Monday, November 24, 2008
I realize most of us here support the college game above and beyond the pro game (at least I know I do), but could you guys imagine watching the Frogs one day in 3d? Just imagine how intense a Patterson rant would look like when it was coming out of the TV at you.
With many of the supposed "power" conferences unable to fill all of their bowl slots this year, it was looking like the Frogs may be able to slide into the Texas Bowl (as they did in '05 and '08), the Independence Bowl, or some other game within reasonable travelling distance against a BCS-conference team. That scenario, though, went out the window due to Utah's win over BYU and San Diego State's win over UNLV this past weekend. Why? Because Utah is now headed for a BCS bowl and UNLV's loss leaves the MWC with just 5 bowl-eligible teams. With Utah going BCS, the remaining four (the Frogs, BYU, Air Force and Colorado State) must fill the MWC-affiliated bowl games.
So that leaves you with just four possible destinations: Las Vegas, San Diego, Fort Worth or Albuquerque. But really, I only see two of those having much of a chance of being our game.
The Las Vegas Bowl is the designated bowl for the Mountain West Champions, and matches them up against a team from the Pac 10. But because they won't get Utah, they are allowed to choose whoever they want. Word out of Vegas is that, even though BYU has played there the last 3 years and TCU kicked the ever-living shit out of them this year, they want to take the Cougars again (BYU sells A LOT of tickets). Yes, it's total BS- but they are running a business and it's pretty obvious that BYU would put thousands more fans in the stadium than TCU would.
So then the Frogs would slide down to the Poinsettia Bowl, which was a DISASTER last time. A 10-2 TCU team playing Northern Illinois was a complete slap in the face. It was funny to see the ESPN announcers have to back-track on their absolute love-fest on NIU's Garrett Wolfe, but that was not worth seeing Jeff Ballard, Herb Taylor and that fantastic senior class be rewarded with a trip to a nearly-empty Jack Murphy Stadium (or whatever they call it now) to play a team that had no business being on the same field with them.
However, the WAC has contracted with the Poinsettia Bowl to send a team if the Pac 10 can't fill that slot (and they will not be able to). So there is some buzz that WAC Champion Boise State could be sent to San Diego to take on a MWC team. If that is the case, another TCU vs. Boise State bowl would actually be pretty attractive- ESPN would be all over it, giving it some of the "Best Non-BCS Bowl" love. Plus, as much hate as we've spewed toward Boise this year, wouldn't it be great to see the Frogs take them down? The down side is, what if Boise miraculously makes a BCS game or decides they want to play an ACC team in their hometown Humanitarian Bowl? Then the WAC would be sending Fresno State or another very un-sexy team to San Diego. I don't think we want any part of that.
Wherever the Frogs end up, it would be nice to know sometime soon, while flights are still somewhat reasonably priced. It's entirely possible that none of the MWC bowls invite anyone until the BCS officially invites Utah on December 8, which would leave just 12 days before the Vegas Bowl and 15 before the Poinsettia. That would not be beneficial to TCU's travel numbers.
So where do you guys want to see the Frogs? Las Vegas on the 2oth against a mid-level Pac 10 team or San Diego on the 23rd against an undefeated and Top 10 Boise State? Obviously, if we can't get Boise then there is no reason to go to San Diego.
...and before anyone laments about how much the MWC bowl set-up sucks, trust me- another post is coming about that at a future date.
