Friday, December 12, 2008

Poinsettia Bowl Preview: QBs

I, like many of you, am having a pretty difficult time accepting that there are only 11 days left in TCUs 2008 football season. Therefore, and partially to make up for my inevitable absence from the Pointsettia Bowl, I am going to begin a position breakdown for both teams to determine who has the edge. I am going to start with the most important position on the field, QB, and then go from there, highlighting all of the offense and then all of the defense, one each business day, which, if my math is correct, will come to a conclusion on the day of the game. As a disclaimer, a lot of the Boise information is going to be based solely on statistics because I really know very little about this team and don't have time to do the extensive research. So, when it looks like a toss up, bias is surely going to cause me to lean towards the Frogs, but I don’t imagine this will hurt many peoples’ feelings. I am also going to factor in how they will fare in this GAME, so it will not necessarily be head to head. If any Boise fans happen to read anything I write, or if any of you know more about Boise than I do, please feel free to correct me in the comments. This is going to be a way to educate myself on the Boise team, and if you wish to take anything away from it, then that’s just peachy keen.

TCU – Andy Dalton

PASSING GP Effic Cmp- Att-Int Pct Yards TD Long Avg/G
Dalton, Andy 10 132.4 160- 272-4 58.8 2045 11 65 204.5

RUSHING GP Att Gain Loss Net Avg TD Long Avg/G
Dalton, Andy 10 97 486 128 358 3.7 8 19 35.8

Despite only playing in 10 of TCUs 12 games, and coming off an injury for the latter half of the season, Andy Dalton managed to put together a very impressive season, especially for only a second year starter. The numbers aren’t going to wow anyone, he only had 5 games where he passed for more than 200 yards, but sometimes quality is more important than quantity and you can’t really argue with an 8-2 record as a starter. As we’re all very well aware, this was an historic season for TCU offensively as we set records in points scored and touchdowns, and without Dalton’s talent and leadership I think we can fairly say that we wouldn’t have gotten close to the final stats. I think a lot of what Dalton did this season was overshadowed by the menacing presence of the defense and since he missed a couple of games and then didn’t hit his stride until the BYU game, you really only had five games of true QB stats. Although Dalton didn’t receive any attention in the way of position awards, we know what he did and what he’s capable of doing and Boise is going to have a much tougher time playing him than they probably think they do.
As mentioned, it was really a tale of two seasons for Dalton as he began the season opting to run the ball in lieu of passing and, after the OU game, became just the opposite. The emergence of Jimmy Young certainly had something to do with this, but I think having two games off really helped Dalton gather himself and work on the passing aspect of his game, and it showed. It’s still hard for me to believe, but he actually didn’t even throw his first TD on the year until that BYU game. Andy has a great arm and quick release and as the year progressed his accuracy greatly improved. Next year when he’s had another off season under his belt and Jeremy Kerley, Antoine Hicks and Young are a year older, it’s going to be terrifying what he will do to opposing defenses. Congratulations, Mike Schultz, because Andy Dalton saved your job.
Boise State – Kellen Moore

PASSING GP Effic Cmp-Att-Int Pct Yds TD Lng Avg/G
Kellen Moore 12 161.53 259-370-9 70.0 3264 25 80 272.0

I will say that other than Ian Johnson, Kellen Moore is the only other person on Boise State that I’m vaguely familiar with. Everyone kept talking about this freshman senstation, and, judging my his record and numbers, he has greatly exceed the hype. His TD – INT ratio speaks for itself, and that 70% efficiency isn’t too shabby. In fact, it’s pretty great. He threw for over 200 yards in 10 of his 12 games, including a 400+ yard performance in a scrape with Nevada and had at least 2 passing TDs in 10 games. Sure, you have to take it into perspective that Boise is leaps and bounds more talented than any other team in the Western Athletic Conference, but I’m not going to take anything away from Moore. He’s very good. However, he also hasn’t seen anything remotely resembling the defense that he’s going to line up against on December 23rd, so unless he passes that test, I’m not going to anoint him the savior just yet. He had 100 more attempts than Dalton, so naturally his numbers are going to be higher, but his 25 TDs vs Dalton’s 11 cannot be disputed. Moore had one rushing TD on the season.

