Thursday, September 10, 2009

Week One Preview: Virginia Cavaliers

I don't believe this is what the redcoats had in mind...

With football season comes an increase in decision making and responsibilities - do I watch this game or that game? Do I drink Miller Lite at the tailgate or switch it to a novelty like Purple Haze? Do I get in my car and try and leave the stadium when there are 10 bike cops in the vicinity or have WWHD create a diversion? Do I waste an even larger chunk of my workday on the internet by agreeing to do weekly game previews on top of the Top 25 countdown and recaps? Well, the rest of those questions are on going, but for now I will try and answer the last one. For the rest of the season I hOPE to put together previews of each game to the best of my abilities. This shouldn't be TOO difficult as I typically at least outlined the coming weeks game in my recaps last year, so now it's simply going to be a separate post. They will likely be Offense/Defense/Special Teams matchup overviews only, draw heavily from stats, and be equally as flawed and biased as my attempt at a Poinsettia Bowl preview last December. I'm not guaranteeing this simply because I travel every couple of weeks and if I can't delegate the preview to someone else it will simply be passed over, but I really am going to try because I owe it to my millions of fans and I want to drop kick Killer Frogs to the curb as the "flagship TCU fan site, even though we're just a message board."

That being said though, it's week one for us. All we have to go on are last year's stats, practice reports and opinions drawn from visual evidence from last year, which goes hand in hand with that whole biased thing I was talking about. Mostly because I was drunk. Normally I would've done a relatively comprehensive overview of this game based on UVAs performance against William and Mary, a division II school I remind you, and their general outlook vs ours... but then they went out and lost that game. So, based on the lack of knowledge of our own squad, and UVAs current resume, I feel like the only real way to preview this game is to post the stats from their game against WM and ruthlessly make fun of them in the comments:

1st Downs1512
Total Yards309268
3rd Down Conversions5-205-17
4th Down Conversions0-00-2
William & Mary Passing
Virginia Passing
William & Mary Rushing
Virginia Rushing
William & Mary Receiving
Virginia Receiving

So.... yeah, I feel pretty confident about us picking up this win, especially given those SEVEN turnovers against a DIVISION II defense that definitely isn't the returning #1 in the nation. Also note the 175 combined penalty yards. ALSO NOTE THE FACT that WM only had one offensive TD yet ran up 26 points with the help of an INTD and 4 field goals. For those of you lucky enough to attend the game this week, don't expect a fired up crowd in Charlottesville because this team is DREADFUL. The only interesting thing about the game should be to see who can run up the score more in the 230 kickoff slot - UT or TCU.

Prediction: TCU 31, Virginia 3.

Luxury Tax

Damn these are awesome

Oh you Sooners...

I'm sure the Mormons will feel bad their actions led to the creation of such a foul shirt. On the other hand there is no way a Sooner was clever enough to create this.

picture courtesy of TheFinch

Chasing that Top 25 Dragon: Frogs BOWeL Championship Series Outlook - Week 2

Just Keep Chasin' that Dragon

After a weekend painfully devoid of Frogzilla destruction and painfully non-devoid of Charlie Weis’ fupa, it’s finally here – gameday, part 1. Can you believe we haven’t seen Frog football since 2008? I mean, Obama actually had a high approval rating the last time the Frogs took the field! That was Ages and AGES ago.

Anyway, things get kicked off early this week with a Thursday night NFL/Top 25 double treat, so here goes.

Game to Watch that REALLY Matter (AP/Coaches ranking)

#15/13 Georgia Tech vs. Clemson.

Last Week: Georgia Tech 37, Jacksonville State 17; Clemson 37, Middle Tennessee State 14.

Like many of you, I have no interest in the ACC. It’s a boring conference with boring games and boring fans who actually prefer basketball to football season. The audacity! Unfortunately, this year with two ACC teams being on the slate, as Frogs fans we have to care. For better or for worse, with this being a Thursday nighter on the day that I finally had my surround sound installed, and with UVA crapping the bed last week thus making this a near must win for the sake of our schedule strength, I’m going to be locked into this one. Win or lose for Clemson, this won’t exactly be one of those “scout” games for our offense due to Georgia Tech’s unique/WACKY! Wishbone offense under Paul Johnson, but we can at least get a look at what Clemson has to offer on offensive side of the ball. Clemson star running back CJ Spiller is back in the lineup after missing most of the season opener with a hamstring injury, but it should be noted he returned the opening kick 96 yards for a TD. GT apparently looked quite the sloppy – 5 fumbles - in their opener, although they still soundly defeated Jacksonville State. Unfortunately for the Jackets, it doesn’t get much easier after this one as they face a much, much improved Miami team next Thursday night – welcome to TCU Football, circa 2005-2008, Tech. Obviously a Clemson win here is a double win for us as it helps our strength of schedule as well as leaps us over the Yellow Jackets, so you know who to go for. I’m calling Clemson in the upset as they look to gain momentum for their biggest game of the season against le Frog.

