TCU coach Gary Patterson really had no idea how much of an impact those final 11 minutes at Baylor could have nearly two months later.
Both teams are 10-1 going into the final Saturday of the Big 12's regular season, each looking for a share of the league title and a spot in the first four-team playoff. It has to be easy for the fourth-ranked Frogs to wonder how much different things could be now if they hadn't blown that 21-point lead and lost on the final play at Baylor.
"Well, yeah. High school girlfriends, there's a whole bunch of what-if thoughts in my lifetime," Patterson said Tuesday. "It doesn't do any of us any good. We've got to finish our journey and we've got to see how it happens. ... You've just got to finish and do what you can do. You can't control all the rest of it."
For all the debate about whether TCU should get in the playoff, or Baylor should because of the head-to-head victory if the Big 12 does indeed get a spot, both still have one more game to play before the playoff selection committee determines its final rankings Sunday.
"You've got to let your team speak, and that's the only way you can do that, that's on the field," Patterson said.
TCU is home Saturday against last-place Iowa State (2-9, 0-8), which won in its last visit to Fort Worth two years ago before the Frogs won 21-17 on the road last season.
Defending Big 12 champion Baylor (10-1, 7-1) is home Saturday night against No. 9 Kansas State (9-2, 7-1). The Wildcats lost 41-20 at TCU on Nov. 8.
Since their 61-58 loss at Baylor on Oct. 11, the Frogs have won six games in a row — three of those against ranked teams.
"We didn't have time to feel sorry for ourselves," Patterson said. "I just told them if you want to prove people wrong, then what you have to do is you have to get ready to play. We just kind of went out and did what we needed to do."
While the Frogs try not to talk about what happened at Baylor, senior cornerback Kevin White acknowledged that it can be hard not to occasionally think that they could be undefeated. But they just keep moving forward.
"That just shows how we've grown this year, how last year really pushed us into this year," White said, referring to the 4-8 season when TCU lost four conference games by a combined 11 points. "Our maturity, we keep focus and keep staying on track to what we're trying to accomplish now."
The Horned Frogs are coming off an impressive 48-10 romp at Texas on Thanksgiving night. They are a nearly five-touchdown favorite over the Cyclones.
All they want is one more victory that will assure a share of the Big 12 title no matter who wins Saturday night in Waco.
"We had our slipup, we got beat by Baylor. Baylor had their slipup, they got beat by West Virginia. Ohio State had their slipup, they got beat by Virginia Tech," Patterson said. "You can look at all that stuff 1,000 ways. ... Like everybody does, you can skew your stats any way you want to go skew them for everybody to look better than the other two or three or four teams."