Monday, September 29, 2008
Let's also say that BYU and Utah are both undefeated going into their games against us. By October 16th, BYU, who currently sits 8th, will still be in the top 10 as the four SEC teams in the top 10 will probably have beaten each other up by this point (Georgia lost to Bama this weekend and Florida lost to Ole Miss and dropped out, and will also have played LSU by this point) and the four Big 12 teams will have done likewise (Texas will have played Oklahoma and plays Missouri the same week we play BYU). Also, 9th ranked Wisconsin lost to Michigan this weekend and dropped out, but still has to play Penn State, who is currently #6. So there you have at least 4-5 teams that have or likely will be kicked out, thus making it possible for OU to jump anywhere from 5-8, depending on how the teams behind them do. This is assuming they are able to hold off Utah State and New Mexico in the meantime, but given UNM and Utah State are both terrible – and UNM losing their starting QB on top of that - I think this is going to be a relatively easy accomplishment. Best case scenario: the Cougars are ranked 5th or 6th when they come to FW.
Utah will have to win their remaining non conference match up against Oregon State and then beat Wyoming and Colorado State to remain in the rankings, which should be accomplished easily. Utah is currently ranked 15th and with the above mentioned teams moving around, could potentially move up to maybe 12th or 13th in three weeks when we play BYU. However, let’s take this a step beyond BYU week. Utah would only have to win at New Mexico after that before we play in Salt Lake on the 6th of November. With the subsequent BYU loss, that bumps Utah up a spot to 14th. At this point, Texas will have played Oklahoma and Texas Tech which opens up two more spots in the top 15, moving Utah up to 12th or 13th. LSU will have played Georgia and Alabama so let’s presume at least one of those teams is still top 10 at the time. That may open up another spot, bumping Utah to 11th or 12th. ALSO, Wisconsin, Ohio State AND Penn State will have all played each other by now. Adding more to this, Georgia and Florida will have also played, so, as the SEC continues to beat one another up, that could even open up another spot moving Utah anywhere from probably 7th – 12th. Got all that? Best case scenario: Utah is ranked 7th – 10th when we go to Salt Lake City.
Now, in order for main question I want to ask, we have to win out. We have to beat BYU and Utah, both on short weeks, and with Utah coming on the road. Hell, we even have to win at UNLV, which is not going to be a cake walk. We also have to hope that BYU wins out after the loss in FW (UNLV, CSU, SDSU and Air Force. No easy task. Not.) and that Utah beats San Diego State the week following our game (easy task). We then will have to hope the higher ranked team in Holy War wins because that will help our SOS (likely BYU). With only San Diego State and Colorado State on the schedule between now and the BYU game, we will likely not be ranked that Thursday night, but a win over a top 10 ranked BYU team should move us back in, probably somewhere in the lower 20s, especially since our only loss is to a top ranked OU team. Assuming we beat Wyoming the following week and UNLV the week after, I think we could probably be a little higher than where Utah is now, in the 17-20 range. So that would create a potential 17-20 vs 7-10 matchup with Utah. Winning there, we would probably slide up a few spots in the rankings, maybe to 13-14. With the bye week and then a win vs. Air Force in the last week of the season, not to mention Alabama and Auburn having to play each other at season’s end (one of them will definitely be in the top 15 mix)…well, things could really go pretty well for the Frogs.
So, I guess the point of this whole thing is to give everyone optimism even though we just lost and to demonstrate how, if things were to fall correctly, we would definitely be back in the rankings and could potentially grab that final BCS spot. What do you guys think?
Bad football weekend all around, worst of all from our Frogs. Poorly executed game on all sides, except for our still solid run defense and, ironically, the kicking game, and we never had any inkling of a chance to win this game. After OU made very, very short work of our secondary on their first drive, it looked like it was going to be a miserably long game... until Aaron Brown came to the rescue on the return... before running out of gas/our coverage man pushed the defender into him. Unfortunately that was the lone bright spot of the entire game for the Frogs. The drive went for -4 yards and not getting a TD killed us, especially as they drove down the field on the next drive and quickly made it 14-3. After Manuel Johnson pushed the game to 21-3 at the end of the first, the collective TCU optimism quickly faded. As bucknasty mentioned, why Aaron Brown didn't get a chance to put up some big runs, we'll never know. EVERYONE in our section was very, very bothered by this. The general idea I got was that everyone, the coaching staff included, was just scared. Now, I'm not going to sit here and act like better coaching would've won this game... OU is a great, great football team and very deserving of the #1 ranking at least for now, but COME ON!! It's not like we're some shabby football team like A&M or Baylor who comes into a game expecting to lose. Dalton looked terrible and I really hope he didn't get hurt. Keeping him in the game at the end when it was remarkably obvious we had no hope of pulling the game within reach was a worthless decision by the coaching staff. We couldn't run the ball (2.9 avg.) and, as mentioned, Brown only had 7 carries. Jimmy Young had another 100 yard receiving performance, but that was about the only positive thing. And, as mentioned, the play calling. Fuck me to tears, Schultz. The Kerley fail play on 4th and 2 was one of the most poorly called and executed plays I have ever seen, even by Schultz standards. Also, penalties. Holy crap. We had 12 to their 4, which some were deserved, but that skew has to make you wonder. Oh yeah, what about the beautiful officiating???? How can they review the Bart Johnson catch and NOT overturn it??!?!?!? And the touchback that somehow ended up at the 2... Good lord.
