Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Kudos to the Coaching Staff

It's no secret around here that the Frogs usually have an advantage over their opponents any given week because of the outstanding coaching staff that GP has built and their superior preparation. But the guys at recognized one key adjustment made by co-offensive coordinators Jarrett Anderson and Justin Fuente that contributed to Andy Dalton's big game against Clemson. On top of having players with the athleticism to successfully execute their game plan is one thing, but being one step ahead in the chess game on the gridiron is just another reason why THIS will be the result of this Saturday's game between the Frogs and the Ponies.

There's always another Robert Griffin...

Just days after the heart and soul of the Baylor Bears, sophomore quarterback Robert Griffin, was lost for the season with a torn ACL, Coach Art Briles received a commitment from the newest Bear...Robert Griffin? In related strange but true news, Mack Brown is headed to Florida.

Celeb sighting at Amon G???

OK, usually I don't really take an interest in the whole celebrity gossip thing, but I thought I'd pass this along in the interest of increasing our female readership. Word on the street is that Rihanna has been romantically linked with an SMU football player as of late and plans on attending the game in Fort Worth on Saturday. Apparently after Chris Brown, she really wanted to date someone that couldn't beat anything...

Morning Dump

TCU will not be taking SMU lightly Star-Telegram

SMU takes on No. 11 TCU in clash of local rivals Seattle Post-Intelligencer

TCU vs. Southern Methodist CBS

TCU won't let SMU ruin its season again ESPN

Patterson holds weekly presser

TCU's Purke ready to leave his mark
Yahoo! News

Dash of lessons forecasts and fibs ESPN

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

X's and O's

I can't take credit for this, it was originally posted on killerfrogs by a "Frogs McGee". It's a position by position breakdown of the Frogs and Ponies:

Quarterback: Advantage TCU
Running Backs: Advantage TCU
Wide Receivers: Advantage TCU
Tight Ends: Advantage TCU
Offensive Line: Advantage TCU
Defensive Line: Advantage TCU
Linebackers: Advantage TCU
Secondary: Advantage TCU
Kicker: Advantage TCU
Punter: Advantage TCU
Returners: Advantage TCU
Special Teams: Advantage TCU
Coaching: Advantage TCU
Fans: Advantage TCU
Popped Collars: Advantage SMU

Hate Week: Bulletin Board Material

Must you really ask why I need to be Hatin'?

I had originally planned to have a hate filled week lined up under my byline on this here blog, but a poorly scheduled work related trip has me out of town until Friday, so this is all I can offer for now. Work - sneaks up on you when you least expect it. To get myself in proper hate week mood, I've downed about 5 cups of coffee this morning and lined up a healthy dose of Mastodon on my lala account. I highly suggest you do the same for the rest of the week.

Anyway, as depressing as it is that our one true rival is a school as lowly and loathsome as SMU, the fact remains that they have and will continue to be the main focus of our hate until we stay in a conference long enough to develop some entrenched rivals - I'm looking at you, BYU. So what better way to get fired up about beating our penny loafer wearing bretheren to the east? Why a little bulletin board material! Now, not all of this is directly hate related, but it definitely gives you some things to think about until Saturday. As usual, these guys think they are as good as we are and fully expect a win... except their head coach. Here we go - complete with bullet points. See what I did there?

  • Asked how the SMU offense would respond to playing against the Horned Frogs' defense, Jones said "you hope you throw it to the right color jersey." Yes, that was actually said by SMU head coach June Jones. "You just hope you throw it to the right color jersey?" Is this really his game plan? Is this really all the faith he has in his quarterback? Is this why they pay him $2 million a year? Wow. I mean, say what you want about GPs coaching methods - most ex players will say he was a hard ass but they respected him - but geez. Between him and Wade Phillips, I can't believe either of the Dallas football teams get out of bed on gamedays. Yes, I realize SMU has had some poor QB performances - Bo Levi has thrown 8 INTs thusfar, three going for 6 - but I don't think this is the way to get him motivated for the biggest game of his season. I'm sure the boosters who funded this June Cometh thing loved reading that.

  • Bo Levi Mitchell has an infected ulcer that has caused him to lose 21 pounds in two weeks. On one hand, you can look at this development and say, "Wow, the guy is extremely ill yet has gone out and led his team to its best start in 25 years" and on the other you could say, "wow, 2-1 is your best start in 25 years?" Either way, consider this - Bo Levi got slaughtered by Jerry Hughes last year... and now he has to line up against him sans 21 pounds. I don't envy the kid at all. The SMU game last year was a big time coming out party for Hughes with several sacks and a returned INT for a TD. Look for Hughes to once again have an all out manimal performance against this pitiful, pitiful squad. Also, Kelly Griffin might have a warrant out for his arrest after this one. Just sayin' Kelly, if you need a place to lay low for a while...

  • "We didn't play to our potential last year, and they pretty much embarrassed us because we weren't up enough for the game," SMU senior OL Mitch Enright said. "But this year, we know that we have a good enough team to beat them. It's a matter of executing, representing SMU and not backing down." Poor, poor delusional Mitch Enright. I admire the confidence, but going so far as to suggest that SMU as a team is better than the #10 team in the country? Sorry pal. Remember those words when Jerry Hughes, Kelly Griffin and a host of backups are picking pieces of this young man out of their facemasks.

  • Another June Jones nugget - "We're starting to learn how to win," SMU coach June Jones said. "We're starting to get there. You learn from your mistakes. Hopefully we won't throw the football to them as much as we did last week. We have to get better each week. Hey, at least the man realizes his team is terrible.

  • "They are a small private school in this area.," Enright said. "There's nothing different between these schools, it's just that they have established themselves as a perennial top-25 team, and that's obviously the direction we're going. Hmmm... except for our school isn't attended by a bunch of coke heads from the northeast and California, we aren't surrounded by the most pretentious neighborhood in the southern United States which as a result makes the student body even more miserable, we have a competent coaching staff and a real live fan base, we've incubated a program from the inside which breeds consistency and aids in recruiting trust and development rather than stealing another team's coach and system, out football team has a decorated history that isn't highlighted by being the only team to ever have their football season suspended due to dubious activities, we don't play in an armpit conference that will never get respect, nor deserve it, we don't have to resort to gimmickry to have our fans attend games, we don't pretend we're in the SEC and wear ties to games, and lastly but not leastly or finally, we aren't delusional enough to look at a team coming off two consecutive 1 wins seasons as one that is headed towards becoming a "perennial top 25 team." God SMU is garbage. Fill in your additions in the comments.

  • The Mustangs locker room as filled with tears after beating UAB to go to 2-0. TEARS!! They cried after the victory. I mean, sure, we've been spoiled with 10+ consecutive years of solid football, but really? I just don't see how anyone can look at this team as a program on the rise. I know it's hard to act like you've been there when you've never been there, but that's just a little far. What a sad, sad team to be a part of.

  • Remember 2005. Both teams only have a handful of players in the locker room who were a part of this abysmal blip, but don't think either has forgotten it. We all realize what a huge fluke it was in the first place, but its a thing like that that gives SMU the faith to think they can pull another one. Immediately following the Clemson game, GP already had the team focused on this one so a repeat can't happen. Wade, jr. may have had 2 weeks to prepare for this, but GP could out game plan Mr. "I hope we don't throw the ball to the wrong team" while he takes a crap. I look for a HUGE day for our defense and if we don't have 3 INTs by halftime I'll be disappointed.

There are so many more things I could elaborate on, but alas, it's all the time I have. The good news is that we have a full Saturday of drinking Haterade before the 7PM kick, so I hope to see you all there. Planning to still have a preview of both the game and the Top 25, but no promises on the half assedness of both.

Oh yeah, did I mention we're already a 27.5 point favorite?

Quotes pulled from this article.

Hawthorne stepping it up in Seattle

While the most talked-about aspects of Sunday's Bears-Seahawks game were Seattle's AWFUL neon-green uniforms, overlooked was the outstanding performance by TCU's own David Hawthorne. The second year linebacker, making his first career NFL start in place of an injured Lofa Tatupu, recorded 16 tackles (15 of them solo!) and an interception (being celebrated in the photo above). Despite his best effort, though, the Seahawks' Olindo Mare missed two key field goals leading to a tough home loss. Look for Hawthorne to get PAID this offseason!

Final thoughts on the Clemson game

Before we get on with the hatred at hand with SMU coming to town on Saturday, I thought I'd take one last look back at the Clemson game and share my thoughts with you:

-Did anyone else keep thinking "Utah" during that game? It played out eerily similar to the Frogs' loss in Salt Lake City last November: a defensive struggle in which we were moving the ball but just not able to convert, a big home crowd ready to explode, crucial missed field goals and the feeling that whoever gets the next big play is going to win. I kept this thought to myself during the game, fearing that bringing it up might jinx the Frogs.

