DALLAS — TCU has gone from being a one-win team when Gary Patterson arrived with a new coaching staff to undefeated and No. 2 in the final poll.
"We're excited. … It's obviously very gratifying that the writers and our peers in the coaches poll voted us No. 2," Patterson said Tuesday. "Where we started 13 years ago and where we are today, it's quite an honor to be a part of all that."
The Horned Frogs (13-0) are No. 2 behind BCS champion Auburn (14-0) in the Associated Press Top 25 that was released Tuesday.
TCU completed its first undefeated season since its 1938 national championship with a 21-19 victory over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.
When Patterson arrived as defensive coordinator after the 1997 season, the Frogs were coming off a 1-10 record. He is 98-28 in 10 seasons as head coach, and TCU has won at least 11 games in six of the last eight seasons. Last week, he got a two-year contract extension through the 2018 season.
Patterson, attending the American Football Coaches Association convention, watched Auburn's 22-19 victory over Oregon in the BCS national championship game Monday night alone in a hotel room.
"I watched it as much as a fan as I did anything else," Patterson said.
While Patterson admittedly would have relished the chance to play Auburn or Oregon for the title, he insists that he didn't watch the game wondering how his team would have fared against either one of them.
"Like I've said before, I would like to have played them. That's what coaches do," he said. "You want to play at the highest level. We want to play for a national championship some day. … The rules were we played in the Rose Bowl. It was a great venue and we played a really, really, really good Wisconsin team, so we feel very fortunate to win. And I watched two good teams play (Monday) night."
Patterson, whose Frogs led the country in total defense and scoring defense, said he told people the BCS title game was "going to be more of a defensive struggle than they thought."
In a team meeting Monday before the BCS title game and the No. 2 final ranking, Patterson talked to his players about offseason workouts and provided a somewhat sobering message.
"I told them … that was last year, now we're 0-0 and how do you begin and do it all over again. So here we are," Patterson said. "For us, we're back in the weight room, going back to school, doing the things we need to do."
The Frogs have been BCS busters each of the last two seasons, but only have one more chance to do that. They are moving after next season from the Mountain West Conference to the Big East, which has an automatic BCS berth.
Patterson has now gotten contract extensions after each of the last three seasons.
Utes fall in rankings
SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's 26-3 loss to Boise State in MAACO Bowl Las Vegas led to a drop in the season-ending rankings. The Utes (10-3) fell to No. 23 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and led the "others receiving votes" (ranking 26th overall) in the Associated Press Top 25.