In the Big East, the Mountaineers might have been able to survive such a plight. Not facing a nine-game Big 12 schedule.
TCU is also finding the Mountain West and Conference USA, where Patterson racked up double-digit win seasons and made a couple of BCS bowls, was more forgiving. While Patterson's best TCU teams could have contended for Big 12 titles, difference between 8-4 and 4-8 in the Big 12 can be a couple of bad bounces and few injured knees.
Utah is in its third season in the Pac-12 and could be looking at its second straight bowl-less season after breaking a string of nine straight bowl games last year.
Facing one of the toughest schedules in the country this season, the Utes (4-6) need to win their final two games against Washington State and Colorado to get bowl-eligible. And they'll have to do so without starting quarterback Travis Wilson. Coach Kyle Whittingham announced Monday the sophomore will miss the rest of this season with a head injury.
Switching leagues wasn't a problem for Nebraska, Texas A&M and Missouri because going from Big 12 to Big Ten as the Cornhuskers did or the Big 12 to Southeastern Conference wasn't as much of a jump for solid programs with a track record of success.
Rutgers, Maryland and Louisville fans might want to brace themselves.
The Scarlet Knights move from the former Big East, now the American Athletic Conference, to the Big Ten along with the Terrapins next season. The Cardinal leave the American to replace Maryland in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Scarlet Knights (5-4) appeared to be making this move on the upswing, when a year ago this week they announced it. At the time, Rutgers was in position to win the Big East and go to the BCS for the first.