Game 12: Air Force Falcons (I can't really insert anything Clever or Derogatory about a Service Academy
… And just like that it’s all over. We started with a blow out; we ended with a blow out. If you do the math, in the 10 games we won, it was by an average of like a billion points. The most explosive offense ever at TCU, yada yada yada… these things will all come out in future season recap posts that I’m sure we’ll all be contributing to. For now, I just want to focus on this game… the last game for the seniors, and potentially the last game for our coach. Personally, I don’t think he’s gone. The reports are rolling in that Kansas State is hiring back their own resident zombie Bill Snyder to return the program to its 90s dominance. I have to ask, as a K State fan, how does this make you feel? On one hand, Snyder’s name is on the stadium and he was the emperor of some really, really good teams at Kansas State… which, it should be noted, is pretty much an ag school in the middle of nowhere Kansas and by no means should be able to field a great football team all things considered. Snyder automatically brings that team back into the Big 12 North picture and fires up the boosters on name recognition alone and will certainly be better than Ron Prince. On the other, how many years does he have left? I’m not sure how old he is, but he looks like the undead that I previously described him as and has to be in his 70s. How can you feel about losing out on Patterson, the hottest young head coach in the country who is also an alum? I understand the logic behind the move, but if there aren’t immediate results, Rivalsgate will be seen as a HUGE blunder on that program.
The other big report that you may or may not have seen this weekend was that Terry Don Phillips, who is the AD at Clemson, was in attendance at our game. Before we all throw our hands up in uproar, the word on this is that Clemson has been talking with AF coach Jim Calhoun, and it’s a lot more ethical for an AD to scout a coach on the road than at home. However, how could you still want Calhoun over Patterson after seeing this beat down? Fortunately in the karma department, Phillips is not only from Longview but also played ball at Arkansas, so I’ve got the guy on two fronts. I don’t think this is the job for GP.
Anyway, enough on the speculation. What a way to end the season, no? Going into the game, the general consensus was that the 20.5 points we were giving up in Vegas was waaaaaay too many and that everyone would for sure take the under no matter what it was. Naturally, all the Frogs did was come out and beat the crap out of the Falcons. After a harsh Friday night, the 2:30 kickoff time felt a lot like the 11AM kick of the Stanford game, but it looks like everyone eventually staggered in, even if they didn’t come back for the second half. Playing a service academy is always a great atmosphere and I know everyone was extremely fired up for the flyover (which was pretty cool but not REALLY cool). There’s no reason why the Frogs shouldn’t have a flyover every week seeing as how we have a military base not 10 minutes away from Amon G, but that’s another story altogether. The biggest issue when playing a service academy is keeping your behavior under control. I think it was probably a good thing that this was our one mid afternoon home game of the season because it afforded less time for everyone to get completely out of control. I mean, you can’t talk shit to a team of guys who not only aren’t really football players, but are going to go to Iraq and Afghanistan to protect our country after their careers are over. It’s a very noble profession no matter your outlook on the current war and I think everyone was well behaved enough outside of a few.
Also, how great is senior day each year? It’s always fun to come in and find out a little bit about the families of these guys we come out and watch every Saturday, such as who is married, engaged, has kids, etc. I’ve been very consistent with making kickoff the past few seasons, but senior day is when I know I’m going to commit to getting inside early and showing respect where respect is due and obviously this group deserves the most respect of any group we’ve seen. These guys have 40 overall wins (tied for the most ever), and have won 10+ games in 3 of their 4 seasons. Think about the starters on this senior squad: Aaron Brown, Robert Henson, Jason Phillips, Stephen Hodge, Blake Schlueter, Giles Montgomery, Justin Watts, Walter Bryant, Shae Reagan, Cody Moore, James Vess, Matt Panfil and Steven Coleman. That’s 13 guys we’re losing next year. That’s the heart and soul of your defense, a running back that could’ve been one of the best ever at TCU if not for injuries and the greatest tackler I’ve ever seen play, among others. What’s so crazy about it though is that, despite these losses, our offense is going to be even better next year and you know our defense isn’t going to fall off by much as long as Patterson is in charge. Anyway, a HUGE debt of gratitude needs to be paid to these seniors for taking TCU football to the highest level it has been in decades.
