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July 2, 2012TCU's athletic future is as bright as the fireworks that rang in the school's official admission into the Big 12 Conference Sunday morning in the Fort Worth Stockyards.
Amidst the cheers and celebratory two stepping outside Billy Bob's Texas, it was hard not to think about how TCU now fits into the future of college football.
As he had already announced, TCU coach Gary Patterson approved of the new 4-team playoff format, beginning in 2014, that was accepted last week. He praised the continued use of the current bowl system into the new format, reiterating his belief that bowls are a great reward for the hard work his student-athletes put in year round.
"I think that's what gives back to the student-athletes and everyone else is going to be happy because we're going to find a champion on the field," Patterson said.
Patterson said the first few years will be a good test period to see how many teams the playoff should contain and isn't opposed to expansion, if it is good for college football.
Also on hand was new Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby, who said the new look of the conference fits perfectly into the new system.
"The biggest positive for us right now is we don't have a post-season playoff," Bowlsby said. "I think not having a post-season game in our league is actually an advantage for us in a four-team seeded tournament. If you take two good football teams into a post season playoff, chances are you'll come out with one of them being damaged goods and it might be the better team."
As far as further expansion goes, Bowlsby said the door may be closed, but it isn't locked, in case a national powerhouse might chose to "rush" to the conference.
"I think we need to be the hardest fraternity to get into, but if there is somebody out there that adds real value to the Big 12 - we also have to think about that."
To Patterson, every member of the Big 12 is a new opponent, and he said the focus of the 2012 campaign will be much more introspective and being prepared to play any team on any given Saturday.
"We haven't played these people so right now our biggest hurdle is us," Patterson said. "You've got to get ready to win and you've got to grow up. We only have 12 seniors and 11 juniors so 85 percent of my team is younger. Right now we're just trying to beat ourselves and beat Grambling."