#18/20 Notre Dame at Michigan.

Last Week: Notre Dame 35, Nevada 0; Michigan 31, Western Michigan 7.

…and finally this game has some relevance again. What used to be one of both school’s more bitter rivalries has lost some of its luster in recent years due to the sustained mediocrity of both teams and the aforementioned fupa. Notre Dame looked shockingly solid last week in dismantling a Nevada team who most pundits assumed would at least put up a pillow fight against Boise in the WAC. Defense has been one aspect of the Irish under the Weis regime that has been less than stellar, the other aspects being offense and special teams, but it looks like they may have figured something out in the off season. However, it should be noted once again that Nevada is still in the WAC and that’s one foot out of the D-II grave. Like Notre Dame, Michigan opened up the season by unleashing their frustration on a lesser team (Western Michigan) which is only laudable because the Wolverines went a generous 3-7 last year in Dick Rod’s first season. Why you bring in someone from West Virginia to be the braintrust of your football team is quite the mystery, but it looks like Rodriguez has finally found his spread option QB in Tate Forcier, which is a lot more than he could say last year. Regardless, I have no idea what to make of this game. Michigan was bitchslapped out of South Bend last year on the way to the above reference 3-7 season, so this game certainly has a revenge factor for the Wolverines, especially with it being at home. An Irish win, even coupled with a TCU victory over Virginia, could very well move the Irish past us in the Top 25, mostly due to the Al Groh’s being terrible and not worth recognition in victory clout matters and the media slobbing of ND. That factor alone should have us as Frogs fans pulling for Michigan to pull this one out. More importantly, though – who the F wants to cheer for Notre Dame?

#21/21 Georgia vs. South Carolina.

Last Week: Georgia 10, Oklahoma State 24; South Carolina 7, North Carolina State 3.

After unleashing what were two of the most embrassing, appalling and pathetic offensive performances of the opening weekend, now Georgia and South Carolina have the opportunity to come together and defecate all over the the quarterback position some more – an area of expertise where SC coach Steve Spurrier once reigned supreme. In the past 3 meetings between the two schools, each team only has 2 TDs a piece TOTAL. First team to 7 wins! South Carolina slugged one out against a pretty terrible North Carolina State team on opening night, although the Gamecocks, despite the final score, looked relatively in control most of the game. The Bulldogs, however, have a ways to go in finding the next Matt Stafford – read: an overhyped QB who couldn’t beat Florida nor deliver an SEC East title. They were absolutely manhandled by Oklahoma State’s defense and while their defense didn’t allow the Cowboys offense to have an all out pigskin bukake, they still were unable to keep the thing close enough to merit any respectability. Joe “the Ginger Ninja” Cox likely doesn’t pull near as much wool as South Carolina QB Stephen “Dazed and Confused” Garcia, but he will at least have the home team on his side during this less than epic battle. A Bulldogs win here would probably still keep us up in the rankings due to the Okie Light loss, and I’m pretty certain they’re going to take care of business at home. The Steve Spurrier retirement tour rolls on. Onward, O Visored One.

Games that Kind of Matter

#12/11 Boise State vs. Miami of Ohio.

Last Week: Boise State 19, Oregon 8; Miami 0, Kentucky 42.

Typically this would fall under the next section, but as long as Boise is undefeated, their games are going to kind of matter in our world and we have to hope for an upset. Unfortunately, the Artists formerly known as Ben Roesthlesberger shouldn’t pose too much of a threat for the Broncos, especially as the game is getting the Smurf Turf treatment. Maybe Boise can make it through a game without one of their inbred linebackers getting knocked the F out? Only time will tell… I vote yes. Yes they will. Especially since, judging by last week’s pasting by Kentucky, Miami’s style now more closely resembles that of their other well known former athlete, Wally Szcerbiak.

Game that Matter because they Fall Into our Target Range but an Upset Ain’t Happenin’

#11/9 LSU vs. Vanderbilt.

LSU 31, Washington 23; Vandy 45, Western Carolina 0.

