Raise your hand if you'd like to win the Big 12 championship. That's the goal of every player, coach, and fan within this conference and as the season approaches the final weeks only a handful of teams are eligible for it. Two of those teams will face off in Norman on Saturday night when the TCU Horned Frogs come to play Oklahoma in what is essentially an elimination game.
Needless to say, it's a bad time to have your quarterback and star receiver banged up but that's exactly where TCU head coach Gary Patterson finds himself as game day is quickly approaches. Does the desire to win the conference outweigh the desire to do what's best for his players? Not even close, Patterson told the media on Tuesday.
"Our kids want to win a conference title. But I don't think you do it at the sake of playing somebody when they're not ready to go," he said. The two players in question are quarterback Trevone Boykin and receiver Josh Doctson. Both are stars, both are injured. Doctson went down two weekends ago against Oklahoma State, and then last weekend the Frogs had to get past Kansas without Boykin who left early in the game with an ankle injury.
The Frogs are sitting at 9-1 on the season, which ties them with Oklahoma for second place in the conference. Should Boykin not be available the Frogs would turn to Bram Kohlhausen who was 13/19 for 112 yards against the Jayhawks. He was shutout of the end zone but did throw a pick in the game.
The prospect of not having Boykin at quarterback shouldn't make Sooner fans all giddy for two reasons. First, you always want to beat a team when they are at full strength. Second, TCU is still very dangerous and is a long way from ever waiving a white flag of surrender.
"You see what you're going to have. But I think the kids are going to be more mentally ready to handle it," Patterson said. They aren't coming to Norman to compete or to keep it respectable. They're coming to win and keep their hopes of a conference title alive.
"Our goals are the same every year — to give the seniors the best season they can possibly have, within what you have," Patterson added. "We've got some restrictions right now, through injury and everything else, that probably has limited that a little bit. But anything can happen. This group is not going to quit. They're not going to throw in the towel. No matter what everybody thinks the odds are. We've had plenty of odds against us for many years, so that's beside the point."