Overall – Alright, here it goes, let’s see how I do in my first pick. It’s hard to truly compare the two QBs because they are very different. We started off the season trying to make Dalton some sort of option QB before realizing that we have three future stars at the wideout position, and Moore is strictly a drop back pocket QB. I’ll give Moore credit in that he had 100 more attempts than Dalton as mentioned, but still had a higher completion percentage. Boise ran the ball over 150 fewer times than TCU which explains why he had so many more opportunities to put up big numbers. The Horned Frogs stingy D only gave up an average of 166 yards in the air all year, but Boise was right there with them at 190. We each only gave up 8 passing TDs on the year. Moore is going to have a heck of a time avoiding the Frogs relentless sacking machine onslaught, and it goes without saying that they will be running the ball even fewer than they did on average this year, but that’s another segment. It might be a really short night for Moore if his line can’t keep the Frogs off of him. Dalton will at least have Kerley spelling him in the Wildfrog every so often to catch his breath. Honestly, I want to give the edge to Moore strictly because he’s a better QB, but, maybe he should ask Max Hall what it’s like to be a heralded pocket QB against the Frogs. Admittedly, Boise’s line only gave up 11 sacks on the year, which is impressive in any league. I think it’s going to be a rough night for both of these QBs: Dalton, because he’s going up against a tough pass defense, and Moore, because he’s also going up against a tough pass defense and also the best front seven in college football. Not to mention this is the highest pressure game he will ever have played in. This is really hard… but, since I’m going to bury them in quite a few of the categories and I don’t want to seem too biased, I’m going to give a slight edge to Moore. Realistically, he has a great chance to be a much better QB than Dalton, and I expect him to have a FEW of big plays in this game. He’ll look a lot more like Brian Johnson (mediocre) than Sam Bradford (killer) against this defense, but I think he’ll fall somewhere in the middle. Besides, he's far less white trash than that Zabransky character was.

The Call – Moore.

Ballin' till we fallin' just like the movie Belly

While I admit that I have never been a huge college basketball fan, I thoroughly enjoyed watching the TCU-Indiana game (at least most of it) the other night. Living in the SA it's hard to follow the Frogs, but I am glad to see how excited people are about our team under Christian.

Watch out SEC, the Mountain West is breathing down your neck - Rush The Court

And glad to see the MWC getting respect in basketball too.

TCU > Auburn

"TCU's Gary Patterson is no longer interested" in the Auburn job, reports ESPN blogger Chris Low. (Link) He's turned down Minnesota, Kansas State, Clemson, Tennesee and now Auburn. Guess he knows he's got something good going in Fort Worth.

You can do it!

Alright, so I know this rumor has been going around awhile and could be completely false, but if it turns out to be true it would be awesomeness incarnate. Not only would it mean GP won't be headed there, it would also be a slap in the face to the Horns.

Bring on all the hateful comments by the UT homers on this site.

Will Muschamp, Auburn Head Coach: The Rumor That Just Won't Die
- NCAA Football Fanhouse

Morning Dump

Hughes tabbed Walter Camp All-American

Jenkins book signing at TCU Barnes & Noble today

Auburn, Patterson reportedly meet Star-Telegram

Mountain West takes its place among elite Rivals

Running backs among big movers in Rivals 250 Rivals

No matter the class Copperas Cove keeps winning Austin American-Statesman

Buffalo places Schobel on IR Sports Network

"Bronco Nation" speaks up

I had a chance to interview JT Ray from in order to get a BSU fan's thoughts on the game...

Lyle Lanley: Are Boise fans more fixated on not getting a BCS at-large berth, or are they excited to be playing and 11th-ranked team?

JT Ray: Bronco Fans had a taste of the BCS and want more. It is quite simply an addiction. Are Bronco Fans bummed that we are not in the BCS, sure. It does not mean we are not up for our Broncos taking on TCU. In fact we love that some in the Media, Mark May and Lou Holtz are not being so nice to the Broncos. One thing is for sure no team that faces the Broncos want them to come into the game with something to prove.