Before I begin the actual recap though, I have to get something off my chest: the student section. Abso-fucking-lutely PATHETIC!!!! So, I’m pretty sure most of us that write on this board have season tickets. Heck, I have tickets with a few other guys and they’re, quite frankly, amazing. However, lyle and I went to our seats for the senior day ceremony and not only was no one standing, no one was clapping! The best group of seniors the school has ever had, and no one can even get up off their fat asses and cheer for them. This made our decision to move to our usual post in section X one of the easiest of the day. You know what though? This situation wasn’t any better!! It always ends up where our group of about 30 people (who, 99% of us have graduated, mind you) commandeer all the rows about 2/3 up from the field in section X. They aren’t the best seats in the house, but they’re the seats where we can scream our minds without worrying about the consequences. However, every time we got a “Ga-ry! Ga-ry! Ga-ry!” chant going, all the actual students at the school looked at us like they had sticks up their asses! I mean, come on!!! Why should these kids get the good seats when they don’t create any sort of a home field advantage? Aren’t current students supposed to be full of rage and alumni casual fans? Is there any reason why we should all be able to get on the rail after the last game of the season to sing the fight song and talk to the players without having to fight someone for a spot? Sure, there’s no reason to behave exactly like most of us do. Most God fearing Christians shouldn’t’ even think half the words that come out of some mouths. But when we get a Henson or a Phillips chant going, why can’t anyone join in? Other than the kids with the “Horny for Gary” signs, and the everconsistent Ragin Red and his hatred of H, it was piss poor. It honestly made me angrier than the non fans in our real seats because at least they’re old and arthritic. Is this the administration’s fault for trying to turn TCU into SMU as far as athletics is concerned? Partially. However, what can be done about this? Are we going to have to be like Aggies and have brainwashing camp for everyone to get them to pull for the football team? As much as those guys are terrible, at least they have some fire even when their team is AWFUL, which is always. This is why we’ll never get major recognition and why if we ever got invited to a BCS bowl we’d never be invited back.
Offense – A+. Well, enough of my bitching, let’s get on with the game. Dalton, it must be noted, looked great Saturday, and put up his best performance since the Luxury Tax game. He ended up 21-27 for 321 yards and 2 TDs, combined with no interceptions, and could’ve had one more TD had it not been for a Jimmy Young end zone drop. It’s the way he moved the ball that impressed me though. He threw to the TEs, swung a few to the backs, and used his feet when necessary, which led to 2 more TDs. Do you realize we get this guy for TWO more years??? How great is that? He’ll have an experienced line again next year (although these guys gave up 4 sacks tonight, which can be attributed to Dalton getting a little antsy in the pocket at times) and all of his favorite offensive weapons outside of Bryant will be back, not to mention Joseph Turner, who stayed as healthy as he’s going to be, and incoming freshman meast Waymon James. Seriously, if you haven’t seen James run, check him out on Rivals. Incredible. This guy will have our jersey makers putting something other than the #5 on merchandise. Mark it. Assuming we keep filling in well on the O line, when Dalton, Kerley and Young are seniors, not to mention Antoine Hicks, this could be one of the most explosive offenses the NCAA has ever seen.
Giving more props to our offense, we scored on 5 of our first 6 drives and the game was completely out of reach by halftime. Really, our offense was firing on all fronts, as we compiled 504 yards of total offense to go with 30 first downs. That’s ball control right there. It should also be noted that we had 7 plays go for 20+ yards. We finished with 183 yards rushing that was distributed very evenly. Joseph Turner had 9 rushes for 50 yards, Brown had 11 for 45 and Dalton ran 13 times for 39 yards, including 2 TDs. Marcus Jackson and Justin Watts rounded it out with 12 and 11 yards a piece, with Watts running in a TD. Luke Shivers also rushed for a TD, his second on the season. Obviously you always hope that the last time you see any of the Seniors play they put up big numbers, but Watts and Brown quietly went about their business and got their yards when necessary to help pile on the points.
