LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — TCU has made a habit of beating up on Big 12 teams over the years. It's one of the reasons that the program was invited to join the league in the first place.
Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Baylor — all of them and more have been bitten by the Horned Frogs.
The only difference now is that those wins will count toward a conference championship.
The No. 16 Horned Frogs are making their league debut on Saturday at Kansas, and most pundits would agree they couldn't have picked a better opponent. The Jayhawks were chosen to finish last in the Big 12, and seemed to validate those votes with a loss last Saturday to Rice.
The stunning defeat doesn't make it easy for TCU coach Gary Patterson to preach to his boys about stepping up in competition, but he's certainly trying that tactic anyway.
"We've played Big 12 people in the past, so we understand what we've got to play. We understand it's a higher level of play on a day-to-day basis," Patterson said. "So for us, it's the first one of the next 11 we've got to play."
Maybe his math is a bit off — the Big 12 only has 10 members these days — but his point is still made. Kansas is only the first on the docket, and games against fifth-ranked Oklahoma, No. 15 Kansas State and the rest of the league's bluebloods are still on the horizon.
Perhaps that's why Patterson admitted that "you don't worry about Kansas."
"What we worry about is what TCU has to do," said Patterson, who passed Dutch Meyer to become the school's winningest coach with TCU's season-opening win over Grambling State.
"Kansas plays very well at home," Patterson said. "There's a great chance they were looking past Rice, but they won't be looking past us."
That's certainly true.
The better question is whether TCU will be looking past Kansas.
"Let's be practical. Let's just sit there and reflect a second," Kansas coach Charlie Weis said. "We just lost at home to Rice, I got that right? Blew the game in the fourth quarter, up by two scores. So their coaches are going to come in and say we're much better than that.
"I've been there, trying to tell players the exact same thing," Weis said. "No matter how much those coaches try telling them, we got by South Dakota State and we lost to Rice."