FORT WORTH — TCU head coach Gary Patterson knew it would take a while to adjust to the Big 12. His team is at the halfway point of their second season in the conference, and so far the results have not been impressive.
"I knew the level of competition on a week-in and week-out basis," Patterson said. "We'd played all of them. I think that's the biggest thing. If you didn't pay attention to what you were getting into before you got into it, then you're in a lot of trouble."
It didn't take long for the Horned Frogs to discover that the Big 12 is no Mountain West. In the 12 conference games they've played so far, their record is 5-7.
Players have learned that you can't take a day off in the Big 12.
"It’s the physicalness," says TCU linebacker Marcus Mallet. "Everyone in the Big 12 is bigger than what they were in the Mountain West. But like I said before, as long as we prepare ourselves during the week of practice, we have great games."
"I love it," said TCU offensive tackle James Dunbar. "The last time I played was the Mountain West. I came this season and was thrown into the mix in the Big 12. I love it."
After three conference games, TCU is 1-2 and ranked second in the Big 12 in total defense behind Oklahoma... but their offense has been lacking and is ranked next to last.
"I think there are some things that we have to change offensively, and to be honest with you, defensively as you tweak things, but it’s very hard to do all those kinds of things in the middle of the season," Patterson said. "Even if you play great defense, they [the Big 12] have just enough good skill players. A really good player can make four good plays and score 28 points."
On Saturday, TCU will travel to Oklahoma State for the second year in a row. It's their fourth Top 25 opponent in seven games.