Thursday, November 12, 2009

Strength of Schedule Watch: Week 11

While it's pretty apparent that TCU's fate rests in it's own hands at this point, you never know what could happen over the next few weeks.

Clemson (6-3) at NC State (4-5) (11:00am Saturday, ESPN 360)
-If the Tigers were to rebound from the 2-3 record they were sporting earlier in the season to come back and win the ACC Coastal Division (or even the whole conference), that would be a huge feather in the Frogs' cap. After watching CJ Spiller playing hurt and leading Clemson to the comeback win over Florida State last week, it would seem that the Tigers are a team that will not be denied. But then again, you hope whatever was ailing Spiller was nothing serious.

BYU (7-2) at New Mexico (0-9) (1:00pm Saturday, The Mtn)
-We really need BYU to keep on winning and move up in the rankings as much as possible. I don't think that's going to be a problem against the hapless Lobos.

SMU (5-4) vs. UTEP (2-3) (2:00pm Saturday)
-As big as the Utah game is for us TCU fans, this one might be just as big to SMU fans...both of them! The Mustangs seem to have some momentum now that they have Kyle Padron at QB instead of Bo Levi-n-t. They can also block just about any field goal or PAT they want with their 6'8" Euro-Monster defensive end. Hard to tell which UTEP team they'll get...the one that beat Houston, or the one that's shown up just about every other week of the season. A win here, and the Ponies are bowl-eligible.

UNLV (4-6) at Air Force (6-4)
(5:00pm Saturday, The Mtn)
-The Rebels' slim chances of reaching a bowl game this year will probably be put to rest when they visit the Falcons in Colorado Springs. The better Air Forces' record, the more respectable it will look that the Frogs only beat them by 3 in arctic conditions.

Wyoming (4-5) at San Diego State (4-5)
(9:00pm Saturday, The Mtn)
-This might be the second-biggest game of the day in the Mountain West. The winner of this game moves to within one win of becoming the 5th bowl-eligible team from the conference, while the loser is probably out of contention.

Virginia (3-6) vs. Boston College (6-3) (2:30pm Saturday, ESPN 360)
-A win here by UVA would be huge, not only because it would soften the blow to TCU's SOS that is the Cavs' losing record, but also because it would move Clemson thaaat much closer to the division title.

Texas State (6-3) vs. McNeese State (7-2) (6:00pm Saturday)
-With all four of the teams tied for 1st place playing eachother, this is a really big weekend in the Southland Conference...if such a thing exists. A win by the Bobcats, coupled with a Stephen F. Austin win over SE Louisiana would put Texas State in really good position to claim the conference title and head to the I-AA playoffs.

Colorado State (3-7) is off this week, giving them the opportunity to think about the fact that they've now lost SEVEN straight games.

GP on the Michael Irvin Show

Today Gary Patterson appeared on the Michael Irvin show with special guest interviewer former TCU letterman Andy Burrell. Check it out below.

Gameday construction

As we left the luncheon today we went by to see how the espn crew was doing, and to see if their assembly process was going according to plan. Reginal and Bucknasty doing screen tests in case they are called up for the special guest picker. Why would someone post a random photo of them sitting in a chair. I sit at a computer all day and blog about TCU, I dont need a visual reference to see what kind of posture you have. Not just a chair, a special chair, CHRIS FOWLERS CHAIR. And I hate herby also. (photo's courtesy of Lady Luck)

Week 11 Preview

All this excitement makes me wanna hump the fridge

To quote my main man Arty “The BeeKeeper” Solomon, “sorry for the coitus interruptus” over the last week, but now that I’m back and realize that my job doesn’t offer a whole lot in the way of “productivity” even after a week off, I’m right back on track. Pretty up and down absence: I realize I’m terrible at shooting moving objects, I was overruled on watching the TCU/SDSU game and had to listen to a choppy wunderadio broadcast version while standing in a South Dakota cornfield and, to top it all off, my dad told me I can’t have my trust fund until I’m 30! How am I supposed to buy that gameday helicopter now?!?! He can be so unfair!!

Anyway, the once Top 25 Preview is now going to take another whittling down because, let’s face it, if we win out, we have no problems from the one loss teams behind us. All we are battling now are the 3 guys in front of us, but I’ll toss in Bwaze and Cincy as they’re undefeated to give this a little more substance.

