Wednesday, September 2, 2009

TRUE fans drink FAN CANS!

As I enter a local grocer to purchase the nightly case of Coors Light, my off-season routine. I cruise down the aisle and open the sliding door, as the refreshing cloud of frost hits my lips and unveils the perfection behind it, I notice a "limited edition can inside" streamed across my competitors packaging. I examine closer only to find that it is silver and cowboy blue, and am reminded of how TCU banished the purple cans. As my disappointment peaked, I see a purple glimmer, with a purple and white bud light can, cowboys bud light. In that moment, utter jubilation and shock overcame me, and I was speechless. I felt as if I were in that M&M commercial, where the M&M's run into Santa, and both utter "they really do exist." And Yes, they do exist.

What to take from Morrison's exit

Eating lunch with my co-workers the day before the college football season starts, this was the last thing I expected. But then my phone buzzed- a text from thefinch, informing me of Danny Morrison's departure from TCU. It seemed pretty unbelievable, but when I got back to the office I saw that it was true. The timing sure seems strange, but when a job running the NFL franchise closest to someone's home comes open abruptly, as happened yesterday with the Panthers, you can't blame them when they take it. Morrison is a good guy and did a great job at TCU, I feel no ill will towards him and wish him the best of luck in Charlotte.

Morrison spoke with the media at the Justin Center earlier this afternoon:

"Peggy and I have been blessed to be a part of both the TCU and Fort Worth community for the last four years. The energy and momentum from the people here have made this a very special place. Chancellor Boschini, the student-athletes, coaches, trustees, administration, faculty, staff and students have all made TCU a fun and inviting place to work. We will miss it."

This ends his four years at the helm of TCU Athletics, which were a continuation of the great work that Eric Hyman did before him. Obviously the football team's success takes center stage when talking about his accomplishments in Fort Worth, but almost every other program at TCU improved under his watch, as did the athletic facilities and especially the fund-raising efforts of the department.

Obviously, though, the work here is not yet done. The men's basketball program is still struggling. The massive facilites upgrade that the school has undergone in the last decade, while extensive, is not complete (read: Amon G. Carter Stadium). TCU still struggles to enhance the public image of the athletic department, and need to make it a priority to make Joe Q. Public aware that TCU is the relavent, legitimate athletic power that they already are and will continue to be.

What does TCU do now? Well, as shortnkerley's pointed out, if we were delusional aggy fans, we'd probably come up with a ridiculous list of candidates to replace him that would clearly illustrate how inflated our view of our place in the world is. That list might include Nolan Ryan, Jerry Buss, Paul Tagliabue, Tex Schramm back from the dead or Don King, although I'm pretty sure that King is serving in some kind of Cabinet Post under President Obama.

In reality, there's a good chance the next AD at TCU will be someone you've never heard of, just as was the case when Morrison was hired. Chancellor Boschini inherited Chancellor Ferrari's emphasis on building a great athletic department and Morrison inherited Hyman's vision for accomplishing that, so rest assured that the next AD will be someone who understands what is being built at TCU and who will recognize the importance of continuity in building on the momentum the department has right now. While we'll miss Morrison for sure, I have no doubt that his replacement won't miss a beat in building on his work. This is pure speculation, but I would guess that either Davis Babb or Jack Hesselbrock, both longtime Associate ADs at TCU, will be named the Interim AD while a national search is conducted to find a permanent replacement.

Bad News For Frogs Athletics

Head Frog becomes a Panther

For everything he has done for our program this is terrible news in my eyes. And if you know anything about the matter, it all happened because two spoiled little rich brothers couldn't work out their differences and ended up getting fired by their daddy.

I say congrats to Mr. Morrison for a great gig, but he will be missed more than I can imagine right now.


Strength of Schedule Watch

While the Frogs are one of just two teams that won't open the season this weekend, their all-important strength of schedule will begin to take shape as the rest of the nation embarks on the 2009 campaign. CBS Sports currently ranks the Frogs' schedule as the 23rd-hardest in the nation. Before each weekend, I'll take a look at the games that will have the biggest impact on strengthening the Frogs' resume in the eyes of the computers. Then I'll go back and discuss what went right and what went wrong after the weekend.

This weekend's game of the week:
BYU vs. Oklahoma (at Jerry World, 6:00pm Saturday, ESPN)
-Both of these teams bring back their ultra-productive quarterbacks from last year, but Sam Bradford and Max Hall will both be working behind almost entirely-new offensive lines. A lot will be riding on how ready the new guys upfront for both teams are, but in the end I think OU's defense is going to be the difference. As much as I would love to see BYU pull off the upset (and it would be quite the upset, seeing as how they're 22.5-point underdogs), I think the key is for the Cougars to at least keep this one close. If they can do that, BYU (and the MWC in general) will gain some respect once the Sooners start demolishing Big 12 teams. So perhaps this game means more for the league in the eyes of the human voters than to the Frogs' strength of schedule.

