FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — TCU had to spend 16 seasons spread over three different conferences, then has waited an extra week before finally getting to play a game as a member of the Big 12.
When the 20th-ranked Horned Frogs play their opener against Grambling State (0-1) on Saturday, a week after all but TCU and three other FBS teams started the season, so much is going to come together on one night.
The Frogs' first game bearing the Big 12 logo will also be their debut in a $164 million completely redone stadium. And it could be the 110th career victory for coach Gary Patterson, who is currently tied with Dutch Meyer for the most in school history.
"Hopefully, all those things turn out to be positive," said Patterson, going into his 12th season. "Check them off, and we can move forward and get ready to get in the season."
TCU is the only FBS team to win at least 11 games in six of the last seven seasons, and has been to two BCS games.
FCS school Grambling is coming off a SWAC championship in the first season of its second stint under coach Doug Williams, the former Super Bowl MVP who initially succeeded Eddie Robinson at his alma mater.
While the Frogs return starting quarterback Casey Pachall, two of their top three rushers and three of the top four receivers from last season, this will still be Patterson's youngest team. There are 15 freshmen on the depth chart and only 11 scholarship seniors on the roster.
Though the Frogs are considered big favorites, Patterson is cautious.
"We better go to try to win ball games," Patterson said. "Grambling, this is their Super Bowl. They're going to get up for this game. ... You better get ready to go, you better make your kids understand how important it is. The first ball game, too many crazy things happen."
The Frogs have won 10 consecutive home openers. The last such loss was in 2001, in Patterson's first home game as TCU's coach. That was in overtime against Northwestern State, another lower-division team from Louisiana.
But they have also come a long way since under Patterson, who reached 109 wins in 62 fewer games than the 201 by Meyer, who led the Frogs to their only AP national championship in 1938. TCU won the Rose Bowl to cap a 13-0 season under Patterson two years ago.
If you owe under $729k you may qualify for 3.05% APR Govt Refi Plans.