-Antoine Fucking Hicks! Luckily for us, it was the Frogs that came up with that next big play when the sophomore from Mansfield came up with one of the wildest catches I've ever seen to give TCU the lead.

-How much more can you say about the guy on the other end of that pass? While Dalton had a few wild throws in the first half, he buckled down in the second half and just put this team on his back. He is easily the Team's MVP at this point of the season.

-Are we saving Jeremy Kerley for something? Sorry to nitpick, but let's get #85 some more touches!

-While Clemson was determined (and fairly successfully so) to keep Jerry Hughes from being a force in this game, the Frogs had some other defenders really step up. Without looking at the stat sheet, I was very impressed by both linebackers, safety Alex Ibiloye, end Wayne Daniels and tackle Jeremy Coleman. Certainly the defense as a whole really grew up on Saturday, but those guys stuck out in my mind.

-Kudos to everyone that made the trip to South Carolina. Definitely not an easy place to get to, and from what I've heard the purple contingent in the stadium was large and very vocal. I know GP, his staff and the players all appreciate the support. Wish I could've been there but as I mentioned earlier, my cousin got married. That's a whole 'nother topic...

-Whatever the opposite of kudos are to ESPN for not airing this game on TV. With the hard-hitting defenses, the pouring rain and the drama of the 4th quarter, this game played out like the opening scene in The Program. A big thanks to my girlfriend for clearing all of the hurdles, both logistical and technical, to getting access to ESPN360.

-In the spirit of making TCU's corporate sponsors happy, here is a new feature on called The Final Drive, which includes some postgame thoughts from the athletic department.

-One game at a time. One game at a time. One game at a time. This team has a chance to do some really special things, but they've got to avoid over-looking anyone on the schedule. That starts with SMU this week. HATE.

Morning Dump

Today is official "Mustangs on the Hill" lobby day. Why are they lobbying you ask? To end mustang slaughter. I shit you not. Now on to the dump.

SMU hopes to show mettle in Iron Skillet game with TCU Dallas Morning News

Monday morning SMU thoughts for Iron Skillet week Dallas Morning News

Rivalry anything but neighborly ESPN-Dallas

Those darned Horned Frogs sneak past USC - again Los Angeles Times

TCU's Andy Dalton named Co-MWC player of the week

TCU mining possible BCS gold with ACC wins Deseret News

TCU jumps ahead in Mountain West race Sporting News

MWC news and notes Sports Network

New TCU play hurts Tiger defense Tigernet

Three BCS party crashers likely to stick around New York Times

WAC gets Poinsettia Bowl guarantees in 2011, 2012 Reno Gazette Journal

Monday, September 28, 2009

1 & Done in Albuquerque?

First came the sexual harassment allegations. Then came the Lobos' ATROCIOUS 0-4 start that doesn't look like it'll end any time soon. Couldn't get any worse for New Mexico's first year head coach Mike Locksley, right? Wrong.

In a post-game coaches meeting after the Lobos' loss to in-state (should be) whipping boy New Mexico State, Locksley apparently punched one of his assistants. With the kind of tailspin that UNM is in, I can't see this season ending with anything but an 0-12 record. I mean, I just can't see who they're going to beat at this point. With his team's on-field problems being compounded by his off-field problems, Locksley has about as much chance of surviving this season as the American auto industry.

Just for the sake of speculation, I'll point out that a certain former TCU coach who also coached at New Mexico is currently out of work...

Top 25 Dragon Recap

From the looks of things, that whole 10 team spread I’ve picked to preview is a little too short sighted, as top 10 teams like Penn State, Ole Miss, Cal and Miami not only lost but were severely punished for said losses, none moreso than Cal who went from 6th to 24th in the AP Poll. I knew Ole Miss was going to wake up realize that they’re coached by Houston Nutt sooner rather than later, but Cal was supposed to be the big Pac 10 threat and Oregon was, well, not. Regardless, all four of these guys dropped below the Frogs in the polls this week, helping us in our rise to 11th in the AP poll and 10th in the Coaches where we jumped Cincinnati. Take THAT, Big Least. Let’s see how it all went down.

The Good

#6/6 Virginia Tech 31, #17/21 Miami . In what was probably the biggest surprise of the weekend for most people, except for maybe Oregon beating Cal, Virginia Tech absolutely unloaded on Miami, rushing for 272 yards and returning a blocked punt on their way to dismantling this year’s upstart BCS NC team. Virginia Tech has been known for more for its defense this season, but apparently they can move the ball on the ground a little as well despite losing their starting RB before the season began. Miami QB Jacory Harris looked terrible, going 9/25 for 150 with an INT. Virginia Tech is now the hands down ACC leader and looks to stay high in the rankings for a long time as that Alabama loss doesn’t look bad at all.

UR/UR Florida State 7, USF 17. In other, “no one saw this coming” news, the Bulls rode their freshman QB BJ Daniels to a HUGE win over the Seminoles in Tallahassee. Filling in for the injured Matt Grothe, Daniels threw for 2 TDs and rushed for 126 yards to win a game that was never really in question. After losing Grothe it looked like South Florida had no chance in the Big East, but they are definitely still in the running with this one. Despite the tepid preseason outlook, the Big Least race is shaping up to be the most interesting in the country that no one will give a shit about at season’s end.

#20/21 BYU 42, Colorado State 23. In an interesting rankings twist, BYU won but still dropped a spot in both polls, losing their spot to the suddenly good Georgia Bulldogs. Colorado State really beat themselves in this one, despite the lop sided score, as BYU scored touchdowns on 2 INTs and a blocked punt. However, CSU did close to within 28-17 in the second half before BYU took care of their business. A week after a defensive flat line against Florida State, the Cougars gave up 372 yards passing to the Rams. Isn’t it hilarious that your returning Heisman winner couldn’t put up more than 10 points against this defense? Last week it was the run that foiled the Cougars, so I’m listing their defense as “suspect” at this point in time. Max Hall threw for 2 TDs and Harvey Unga rolled up 113 yards and 3 scores to lead the Cougars. I have no fear of this team, especially with these home performances. Good thing they aren’t coming to Amon G.

The Meh.

#10/11 Cincinnati 28, Fresno State 20. I didn’t see this game, but apparently the coaches did as they deemed the Cincinnati performance worthy of a drop in the rankings behind the Frogs. This game wasn’t necessarily as close as it looked, although Fresno did roll up 443 yards of total offense, but Cincy QB Tony Pike continued his run of big performance, throwing for 300 yards and 3 TDs. In an interesting stat – Cincy only had the ball for 16 minutes. Quick striking offense, indeed.

#14/12 Oklahoma State 56, Grambling State 6. So Meh. Next.

The Bad.

#7/7 USC 27, Washington State 6. …and USC’s ascent back up the rankings begins. While it looked like this weekend’s Cal/USC match in Berkeley was going to be game of the year-worthy, both teams had to come out with weak performances, none more than Cal. Matt Barkley threw 2 TDs and racked up 247 yards in the win. It should be noted that Wazzu is a really, really terrible football team and deserves to be in the Pac 10 less than Baylor or Iowa State deserve Big 12 status. Told you guys about that high spread.

#9/9 Ohio State 30, Illinois 0. Good work, Schultz. 170 yards of offense. Earn that paycheck, big boy! This one will have bucknasty absolutely ecstatic. In a Clemson-esque downpour, OSU RB Dan Herron ran in 2 TDs and Terrell Pryor tossed another as the Buckeyes rolled. A repeat of 2007 was not in the cards.

#5/5 Boise State 49, Bowling Green 14. So much for that pick. Also, you are reading that ranking correctly – The Broncos are now ranked 5th in the country. FIFTH. Just goes to show how much those pre-season polls skew the system, especially when you get early season upsets as we have this year. Regardless, the computers don’t lie and I would hope that if we both win out the Frogs would get a huge boost due to strength of schedule… but I definitely don’t feel great about those chances, especially with that Oregon win looking REALLY good right now for Boise. Kellen Moore tossed 2 TDs on 17/21 passing and the Broncos rolled up a 43-0 lead before going on cruise control in the third quarter. Thanks a lot, BG.

#12/15 Houston 29, Texas Tetch 28. In one of the more exciting games on the day, Houston QB Case Keenum drove the Cougars 95 yards in the final minutes to take a 1 point win over the Raiders. As much as I hate it from a rankings stand point – we’re going to have a hard enough time overtaking Boise, not to mention having these yahoos nipping at our heels – this is just fantastic. Can you imagine what it feels like to be a Tetch fan right now? They whined all week about how they would’ve beaten Texas had the officiating not been so one sided, and then they go down to Houston and get beat by the CUSA all stars? I love it. I’m gloating. Unfortunately, as Houston rolls on, so does their climb in the rankings but circle October 10th on your calendar as that’s when the Cougars travel to Mississippi State. You might laugh at pinning your hopes on a Bulldogs team that also falls into the WSU/ISU/Baylor category, but they hung with LSU this weekend only to fall on a late goal line stand. A win there, and there are no forseeable losses for Houston. Despite their CUSA status, the voters would be hard pressed to keep a team with 3 wins against BCS competition out of a BCS game.