Catching the ball, Jimmy Young had another 100 yard game (5-100), which gives him 926 for the season (2nd all Time for a season at TCU). Did this guy explode or what? We knew we had something big with Young after he broke that big reception at Stanford last year, but wow. This guy is incredible. I can’t wait to watch him for 2 more years as him and Dalton gel as a tandem. Ryan Christian also looked really good getting yards after the catch, finishing with 5 catches for 67 yards. Going down the list, Reagan closed out his promising but injury riddled career with 2 catches for 40 yards, Walter Bryant had 2 for 38 and a TD, Antoine Hicks had 2 for 17, and 3 more guys finished with a catch a piece, including Bart Johnson’s TD.
Overall numbers were 504 yards (183 rushing, 321 passing), 30 first downs, 79 plays, no lost fumbles, 38:32 TOP, 7-12 on third down, 1 or 2 on 4th, 6-6 in the red zone and only one sack. What a way to close out the year.
Defense – A+. Whaddya know, another A+ performance from the defense? Who knew? Air Force averaged 279.7 yards per game on the ground coming into this game, so we went ahead and held them to half of that (150). This may sound like a lot, considering we have the best run D in the country, but it should be noted that 111 of those yards came on 2 runs. When a team runs the ball every single down in the triple option formation, they’re bound to break a big one on occasion. The second big run also came late in the game when we had our second team D in the game. One thing that stuck out: We gave up 55 yards in the first half, and 54 of those came on 1 run. That’s one yard in the first half against a team that ran all over us last year and has run all over everyone else this year. That’s pretty incredible. I’m going to miss seeing these guys go out there and just absolutely shut things down each and every week.
Just as it should be, Phillips, Washington and Henson led the team in tackles. J Phil had 9 total, including a sack, Washington had 7 and our boy Henson had 6. On a somber note, how tough was it to watch Henson lead that team onto the field for the final time? That guy had as much heart as any player to ever wear the purple and black and there’s just no way to measure how much his energy spread to the rest of the defense. That’s one guy I would never want to see lined up on the other side of the ball as an opponent. After the game, we all waited around for him to come over and you could see it in his eyes how much that guy is going to miss football. We all wished him well at the next level, but you know the fans and the game will never be the same. He mentioned how much he’s going to miss everyone screaming his name and we all fired up one last “Ro-bert-Hen-son!” chant as he left the field. Funnily enough, as we did this, Phillips looked over with a “What about me, guys????” look in his face and we all gave him the final ovation he deserved as he sprinted over and threw around some high fives. Washington is a great player and will be a murderer in the backfield, but he’s got some HUGE shoes to fill.
Other leaders were Jerry Hughes who finished with 5 tackles, including one for loss and a FF. It just came out that Hughes is ESPNs #13 prospect in the draft this year. He claims he’s coming back, and I think he will, but you’ve got to imagine the team is going to keep him under closer wraps this off season than they did with Blake. Tejay Johnson, Stephen Hodge, Steven Coleman and Cody Moore each had 4 tackles, with Coleman having one for a loss and Sanders, Vess and Panfil (1 TFL) having 3 takedowns. No turnovers, but they completely shut down this offense overall, and, despite previous success from the few times they do pass the ball, we never bit on it and held them to 11 yards passing on 10 attempts. It should be noted that these guys once won a game without completing a pass, so forcing them into 10 attempts shows you how much we clamped down on the run game.
It’s hard to think that this is the last time I’m going to get to put down the final shocking defensive stats on paper/web, but, let these blow your mind once again as they do each week. Only 7 first downs. Only 161 yards of offense (150 run, 11 pass). Only 47 plays run. Only 21:28 minutes of possession. Only 4 of 13 on 3rd down. 0 of 1 on 4th down. Only one red zone trip. A sack. It’s been a real pleasure, guys.
