Friday, December 31, 2010

Rose Bowl Helmets?

Purple pants with black jerseys?? We will know in t-minus 19 hours. Props to Spitpurple for being Scoops Callahan on this one.

Morining Dump

Does anybody else who reads this blog actually have to work today?? Well if you are one of those 3 people, then enjoy this monstrous dump.

Wisconsin doesn't rank among 'little sisters' - Star Telegram

TCU coach wants players to feel comfort zone - OC Register

Ed Wesley leads TCU's productive rushing attack
- LA Times

TCU has a different breed of mascot - LA Times

Rose Bowl is TCU's big chance - Rivals

In Rose Bowl, a chance to study size v. speed - New York Times

v.

Rose Bowl is more than Badgers size v. Frogs Speed - SI

TCU season at a glance - Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinal

In TCU's Dalton, Badgers see QB similar to Tolzien - Madison.com

Standout QB Andy Dalton is TCU's most recognizable player, however coordinator says "we're a running team"
- Dallas Morning News

ESPN's Erin Andrews a 'fan' of Gary Patterson - Dallas Morning News (quotations added by me, she wants his manhood)

TCU v. Wisconsin? Not your grandaddy's Rose Bowl - Chicago Tribune (this is a very good one explaining the workings of how we even were 'allowed' to go the Rose Bowl)

ESPN Analysts - Rose Bowl is second best best game on the bowl lineup - Dallas Morning News

It wasn't always all Roses for TCU - ESPN

TCU aims for staying power - ESPN

Horned Frogs learn to look before they leap
- Austin American Statesmen (god bowl season must be sooooo boring down in Austin right now)

Basketball

TCU men edged out on foul line
- Star Telegram

Thursday, December 30, 2010

TCU "The Rose Parade" Float


While spitblood is all Rose Bowl all the time for the TCU fan, some nice anonymous person has photos of the Texas Christian University float for The Rose Parade. Good news to all of your granola-eating hippies, the theme of The Rose Parade is "Building Dreams, Friendships & Memories." And you thought your Jr/Sr year prom themes were sappy.


I'm not big on parades, but this is another cool part about being in the Rose Bowl. I'm so glad it's us instead of Boise State. Thank You again Kyle Brotzman for giving us The Rose Parade Royal Court.

Frogs' Rose Bowl kicks

It's been our experience that nothing brings in readers to Spitblood like news about the Frogs' uniforms (except maybe a spat with the ownership of killerfrogs), so here's a pic of the new Nike cleats TCU will be wearing in the Rose Bowl.

According to Nike spokesperson Cindy Hamilton, the Air Zoom Alpha Talon is "Nike Football’s most advanced premium cleat ever, delivering improved footing at full speed with an innovative on-demand, adaptive traction system. The interior cleats in the forefoot extend when full pressure is applied for more traction when needed and retract when not."

They also kind of remind me of the rad Bo Jackson cross-trainers I had in 3rd grade back when Bo still Knew.

Thanks to Cindy for the info, and for joining our burgeoning readership. If you're a fan of The Wire, Cindy, you're probably well aware of the concept of the first one being free. If you want some more promotional content on this site, we would be happy to inform our readers about any new products Nike has coming out if we had a few samples before they hit the market...

The Grandaddy of All Rose Bowl Previews (read: overly wordy).

Poor Color Scheme, Mickey.

Here we are, two days from the biggest game in modern TCU history, and something feels amiss. Maybe it’s the post-Xmas/pre-New Year lull. Maybe it’s the disaster that is all three of my bowl pools at present. Maybe it’s because, deep down, while I’m absolutely thrilled to be in the Rose Bowl, part of me still thinks we should be getting a shot at the big one. Mostly, though, I think I’m just out of practice. After all, since I missed the New Mexico game, it has been nearly two months since I’ve seen the Frogs in action, which is almost an eternity when you consider the season is only slightly longer than that time span. I’ve heard of a bowl game hangover for the actual teams, but for the fans? I doubt I’m the only one.

