FORT WORTH, Texas – TCU coach Gary Patterson may need to find some hate for a team that stirs up feelings of nostalgia for him.
Patterson earned his master's degree at Tennessee Tech more than 25 years ago, while also serving as a graduate assistant coach. Tech visits the No. 4 Horned Frogs on Saturday night in TCU's home opener.
"We're trying to make sure that we're not one of the people they're talking about an upset," Patterson said.
Tennessee Tech (0-1) is from the Ohio Valley Conference, the same league as Jacksonville State, which pulled off one of the biggest opening weekend shockers with its double-overtime victory at Mississippi.
That was one of the first things Patterson pointed out to his team this week.
"Just because they're a small school don't mean they can't beat anybody. ... Just as you saw with Ole Miss," TCU linebacker Tank Carder said. "It really kind of wakes you up and let's you know that those small schools really can play."
The Golden Eagles also played an SEC team on the road last weekend. They went without a turnover at 14th-ranked Arkansas and led 3-0 after the first quarter. However, they lost 44-3.
"We did some composure-type things that we haven't done here in the past," Tennessee Tech coach Watson Brown said. "Having players back, that was a little disappointing."
Tennessee Tech is the only FCS team that is opening the season against consecutive Top 25 opponents; only three FBS teams are starting their seasons against back-to-back ranked teams. This is the third year in a row the Golden Eagles are playing two upper-division teams.
"Hopefully, we'll do it better" than they did against Arkansas, Brown said. "I think it will be the same atmosphere."
Since losing in overtime to FCS team Northwestern State of Louisiana in Patterson's first home game as head coach in 2001, the Horned Frogs (1-0) have played three more lower-division teams — beating them all by at least 33 points.
With expectations of becoming a second-time BCS buster, TCU needs another dominating performance.
Style points didn't matter as much last week when the Frogs opened their season about 20 miles from campus, since they won 30-21 over then-No. 24 Oregon State at Cowboys Stadium.
But since the rest of the TCU schedule is void of any teams currently in the Top 25, and the only opponent left from an automatic BCS-qualifying conference is perennial loser Baylor, the Frogs probably need plenty of dominating victories to keep their lofty ranking.
TCU has a 14-game home winning streak. In four Mountain West games at Amon Carter Stadium last season, the Horned Frogs outscored conference foes 191-44, allowing only five touchdowns.
Andy Dalton is now the winningest quarterback in TCU history, surpassing Sammy Baugh with his 30th victory in the opener that also makes him the winningest active FBS quarterback. Dalton, however, has five interceptions his last two games — three in the Fiesta Bowl loss in January and two against Oregon State that led directly to touchdowns.
Dalton still came up big against the Beavers, throwing for 175 yards and a touchdown, and running for 64 yards and two more scores.
"We've kind of set ourselves up to have some national goals," Dalton said. "People are starting to portray us as one of the national teams that are pretty good."