Great magicians never reveal their tricks. Here's the thing about TCU coach Gary Patterson, though: he does. He lays it all out there for everyone to see. Part of that is the nature of football. It's hard to hide when there's tape of everything. However, there's a case to be made that few college football coaches prepare during the week as well as he does. 

TCU had a plan to stop Oklahoma State, and in a 44-31 win over the Pokes in Stillwater, it was plain as day. 

There were no smoke and mirrors. There was imaginative play-calling on offense, sure, as TCU mixed inside zones with jet sweeps and Wildcat touches.  At no point, however, did the Horned Frogs call a Statue of Liberty followed by the Annexation of Puerto Rico. They lined up, ran the ball with Darius Anderson and Co. and blew Oklahoma State's defense off the ball. Anderson (160 yards, three touchdowns) in particular was brutal on inside runs where he could use his vision and power to average more than five yards a carry. 

TCU also ran 85 plays -- 63 in the first three quarters. Oklahoma State was gassed, which makes all the difference when you're playing from behind. 

But Patterson's bread and butter is on defense. Forget that Oklahoma State still had 499 yards. Total yards are a dying stat and they're almost irrelevant in Big 12 play anyway. And in trying to stage a comeback, the stats are going to get skewed. 

Focus instead on the two things TCU did well: exploit Oklahoma State's thin offensive line, which was patch-worked on the right side due to injuries, and successfully finished plays in the backfield. That's something Pitt couldn't do against Oklahoma State in Week 3. 

The most impressive play came from TCU's defensive backs. They won a lot of battles in downfield coverage, even when Rudolph had time. Not every one, of course. 

That's impossible against this Cowboys offense. 

There was the 86-yard long bomb from Rudolph to James Washington in the first quarter to give the Pokes their first score. And to that, I say: it happens. Rudolph's deep passes are arguably the strongest part of his game and Washington is a world-class runner. At some point, even with decent-to-excellent coverage, they're going to break a play open because Rudolph can make NFL throws and Washington has NFL speed. And in all, Washington had 153 yards while Rudolph tossed for 398. 

Oklahoma State is going to get its offensive numbers, whether they're making it look easy in the lead or trying to come from behind. Patterson would obviously rather they not, but overall, his defense did a good job of taking away options downfield for Rudolph. That led to either coverage sacks, turnovers or general bad decisions. Disruption is the key to any defensive success, especially for an offense like Oklahoma State's that can get going in a hurry. 

The keys to beating Oklahoma State were to force enough stops on defense and play smart on offense. TCU created turnovers or forced a punt on three of the Pokes' five first-half drives, forcing them to play from behind. The Frogs also had just one turnover to the Cowboys' four with 14 points off of them, and had fewer penalties. No team is perfect, but do that nine more times and the Frogs have as good a shot as any to win the Big 12. 

Every once in a while, Patterson reminds us all that he's among the top coaches in the country. His record after losing seasons speaks for itself, as Dan Wolken of USA Today pointed out ... 

... and his team was prepared to answer whatever college football's most explosive offense threw at them. That's the sign of great growth and preparation. 

As for Oklahoma State, it's too early to call their playoff hopes dead. However, the margin for error is almost non-existent now. The Pokes don't have a quality nonconference schedule and will likely need to win out -- that means beating Oklahoma, potentially twice  -- to even have an outside chance. 

For Big 12 teams watching this game, it puts the Pokes in a different light. They look mortal. Their defense got gassed just like anybody would, and Rudolph isn't the same quarterback when he's under pressure. This is still an explosive team, but they're not without their flaws. 

TCU exposed that much.