In his eighth season as headman for the Frogs, Patterson led TCU to a 10-2 regular season record and currently a No. 11 ranking. As of today, the Horned Frogs are the second highest rated team in the BCS with two losses.
Coming into the seasons, voters had tabbed TCU as an okay team, but nothing special to watch. The Frogs only had three pre-season All-Mountain West Conference selections, and were picked to finish third in the MWC behind big boys BYU and Utah. Voters have to be scrambling now after 18 Frogs received MWC honors earlier in the week.
CollegeFootballNews.com had rated the Horned Frogs No. 46 in their 2008 pre-season poll. Teams like Fresno State, Kansas State, Tennessee, Michigan, and UCLA were all picked a head of them. All five of those schools are no longer in the CFN's Top 70.
The TCU defensive line was supposed to be the Frogs Achilles heel this year. How could TCU replace Tommy Blake and Chase Oritz? Led by Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year Jerry Hughes, the D-line helped the Frogs top the nation in run defense (48.7 yards per game) while placing second in total defense (215.1 yards per game) and sacks (41). Hughes, a high school running back converted defensive end, is a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy and Ted Hendricks Award.
The offense, which is hardly talked about, scored a school record 420 points this season. The defense might be one of the best in the nation, but the offense can hold it's own. TCU averaged 35 points a game, which was good for 35th in the nation.
Good coaches are wanted. It should be no surprise that when any big time Division I position has opened up this season, Patterson has been rumored to be a coach on the schools short list. Since 2002, TCU has not had a recruiting class that has ranked in the Scout.com Top 50. Every year, Patterson takes a team full of recruits, who were not rated the highest, and turns them into a Top 25 team.
I'm excited for TCU's probable bowl match-up with Boise State. In my opinion, it will feature two of the most underrated college football coaches in America. Chris Peterson and Boise State are coming off their third undefeated season in five years.
TCU fans might not be able to vote for Patterson in the 2008 Paul Bryant Award, but they can vote in the 2008 Liberty Mutual Award, also honoring one of the nations top coaches.