Great week for the Frogs as we make our biggest rankings jump of the season. A 3-0 SMU team would look better than their current 2-1 for our strength going forward, but you can only take what they give you. Each week you keep thinking that the non BCS teams will reach a ceiling and start falling, but based on Boise sitting nicely at #5, it’s hard to say what exactly that is. Either way, this speaks volumes about how the voters feel about the non BCS teams and looks a lot more promising when we’re talking about a potential National Championship bid. With Tim Tebow looking like he could miss some time with a concussion coupled with the Gators having to go into #4 LSU - albeit an LSU team that is amongst the most overrated in the history of ranking things - in a couple of weeks, look for that spot to open up. Before we can even begin that chatter though, we have to take care of our business and really hope that Houston and Boise don’t take care of theirs. Go Frogs!

Strength of Schedule Watch: Week 4 recap

While the Frogs helped themselves immensely with the win at Clemson, with their new loftier ranking comes loftier importance on strength of schedule. It was another weekend of mixed results from TCU's opponents.

Let's start off with what went right:

Utah 30, Louisville 14
-This game was big for two reasons: the Utes badly needed to bounce back after the loss to Oregon, and it was the only regular-season meeting between the Mountain West and the Big East. While I don't think Louisville is quite the burgeoning program they were just a few short years ago, notching a win over the Big East is still important for the MWC. The Utes dominated this one, running up 416 total yards and a Dalton-esque performance from QB Terrance Cain. It looks as if they may have lost star RB Matt Asiata for the year, but his replacement Eddie Wide ran for 129 yards.

BYU 42, Colorado State 23

-I suppose this game's effect on TCU's strength of schedule is fairly moot, but considering BYU is still in the Top 25, Frog fans should root for the Cougars to claw their way back up the rankings. The Rams actually outgained the Cougars 438 to 373, but BYU took advantage of turnovers and coasted to the win.

Air Force 26, San Diego State 14
-The Aztecs were able to move the ball fairly easily on the Air Force defense, but the Falcons controlled the game by forcing SIX turnovers and using their running game to eat up a ton of clock. Air Force is now 3-1 heading into a big two-game stretch with a road trip to Navy and the Frogs coming to Colorado Springs in two weeks.

Texas State 52, Texas Southern 18
-The Bobcats moved the ball at will against the "other" TSU, and absolutely stuffed the Tiger's running game allowing only 4 rushing yards, showing that the domination showed by TCU's offensive line was pretty impressive.

....and what went wrong:

Wyoming 30, UNLV 27
-UNLV really looked like they might be one of the middle-tier MWC teams that could pad the conference's profile with a break-out year in '09, but instead they've slid right back into their old inconsistent ways. Four Rebel turnovers helped fuel the Cowboys' comeback win, as did their new QB Austyn Carta-Samuels, who threw for 234 yards and 3 TD's despite having a name that makes me think he's the adoptive son of two lesbian college professors.

New Mexico State 20, New Mexico 17
-Piss poor. Just piss poor. The Lobos look like they're in danger of going 0-12 this year. Makes you wonder if new UNM coach Mike Locksley might be one & done in Albuquerque.

Week 3: Clemson Tiggers.

Whew. That was WAY too close. It was a game that we all knew we would be tight, butI think it was still a tough thing for most of us to witness given the opening two games, and especially after it was made painfully obvious that CJ Spiller is really, really fast. Big props to Daryl Washington for making that stop though. Anyway, we’re 3-0, we’re ranked 11th and 10th in the polls, we’re $1 million richer and, to top it all off, it’s annual SMU hate week. At home! I don’t know what else we could really ask for. I don’t know about you guys, but if I have to witness another game in ESPN 360 format, I’m doing whatever it takes to attend said game because, yeesh, what a miserable experience. Let’s just say my ESPN360, which had worked flawlessly leading up to the game as I obsessively watched every single bit of programming on it to assure myself of its availability, decided to crap out right as our game kicked off. Was it the karma gods forsaking me for choosing to travel to Colorado instead of Clemson? Possibly, but when all was said and done, I got it all put together and only missed Clemson’s opening drive – the worst one our defense would have all game. Enough chit chat though, let’s get to it.

Offense – A-. Alright, alright, I know it’s hard to fault our offense for being a little sluggish considering the conditions and the defense we were facing, but entering the fourth quarter, despite all my outward assertions to the contrary, I was afraid Dalton wasn’t going to be able to put the ball in the end zone. Fortunately, Big Red and Antoine Hicks made the hook up of their lives, with a big assist from the Tigers D back’s ass, and put the Frogs up for good. Until then though? A few questionable play calls, most notably the failed fourth down conversion. Now, I realize hindsight is 20/20, and that’s pretty much where I’m sitting right now because at the time I thought we’d for sure get it, but I mean… I think you have to let Evans put some points up there, especially with a slight lead and being on the road. Although, Sir Shanksalot lived up to his billing later in the game, so perhaps the OCs knew something we didn’t at the time, but, regardless, you can’t argue with the end result. That being said, I’m going to argue with our last offensive play of the game – not the kneel – when we had the chance to ice the game, and instead ran the most bullshit outside handoff ever called in history. I know Turner didn’t get you the first earlier in the game on 4th and short, and I know the Clemson D did a fantastic job of shutting him down the entire game… but that Clemson defense was WINDED after spending so much time on the field late in the game, so you have to feel like we could’ve gotten enough of a push to get 4 yards. I don’t know, even by armchair QB standards I’m a low round draft pick, but I just don’t think you run THAT play in such a huge moment. Enough complaining about a win though – is this what it feels like to be a UT fan?

Needless to say, and regardless of the final stat line, the night belongs to my namesake Andy Dalton, who had a man game if there’s ever been one. I try not to read too many pieces about the games before I do my recap so I’m not just regurgitating previous information, but I did check out Lebreton’s article in the S-T where he suggested that Dalton played the best game of his career Saturday. Now, most of us will remember last season – the Wyoming game in particular – and say that this one, statistics wise, wasn’t even close. However, from a leadership, getting the damn thing done perspective, it’s a hard opinion to argue. Through the air, Dalton went 17-26 for 226 yards and two TDs which is thus far his biggest producing game of the year, and it couldn’t have come at a bigger time. When you consider the TDs he threw, you could definitely get your Lebreton on and suggest they were the most clutch of his career.

After a magnificently fluky near interception turned 58 yard gain from Dalton to Wesley, Red threaded a 6 yard TD between several defenders into Curtis Clay’s hands in the middle of the end zone for a TD. That sentence doesn’t offer a whole lot of proper English, but that’s the only way I know how to describe it. It may not have been the prettiest TD drive – penalties, the tipped pass – but considering it followed Clemson’s opening scoring drive, and it went 91 yards – 96 if you look at penalties – this will definitely be one that we as fans will always remember. Doubly for me as it occurred simulatenously with me getting my 360 working before nearly tossing my laptop through the window of my parent’s home. One of the most impressive things about Dalton’s day, though, would obviously be what he accomplished on the ground. Clemson must’ve watched their film from last week, because they were not interested in letting us run the ball, notably Joseph Turner whose final tally was 9 rushes for 25 yards. Unfortuntaly for the Tigers, they must not have noticed the one thing we all have in the first two games- that being Red’s shockingly increased speed. He ended up leading all Frogs rushers with 19 carries for 86 yards and it wasn’t even close as Wesley was the next closest with 8 for 43.

At some point I’ve got to stop this Dalton adoration and move on to another point, but before that I obviously have to mention his second TD pass, which ended up being the winner. To that point I, like most of you, was considerably worried about our chances in this game. Not because I didn’t think we had the ability, but mostly because they were stopping our run so it was obvious we’d have to get the passing game going and that was going to be no small feat given the conditions. Also, with the previously mentioned fourth down failure in lieu of a field goal, I just thought we were going to be punished in the end for not taking the points - thank you Richard Jackson for missing an easy one late. Then, like I said, Dalton had his, “screw it, we’re winning this game” moment and threw what will surely be remembered as the best TD pass of his career thus far. With the Frogs finally pushing the ball deep into Clemson territory early in the fourth quarter, Dalton took a shot at Antoine Hicks running down the sideline. The pass initially looked like it was going to be no good as Hicks was well covered and bobbled the ball, but he came down with it as the ref signaled a late TD. Looking back on the replays, though, it was shown that there was NO way he would’ve caught that ball had the coverage not been so tight, as the ball stuck between himself and the Clemson defender when he came down, so, when you also think of the Wesley tipped pass, it looks like someone wanted us to win this game. You always hear that great teams catch a few breaks along the way so perhaps this is our year? The story remains the be told.

