oklahoma gets TV commercials and other allotted time to get their home crowd engaged once again.
Then, after all that, what happens next? That’s right, Oklahoma would have an excited crowd behind them as the Sooners would be guaranteed at least one possession in scoring position.
That’s the funny thing about momentum - it’s a fleeting thing. Whenever a team has it, that team needs to use it to its advantage. TCU definitely had the momentum, and settling for tying the game would have extinguished the momentum the Frogs would have had in a hostile environment.
Reason 2: TCU had the talent to keep up against Oklahoma
Another common argument for going for the tie is that TCU’s talent was playing better than Oklahoma, and would be able to outplay Oklahoma if the game continued.
On paper, the argument seems logical. Without Baker Mayfield, and a banged up Samaje Perine, TCU was supposed to be able to keep up their talent supply in that game. After getting beat up by the Sooners in the first half, the Frogs held Oklahoma to 20 yards in the fourth quarter.
Oklahoma was out of sync with backup quarterback Trevor Knight, and with TCU’s offensive renaissance and Jaden Oberkrom’s leg, TCU’s offense would be too domineering in overtime, this argument states.
But with a healthy Sterling Shepard and just 25 yards to pay dirt for Oklahoma, why would TCU ever take that risk?
Even while banged up, Perine found a way to run for a 72-yard touchdown in the third quarter. While Trevor Knight isn’t Oklahoma’s best quarterback, he does have dangerous weapons to throw to. With the help of Oklahoma’s running game, a guarantee of being in field goal range and a roaring home crowd to spur them on, what were the odds of TCU being able to continually outslug Oklahoma in extra time?
TCU is coming up on a major game this week on short rest against their rival, and a bowl game to follow that. With more than 40 players getting starts this year due to injuries and inexperienced players, what would be the point of going for the win after more time and banging up when the win is available immediately?
TCU certainly had talent at the end of that game in Norman, but Oklahoma had talent as well, in addition to a home crowd and a short field. No amount of momentum or talent was going to be a form of salvation for the Frogs in settling for the kick.
Reason 3: Going for the win was just too risky
This is the argument that was circulated the most in the immediate aftermath, and is the argument that falls under emotion more than anything else.
It is also the argument is by far the furthest thing from the truth. It is simply the complete opposite of Gary Patterson’s mantra, and is an absolutely incorrect argument.
Every fan and critic who argues this point, regardless of emotional state, devalues the gusty wins TCU’s recorded against Boise State in 2011, West Virginia in 2012 and just about every other heart-pumping victory Patterson’s been known for getting in the past.
"Our rule has always been to go get the win on the road," Patterson said after the game. "To be honest, if (Parker) doesn't knock it down, there's a guy open in the back of the end zone to catch it.”
How cruel the truth can be. At the very end, Parker made a great play - nothing more, nothing less. Kohlhausen had a receiver wide open in the end zone, and had Parker not made an incredible jump and deflection, the college football world would erupt once again with a cardiac TCU comeback.
TCU had the momentum. They had the right play. They just got thwarted by an incredible defensive performance by a defensive back.
The result wasn’t what TCU wanted, but deciding to go for two was absolutely the right call for Patterson.