TCU has three more games to win.
Three wins and it will be playing in a BCS bowl game. This is an exciting time around Fort Worth.
But here’s a question: Why don’t more fans come to the games? I’m not talking about the die-hard Frogs fans who show up for every game at Amon G. Carter Stadium. I see those folks every time I walk the sidelines. Or a Frogs alum like my friend, Bob, who works in Chicago but flew in to catch a home game this year.
Considering how big the Metroplex is, it’s amazing that TCU is only averaging 29,901 fans through five games. That’s still 14,000 empty seats. The players deserve better. Head coach Gary Patterson and his coaching staff want to see a full house.
“I can’t control the fans,” Patterson told me this year when asked about why fans don’t fill up the stadium.
It’s not like the Frogs are a one-year wonder. They have the seventh-best record in the nation over the last four seasons. When it comes to private schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision, only Pete Carroll’s USC Trojans have a better record since 2005.
The university has done its part. They have marketed the Frogs’ football program in newspapers, they put up billboards, they made player trading cards and placed posters all around town.
The game-day atmosphere inside and outside the stadium is first class. TCU has tried to play most of its games in the late afternoon or at night so families can conduct their Saturday activities and enjoy college football afterward.
On a Thursday night against then-ninth-ranked BYU in mid-October, 36,180 fans showed up. But the next week, only 30,103 attended for homecoming against Wyoming. TCU radio color analyst John Denton was pleading at halftime for Frogs fans hanging in the parking lot to come into the stadium and cheer on the team.
Don’t think officials from the Sugar Bowl who attended the game didn’t notice the size of the crowd in supposed “football crazy” Texas.
Patterson previously turned down head coaching offers at Iowa State and Minnesota. The next offer might lure him out of Fort Worth. There are coaching openings at Washington and Clemson with more surely to follow after the season. Patterson will be a hot candidate again. He has good reasons to remain at TCU, but attendance isn’t one of them. TCU plays in Las Vegas tonight against UNLV and then faces No. 10 Utah in Salt Lake City on Thursday.
When Nov. 22 rolls around for the last home game against Air Force, fans need to fill up the stadium and show the head coach and his team that their efforts as a top team matter and are appreciated.