Alright, we've got to know- what's the deal with the blue turf?

JT: The big schools all have that special something that makes watching them on TV or in person. Like the Hedges in Athens, the Big House, the Rose Bowl and so on. Without the Blue Turf in Boise it wouldn’t be the same. We fans of Boise State are proud of the Turf and really don’t think twice about it while watching the game. In fact people think it gives the Broncos and advantage. Simply put the players are watching the players, the game is not played from a television angle. The secret about Bronco Stadium is the crowd noise and up until this year the large crown on the field.

What do we need to know about Idaho outside of potatoes and Napolean Dynamite?

JT: Its a secret and if I told you I would have to kill you, JK. I have lived here my whole life, from the arm pit of South Eastern Idaho to Boise, Idaho. I think the draw for Idaho is it is population wise very small. You can drive 2 hours in either direction and be away from it all. Boise has grown in the 11 years I have been here, but nothing compared to most big cities across the country.

Ian Johnson proposing to his girlfriend at the Fiesta Bowl was a cool moment. But have BSU fans tired of seeing her in the stands on TV after nearly every play like the rest of the country has?

JT: I did not think of it until you mentioned it in this question. Last year I felt real bad for Chrissy as a great number of fans as well as the local paper’s sports editor took a lot a shots at her. I may be going out a limb here, but I would wager to bet she may have received some threats in the mail. I personally don’t mind that the National TV crews talk about her or put the camera on her. She is the wife of Boise States most popular player. Also most teams Boise State plays are so terrible by the 3rd quarter, what else is there for ESPN announcers to talk about?

Who are the Bronoco players that we should watch out for?

JT: Each and every one of them, but these guys are tops on my list: SS Jeron Johnson, DL Byron Hout, DB/PR Kyle Wilson, RB Jeremy Avery,WR Vinny Perretta and QB Kellen Moore.

How well will BSU fans travel to San Diego?

JT: As of today (Dec 11) about 4500 tickets have been sold from BSU’s allotment of 7500. The date of the game and the location has everything to do with low attendance for this one. To be honest there are far to many bowl games each year. The only game that means anything is the BCS Championship game. If there was a 16 game playoff I am very sure there would be more money made as all the stadiums would be jammed packed and many more would tune in to watch games that mattered. Of course I believe the Bowl games are for the Teams more than for the fans. This game doesn’t matter any more or any less then Cincinnati versus Va Tech. The 2007 Fiesta Bowl though a great game for Boise Fans, will always be remembered for “trick plays” and a wedding proposal. Not for the fact Boise State dominated Oklahoma for 3 quarters and had it not been for a special teams error the game would have never ended the same way.

What is the general opinion of Boise State fans of playing games on Wednesday and Friday nights?

JT: We love playing on ESPN, hate watching them during the week day. Especially despise two Sunday Night games in a row. ESPN does dictate these thing based on our contract. The fact is if we don’t play on those nights, the Broncos would not be on a National Network.

Do Boise State fans want to join the Mountain West? Why or why not?

JT: Yes please!!! When Boise State joined the WAC in 2001 there was a good stable of teams left over from the MWC departures. UTEP, Rice, SMU, and Tulsa. However the BCS played a part in that as the Big East fell apart which ultimately lead those teams to leave the WAC as well. The WAC replaced those schools with bottom feeders in Utah State, New Mexico State and Idaho. USU and NMU provide decent basketball programs but fall well short in the football category. Each year it is BSU, Fresno State, Hawai’i and Nevada and the rest. After 7 years of dominance losing only 4 games in the WAC there is nothing left to prove. This program needs a challenge. Then again Boise State has never lost to a Mountain West Team.

Do you have a prediction for the game? Reasons for your pick?

JT: I predict a Boise State win, our defense has yet to be challenged this year and the offense while not hitting on all cylinders has taken it to every team. Going back to your question about Coach Pete, there is a reason why he is a hot commodity. He prepares for games like no other. In the three losses as Broncos head Coach the Broncos could have just as easily came out on the winners side.