Special Teams – A. Oh man. When Ross Evans came in for that first kick, you could feel the collective breath in the stadium being held. There were a few boos which were quickly shouted down and, really, how else could he have made this one? There’s no way it could’ve been a perfect boot, it had to be a side spinning line drive. Regardless, the kid made it, as well as 5 of 6 extra points (one was blocked). It was mentioned earlier that Patterson made Evans come out the first practice after the Utah game and kick field goals while the rest of the team watched. I think the kid really helped his confidence Saturday by making those kicks and this guy is going to make several huge, game winning kicks for the Frogs before his career is over.
Punting, well, this was just another one of those games where Kelton had a lot of time to spectate as our offense was moving so fluidly. He had 2 punts for a 46 yard average, which should be noted was better than whoever the Cowboys have punting for them now, and he was indoors and gets paid! Still my favorite special teamer.
The most jarring aspect of our special teams game this weekend was the noted absence of Kerley, even though he’s apparently back at full health. I think this was just a precaution to make sure he doesn’t reinjure himself in a game that we had wrapped up. Had it been coming down to the wire, I imagine Kerley, who was suited up on the sidelines, could’ve come in and made big things happen. In his place returning punts, Sanders did a great job, not muffing any and returning two. These kicks had great hang time though and Sanders was pretty much being mauled when fair catching the ball, so it is definitely impressive that he hung onto all of these. Brown had one kickoff return for 26 yards and Shivers had one for 5.
Overall. Only 5 penalties! It's the small victories we celebrate sometimes. In all seriousness though, great game and a great way to end the careers of these seniors. The weather was great and the crowd, once it came in, was about as good as we could’ve hoped for. The announced crowd was around 32,000, and I’d be willing to say that, for the first half at least, this was a true number. Some people complained about the weather, but these guys must be unfamiliar with our CUSA days when we had mid week night games that were not only a pain in the ass but were also bitter, bitter cold. Show these fans a tape of the Chargers/Steelers game from last week to shut them up. The best part of the game though? My alcohol and team spirit fueled purchase of a black LT jersey from the merch stand right by the gate. The self confidence being emitted from my being for the rest of the game more than paid for the purchase. Some might say the fact that I wore not only my GP shirt, my all over print Albertsons shirt, the new jersey and my two sizes too small old school basketball shooting shirt was a bit over the top, but these people are going to be the first to walk the plank at the end of days when I’m controlling Noah’s Ark.
After the game we were all hanging around, congratulating each other on another great tailgating season, when I noticed it: Everyone was in perfect spirits. The cops weren’t there, which has always cast a black cloud over any tailgate scene. No one was out of control and making an ass of themselves. No one was fighting. No one was unruly. After the Utah game, I was afraid a lot of our crowd would fall off and be in a bad mood after this game thinking about what could’ve been, but nothing could’ve been farther from the truth. What a perfect way to end a great season. Go Frogs and I’m counting down the days to next season!
Frogs – 14th in the AP/Coaches/BCS.
Game Ball. It’s gotta go to the Fire Engine. 321 Yards on 21 attempts, including 2 TDs and another 2 TDs on the ground. This guy really figured it out this season and never made us doubt giving him the nod over Jackson. That’s not to discredit anything Jackson did because the guy came in and played huge in the 2 games he started, winning both, but he’s got nothing on Dalton. My namesake still hasn’t let me down and I don’t expect him to in the future.
Other Game of Interest.
#2/2/2 Texas Tech 21, #5/5/5 Oklahoma 64. And it wasn’t even THAT close. OU was up 42-7 at halftime and never gave Tech a chance. Ouch. Just. Ouch. I feel bad for these guys
#7/8/8 Penn State 49, #17/15/15 Michigan State 18. I thought MSU would keep it closer, but we knew a loss was coming and we knew that a 2 loss Frogs team is better than any 2 loss team in the country. Point proven. Thanks for the spot.