#1 Florida @ South Carolina. In what I had initially hoped would be the upset special version of the OBC Bowl, Florida takes on a South Carolina team who started the season with some promise, but have pretty much pissed it away and look headed for 6-6ville. After a ho-hum win over Vanderbilt last weekend, Florida looks like they’re pretty much on cruise control until the inevitable meetup with Alabama in the SEC Championship. By contrast, South Carolina was completely pistol whipped by Arkansas last weekend and with their last game of the season coming against a Clemson team who they rarely beat, it looks like the Gamecocks are going to be wintering in Shreveport this year at best. With this perhaps being Steve Spurrier’s last shot at his former team – assuming he retires after this season – is it possible he has one last stand left in him to go out a winner? Spurrier did beat the Gators back in 2005 during his first season in Columbia, so perhaps he’d like to bookend his career with another? Unfortunately for Spurrier, I think this is going to go the way the other 17 games played between the two schools has and end in a Gator victory, but then again, Florida hasn’t finished SEC play undefeated in 13 seasons, so I suppose the odds are against them as well. The Gators offense hasn’t exactly clicked at many points this year – the Georgia game notwithstanding, if you can even consider Georgia a legitmate football team this year – but with their top ranked defense facing South Carolina’s mediocre offense, even considering USC’s more than decent defense, I’d imagine Florida will score enough points to come out ahead. Besides, like every other SEC game featuring Florida or Alabama, the refs will keep them ahead one way or another.

#2 Alabama @ Mississippi State. Every week I like to pick a trap game where as fans we can watch for a potential upset – see: Stanford/Oregon last week – but sometimes I kind of have to force it, and this is definitely one of those times. Still, consider that Bama clinched a trip to the SEC title game last weekend, their offense hasn’t exactly been humming in the past few weeks and that MSU is 2 games away from bowl eligibility with 3 to play, thus increasing the desperation factor. Also consider that MSU hung with Florida, should’ve beaten LSU and only let Houston score 31 points – yes, I’ve resulted to very, very small victories in making this call – and it’s hard to argue that this team doesn’t have at least SOMETHING up their sleeves. Alright, so their passing game is even worse than Bama’s – and believe me, it’s bad – but they can at least run the ball some… ok, who am I kidding? They still give up 25 points a game while scoring only 27 and, as evidenced by their 4-5 record, you’re going to come out on the short end of that deal more often than not. Still, wouldn’t this be fantastic? Bama should’ve lost to Tennessee and LSU had them on the ropes until the fourth quarter. They’ve also got Auburn to worry about in the next couple of weeks, and Auburn owned that series in the pre-Saban days. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, and I do not by any means believe it’s going to happen, but I have to pick an upset and this is the best one out of the top 3 teams. Unfortunately, Bama falls under the abovementioned unspoken BCS clause imposed by the SEC refs, so if this one somehow stays close, don’t’ expect the good guys to win.

#3 Texas @ Baylor. Oh what this game could’ve been. Had Baylor QB Robert Griffin not gone down with an injury, the Bears would likely already be bowl eligible and possibly fighting for a spot in the Holiday or Cotton Bowls based on the performance of the rest of the Big 12. Now? This is going to look like a typical UT/Baylor game in Waco, several of which have recently featured scores along the lines of 62-0. Now, you all know me well enough to realize that my two favorite teams are the Frogs and whoever is playing Texas, but due to recent hoopla, that second team takes on a whole new luster. Now, I know there’s no reason to count our chickens before they hatch, that the voters would have to have a collective lobotomy and that the economy would have to take such an upswing that money didn’t matter to anyone in the entire country, but the whole TCU in the National Championship thing is pretty fun to think about, no? I mean, when I wrote that Gameday thread, pretty much everyone called me an idiot for even proposing such a thing, and look how that turned out? Also, who would’ve ever thought that’d we’d have the highest regular season BCS ranking for a non BCS team ever with 3 games still left to play? I’m not saying I’m counting on it, and I’m not saying I’ll throw a fit when it doesn’t happen, but isn’t it fun to have just a little more fuel for the anti UT fire we so often light around here? Has all this recent success made me a bit greedy, especially considering our biggest game in years is in two days and that we’ve never even reached a BCS game? Well yes, of course it has, but I figure the only way we have any chance of attaining even further heights is if the Longhorns lose, and I just want to inform the 3 or 4 people who were unaware of this fact. Is Baylor going to be the one to do it? No, but this will definitely become an interesting topic come Thanksgiving week. Regardless, even if the Horns did lose, it probably won’t matter for us because of an often overlooked fact…