Quickly running through the rest of the offensive highlights, Turner, Wesley, Matthew Tucker and Ryan Christian combined for 76 yards on 21 carries. In the air, Kerley looked every bit as good as we hoped, catching 5 balls for 63 yards while looking very, very acrobatic in the process. Bart Johnson, after his big game last week, came through with 4 catches for 23 yards, while Ryan Christian had 3 for 21, including a nice looking 14 yard gain on third and 17 late in the game that almost kept a drive alive. He did fumble said ball though, so there is room for improvement. Beyond that, Jimmy Young had 2 catches for 27 yards. Funnily enough, the three guys who only had one catch on the day ended up making the biggest impact – Wesley, Clay, and Hicks. The O-line didn’t dominate as much as we’d hoped, but they got Dalton decent enough protection, although they did give up a sack and coverage broke down a few times and forced Dalton into rushed passes. Also to be negative but fully disclosed, Dalton did have 2 fumbles, although with the rainy conditions, that ain’t all bad, and it should be noted he recovered both.

Final Numbers – 388 yards (226 passing, 162 rushing), 20 first downs, 3 fumbles-none lost, 11 penalties – 106 yards, 5-13 third down conversions, 1-1 red zone, 1 sack allowed, 31:20 TOP.

Defense – A-. Like the offense, it’s hard to criticize a defense that held an opponent to 10 points in their home stadium, but there are a few things to nitpick. First off, I didn’t see the opening drive, but when was the last time we let a team methodically move the ball down the field on us without it being the result of our shooting ourselves in the foot? Utah comes to mind, and that was a TERRIFYING thought, although GP himself put it best afterwards, ""But we did two things different from that game," Patterson said. "On our final drive, we went and scored, and on theirs we stopped them.". Fortunately on said opening drive we stopped them cold on the 8 yard line and forced a field goal, but that’s still not something that happens to us very often. Also, the huge Spiller pass play would be such a huge complaint from this section if not for Daryl Washington recovering enough to catch him and the fact that it never happened again. Seriously, you hear that D Wash is the best athlete on the team, but did anyone realize he had wheels like that? Sure, Spiller had to slow up a bit to catch the pass, but I mean, he had plenty of time to turn it back on and Washington didn’t allow it. Nice work, sir. Also, the D gave up 309 yards of total offense, but 144 of those came on two scoring drives, so that’s 165 for the rest of the game, including a complete destruction of the Clemson offense after halftime.

Since we’ve already gotten the hyperbole train rolling, should I say that Clemson’s second to last drive was possibly the most unnerving defense stand we’ve seen as Frogs fans under Patterson? In all fairness, we’ve had higher stakes as recently as the Poinsettia Bowl and the Hughes sack, but forcing the Tigers into a fourth down turnover was HUGE. After driving the ball into the TCU red zone, helped along by a big penalty, Clemson had four shots to put the ball into the end zone…and lost 3 yards total to turn the ball over. Good work, D. Great work. Clemson QB Kyle Parker had so much pressure on him he had to force that fourth down throw and it had absolutely no chance. In fact, Clemson was 0-3 on fourth down conversions in the game, each being huge, although the last one was a hail mary that wasn’t going to pan out. Just a great second half for the defense. CJ Spiller may have rushed for 112 yards and a TD, but he didn’t have near the impact as expected. The stats won’t knock anyone out, but the bottom line is, the guys got the job done and earned a huge victory.

Out of the entire defense, Daryl Washington was easily the standout, recording 13 tackles, including 8 solo, as well as a QB hurry. Alex Ibolye and Wayne Daniels also had huge games, both recording 8 tackles, including one for a loss from Daniels. We didn’t force any turnovers, but that might be alright given the collective effort the defense gave. This should pop out at you – Jerry Hughes was 10th on the team in tackles with 2 and no sacks. Yes, he was double teamed on nearly every down, but it looks like the Clemson D assumed they could stop Hughes and the rest of the guys would falter. This was obviously not so. I think the fact that our hands down best player can have a pedestrian game, yet the rest of the team can step up and fill the void speaks volumes about what this defense can accomplish this season. We’ve known there were going to be opportunities to exploit with entire sides of offensive lines focusing on Zilla, and this week we finally figured it out.

Running down the list, Tank Carder had 7 tackles, followed by Sanders with 5 and a pass breakup and Kelly Griffin had 3. Lastly, a big shout out to Freshman Jeremy Coleman who may have only recorded one tackle, but it was a big one as he stopped Kyle Parker on 4th and 1 deep into TCU territory to give the Frogs the ball back. Looks like he’ll fit in nicely in cowtown.

Final Numbers – 309 yards against (192 passing, 117 rushing), 0 sacks, 17 first downs allowed, 0 INTs, 28:40TOP, 7/17 third down, 0-3 fourth down, 0 sacks.

Special Teams – C+. Per usual, the special teams unit was the weakest on the afternoon, although it’s hard to keep up with our offense and defense on most days. First off, Ross Evans, you are fucking fired. Sure, it was rainy conditions and a 42 yarder, but that thing had the distance and no chance. I thought you’d learned your lesson, but dude plays with inconsistency like it’s going out of style. On the other hand, he only kicked one of his 3 kickoffs out of bounds, although none went too deep. He needs to be down on his knees in the showers in front of our special teams coverage for not allowing any big returns from Spiller and Co. Same goes for Anson Kelton who punted 6 times for a paltry 31.8 yard average, but our punt team was on him quick enough not to allow any return yards. He also had a few go out of bounds, including one that went an astounding 15 yards. Like I said though, Spiller never had a shot at returning any of them, so the results are hard to argue with.

In the return game, Kerley still didn’t break one, although I don’t think anyone expected it this week. He only had 2 punt return opportunities, tallying 8 yards, but he did return all 3 kick offs for 52 total yards. Nothing special, but nothing terrible.

Final Numbers -0-1 FG, 6 punts- 31.8 average, 1 downed in the 20, no TBs, Kick offs – 3-66.3 yard average, 1 OOB, no TBs, 2 PR - yards, 3 KOR – 52 yards, long of 25.

Overall – I think I’ve pretty much said all that can be said about this game. The defense was lights out in the second half and Dalton made things happen when he needed to. It wasn’t pretty, but no team has played to perfection in all games this season, so it’s not like we’re alone. The fact is, we went into Clemson as an underdog and slugged out a win in terrible conditions against a great defensive team, not to mention an offense with one of the best RBs in the country. They aren’t all going to be 56-21 finals, and as fans we just need to be prepared for a few close ones along the way. We left town without any injuries which is more than Florida and Baylor can say this week, and we’ve got our biggest rival at home this weekend. Oh yeah, and there’s rain in the forecast. Stanford part 2? We can only hope. Until then, Go Frogs.

Morning Dump

TCU doesn't want another unpleasant surprise at hands of SMU Star-Telegram

TCU's AD Morrison's departure coincides with Carolina playing Dallas Cowboys Star-Telegram

No. 11 TCU charts steady course to success

Big challenge ahead for SMU with TCU matchup
Dallas Morning News

TCU's Cohen has Wofford in his heart
Go Upstate

Non-AQ power rankings week 5 ESPN

Boise State, TCU, Houston jockeying for position
Austin American-Statesman

Seahawks' Hawthorne steps up, makes 16 tackles
Daily Herald

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Game Awards - TCU v. Clemson

And just like that GP moves his record versus the BCS teams to 13-5 all time.

Defensive Player of the Game

Well, considering CJ Spiller is the best back we face all year, I am pleased. When you have a guy who holds some crazy record with Reggie Bush where they have a bunch of yards in a bunch of different stuff (I'm sure you can find the record if you really want to), and we hold him to only one td, I will take it. That being said, the D planyer of the game has to be........I have no idea. Maybe Washington because he had 13 tackles? Maybe even Wayne Daniels who had 8 tackles and his name mentioned in a play twice that oftem? Maybe Nick Sanders who had a pretty good pass break up and 'came to play' as opposed to last week? But I think this one just goes to the entire D as a whole. Take out the one play where one of the best running backs in the country happens to get matched up on the middle linebacker for a big pass gain, they did an amazing to only allow 10 points to a team averaging 31 and to completely stonewall them for a big goose egg in the second half. (who would have thought frogzilla wouldn't even have a significant impact? weird)

Offensive Player of the Game

Well if you couldn't tell from the picture, this award is going out to the most loved ginger on campus (sorry IHATEH - you will be back as number one soon enough). If there were any questions about how Dalton handles pressure, I think they were just answered. 80,000 crazy Clemson fans going nuts in one of the most difficult places to play in the entire country and you need a score, a touchdown no less (because as we see again, Ross Evans can not yet do it in a "big game"). Oh, and did I mention its freakin pouring down rain. But he wasn't just good during that drive midway through the 4th, he was good all game. If Bart Johnson can pull in a few more balls his night would have been even better. Dalton ended up going 17 of 26 for 226 with 2 TDs. Oh yeah, and he was also our leading rusher with 86 yards on 19 carries. Good game Dalton, now lets take it to the ponies.