So by this point, I think I’ve covered all the bases with the positional breakdowns. If you’re like me, you’ve read all the articles, watched all the college football live highlights and, in kerleys case, left flaming bags of dog shit and razors on Rod Gilmore’s doorstep every day since the season ended, if not before then. We know what everyone is saying – that, despite being favored, TCU is going to get run over by Wisconsin’s rushing attack and the only way we can hope to keep it interesting is if we come out, hit them in a mouth, and stay just one step ahead on the scoreboard. Given, this is certainly a game where winning by one point would be absolutely suitable, if not downright appropriate, but considering our guys haven’t had to play and win a close game in a couple of years, I’m doubting that’s the most desirable route. Not that we couldn’t pull it off – with as many seniors as we have, the mental part of that equation goes out the window – but, like many of you, I’ve been pretty spoiled with the 40 point victories and don’t think my ticker could handle anything different.

Unfortunately though, I think it’ll have to.

Wisconsin is good. Actually, Wisconsin is very good. Whereas most successful Big Ten teams – Ohio State springs to mind – lull you into a loss, Wisconsin will hit you in the mouth, run past you on the outside, go over the top of you, throw to the tight end and, if need be, hit you in the mouth some more. They’re disciplined – among the top ranked teams in the country in turnovers and penalties – and, like a Patterson coached team, each member of the team has a job and they perform that job to perfection. Except for when they play Michigan State, of course, but they’ve been quite a different team since that game, so we can’t hold it against them. We may disagree with the voting procedures, but QB Scott Tolzien did win the award for the top senior QB in the country over our very own AD, and you can’t take that away from him. Also, anyway you spin it, the Badgers practically have three 1000 yard rushers in the backfield – Montee Ball and John Clay lack about 100 yards each to hit that mark, and you can easily argue that had both been healthy all year they would’ve topped it easily – and with a couple of All-Americans in Gabe Carimi and Lance Kendricks leading the charge, they have perhaps the best offensive line in the country; if you read the national media, they have the best offensive line ever assembled by god or man and if the Badgers don’t rush for over 1000 yards against our measly peons who fraudulently call themselves the top ranked defense in the country, it’ll be the greatest injustice seen since Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for the Blind Side. Regardless, and all sarcasm aside, this is easily going to be the best offensive line we’ve faced this season and our front is going to have their hands full. Wayne Daniels described them as, on video, looking like a combination of Air Force’s blocking schemes combined with BYU’s size which, to me, sounds like a pretty salty combination. Hopefully they aren’t as ‘cut block and break someone’s ankles’ happy as the Falcons, though.

But while I have all the respect in the world for Wisconsin and view them as the only suitable team we could’ve faced this post season outside of Auburn or Oregon, I just can’t shake the knowledge I have of the product TCU has put on the field this year. By that I mean, while I know I should have this ominous feeling heading into the weekend based on everything I’ve heard about how good Wisconsin is and how they have all the pieces in place to overpower us, I just don't see us losing this game. I’m not sure how many of you saw it, but SportsMadison.com posted a pretty cool piece compiling the most notable statistics for TCU heading into the game, and while some of them were pretty generic and obvious, a couple stuck out.

For one, sixteen of our last nineteen victories have come by 27 points or more. Think about that. That’s pretty ridiculous. And while some of those have come against the scrubs, two of those are against Utah and BYU, and Baylor also makes the list, although after that abortion they called a bowl performance last night, that doesn't hold much weight. I think this is why there was such an overreaction when the SDSU game ended like it did; it’s not that the powers that be disrespect the Aztecs – well, ok, it’s that a little bit – but that they expect more from TCU. And they should. It's kind of like how when the Yankees don't run away with the division, the local media rip them. They're not mad, just disappointed because they're so used to the opposite.

I also read a stat that when TCU rushes for 167 yards or more, they’ve won 51 games in a row. In that same vein, whenever the Frogs have more yards on the ground than through the air, the number is 40. And while I don’t think we should let that stat dictate how we run our offense… it definitely sticks out, doesn’t it? TCU rushes, on average, for 261 yards per game while Wisconsin gives up 132… so while I’m not guaranteeing that we’ll hit the number, and even if we do I suppose all streaks are meant to be broken, there’s definitely a very, very good chance both of those statistics will be in play in Pasadena.

So with that, combined with the previews of the past couple of weeks, we’ve pretty much established what both teams have to offer. And it’s very balanced. TCU has the better passing attack, Wisconsin has the better ground game. Wisconsin, begrudgingly, has a better offensive line, but TCU arguably has the better D line. And while the Frogs have better receivers, linebackers and defensive backs, it’s not by as wide of a margin as I may have made it sound. Well, except in the secondary, because we’re really, really good there, although it will not matter as much playing a team like the Badgers. Both teams are coached by former players from the Midwest who waited their turn in line as coordinators at their current schools before moving into the head coach’s chair. Heck, both teams have the EXACT SAME scoring average at 43.3 points per contest. That’s pretty spooky right there.