#5 Cincinnati vs. #25 West Virginia. ...Oh yes, those guys. Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t they almost lose to Connecticut last weekend? Connecticut has sports other than basketball? Color me shocked. Anyway, what was recently considered the defacto Big Least title game is now not much more than a schedule booster for the Bearcats outside shot at Pasadena. True, with a win West Virginia would still be very much in the conference championship hunt and likely would only need to defeat Pittsburg when they go brawlin’ next week to win the thing, but… wait, what am I saying? This is definitely not just schedule padding for Cincy; this is a serious damn ball game. I think the Friday night ESPN time slot is what threw me off. West Virginia may have two losses, but one of those losses was at Auburn when they were still a competent football team, and the other came against ranked South Florida. The problem this week for the Mountaineers is that starting QB Jarrett Brown and RB Noel Devine are playing injured and they are pretty much all the Mountaineers have in the way of offensive production. Even worse, Cincy is sticking with QB Zach Collaros who, filling in for the injured Tony Pike, has been absolutely phenomenal, throwing for over 1000 yards and 8 TDs with no INTs in three starts. Not exactly good news for a pass defense that gives up 220 yards a contest. The media is attempting to play up the “OOOOOOOHH LOOGIT!! A QB Controversy is a-brewin in Ohio!!” but don’t buy into it. Brian Kelly isn’t going to throw in a somewhat damaged Tony Pike until he’s absolutely certain he’s ready, and as evidenced, Collaros isn’t exactly a scrub back there. Cincy’s defense may have lapsed last week, but for the season they only give up 16 points a game, so don’t expect the Couch Burners to go rogue on them like the Huskies did. In all truth, though, this game doesn’t really matter all that much unless one of the top 3 teams lose first, but it’d be nice to go ahead and get Cincy off our backs just in case.

#6 Boise State vs. Idaho. Ah, the Spud Bowl. This one definitely looked like it had all the fixins of a brief changing of the guard in the state of Idaho early in the season, but after Nevada Tea bagged them for 70 and they got hash brown’d by Fresno State, the Vandals look a lot more like mashed potatoes. Still, Vandals QB Nate Enderle is one of the more underrated in the country, and has been pretty au-gratin-some against most of the defenses he’s faced, so perhaps he has what it takes to turn the broncos into glue? Eh, probably not, but hey, at least I got to bombard you with a bunch of cheesy potato references that only a twice baked pot head would enjoy.

Mostly importantly this weekend, the Frogs have to take care of business against Utah in the most hyped game ever to be played in FW, at least from a media standpoint. Sure, the 35 game against SMU was technically bigger, but let’s not browbeat about the past like some aggy – the future is now and now is what we know. The rest will take care of itself. Go Frogs!

Another ESPN front page

Croak And Dagger TCU couldn't kill Utah's unbeaten season last year. The Frogs don't intend on letting the Utes burst their bubble Saturday. Kickoff »Top 25 overview »What To Watch »Picks: Blogs »

More from Jenkins

Dennis Dodd wrote a great article today that uses Jenkins wealth of knowledge to highlight some of TCU's storied history and heap some praise on the current Frogs.

Famous Scribe subscribes to TCU's worth CBS Sports

There is also a good game preview video within the article.

Jenkins: TCU game is biggest at home since 1955

The greatest sports writer, and Horned Frog alum, gives a little history and points our why this is the biggest game at Amon Carter in 54 years.

If you've never read anything by him, do yourself a favor and pick up any book he has ever written.

And speaking of Dan Jenkins, any thoughts on who the guest picker for Gameday will be?

New Frog Fundraiser?

Since we have done fairly well to this point with the PPS fundraiser it may just be time for a new one. Anyone want to contribute to owning Boise State's athletic department? Maybe we could make their field a real color, rename them the fightin' smurfs, or hell shut them down all together.

Maybe one of you punks' trust funds can just cover the $21 million and own it outright.

A Fan's Guide to the Utah Game

With a sell-out crowd of more than 45,000 expected for Saturday night's 6:30 kickoff against Utah, you do not want to make the mistake of taking the same approach to this game as you would the average TCU game day. I'm gonna go more into what all this entails, but if you come away from reading this post remembering just two words, let them be "early" and "loud".

ESPN Game Day: It's pretty exciting that Chris, Lee and Kirk are " our cit-aaayy", but if you're planning to go down to the set Saturday morning, there are a few things you should know. For one thing, if you have visions of having your "hilarious" sign on TV, you are going to need to somehow get to the Campus Commons (the ridiculously nice, new grass mall in between the ridiculously nice, new dorms that replaced the ugly parking lot that was next to Frog Fountain when we were in school) earlier than the hundreds of students that are planning on camping out Friday night...or at least earlier than the other few thousand folks that will be headed there in the morning. Secondly, if your sign is deemed inappropriate by the ESPN sign-gestapo, you're out of luck. So if you plan on making some sort of sexual innuendo on your sign, make sure it's depraved enough that they have never heard of it. They also won't allow any signs with a url on them, so no "" signs. For those of you that are attention-starved but not morning people, CBS College Sports will be airing their pre- and post-game shows live from inside Amon Carter Stadium, so there are still more chances to do the robot on TV.