Jay Cutler isn’t walking through that door, although once things start going bad in Chicago, he might whine his way back into the college ranks. LSU may have slap fight..ed? their way out of Spokane this past week, but that was a fired up U-Dub team with a new coach, the crowd behind them and their white freak of nature QB finally healthy. I think a Saturday evening in Death Valley is just what LSU needs to recharge their batteries. That overwhelming booze and corn dog smell gets the best of most visitors, and I think the bookworms from Nashville will feel the pain. I’m not convinced that Jordan Jefferson is much of a QB, but he plays behind one of the best offensive lines in football, and maybe the biggest, so that’s always a bonus. Vandy may have looked good in their 45-0 blanking of Western Carolina last weekend, but the fun ends there. This game should get ugly, especially once the Hat starts faking field goals on 4th and 31 and LSUs arsenal of swamp mutants on defense start getting into the Commodores backfield with more ease than Ryan Perilloux used to get into drunk sorority girls panties.

#13/14 Oklahoma vs. Idaho State.

Last Week: OU 13, BYU 14; ISU 3, Arizona State 50.

Ron Jeremy made millions off of his porn ‘stache; hopefully Landry Jones can make a win out of his. Losing TE Jermaine Gresham for the year is killer for OU, but hopefully their line, as terrible as they may be, won’t have any problems with Idaho State.

#14/15 Virginia Tech vs. Marshall

Last Week: VT 24, Alabama 34; Marshall 31, Southern Illinois 28.

Virginia Tech may have fizzled out at the end of last week’s game against the Tide, but I wouldn’t expect a visit from the Thundering Herd to be too much of a struggle for the Hokies. These guys are going to have some serious aggression to get out after last week’s tough loss – sorry, Marshall.

#17/17 Utah vs. San Jose State

Last Week: Utah 35, Utah State 17; San Jose State 3, Southern Cal 56.

Despite the final score, SJSU actually came out strong against USC, nursing a 3-0 lead thru most of the first quarter. However, once Matt Barkley – who, according to a recent SI article, doesn’t dabble with the coeds at USC? – remembered he was the #1 QB recruit out of high school last year, plays for USC, and is playing a WAC school, things got bad. Utah suffered much the same situation in their game last week and only piled it on late in the game against the Aggies. I actually considered moving this game up into the top tier category based on the rankings implications, but I don’t expect anything but a win from the Utes in this one thus pushing the longest winning streak in the nation to 16 games. Unfortunately with UVAs first loss, if Utah wins and we win, I’d bet that 2-0 record would move them above us in the rankings.

#19/19 North Carolina at Connecticut.

Last Week: North Carolina 40, The Citadel 6; Connecticut 23, Ohio 16.

Can I get a collective, “Who gives a shit?”

Other Games of Interest that have No Bearing on the Frog.

#3/3 USC at #8/7 Ohio State.

Last Week: USC 56, SJSU 3; Ohio State 31, Navy 27.

Not sure if you guys watched much of that Ohio State - Navy game last week, but ugh. Sure, Navy has looked improved in recent years, but I definitely don't expect much of a fight when they roll into Cowtown next year. Also, for a good time find Terrelle Pryor's recent interview about Michael Vick where he actually makes that comment that, "We all make mistakes, we all KILL PEOPLE." Oy. USC may be starting a freshman QB and the game may be in the Horseshoe in front of a hostile crowd hell bent on revenge... but, my god, USC is -5.5??? Do you have a life savings? INVEST! INVEST!

#5/6 Oklahoma State vs. Houston.

Interesting simply because this will be EVERYONE's upset alert pick on Saturday... until Oklahoma State starts rolling midway through the first quarter. Don't worry about it.

So, there you have it. Not much chance to move up this week and unfortunately more room to move down. We were actually rewarded for our off week in the latest round of rankings, but I’d bet with a few convincing wins – Notre Dame, Utah – we might shift down depending on how the cards fall throughout the rest of the games. A Clemson win is our biggest cheering point right now, closely followed by a Notre Dame loss. Regardless, IT’S SATURDAY AND THE FROGS ARE ON!! YESS!!! MURDERDEATHKILL!!

Strength of Schedule Watch: Week 2

Well, after feeling like we were all students/alumni of some artsy-fartsy school that doesn't even have a football team last weekend and having to resort to letting off a good amount of pent-up football rage cheering for other teams (I really, REALLY wish I had saved WWHD's latenight voice mail in which he was on his way to go "pee on OU fans"), we finally have our own game to watch this weekend. This is how you Houstonians must've felt when you got back into the NFL game when you got the Texans...only the Frogs don't suck.

So even though all eyes will be on the Frogs Saturday at 2:30, let's keep in mind the other games that will affect the Frogs' SOS:

Game of the Week:
Clemson (1-0) at Georgia Tech (1-0) (6:30pm Thursday, ESPN)
-Note to Clemson: We'd really appreciate it if at least one of the 'tough' ACC games we scheduled actually ended up being one that could earn us some respect down the road. This game will not only be a great chance to see what the Tigers have got going up against another quality opponent, but it will also most likely have an impact on when and on what channel the TCU-Clemson game will be played on the 26th. A win by Clemson here probably vaults the Tigers into the Top 25, and probably moves the TCU-Clemson game up in the ACC TV pecking order. And as I'm sure Dr. Willis will point out, Georgia Tech is ranked above us...Go Tigers x2!