Special Teams Player of the Game

I guess this goes to Kerley by default. He was respectable on kick returns with an average of about 17 yards, and he didn't get much chance on punts. But I mean come on...can we get some people in there who can kick a ball? It can't be that hard, can it? Field Goal - Bad, Kickoff - terrible as usual, Punting - should have cost us the game. I'll give Evans a little leeway on the field goal (just because we won, and he hasn't missed an extra point....yet), but not on kick offs. I realize that we are doomed to never have a touch back ever again, but seriously keep the ball in bounds, ridiculous. Maybe he should pick up punting, because Kelton was no bueno. Punts of 31 (out of bounds), 15 (out of bounds), 48, 25, 35, and 36 (out of bounds). If the defense hadn't of been playing their hearts out, those should have cost us the game. In fact, they did lead to Clemson's only TD of the game on that gem went 15 yards. But at least he averaged 4 seconds of hang time which gave Spiller no chance at return.

Play of the Game

This the best picture I would find, but that should just about cover it.

Superfan(s) of the Game

This one goes out to those on the charter from Dallas. While I have yet to talk to them and hear about the debauchery that went down on the Purple Destroyer or whatever the bus was called, I have no doubt they represented us well, and respect to anyone who can ride that long on a bus. But I did hear they made a detour at the Tour Championship. That reinforces their superfrat, superfans game.

Fail of the Game

ESPN 360 - It sucks, can't we get on the Ocho or something, because that was just a miserable experience.

Lee Corso Gurantees a Win

By picking Clemson

Friday, September 25, 2009

Spitblood Predictions: Clemson

In case you're bitter that you can't go to the game (Me? No....), you can at least take solace in the fact that the folks that do make the trip are going to get soaked because, in the words of Ollie Williams, ISSS GON' RAIN! Not that Game Day in the rain can't be fun- I think everyone that was there will agree that last year's Stanford game was one of the most fun TCU games they can remember, but I'm not quite sure just what to think about Mother Nature taking her place at the TCU-Clemson table with a huge stack of pogs and a sweet "8-ball" slammer.

There's a good chance the wet weather (Forecast: click here) could hamper both teams' ability to throw the ball. On one hand, I think the Frogs have the more balanced of the two offenses, so the rain could be a bigger handicap to TCU's game plan. But on the other, Clemson's most dangerous offensive option might be to get the speedy duo of CJ Spiller and Jacoby Ford open deep, where Kyle Parker (who has accuracy issues but a strong arm) could hit them for big gains. If the Tigers' ability to hit the home run is reduced, so too may be their chances to beat TCU.

So tell me what you think- leave your predictions in the comments section. Final score, offensive, defensive and special teams player of the game, how the weather will affect both teams and anything else you want to include.

Morning Dump

TCU Still Doesn't Want the Attention - ESPN

Clemson is Giving TCU Rare Dose of Respect - Startlegram

TCU v. Clemson Football Betting Odds & Prediction
- (For all you degenerates out there)

Storylines to Watch for this Weekend in College Football - USA Today

TCU at Clemson Preview - Bleacher Report

College Football Predictions Week 4 - The Football Expert
  • TCU (2-0) @ Clemson (2-1): I have my neck firmly exposed for the Horned Frogs and this is their first chance to prove me right. The Tigers are a typical ACC team. Just good enough to give most teams trouble if they are playing well and just bad enough to lose most games. Their defense is riding high after holding Boston College to 54 yards. That is not a typo, and even if the Eagles are in transition I’m impressed. TCU can also bring it on defense. In their opener at Virginia the Cavs had a net gain of 44 yards over their first 11 possessions before the visitors loosened up. Clemson has some star power with C.J. Spiller’s running and returning exploits, but TCU’s defense will be on him like the paparazzi on Brad Pitt because the Tigers have been plagued by poor quarterback play. There will be no running on this defense here. As a result the visitors will wear them down. By the time it’s over they will wonder why they scheduled this game: TCU 19, Clemson 12
Fearless Predictions Week 4 - Newsday
  • No. 15 TCU at Clemson (-2.5)
    Two very similar teams. They both feature great defenses that are really tough up front. If TCU gets pressure on Kyle Parker, it could be a long day for the Tiger offense, whose line hasn't impressed me. The Horned Frogs have 11 sacks in two games, and I think they tack on a few more in a 27-20 win.
    Rose: TCU has already gone on the road this season to an ACC school and won. OK, TCU beat Virginia easily, and the Cavaliers are not as good as Clemson. But I think that shows TCU can win on Saturday. I like TCU's defense in this one. TCU wins 27-23

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Girls of the ACC featured in the October issue of Playboy

For those of you going to the Clemson game, to watch are Frogs do to the Clemson football team what I want to do to these girls, you should pick up a copy of the Playboys October issue which includes "Girls of the ACC" and then keep an eye out for Sydnee Stone or Mya Matthews in the stands. Sydnee is by far hottest of all the ACC girls featured. Anybody that can produce a picture with either girl along with a good story gets my approval and a drink at the Oui after the next home game. Also, if you went to the Virginia game and can remember anything you may have run across Jenna Arianna. Same goes for her even though she is nowhere near as hot as Sydnee. To tell you the truth I'm a little disappointed with this pictorial, I'm looking at you Florida State! There has to be some hotter treats willing to take their clothes off out there!

Sorry I had to remove the links to the pics b/c apparently Playboy's legal team frowns upon people posting their pics or links to pics...I'm sure you all know how to google if your to damn cheap to buy a hard copy.

Strength of Schedule Watch: Week 4

After three weeks of mixed-results, the reputation of the Frogs' strength of schedule is going to start plateauing because conference play is going to start getting cranked up. There are three conference games this weekend, with two other MWC teams playing non-conference games and just one of TCU's non-conference opponents in action this weekend (aside from Clemson's game against...TCU).

Game of the Week:
Utah (2-1) vs. Louisville (1-1) (7:30pm Saturday, CBS-College)
-As much as we've talked about how the MWC is better than the Big East, now it's time to show it. This is the only game of the regular season between the two conferences, so the Utes really need to carry the MWC banner in this one. The Utes relied too much on JUCO-transfer QB Terrance Cain last week against Oregon, and he threw a costly interception late in the game. So look for them to try early to establish a strong rushing attack with senior tailback Matt Asiata.

Other important games:
New Mexico (0-3) vs. New Mexico State (1-2) (9:00pm Saturday, The Mtn)
-No way too sugarcoat how awful the Lobos have looked so far. After a long stretch under respectability under former coach Rocky Long, they are going through an extremely tough transition to the system of new coach Mike Locksley. If they drop this one, they are going to be in danger of going 0-for-2009.

Texas State (1-1) vs. Texas Southern (1-3) (6:00pm Saturday)
-By the time this game kicks off, the Frogs will have already played Clemson and we'll have a much better idea if the 21 points that Texas State scored against TCU were more telling about the Frogs defense or Texas State's offense. Either way, we certainly hope the Bobcats will continue to score points in droves the remainder of the year. Texas Southern lost to Louisiana-Monroe earlier this season 58-0, so Texas State ought to fulfill our wishes here.

Mountain West games:
San Diego State (1-2) at Air Force (2-1, 1-0 MWC) (1:00pm Saturday, The Mtn)
-SDSU is pretty much dead to me after losing to Idaho last week. That's the kind of loss that continues to drag the conference down. Air Force is one bad quarter away from being 3-0 and looks like they'll be bowling again this year, so I hope they destroy the Aztecs.

UNLV (2-1) at Wyoming (1-2) (2:00pm Saturday)
-Evidently, Wyoming must be a tough place to play (as the Frogs learned in '07...). Two weeks ago at home, they gave #2 Texas all they could handle for a half. Then last week on the road, they rolled over and played dead, scoring zero points against a Colorado team that had a week prior given up 50 points to Toledo! UNLV's got a good squad this year and could contend for a bowl berth. They really need to take care of business against the Cowboys.

Colorado State (3-0) at BYU (2-1) (5;00pm Saturday, The Mtn)
-It will be very interesting to see how the Cougars react to getting their asses handed to them by Florida State last week. I still think they'll beat Colorado State, but the Rams have played tough (if a little inconsistent) so far. After finishing 5th in Fairchild's first season last year, this is the Rams' first chance to prove they belong in the same conversation with the MWC's "Big 3".

-Virginia (0-3) and SMU (2-1) both have the week off to think about how they both choked away what would've been big road wins in the 4th quarter. SMU is probably installing a few trick plays that will likely end up blowing up in their face when their Interception Machine of a Quarterback hands the Frogs six points.