Those of you that shelled out money for a parking pass don't need to worry about this, but for the rest of us that do not have a reserved spot, we'll need to get over to the stadium early if we want to avoid having a stroke finding a parking spot. And when I say 'early', I don't mean an hour before kickoff. People will be on campus and around the stadium all day long since Game Day goes on the air at 9:00am. So if you're getting to the stadium after about noon, be prepared to walk. I'm not even sure if they have cabs in Tarrant County*, but if they do that might not be a bad option.

Before the game: Another reason to park early is to get all of the tailgating out of your system (and Riot Punch in your system) so that you can be ready to enter the stadium early as well. If you remember the Tech game in 2006, the 2nd-most memorable part of the game (behind the TCU defense absolutely eating Graham Harrell's soul) was the nightmare of trying to get in the stadium before kickoff. With about 15,000 more people at this game than usual, there are going to be serious bottlenecks at every entrance. The only way you can avoid this and not miss any of the game is by getting into the stadium well ahead of time. Those of you with general admission tickets or that are planning to sit in the student section, you are going to have to stake your claim to a prime spot in those sections probably an hour or more before kickoff- that is, if you want a prime spot to watch this game. I suggest shot-gunning your last pre-gamer at about 5:15.

Game Time: I cannot stress enough the importance of TCU fans making as much noise as possible when Utah has the ball. With the Frogs ranked #4 in the nation and with the chance to make 2009 the best season ever at TCU, we the fans need to give the team as much of a boost as possible. No more waiting until 3rd down to stand up and make noise. EVERY play that Utah has the ball, the crowd needs to be deafening. Yes, that means you, too. Rest your vocal chords when TCU has the ball. And don't just stop at being prepared to yell and scream in support of the Frogs- a Friday shopping trip is also in order to go get noise-makers, balloons, confetti, cow-bells, flags, silly string...whatever is going to add to the festive atmosphere and transform the Amon G. Carter crowd into a fucking zoo. This is the biggest home game TCU has had in decades- it's time to stop acting like our stadium is a library. In the immortal words of the great Jack Buck: "Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!"

Halftime: If you're thinking about heading back out to the tailgate at halftime for a refresher, forget it. Getting out & back in through the crowd is going to be nearly impossible. Just bring an extra flask, dummy! Plus, since this Saturday is the annual "Frogs for the Cure" game, there is a ceremony during halftime honoring breast cancer survivors, as well as those that are no longer with us because of the disease. I realize the rest of this post is pretty irreverent, but this really is something special that you'll want to see. Let's keep the stadium full from before kickoff until after we joyously sing the alma mater.

Post-game: Uh oh- you didn't eat all day, did you? And you used all your cash buying game programs from Tri-Delts that you were completely creeping out? Sounds like you need some free popcorn from The Oui. If you see Texas Hammer there (and you will), he'll probably buy you a shot. But he'll probably pee in your car, too.

In all seriousness, though, this Saturday is going to be a lot of fun. This is the big-game atmosphere that we've all craved to have right here on TCU's campus for a long time. Have fun, pace yourself and celebrate the greatness of Horned Frog football.

*-Fort Worth does have cabs, and you're probably going to need one Saturday night. Save the number in your phone: 817-426-6262.

Morning Dump

When TCU takes on the Utes, it will be before a full house Star-Telegram

Under Patterson, TCU has answered question

Mayor declares "Go Purple Day" for TCU Horned Frogs

Frogs-Tech game in doubt? Star-Telegram

TCU signs plenty of local and statewide talent

Eats beat: Best bets on gameday Star-Telegram

Lott Trophy tabs Hughes a semifinalist

TCU, non-BCS schools should be careful what they wish for Dallas Morning News

Q&A: New athletic director talks plans for the future Daily Skiff

From Big 12 snub to possible BCS for TCU AP

TCU in good hangs with Dalton at QB Deseret News

Whittingham silent about BCS bowl implications
Deseret News

MWC focus will be on battle between Utes, Frogs
Deseret News

U. and TCU field outstanding defenses Deseret News

Wynn is reading for "biggest game"
Salt Lake Tribune

Helping Wynn win Salt Lake Tribune

Utes hope to pin dangerous Frogs
Salt Lake Tribune

Ute never know: Utah tries to hang with TCU
New York Post

Utes dont agree, but Horned Frogs looking like the superior team
Sporting News

Mountain West continues P.R. push for Horned Frogs
CBS Sports

MWC targets voters to help with the BCS

How about a Boise-TCU matchup
Los Angeles Times

TCU expects sold out crowd Saturday for Utah KDAF

"We all blacked out and we never back down"