Other games to keep an eye on:
Colorado State at Colorado (6:00pm Sunday, FSN)
-This game might be the best chance for an upset to enhance both the image of the conference as well as the Frogs' SOS. The Buffaloes are 10.5-point favorites, but this is a rivalry game and the clashes between these two have always been hard-fought, close games. Colorado has also lost 2 of their last 3 home openers. The big key to CSU building on the momentum they started in Steve Fairchild's first year in '08 is replacing the production lost due to the graduation of Gartrell Johnson, who rushed for nearly 1,500 yards last year including 285 in the bowl win over Fresno State.

San Diego State at UCLA (6:30pm Saturday)
-Not a lot went right for either of these teams last year, with the Aztecs finishing 2-10 and the Bruins 4-8. UCLA is picked to be one of the better teams in the Pac 10 this year, though, which is either due to no one in that conference being all that good, or that Rick Neuheisel is probably cheating. The Aztecs have never beaten UCLA, but maybe with 7 returning starters on defense and new coach Brady Hoke, who worked wonders at Ball State, this will be the year.

New Mexico at Texas A&M (6:00pm Saturday)
-Goodness gracious both of these teams were anemic last year, when Aggy won a really sloppy game in Albuquerque. They are a two-touchdown favorite since the game is being played in College Station, but I'm not sure I'm buying the home-field advantage at Kyle Field since they did lose their home-opener to Arkansas State last year. Apparently the Lobos are going to throw the ball a lot more under new coach Mike Locksley, so if they get an improved version of returning starting QB Donovan Porterie (who was terrible last year), this could be another chance for an upset.

Games that ought to go our way:
Utah vs. Utah State (8:00pm Thursday, The Mtn)
-The Utes have won 11 straight against USU, 11 straight at home and 14 straight overall. I highly doubt any of those streaks get broken Thursday. What makes this game worth watching is the Utes' battle to replace Brian Johnson at QB- will it be true freshman Jordan Wynn or JUCO transfer (and Houston-area native) Terrance Cain?

UNLV vs. Sacramento State (9:00pm Saturday)
-If Mike Sanford and UNLV are going to build on the momentum of beating Arizona State on the road last year and nearly making a bowl game, they need to win by a large margin over the 1-AA Hornets.

Air Force vs. Nicholls State (1:00pm Saturday)
-As a team that's coming off two straight bowl seasons, the Falcons ought to destroy Nicholls State, a 1-AA team that was 3-6 a year ago and reportedly is full of gingers.

Wyoming vs. Weber State (2:00pm Saturday)
-Yes, Appalachian State showed us that a top 1-AA team (Weber State was 10-4 a year ago and reached the I-AA quarterfinals) aren't quite the cupcakes you might think. And yes, this is the same Weber State that pulled off the memorable upset of North Carolina in the '99 NCAA Tournament behind Harold "The Show" Arceneaux. But new Wyoming coach Dave Christensen (the architect of Missouri's offense for the past few years) and his system being led by senior QB Karsten Sween are just going to be too much for the Grills.

Clemson vs. Middle Tennessee State (5:00pm Saturday)
-If the Tigers can't handle MTSU with ease, it makes the Frogs' trip to Clemson a lot less scary. But we want Clemson to be as highly-ranked as possible to make what we hope will be a TCU victory as impressive as it can be. I think they run away with this one.

Virginia vs. William and Mary (5:00pm Saturday, ESPN 360)
-I always thought it was funny to see William & Mary on a team's schedule, just because it gave me the mental image of my parents lining up against a real-live college football team. While I think the Cavs will take this one, it will probably be a little harder than defeating Mr. and Mrs. Lanley. Might be worth watching (that is, if you can figure out how to get 360 working on your computer...) just to see what UVA's got. Rumor is their QB is also their punt returner.

SMU vs. Stephen F. Austin (7:00pm Saturday)
-June Jones' first (and only) win at SMU came against a I-AA team, and after seeing SFA last year I have no problem predicting that his 2nd will come this weekend. Apparently SMU has sold this game out through some sort of gimmick promotion and is now looking to "white out" the stadium. We'll see how many people actually end up showing up.

Texas State vs. Angelo State (6:00pm Saturday)
-I'm not even sure if our I-AA opponents even officially factor in to our strength of schedule in the eyes of the computer, but always better to face a winning team rather than a losing one, right? The Division-II Rams ought to be an easy W for the Bobcats. I'm still kinda bitter that Texas State couldn't move this game so that they could come play in Fort Worth this weekend.

Sports Illustrated Power Rankings

#11 - TCU Horned Frogs (0-0)
Sorry, Horned Frogs. You didn't do anything wrong to deserve that slight drop. It was more a case of reconsidering the potential dominance of Alabama's defense. Of course, defensive end Jerry Hughes and company should prove plenty tough. A schedule that includes September games at Virginia and at Clemson should earn the Frogs the respect they deserve.


Morning Dump

TCU wide receiver catches everything from pigskin to bass Star-Telegram

TCU's Patterson sees two sides to bye week

Keys to some non-AQ teams' seasons ESPN

Injury hurting Stephen Hodge's changes with Dallas Cowboys