Go Deep Shipley

I realize it's not at all Frog related, but did you know these two guys were ol' fishin buddies growin up? I bet McCoy is a power bottom.

Morning Dump

Hariston a Game-Time Decision for TCU Game - The Post and Courier

TCU Coach Not Interested in Talking About Busting BCS
- The Salt Late Tribune

TCU QB Dalton, his Receivers on Same Page - Dallas Morning News

Week 4 Predictions - ESPN
  • TCU 14, Clemson 10: TCU will stifle Clemson’s offense, starting up front, where defensive end Jerry Hughes will have his way with the Tigers’ offensive line. Clemson’s defense will rise to the challenge, though, and will set up a touchdown or a field goal. C.J. Spiller will get them good field position, but it won’t overcome TCU’s outstanding coaching.
Non-AQ Picks, Week 4 - ESPN
  • TCU 19, Clemson 13: I called this game back in the spring, so there’s no backing off of it now, even if TCU did struggle a bit against Texas State. However, with both Utah and BYU suffering losses last week, TCU has a chance to notch a quality AQ win and continue to track down Boise State. The key in this game will be stopping Clemson running back C.J. Spiller. Look for defensive end Jerry Hughes to have a big game while disrupting the Clemson backfield.
TCU Athletics to Host Watch Party of Football Game - Daily Skiff

Swinney Tells Story of Learning TCU was on Schedule - WSPA South Carolina
  • I highly recommend watching this one
A TV Viewer's Guide to College Football for this Weekend - Boston Herald

Week Three Preview: Clemson Tigers

A rape smile? I always assumed it was a "San Francisco" smile.

Well, it is finally upon us – Clemson game weekend, although not as originally anticipated (i.e. televised). Sure, the Utah and BYU games are probably BIGGER games, and the BYU game looked a lot bigger, if only for two weeks, but this is the game we’ve had circled on our calendars the entire off-season, and I bet the Tigers have as well. Fortunately for us, we know what we have for the most part: the passing game is fine, the run game is superb, the run defense is great, and the pass defense… Eeehh, still has some question marks. Clemson, though? Yeesh!

First off, starting left tackle Chris Hairston is questionable and starting/all world running back CJ Spiller is playing in the game, but both sat most of last week’s win over Boston College with injuries. Losing Hairston would be a huge blow to Clemson’s chances as backup left guard Cory Lambert, who was benched during the Georgia Tech loss after surrendering three sacks, has trouble with “speed rushers.” Think GP isn’t wise to swapping Jerry Hughes over the left tackle on a handful of plays? To cope with this, Clemson had hoped to switch Hairston to the right side of the line and plug in the disgraced Lambert on the left. With Hairston possibly out, it looks like Hughes could have a career day. Losing both of these guys, though, would be catastrophic. Despite TCU’s continued success against the run, CJ Spiller, even with an injury, could be a huge headache for the defense, but where they will really miss him is on special teams where he has already returned a punt and a kick for TDs.

You also have to consider Clemson’s overall performance. Thus far they have beaten a decent Middle Tennessee State team pretty handily, been humiliated by Georgia Tech for one half before storming ahead late in the game just to lose it on late field goals and penalties, and then kicked the crap out of Boston College. Let’s hope the up-down-up-down trend continues this week. One minute QB Kyle Parker is lighting up defenses and putting points on the board as he did the second half against Tech; the next he’s throwing 2 INTs and no TDs to Boston College at home. Oh yeah, and did I mention there’s a flu outbreak in the Clemson locker room? Or a first year head coach who has never beaten a ranked team? I mean, the list goes on and on… but despite all of this, Clemson is still a 3 point favorite and, honestly, I’m not arguing too much. Let’s take a closer look at the unit matchups.

Offense – Let’s start with what we know about the Frogs. Dalton, while not stretching the field in our first two games, is at least very accurate and careful with the ball, save one play. He doesn’t fumble snaps, he doesn’t throw into double coverage, and he’s got wheels that he’s not afraid to use when a play breaks down. This safe play is all well and good because there’s no reason to take away from what has quickly developed into a lethal rushing attack. Now, I realize we haven’t exactly played a high level of competition, but we have played a team from Clemson’s own conference, and we do have a big time entrenched starting running back that has 2+ years of game experience. Judging from his powerful second and third effort runs, I’d also say he worked out quite a bit in the off season to better himself. Combine this with emerging stars Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker and you’ve got quite a combination, especially after Turner wears down the defense. Jimmy Young is always a deep threat and Kerley is still poised for a breakout game. The highlight of it all, though, has been our offensive line, but they will definitely be tested by a tough Clemson front, headed by defensive end Ricky Sapp. On paper, at least, the Frogs look good.

Clemson though, as mentioned, has a few question marks on offense, so let’s start with the big one: CJ Spiller. In case you’re unfamiliar, CJ Spiller is the man – I’m definitely not afraid to admit that. Unfortunately for Clemson fans, he has been riddled with injuries the first three games of the season and, as mentioned, will play Saturday but may not be 100%. In fact, in the 12 quarters Clemson has played, he has sat 4 of them. Thus far he hasn’t had as much of an impact in the backfield as hoped (41-176-0TDs), but, like I said, he has returned a punt and a kick for a touchdown and easily leads the team in all purpose yardage. He also has a receiving TD. Clemson’s success Saturday will depend almost entirely on his health.

Under center, Kyle Parker has been leading the charge with mixed results, going 37/78 for 523 yards and 5 TDs, but he’s also thrown 4 INTs. He has also been sacked 6 times – a trend that will potentially continue with the banged up O-line situation. That swine flu outbreak I mentioned? Of the six sidelined players, 4 are offensive linemen, although only one was a starter. However, given Hairston’s potential absence and the lack of faith in Lambert at left tackle, it sounds like losing 4 reserves on the line could potentially be disastrous for Clemson.

Honestly, all things being equal, this matchup is tough to call. If both teams were at full health, I’d probably even go with Clemson here. However, seeing as how they may be starting a red shirt sophomore with little experience over Jerry Hughes, and there’s no guarantee that Spiller will play the whole game, I have to go with the Frogs. I think we’ll bang Turner up the middle and make the defense get comfortable, then unleash Jimmy Young over the top for a couple of scores. Had Turner and Company not shown us what they have last week – albeit against a terrible defense, yes – I wouldn’t feel as good, but I think with our powerful offensive line, we can put enough points on the board to allow the defense to do the rest. That whole 0 touchdown performance against Boston College also sticks in my mind, Clemson.

Edge – Frogs

Defense – Well, I guess you’re all familiar with Frogzilla, so I’ll let his name speak for itself. In fact, I’m pretty much fine with our front six – Kelly Griffin has been great, as has Wayne Daniels. Daryl Washington is exactly who we knew he was and Tank Carder is going to have a monster breakout year. In all fairness, our pass defense ranks 11th in the country in total yards, but for those of you who watched the game last week, does that really tell the tale? Clemson wideout Jacoby Ford may not be huge, but he’s fast and he’s sure handed. We may have the best corners in the conference – for what that’s worth – but Nick Sanders was less than stellar last weekend. We also have a very well noted lack of depth at safety and this could be the week that it catches up to us. On the Spiller front, he’s consistently used as a pass catching weapon in the flats and has that Felix Jones like elusiveness where he can make one cut and be 10 yards past the last defender. This is something we are REALLY going to have to keep an eye on. As usual, we currently lead the NCAA in rushing yards allowed, but we haven’t seen anything close to Spiller yet and won’t the rest of the season. I love our defense, but I also understand we gave up 21 points to southwest Texas last weekend. I’ve never gone into a game nervous about how our defense is going to perform until this week and until they step up and make some stops, I will continue to be that way.

Just like you’d expect, Clemson also has quite a bit of talent on the defensive side of the ball, and rank just below the Frogs at 19th in overall defense. However, like Clemson’s offense, they can be somewhat inconsistent, but are greatly improving. Let’s look at the season – in game one against Middle Tennessee they gave up 299 total yards, including 207 through the air; in game 2 against Georgia Tech, they were blitzed for 418 and 301 rushing, but then against Boston College they only gave up 54 yards. TOTAL. We’ve had some great games on defense, but I don’t know that we’ve ever done something like that. Judging from this, Clemson is susceptible to one aspect of the game or the other, but not both in the same game. More likely than not, though, they'll stop the run and give up yards through the air – exactly like TCU. They’re also fast, totaling seven sacks on the year – Frogs have 11 for full disclosure – and have forced 9 turnovers, including 8 INTs. By comparison, TCU has 2 interceptions. However, despite this “pass susceptibility” I speak of, Clemson still ranks 13th in the nation.

Again, this one is tough to call. Very tough to call. In fact, I refuse to do it.

