Is It Fools’ Gold??

By Kevin Sherrington
Updated: November 12, 2009

FORT WORTH — In the last year, a senator and an attorney general have backed Utah coach Kyle Whittingham in his case against the BCS, their argument based largely on the fact that the Utes went 13-0 last season without ever actually playing for a national title.

Meanwhile, unless I missed it in the editorial pages, no local official campaigns for TCU. Maybe we can blame old school ties. Kay Bailey Hutchison was a cheerleader at Texas, and Rick Perry is too busy running Texas A&M.

Of course, it’s hard to fault Texas’ elected officials when TCU’s football coach won’t raise a fuss, either.

“I just don’t believe it does you any good to complain,” Gary Patterson said this week.

Frankly, I think this is the way to go, too.

Especially when you might get what you ask for.

For those who haven’t been paying attention, let’s back up a moment.

TCU is having another fine season, which not so long ago wasn’t a given. The Frogs are 9-0 going into Saturday’s prime-time Mountain West showdown with Utah at Amon Carter Stadium. This makes twice under Patterson that they’ve opened with at least nine straight wins.

For my money, no coach within a couple days’ drive is a better judge of talent. Or at least a better judge of what he requires. As defensive coaches go, I’ll take Patterson and Will Muschamp, and you can have the rest.

And if fashion matters to you, TCU is Nike’s pick, too.

For this week only, the Frogs unveil game-time duds that are purported to be high tech. At the very least, the helmets sport dual red racing stripes to represent the blood a Texas horned toad shoots from its eyes when agitated, which beats anything I’ve seen at the State Fair.

Cultural note: As a native Texan, I’m a bit embarrassed to say that, until Nike looked it up, I had no idea a horny toad could squirt blood. And from its eyes, no less. It’s a little unnerving. Next time I run across one, I’ll try not to do anything provocative.

Anyway, TCU has it all going on. A spotless record, a sold-out game in the national spotlight, fourth place in the BCS rankings and a suddenly sinister mascot.

Patterson has the perfect pulpit to make a case for his Frogs and the rest of the BCS busters out there, just as Whittingham and Utah did last season.

But Patterson isn’t interested in making a stink, and I don’t blame him.

He’s won at least 10 games five times at TCU, and in those seasons, here are the teams that beat him: Cincinnati, East Carolina, SMU, BYU, Utah and Oklahoma.

Except for the Sooners, it’s not exactly a murderer’s row. Not for a team wanting a national title shot.

One of these days, a non-BCS school will get into the national title game. My guess is that it’ll come when we have a tournament, not the trumped-up format now in place.

Until right minds prevail, the fact that you get no respect from the big boys may be no fun, but it could be worse. You could be Baylor, trying to survive in the Big 12.

Even if the non-BCS conferences and all the king’s men could change college football, I’m not sure they’d like the results.

Yes, Utah beat Alabama, 31-17, in the Sugar Bowl last season. That’s why we love sports. Every once in a while, something breaks our bookies.

Otherwise, it’s probably best not to spit in the face of favorites.

Patterson seems to understand the odds. Pressed by the media this week, he said everybody loves a Cinderella story, then ran through a laundry list of complications for our heroine that even Disney’s screenwriters hadn’t contemplated.

Wrapping it up at last, he said, “You may not even be able to dance.”

Maybe not. But until asked, fake it.