#8/7/7 Utah 48, #16/14/14 BYU 24. Given a win by BYU would’ve given us a share of the MWC title, I just couldn’t pull for BYU and have them mentioned in the same breath as us. Who the hell would rank them above us, even with our 2 losses to their one? This is not a great team and this game proved it. It was close for a while, but Utah blew it open late with interceptions. Utah is going to get creamed by whichever BCS team they get a shot at, but hey, at least we get to cash in on their success! Yaaay capitalism!
#9/9/9 Boise State 41, Nevada 34. Nail biter. Boise pulled it out, but a close win here coupled with a blowout by Utah over BYU pretty much locked up the BCS for the Utes. Also, how is Ian Johnson still playing football in college? Honestly.
#10/10/10 Ohio State 42, Michigan 7. Wow. I don’t care about this rivalry in the slightest, but apparently this is pretty historic. DickRod’s contract is currently looking Weis-ian.
#19/20/19 Cincinatti 28, Pittsburgh 21. Locks up the Big East for the Bearcats thus filling half of what will surely be the least watched television program ever, the 2009 Orange Bowl! At least Nick Lachey will be happy.
#21/21/21 Oregon State 19, Arizona 17. Actually a really great ending which I watched simply because Oregon State is one win away from the Pac 10 Championship. Repeat: Oregon State is one win away from the Pac 10 Championship and USC could still be in the National Championship. And who said the system doesn’t work!? Also, setting the stage for the least watched rematch ever in the Rose Bowl.
Colorado State 31, Wyoming 20. Colorado State is our fifth bowl eligible team. Not a bad year, MWC. Not a bad year.
SDSU 42, UNLV 21. They got one! They got one! Holy lord, UNLV, way to finish strong. I’d imagine the bookies had something to do with this.
Next Week. Well, there isn’t one. Now we must wait for the bowl announcements to come in. This is surely a subject that will be broached more in depth as the week wears on, but via a letter from Morrison to the Frog Club, we will more than likely take one of the MWC games rather than fill an at large elsewhere. Unless some weird stuff happens and Utah gets slotted behind Boise in next week’s rankings, the Utes will go to a BCS and BYU and the Frogs will be fighting for the Las Vegas Bowl or the Poinsettia Bowl. As mentioned, each bowl has intriguing possibilities, with the Vegas Bowl possibly fielding a Pac 10 team, unless Oregon State wins out, which is likely, in which case the Vegas Bowl becomes absolute crap. The Poinsettia is keeping things interesting with the possibility of a Boise/TCU match up, but Boise could also opt to stick around for their own bowl on the smurf turf should they choose to. The best scenario is definitely Vegas vs. a Pac 10 team (probably Arizona) so we can flex our non BCS muscles, but considering Oregon State will probably beat Oregon this weekend, Boise in San Diego is probably our best bet. I know you will all keep us updated on this situation as it develops.
Anyway, it’s been a great football season and it’s still not quite over. It’s good to see Spitblood’s progression this season and I know with the guerilla marketing campaign of this past week our readership may even reach into the 15s or 20s! Let’s definitely keep it going through basketball and baseball season. Go Frogs!
TCU fans call for Patterson to stay ~FWST
TCU’s underclassmen strut their stuff offensively ~FWST
Seniors will leave lasting impression of TCU football ~FWST
Now TCU must sit, wait for bowl announcements ~FWST
This season wasn’t right on schedule for Texas, Tech, TCU ~FWST
Clemson AD Reportedly Scouts TCU-Air Force Game ~Colorado Springs Gazette
TCU defense lives up to top ranking ~Colorado Springs Gazette
Snyder returns to head coaching duties ~Powercat Illustrated
TCU Tops Air Force, 44-10 ~The MWC
Dalton's 4 TDs lead TCU over Air Force 44-10 ~Brownsville Herald
No. 15 TCU shoots down Air force ~Herald Net
TCU 68, McNeese St. 64 ~ESPN
TCU Horned Frogs hold on to end three-game skid ~FWST
Why TCU beat Sam Houston State ~FWST