Edge - Even.

Special teams – This is the clearest cut difference between the two teams. We love us some Jeremy Kerley, but he’s like Mr. Rogers to CJ Spiller’s Axl Rose when it comes to kick returns. There’s no comparison. If Spiller is healthy, you cannot kick to him. Ever. Under any circumstances. In fact, I’ll take the penalty, start them on the 35 every single time and let our defense do the rest. Spiller is the scariest return man in the country and I just hope our kickoff and punt teams prepared themselves by taking a bunch of xanax and giving Kerley a bunch of speed in practice, because that’s what it’s going to be like. Yikes!

Kicking the ball, Ross Evans has been good, but Richard Jackson has been phenomenal, single handedly winning the game against Boston College kicking 6 field goals, including a 52 yarder. In fact, coach Dabo Swinney suggested that he’d kick him from 60+ yards if he needed to this week, so you know he’s legit. No sense arguing.

Edge – Clemson.

Final thoughts – So, if you look at what I’ve said here, it’s a pretty even matchup, and I truly believe it is an extremely even matchup. The bookies apparently feel the same way I do as the spread is +3 in favor of Clemson and rumor has it a team gets 3 points automatically for playing at home. In other words, on a neutral field this would be a pick em. Speaking of playing at home, this is going to be the toughest road matchup of the Patterson era. Oklahoma, Nebraska, Texas – all of those places are loud, but from what I understand, nothing can prepare a team for the absolute onslaught that is the 85,000+ Tiger faithful. If you don’t remember, they wanted Patterson this offseason – and he didn’t return their calls. Think their fans forgot that? Didn’t think so. You also have to take into account the mindset of their fans which is a sense of entitlement without really earning it. Yes, Clemson won a national title under Danny Ford in 1981, but that’s it. You know how Aggy thinks that everyone needs to respect their football tradition? Well, that’s what these guys are like – except their success is far more recent and they aren’t a bunch of dorks. They’re also extremely passionate, as evidenced by the angry Clemson fan video, and are extremely vocal. For you guys that are going, fight the good fight, but unless we jump out to a 100 – 0 lead, don’t expect your presence to be felt.

Our teams play very similar football – beat them with your defense and run the ball down their throat. By no means do I think this is going to be a high scoring game, and I think the team that wins it is going to have to make a big play on special teams or on defense. I may be a homer, but I’m not afraid to admit defeat when defeat is at hand… except I’m not going to. I’m riding Jerry Hughes vs. a banged up O line all the way to a victory. It may be low scoring, but we’ll do just enough to win. Like I said, I’m still a homer.

The pick - Frogs 17, Clemson 14.

A special shout out to I HATE H, Bucknasty, WWHD, the red barron, buffalo and whoever else I’m forgetting who are currently setting out from the Big D on a booze fueled tour bus to attend the game. Godspeed and I hope you all make it back in one piece.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gary Patterson Show Tonight

For those of you that live in Fort Worth...the Gary Patterson Show will air LIVE tonight on KTCU from 6:00 to 7:00pm from the Railhead Smokehouse on Montgomery. Junior Defensive Tackle Kelly Griffin will also appear on tonight's show. The show will air tape-delayed on ESPN 103.3 FM from 7:00 to 8:00pm.

Hey Good Lookin' Top 25 Preview!

Hank Williams, Sr. - The Original Gangster.

Last week I let my good pal Mr. Kenny Rogers help me out with the top 25 preview and he let me down big time. This week I’m going to let my other OG friend help me out, and hopefully he’ll have a little bit more luck. Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Hank Williams! Now I know a lot of you are going to say, “You mean a country music singer who died in the 50s at the age of 29 is who you believe is the Original Gangster? Are you a moron?” and to that I would answer, “May I direct you to songs such as ‘You’re gonna change or I’m gonna Leave” and “My Love for you (has turned to hate).” The fact is, long before Biggie and Tupac were referring to women as “hos” and R. Kelly was peeing on teenagers, Hank Williams was teaching women their rightful place in the pecking order – second, and sometimes third behind dogs – and making no amends about it. Besides that, he’s probably the greatest song-writer of all time, Bob Dylan be damned, and he ended up being such a perfect teammate for me on this week’s preview that he may even make a few encores throughout the season. Other than that, the other change I’m making is my arbitrary game ranking system as, no matter what, ALL of these games matter due to the ranking proximity the respective teams and the Frogs. Anyway, without further ado, Hank, take us away! Again, spreads reflect the home team.

#8/8 Boise State (-17) at Bowling Green.

Hank says – "Settin’ the Woods on Fire"

I'll gas up my hot rod stoker
We'll get hotter than a poker
You'll be broke but I'll be broker
Tonight we're settin' the woods on fire

As in, what the Bowling Green fans will do to the foliage around town if their team wins. With Boise, Bowling Green hosts a top 10 team for the first time ever. Bowling Green nearly upset Missouri last weekend in Columbia, MO after leading 20-6 late into the third quarter. However, they quickly gave up 3 TDs to end the third and start the fourth and fell just short, 27-20. A loss like that will either crush a team’s spirit and send them into a tailspin or put a new, positive spin on their season, so it will be interesting to see how Bowling Green responds. Boise State, coming off a 9 day layoff, will have to play this game without leading rusher DJ Harper and will also be playing with their highest regular season ranking in school history. The Broncos know that if they win this game there is pretty much nothing between them and a BCS bid save strength of schedule. Boise should win, but the Falcons will cover.

#9/13 Miami vs. #11/12 Virginia Tech (+1.5)

Hank says – “Move it on Over”

This dog house here is mighty small
But it's sure better than no house at all
So ease it on over (move it on over)
Drag it on over (move it on over)
Move over old dog cause a new dog's moving in

This one is a personal dedication from Miami to Virginia Tech as, until proven otherwise, Miami looks like the front runner in the ACC. Since joining the ACC from the Big East in 2004, Virginia Tech has won the conference 3 times and is typically in the mix throughout the entirety of the season. However, with the Luis Vuitton wearing Jacory Harris under center, Miami has beaten their main rival Florida State on the road as well as presumed conference favorite Georgia Tech in their first two games. If they can beat VT here, they then welcome in a banged up but improving Oklahoma Sooner team to the Joe Robbie Landshark Orange Pro Player Bowl Stadium in what could be the biggest game of the year in the regular season-for the entire NCAA. IF they can win both of those games, the ‘Canes should roll to an ACC title and perhaps have a shot at the big one. Virginia Tech on the other hand already has a loss on the season and needed a miracle finish to sneak past Nebraska last weekend while giving up 343 yards of total offense, although it should be mentioned that all of Nebraska’s points came on field goals. Virginia Tech has had problems scoring at times, and having a fired up ‘Canes defense that only allowed 228 total yards to Georgia Tech’s high powered triple option attack doesn’t bode well for the Hokies. A Hokie win would have little to no affect on us as the media’s fascination with Miami would probably only have them swap places in the rankings. Doesn’t matter, because, as Hank said, move over old dog cause a new dog’s moving in in the ACC title picture. ‘Canes win a tough one and the Frogs move up.

#12/10 USC (-45.5) vs. Washington State.

Hank says – “I watched my dream world crumble like clay”

You promised darlin' that we'd never part
But now you've gone dear, breakin' my heart
I saw saw your love dear, fade and die away
I watched my dream world crumble like clay

First of all, yes, you read that right – USC is favored by 45.5 points over a Washington State team that beat an apparently much improved SMU team last weekend despite likely not having their starting QB and best defensive player, Taylor Mays. I know you have to look at the coming off a bad loss/making a statement factor in situations like this, but good grief! I’d take the points all day. The “Dream world” in this case is obviously a BCS National Title shot that will once again elude the Trojans, who have now lost 5 games to unranked opponents since 2006, despite only dropping one to a ranked team. I know Pete Carroll is supposed to be the most amped up and jacked motivator on the planet, but with these consistent disappointments, I’m starting to wonder if he’s simply becoming the recruiting savvy/coaching fail Mack Brown of old. No matter, there’s no way the Trojans are going to lose this game, especially when you consider that in the 68 times the two teams have met, the Cougars have lost sixty. Sixty one should be quick and painless.

#13/11 Ohio State (-14) vs. Illinois.

Hank says – "I’m Free at Last"

I'm free at last from love and all its' worries
I'm free because you wanted it that way
Now you can go but there's no need to hurry
'Cause ne'er again will I ask you to stay.

