STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — TCU and coach Gary Patterson have gotten some more separation from those final 11 minutes at Baylor nearly two months ago.
While both teams are 10-1 going into the final Saturday of the Big 12’s regular season, with each looking for a share of the league title and a spot in the first four-team playoff, TCU got a huge boost Tuesday night.
The Horned Frogs moved up two spots to third in the new College Football rankings. That pushed them ahead of undefeated Florida State, and more importantly, three spots ahead of the No. 6 Bears.
“We’ve got to finish the journey,” Patterson said Tuesday night. “I don’t know if there is a gap. I know we have one more game and have to finish this.”
There has been plenty of debate about whether TCU should get in the playoff, or if Baylor should because of the head-to-head victory Oct. 11 when the Bears overcame a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter and got a game-ending field goal against the Frogs.
Both still have one more game to play Saturday, the day before the playoff selection committee puts out its final rankings.
“You’ve got to let your team speak, and that’s the only way you can do that, that’s on the field,” Patterson said earlier Tuesday during his weekly campus news conference.
The Horned Frogs (fourth in the AP poll, one ahead of Baylor) are home to play last-place Iowa State (2-9, 0-8 Big 12), which beat TCU in its last visit to Fort Worth two years ago before the Frogs won 21-17 on the road last season.
Defending Big 12 champion Baylor (10-1, 7-1), which held on for a 48-46 win over Texas Tech last weekend, is home Saturday night against No. 9 and league co-leader Kansas State (9-2, 7-1). The Wildcats lost 41-20 at TCU on Nov. 8.
Since their 61-58 loss at Baylor on Oct. 11, the Frogs have won six games in a row — three of those against ranked teams.
“We didn’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves,” Patterson said. “I just told them if you want to prove people wrong, then what you have to do is you have to get ready to play. We just kind of went out and did what we needed to do.”
While the Frogs try not to talk about what happened at Baylor, senior cornerback Kevin White acknowledged that it can be hard not to occasionally think that they could be undefeated. But they just keep moving forward.
“That just shows how we’ve grown this year, how last year really pushed us into this year,” White said, referring to the 4-8 season when TCU lost four conference games by a combined 11 points. “Our maturity — keep focused and keep staying on track to what we’re trying to accomplish now.”
The Horned Frogs are coming off an impressive 48-10 romp at Texas on Thanksgiving night. They are a nearly five-touchdown favorite over the Cyclones.
All they want is one more victory that will assure a share of the Big 12 title no matter who wins Saturday night in Waco.
“We had our slipup — we got beat by Baylor. Baylor had their slipup — they got beat by West Virginia. Ohio State had their slipup — they got beat by Virginia Tech,” Patterson said. “You can look at all that stuff 1,000 ways. … Like everybody does, you can skew your stats any way you want to go skew them for everybody to look better than the other two or three or four teams.”