Other than that though, not a terrible time. The Killer Frogs bus ended up being a bit of a blessing and a curse; a blessing because leaving the game to realize that I didn't have to drive myself home was an extremely positive thing, a curse because getting sick on a charter bus bathroom after 5 road hours with 50 people relieving themselves is one of the more humiliating experiences one can go through. Did a little tailgating with some FW OU people beforehand at a house right near the stadium where they served us "stew." Pretty sure this had a large affect on my sickness as it was a large vat of brown water with some vegetables and meat thrown in that I would later notice was in the firing line for the bug spray we were coating ourselves with. Great turnout in sections 40 and 36, even though walking up 72 rows each time I went back to my seat was brutal. Fortunately WWHD, Redbarron, lt4heisman, lyle lanley, and supersweet commandeered a block of seats about 20 rows down where we grouped up once the game turned sour. I figure if we're going to yell offensive redneck comments, strength in numbers is the best policy. Regardless of the outcome, we all had a pretty decent time at the game and I don't think any of us regret going. Anyway, now with the Fail...
Offense. D-. For red zone attempts. Ten points. Four turnovers. Whew. Now, I'm not going to get too into everything regarding what went wrong. Part of it was the passing game (Dalton 16-39 for 212 yards and 1 INT) as well as Jackson (0-2, 1 INT). Dalton was short arming passes and just generally looked like he was playing scared. Lots of poor throws. Too many poor throws. Another part of it would be the running game (102 net yards on 35 attempts. A whopping 2.9 yards per carry). Joseph Turner (14-56) scored a throwaway TD that was more for pride than anything, but that was the only bright spot, and also came after he fumbled the ball in OU territory. Dalton rushed 11 times for 43 yards, which was about 11 more times than we needed him to rush against this team. Those QB draws work against teams like Stanford and SFA... against the best team in the country, that's not the place. Receivers were ok, with Jimmy Young pulling in six passes for 111 yards, but numbers can be deceiving. The truth is, our offense never put us in a good rhythm to win and a lot of that can be attibuted to...
Defense. A+, F------------------------. Just to start on a high note, the A+ is for our run defense. 25 net yards on 36 attempts which adds up to a 0.7 average. We also sacked Bradford 4 times, when he'd only been sacked once total all year. Great job guys, but unfortunately OU has one of the best passing games in college football. The F minuses? Total passing yards: 411. FOUR HUNDRED AND ELEVEN!!!!!! Maybe Bradford was channeling the winds and using smoke signals to beat our defensive backs, but my oh my! Yeah, the kid is good and yeah the OU receivers are really big and really fast... but wow. It's not like we're running out a bunch of first year guys in the secondary.. in fact, even though they're the weakest part of our D (this isn't a bad thing though when you consider our front seven), these guys have done great this year. Heck, our defensive front even put some pressure on Bradford, ... but, the fact is, these guys just got beat. OU seemed to have the correct plays drawn up at almost all times (the underneath screen pass to Johnson was beautiful) and we just didnt' have the personnel to match up. 411 yards though... lord. Our offense, which has been good, hasn't done anything like that all year overall. Again, giving credit where credit is due though, that's your #1 team in the country and a Top 3 Heisman candidate QB and we've never gone up against anything like that in my years as a fan. Sanders (don't trip!), Coleman, Henson, and Hughes seven a piece followed by Hodge, Tejay and Washington with 6, including 2 for losses for Hodge. Washington, Hodge, Phillips and Wayne Daniel also recorded a sack a piece. Jason Phillips also had five tackles. However, when you tackle someone when they've gained 30 yards, it kind of negates the stats. Also, having this game be the one where there were no turnovers forced was poor timing.
