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Published September 12, 2015
TCU coach Gary Patterson quickly dismissed any talk about the Big 12 title chase.
Someone brought up the league standings The No. 10 Horned Frogs, now the conference's highest-ranked team, had just completed their first-ever stretch of playing three consecutive top-15 opponents with a dominating 42-9 victory over Oklahoma State.
"I haven't thought about it. I didn't think about it before, " Patterson said. "We've got six games left, and all six are capable of playing very well."
While TCU (5-1, 2-1 Big 12) is one of four teams with a league loss and behind Kansas State (5-1, 3-0) in the standings, the Frogs are ranked higher than any of them halfway through their third season in the power-five conference. That comes after winning three consecutive Mountain West titles and then going 6-12 in Big 12 games the past two years.
Asked if they were the best team in the conference, dual-threat junior quarterback Trevone Boykin responded, "I wouldn't say that right now. We still have a lot of football left."
TCU moved up two spots in the new Associated Press poll Sunday, a day after holding Oklahoma State (5-2, 3-1) out of the end zone and outgaining the Cowboys 676-258 in total yards. The Frogs are just ahead of No. 11 Kansas State and No. 12 Baylor (6-1, 3-1), which dropped eight spots after its loss at West Virginia (5-2, 3-1), which moved into the poll at 22.
Oklahoma slipped from 11th to 16th after its one-point loss to the Wildcats and Oklahoma State dropped completely out from 15th after its five-game winning streak was snapped.
Patterson knew long before the season the difficult stretch they faced once they got into conference play after having two off weeks in September. They wrap up their October stretch at home Saturday against Texas Tech (3-4, 1-3).
TCU started this month with a 37-33 win over Oklahoma in its Big 12 opener before a 61-58 loss at Baylor after blowing a 21-point lead in the final 11 minutes and losing on a last-play field goal.
The Frogs quickly eliminated any notion that the 4 1/2-hour shootout loss had any lingering effects on them. They led Oklahoma State for good after three long touchdowns in a span of four offensive snaps in the first quarter — a 34-yard run and catch-and-run plays of 77 and 84 yards from Boykin to Josh Doctson.
"We definitely had to bounce back and get a confidence boost. That's what we're used to doing," cornerback Kevin White said. "Great teams have to bounce back. You can't let one loss define your season and define your team. We knew one loss wasn't going to define us, and we would just play harder, that's all we could do."
Following the home game against Texas Tech, which won 56-53 in triple overtime its last trip to Fort Worth two years ago, the Frogs go to West Virginia and then host K-State.
Patterson said his team has already shown him plenty about its character by how it has handled tough stretches.
"Nobody flinched. You can either look around and you can blame people or we can just roll up our sleeves. That's what we've done," Patterson said. "But that's what we've always done at TCU. You can't last 17 years, 14 as a head coach, without outlasting some hard times. Some close games. Some heartbreaks."