Hank’s dedication isn’t so much for either of the two teams playing in this game -although it could perhaps refer to Jim Tressel finally taking off Terrell Pryor’s training wheels last weekend - but instead is specifically for TCU fans in regards to new Illinois/former TCU OC Mike Schultz. I can’t help but think GP felt the same way when the two parted ways last year. Some people – no, not Bucknasty – attempted to defend Schultz by pointing out the record setting offense of last year, but, based on this year’s early returns, I’d say the Anderson/Fuente two pronged approach is working just fine. Schultz wasn’t so much an offensive coordinator as he was an OFFENSIVE coordinator, if you catch my drift, and ne’er again will we ask him to stay, as if we ever did. Oh yes, but there’s a game to be referenced here. So far this year, Ohio State has survived a scare against Navy, lost a heartbreaker to USC and dominated Toledo. Illinois, on the other hand, was destroyed by a Missouri team who may or may not be all that great, and beat Illinois State, who I’ve never even heard of. Based on that, I’m taking the Buckeyes to win and to cover. You might be thinking, “Now wait just a minute – remember what happened to OSU last time these Illini came into the Horseshoe?” and in response I would simply remind you that Mike Schultz is still their OC and that man couldn’t game plan his way out of a paperbag with a hole in it, let alone figure out a top ranked defense like the Buckeyes. Note to Tressel – defend the short side option and you’re good. Hank approves.

#14/15 Cincinnati (-16.5) vs. Fresno State.

Hank says - "You better keep it on your mind"

Now if you go out and start a playing around
Your baby's gonna tear your playhouse down
You better keep it on your mind (all the time)
You better keep it on your mind (all the time)
You'll be moanin' and a groanin', Lord you better keep it on your mind

After three very convincing victories to open the season, including road wins against then Big East favorite Rutgers as well as a non-conference game against ranked Oregon State , Cincy fans must have themselves a big ole BCS boner for the second straight year. With USF QB Matt Grothe going down with a season ending injury and the Rutgers game being out of the way, it would seem the only thing standing between Cincinnati and a big money bowl is West Virginia. However, they better keep the Bulldogs and NCAA leading rusher Ryan Mathews on their mind, because they’re notorious for tearing down unsuspecting team’s BCS playhouses down. After snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against Wisconsin and having a furious comeback attempt fall short against Boise last week, the Bulldogs are going to come out ready to light someone up. To this point the Bearcats have had little trouble stopping the run, holding Rutgers to 50 yards and a strong rushing Beavers team to 102. However, Boise hadn’t had much trouble in this department either, and they gave up 320 to Fresno. Fresno’s pass defense is no slouch either, holding BSU QB Kellen Moore to 181 yards in the air, but I still think Cincy’s Tony Pike has what it takes. A Fresno win here would be huge for the Frogs and the MWC as it’d put the Big East back in their place, but I don’t see it happening. Cincy wins, but Fresno busts a few big runs to keep it under two scores.

#16/16 Oklahoma State (off) vs. Grambling State.

Hank says – We live in two different worlds

We live in two different worlds, dear
That's why we're so far apart
You made your world out of vows that are broken
I built a world in my heart

As in, Grambling State is in a whole different world than what they’re used to. Oklahoma State may have lost some swagger after that loss to Houston, but a chance to beat up a little guy should help ease the pain some, especially after an uneven performance against Rice. Shreveport and Stillwater may not be all that far apart geographically, but they definitely live in two different football worlds.

#17/23 Houston (-1.5) vs. Texas Tech.

Hank says – "My bucket’s got a hole in it"

Yea! my bucket's got a hole in it
Yea! my bucket's got a hole in it
Yea! my bucket's got a hole in it
I can't buy no beer.

Iowa at Penn State may be the primetime game on Saturday night, but for my money, this is the marquis game in the evening time slot. Their bucket may have a hole in it, but I’m sure these low rent fans will still buy plenty of beer. The bucket I’m referring to, of course, is the scoreboard, as these two offenses average somewhere in the neighborhood of a billionity points a piece. We all know about the quarterbacks for both teams – doesn’t it seem like Keenum has been there for more than 4 years? – so there’s no sense rehashing any of that. What IS worth noting is that Houston hasn’t been ranked since 1991 so this will be their first time playing a truly meaningful game in a long, long time. Tech is coming off a tough loss to Texas that they probably feel they should have won, so you have to think they’ll want to outclass these guys and prove that Houston’s pimp slapping of Okie State was just a fluke and that they’re still just a CUSA team. Houston may not have jumped us in the rankings yet, but win this one and they absolutely will. With arguably the two trashiest fan bases in the state going against one another, it would be much more pleasurable if both teams came down with the swine flu and the game was a double forfeit. However, and as much as it pains me to do it, we’re going to have to go for the Raiders in this one. They’ll likely hop into the rankings with a win, but they still have to play Oklahoma State and Oklahoma, so I wouldn’t worry about a rankings climb. Tech has little man syndrome almost as bad as Aggy, so they’re going to want to come out and win this one to prove they belong in the Big 12 South discussion more so than Oklahoma State. Houston will be fired up and had 2 weeks to prepare, but I think Tech pulls it out and TCU will control their destiny in the BCS picture.

#18/25 Florida State (-14.5) vs. South Florida.

Hank says – "We’re getting closer to the grave each day."

Sinner man won't you stop now and pray
Leave the road of sin alone
Let Jesus lead you home
re getting closer to the grave each day

With Bobby Bowden still on the FSU sidelines, this song title was simply too easy, but it works well for both teams. A couple of years back, South Florida was poised to become the second best team in the state behind the Gators as Florida State and Miami had taken several steps back. Now? Not so much. After the ‘Noles gave BYU a magically atomic wedgie last weekend and Provo, and Miami has become everyone’s BCS darkhorse, the Bulls have fallen to the back of the pack in the Florida football picture – and that was before starting QB Matt Grothe went down with a season ending ACL tear. I’d give this game a more in depth preview, but, seeing as how Grothe is out, there’s really no way to look at this fairly. FSU, having finally discovered their offense, should take this one pretty easily and make that Saturday afternoon Ensure taste extra sweet and calcium-y for Bobby Bowden.

#19/20 BYU (-16) vs. Colorado State.

Hank says - "I’ve been down that road before"

A little fellow about my size got tired of being pushed about
So he went to work and when he got through he'd knocked every one of my teeth out
One time too many I'd rubbed him wrong and he evened up the score
Now that's what happens when you get too big for your britches
And I've been down that road before

To the BYU Cougars, who have yet again failed in their Quest to be a BCS buster. Last year it was the Horned Frogs who got tired of being pushed about by the media and pollsters in favor of BYU and laid an Amon G Carter worthy ass whipping on the Cougars. This year the wheels came off even earlier as a Florida State team who had had all of their teeth knocked out during the week by the media after a dismal performance against Jacksonville State unloaded on BYU who once again proved they’re just a little too big for their magic britches despite beating Oklahoma. This game is very intriguing as a MWC fan, though, as Colorado State comes in a surprising 3-0 for the first time in 15 years. Although their season opening win at Colorado looks hella-tainted considering what the Buffaloes have done since then, the Rams have also beaten a Nevada team who, despite current performance, came into the season a major BCS busting dark horse. BYU hasn’t lost a home conference game in the last 12 tries, nor to the Rams in 5 years. Unfortunately for the Rams, I think the win streak ends here. These guys have been quickly rebuilding under Steve Fairchild – we can all recall last year’s ugliest game of the season – but I just don’t think the talent is there yet. CSU may one day make the MWC the Big Four, but not this year. BYU wins handily.

#20/19 Kansas (-13.5) vs. Southern Miss.

Hank says - "5 shots of whiskey"

It's all gone wrong
since you've been gone
So give me 5 shots of whiskey
to help kill the misery and pain
you put me through

To Southern Miss since they inexplicably fired coach Jeff Bower, as well as a suggestion to their fans for proper game viewing in anticipation of what Todd Reesing is going to do to this defense. For those of you who are unaware, last weekend Southern Miss hosted UVA – the same UVA we played in week 1 with the same offensive playbook – and gave up 390 yards of total offense, including 312 yards PASSING the ball. Yikes! They also trailed 27-10 at halftime before battling back for a 37-34 win in the fourth quarter. Kansas QB Todd Reesing has thusfar averaged 270 yards and 2 TDs passing per game, in comparison to Jameel Sewell of UVA who came into last weekend’s game averaging 100 yards and 1 TD – and we know how he gained said TDs. I’m not mathmetician, but that seems to be a pretty significant difference in talent. Mark Mangino may not look like much, but he’s turned Todd Reesing into a pretty decent passer despite his stature, and the Southern Miss defense should only be a small bump in the road until Big 12 play starts. Kansas will easily cover that spread – your official lock of the week, unlike last week’s lock that wasn’t really a lock at all.

So that’s what you have. In a perfect world, Boise, Houston, Cincinnati and Ohio State would all be upset, but even one of those outcomes should give us a rankings boost. More importantly though, we must take care of business this weekend at Clemson. A win there will definitely give us some traction and clout with the voters. Keep the faith and to all the underdogs this week, Hank says, “ Rock my (rankings) Cradle Once again.