Special Teams - A. For once, the special teams actually outshined everything else, but they sure had some chances. Combs averaged 61.7 yards per kickoff, but no touchbacks. Anson Kelton, whose leg probably feels like it's about to fall off today, had 6 punts averaging 43.2 yards a piece, but put 5 of those inside the 20. We averaged 30 yards per kickoff return, with a lot of that being attributed to the 75 yard Brown return. Kerley had 4 punt returns for 34 yards, but one of those was a 26 yarder, so that only gives an 8.5 average. Seriously, this guy is going to break one eventually, right? Evans connected on his only field goal attempt (32), making him nearly perfect on the year. When your best grade for your team after a loss is for special teams... well, guess that means it's time to move on.
Overall. Tough one to watch, but I don't think many people expected us to go up there and whip them like we did last time. The fact is, these guys were 110% ready for us and we were nowhere near ready for them. I hate how that we actually had a legit chance to make a BCS bowl this year (more on that in a later post...) and we end up drawing the #1 team in the country at their place in the week we break into the top 25. Tough luck. I was talking with lyle yesterday about how we really had no business playing these guys this year and how it sucks that when we do play BCS teams a lot of the time we draw the big dogs at their place (UT, Oklahoma, Nebraska). Terrifying to think we've got LSU and Oklahoma coming up on the schedule within the next 5 years. Why can't we get an Oklahoma State, Colorado, or a Kansas State? Someone get on this. Regardless, fun time in Norman which was very unexpected... their fan base was surprisingly hospitable and well mannered although I think a lot of that is due to the game never being close and the fact that they focus the entirety of their hatred on UT (we have more in common than I thought.) Non-conference loss to the top team in the country and lots of games left, including a likely top 10 squad coming to our place, and top 15 at theirs. Have to shore up that pass D before October 16, but I feel good about winning this one. I really do.
Currently sitting #32 in the AP poll and #33 in the coaches. Tough odds, but not insurmountable. Plan on giving an overall picture of our chances later today as well as a Top 25 analysis later in the week.
Game Ball. Not sure if you give out a game ball in a loss... but I guess it'd go to.... uhhh.... WWHD for his 430 AM message to me in which he was insisiting that he was not going to leave Norman without taking/stealing a souveneir and went on to describe said souveneir (very indescernible, still not sure what it was) then let out an obscenity filled description of Norman, Oklahoma. I hope you succeeded in your mission and I look forward to speaking with you about it later.
Other Games of Interest.
Wacky Saturday of football, eh?
Oregon State 27, former #1USC 21. Pete Carroll's chi is going to be so out of sorts right now. Totally not stoked.
#2Alabama 41, #11 Georgia 30. Helps BYU into top 10. Does not help Good vs. Evil winning ratio.
Maryland 20, Clemson 17. Only interesting because it knocked another top 25 team out which helps us later. Clemson is below us in both polls.
Ole Miss 31, #12Florida 30. Aaaahahaha. Helps because it moves BYU into top 10. Nutt has his requisite win over a team he had no business beating. Now, back to obscurity.
Michigan 27, #18Wisconsin 25. Moves up both BYU and Utah, helping our strength of schedule. Also, with Utah beating Mich, this helps even more.
Houston 41, East Carolina 24. Reality check! Same result for us as Maryland/Clemson.
Wyoming 16, Bowling Green 45. Ouch. Somebody's gonna get real fired.
Colorado State 7, California 42. Poor CSU. At least Ft. Collins has the New Belgium brewery.
New Mexico 35, New Mexico State 24. UNM got the win, but it looks like they may have lost Rodney Ferguson for a while. These guys weren't going to make any post season or conference noise, but tough loss.
San Diego State 45, Idaho 17. Yaaayyyy!!! SDSU got a win!!!!
#15Utah 37, Weber State 21. A little close, Utah. A little close.
UNLV 27, Nevada 49. Interestingly enough, our bus actually got the mtn. so we got to watch this game on the way home. Lots of grumbling about how a bus in Oklahoma can get the mtn. but so few people in DFW can get it in their homes.
Next Week. San Diego State. We usually beat them by a lot. Joseph Turner loves playing these guys. The coaching staff and the team will be fired up after this past week's loss and SDSU will be fired up after getting a big win. Ironically, Chuck Long was previously the OC at Oklahoma and runs a similar offense, so that's something to think about. Regardless, pretty sure this one's in the bag as they don't run it anywhere near to the perfection of OU. Dalton, assuming he isn't hurt (according to GP, he sat out practice yesterday but will be fine Saturday), will want to come out firing and prove that last week's performance was an anomaly. Maybe Schultz will get his head out of his ass and give AB some real carries. Maybe Dalton will get his first passing TD. Maybe our secondary will get off the team bus. Anyway, I think we take this one. Big.
The Pick: TCU 45, SDSU 10.
I'll be back with the report in two weeks as I committed long ago to head up to Fayetteville to catch the Arkansas/Florida game. Yes, yes I know this makes me a questionable fan, but I figure if I'm going to miss a game, it may as well be a sure win against the Aztecs.