The Horned Frogs have their highest preseason ranking since 1960, when they were 11th. It's the fifth time since 2000 that TCU has been ranked in the preseason. The previous four occasions saw the Frogs no higher than 20th.
With an 11-2 record in 2008, the Frogs were ranked seventh in last year's final Associated Press and USA Today polls. It was the fifth time in the last seven seasons the Frogs won at least 10 games, including four 11-win campaigns.
TCU opens the 2009 season on Sept. 12 at Virginia.
The AP ranking did not cheer up an upset head coach Gary Patterson, who labeled the defensive effort as "bad."
Pressed to elaborate, Patterson rattled off a list including "enthusiasm, tackling, accountability and heart," then, when pressed more, responded to Star-Telegram beat writer Stefan Stevenson, "Just write 'bad' with a period."
Dealing with a depleted unit, Patterson has been forced to give more reps to third-, fourth-, and fifth-string players. Solid performances from defensive end Jerry Hughes, Daryl Washington and Tejay Johnson did little to temper his mood.
Patterson was complimentary of the offense, saying that the group "played well" and "showed they wanted it more."
Highlights of the day:
- Jeremy Kerley had two long punt returns, one for a touchdown, that drew oohs and ahhs, but were nullified by penalties.
- Kickers Ross Evans and Kevin Sharples were sharp on their field goal attempts. Evans closed practice with a 52-yard effort that cleared the crossbar with a few yards to spare.
- Under good coverage, wide receiver Antoine Hicks hauled in a 50-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andy Dalton.
- Running backs Chris Smith, Matthew Tucker and Andre Dean had touchdown runs.
2009 Preseason Associated Press Poll
(first-place votes in parentheses and total points received)
1. Florida (58) - 1,498
2. Texas (2) - 1,424
3. Oklahoma - 1,370
4. USC - 1,313
5. Alabama - 1,156
6. Ohio State - 1,113
7. Virginia Tech - 1,054
8. Mississippi - 1,047
T9. Oklahoma State - 989
T9. Penn State - 989
11. LSU - 914
12. California - 746
13. Georgia - 714
14. Boise State - 659
15. Georgia Tech - 593
16. Oregon - 587
17. TCU - 521
18. Florida State - 307
19. Utah - 289
20. BYU - 267
21. North Carolina - 261
22. Iowa - 229
23. Notre Dame - 225
24. Nebraska - 207
25. Kansas - 134