How close was the Pac 12 to inviting TCU? Close enough that it still may happen.
Normally, Gary Patterson doesn’t want his players in the limelight. He prefers to operate in the shadows, an underdog with a prove them wrong mentality.
But I think that GP is beginning to enjoy having some five star talent on his roster, and knows that if TCU is going to attract more, the bright lights need to come. “I’ve been laughing because nobody mentions Zach Evans,” Patterson said in his postgame press conference following the Frogs 34-32 victory over Cal. “All the (top) four or five running backs, the (top) six running backs in the nation … he was the No. 1 recruit in the nation, and nobody talks about Zach Evans. Just don’t talk about Zach Evans. We’ll just keep running him. They won’t pay any attention to him, and we’ll keep doing the things that we need to do.”
Well, 190 yards later — and a 50+ yard touchdown that changed the momentum of the game and likely the fortunes of the Frogs, maybe folks with talk about Zach Evans. With Bijan Robinson being contained by Arkansas — and Texas allowing over 300 yards on the ground in the process — and Breece Hall being basically a non-factor as Iowa State completely folded against Iowa, there’s definitely a conversation to be had regarding who the best running back in the Big 12 is. Zach Evans made his case, and will have an opportunity to keep doing so this season.
In other news, realignment might not be done yet, as Mac Engel of the Fort Worth Star Telegram reported that TCU and Houston are on the Pac 12’s radar — and could be extended invited to join the conference prior to the media rights deal is renegotiated before 2023.
The Pac-12’s formal extension of the invitation to Houston and TCU may simply be a delayed formality.
The Pac-12’s media rights deal with ESPN and Fox Sports expires in the summer of 2023.
It is expected that new Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff will want to do something to increase the value of the league for a bigger media right’s package; that would include expanding the conference into major TV markets located in the central time zone.
Houston is the fourth largest city in the United States, and Pac-12 officials regard TCU covering all of the Dallas-Fort Worth market.
Okay, okay… I know what you are thinking… but, the invitations sent to and accepted by BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF — with rumors that Boise State and Memphis could soon follow — has always felt like a bandaid. I really good bandaid, but something more akin to keeping the ship afloat rather than remodeling it into a luxury cruiseliner. Should the Horned Frogs remain in the new Big 12 for as long as conferences are structured as this, I will be completely happy. But if the Pac 12 comes calling for the Horned Frogs and Houston, both schools should absolutely jump at the chance to join up and head west.
Who boy, TCU Soccer is on a tear.
The Frogs have only beaten every team they’ve played this season to run their record to 7-0, including victories over a ranked Pitt team on the road, and Power Five opponents A&M (top ten at the time), Alabama, and most recently Ohio State.
It’s not just that the Horned Frogs are winning — it’s how they’re doing it: absolutely dominating the field on both offense and defense with a savvy playing style, aggressive offense, and a defensive back line that Gary Patterson has to be jealous of.
And you just don’t know who the star is going to be from week to week: Messiah Bright, Gracie Bryant, and Grace Collins are established stars, but it seems like a new threat pops up on nearly a weekly basis. Sunday, it was freshman Lauren Memoly who notched the first two goals of her career, another first year player making waves.
“We knew this was going to be a good group top to bottom,” Eric Bell said. “I’m happy that they have been able to impact the team the way that they have. The sky is the limit for them. They are playing major minutes and contributing. Very happy for them. I wasn’t necessarily expected, but they have taken advantage of their opportunities.”
TCU returns home for another Top-20 matchup on Thursday night against nationally-ranked Pepperdine. Match time is set for 7 p.m. at Garvey-Rosenthal Soccer Stadium. The game will be televised on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.