Other big games:
Oregon State (1-0) at UNLV (1-0) (10:00pm Saturday, CBS-College)
-This one goes into the same category that last week's Colorado State/Colorado game went into: it's a very, very winnable game that would be a big W for the conference. This is UNLV's toughest non-conference test this year, and having one of our mid-tier teams take down a second-straight Pac 10 (and 3rd-straight BCS) team would be pretty sweet.

Air Force (1-0) at Minnesota (1-0) (6:00pm Saturday, Big Ten Network)
-These two teams definitely ventured down two different paths toward 1-0. While Air Force won easily, 72-0, against Nicholls State, Minnesota survived a scare to beat Syracuse by 3 in overtime. The Gophers' run defense is most likely about 1,000 times better than Nicholls State, and they'll be pumped to be playing in their brand-new, on-campus stadium for the first time, but just like UNLV, I think Air Force has got a good shot to beat a BCS-conference foe.

Could go either way/I don't really care:
SMU (0-1) at UAB (1-0) (3:00pm Saturday)
-Before last week, I looked at the SMU schedule and hoped, for SOS and attendance sake, that they could possibly be 3-0 by the time they came to Fort Worth on October 3rd. But after seeing the abortion of an effort they gave in barely beating Stephen F. Austin, I may now hope for them to finish 1-11 again and for Natural Selection to take it's course on the total appendix that is the SMU football program. UAB destroyed Rice last if that tells you anything.

Games I'm not holding my breath for, but still...
Texas (1-0) at Wyoming (1-0) (2:30pm Saturday, Versus)
-I still don't understand why Texas is willing to go play in Laramie, Wyoming, but won't come to Fort Worth. Doesn't make sense. I would be ecstatic if the Cowboys were able to pull this one out, but as I said, I'm not holding my breath on this one. All of you that got DirecTV to be able to watch games on The Mtn now can't watch Versus. Yes, the MWC's TV contract sucks, but I'll be laughing when I see 'Horn fans freaking out this Saturday when they can't watch their team.

Tulsa (1-0) at New Mexico (0-1) (7:00pm Saturday, The Mtn)
-About a quarter into their prison shower session in College Station last weekend, it was pretty apparent that this year's Lobos are going to struggle all year as they run an offense that they're ill-equipped athletically to be running. Tulsa, meanwhile, showed that they are turning into a mini-Tetch by inserting yet another QB who looks like he's going to rack up big numbers week after week. Oh, and Tulsa killed them last year. Come on, Lobos, don't embarrass us again!

Games that ought to go our way:
BYU (1-0) at Tulane (0-1) (2:30pm Saturday, ESPN 2)
-If BYU is as good as advertised, they really ought to beat Tulane, who looked pretty lame against Tulsa last week, but you never know...I wonder how many Morman fans will make the trek down to New Orleans and what they'll think of the place when they get there.

Utah (1-0) at San Jose State (0-1) (9:30pm Saturday, ESPN U)
-What is this, Mountain West Day on the ESPN Family of Networks? Not gonna complain at all- we certainly could use the exposure. Again, if Utah is as good as advertised, they ought to take care of SJSU (although we know ALL too well about sleeping on the Spartans...). This will be a good measuring-stick game for the Utes, as their performance here will be compared to what USC did to San Jose State last week.

Weber State (0-1) at Colorado State (1-0) (4:00pm Saturday)
-After Wyoming made us all a little nervous squeaking past Weber State last week, it would be a monumental let-down for the Rams to let this one get away from them. A win here in their home opener to get to 2-0, and CSU can start to wade through the rest of the crowd in the "also receiving votes" category.

Southern Utah (1-0) at San Diego State (0-1) (7:30pm Saturday)
-After coming up short in their attempt to beat UCLA for the first time ever, the Aztecs really, really need to avoid starting 0-2 as they welcome in 1-AA Southern Utah, who beat someone called Dixie State 36-7 last week. Surely Brady Hoke will have them ready to beat Southern Utah, right???

Texas State has an off-week.

Fan of the Week

I think this guy and I Hate H need to get together. That would be classic.

Morning Dump

TCU cornerback starters have experience, backups could be targets Star-Telegram

Defensive-minded TCU focused on offensive changes Associated Press

Frogs partner with GuestAssit to improve fan experience

Horned Frogs open 2009 campaign in Charlottesville Seattle Post Intelligencer

Overheard in the Coastal division

What we learned: Mountain West still has hills to climb Sporting News