So how do you compare the two? Well, the most obvious, and most flawed, way is to look at common opponents, and in this case both schools have a UNLV pelt nailed to their wall for the effort. I say the most flawed way because clearly the timing and venue of the game plays a major role in the outcome. However, in this case, let’s be a little generous with the rule and call it even since Wisconsin played UNLV early in the season at home before they hit their stride, and TCU played the Rebels on the road at 10:00 PM in what was basically a walk thru before Utah the following week. And statistically, other than the QB performance, these two games were nearly mirror images of one another. Here’s a stat breakdown:

Total yards – TCU: 530, Wisconsin 475.

Rushing Yards – TCU: 273, Wisconsin 278.

First Downs – TCU: 30, Wisconsin 23.

TOP – TCU – 32:49, Wisconsin: 38:19.

We also each had two turnovers, including a goal line fumble. And, while you might have thought with 21 points vs. 6, we’d have the clear edge defensively, that isn’t the case. At all. Wisconsin gave up 217 yard, TCU 197. Wisconsin allowed 112 yards rushing, TCU 69. Wisconsin allowed 105 yards passing, TCU 128. Third down conversions were negligible as well, with TCU holding the Rebels to 3/13 and Wisconsin 4/14. It looks like we both got a little sloppy playing down to the competition but, in the end, emerged with convincing wins.

Of course, there’s one major differences here that I mentioned earlier, and that’s the QB comparison. Scott Tolzien didn’t have a BAD night against UNLV – 15/20 for 199 yards, no TDs and a pick – but compared to Dalton’s 16/23, 252, 2 TDs and no picks, there’s not really much to see here. And that’s the main difference between the two QBs and why I’m still baffled that Tolzien won the Senior QB Award over Dalton; Wisconsin merely asks Tolzien to do enough to not lose games and TCU asks Dalton to win them. And while the Dalton haters out there must be absolutely petrified that the game could come down to the WINNINGEST QB IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL making a few plays to pull out the biggest win of Patterson’s career, keep in mind our defense is going to be playing the Badgers the exact same way and, when push comes to shove, do you want the guy with a red head leading the charge or the one in the red jersey? This should be a no brainer.

But, let’s assume that each team is able to stay on its game early, that Wisconsin comes out and pounds the ball up our gut and that the Frogs are able to play some spread and keep the Badgers off balance. Who does the most pressure fall on for each team? For the Frogs, clearly the front seven are going to have the toughest job here, but more than that the backups are going to have a tough time. I feel pretty good that Wayne Daniels, Jeremy Coleman, Cory Grant and Stansly Maponga are going to be able keep things relatively in check, not to mention Tank Carder and Tanner Brock. After all, they have all year, so why should it change now that we’re playing the Big Sister of the Rich? But guys like Braylon Broughton, DJ Yendrey, Kris Gardner and Kenny Cain are potentially going to be the difference between winning and losing this one for us. Don’t kid yourselves, Wisconsin isn’t going to suddenly go, “Well, they THINK we’re going to run the ball, so let’s pass it!” overnight – dudes are going to absolutely try to pound our defensive linemen into submission and take linebacker or safety along with them in the ruckus. So clearly we are going to have to have a healthy rotation of bodies getting in and out of there to combat this, and the rotation is even shorter if Kelly Griffin doesn’t play. Truthfully, I don’t feel all that nervous about this. All of those guys, aside from Kenny Cain, have the physical size to deal with the pounding they’re going to take, and I expect them to shed far more blocks than they take head on, anyway. Plus, having the aid of a second strong safety sneaking into the running lanes essentially adds another man to the linebacker mix. It’s not going to be as easy as “stay in your lane and make a play” on most downs, but I don’t see us suffering much of a drop off, if any, when our starters are taking a Gatorade break. Wisconsin might think our defense looks a lot like Michigan's, but I can assure you we hit a little bit harder than the statistically WORST defense in the entire Big Ten.

As for the Badgers, I think the biggest burden is going to be placed on those guys going up against the left side of our offensive line because that’s where Marcus Cannon is and JJ Watt isn’t. In fact, I’d be pretty surprised to see us run to Watt’s side more than a few times all game, and if we do I’d fully expect us to give him the Tommy Blake/Jerry Hughes double team treatment that we’ve seen so well in the past. Not that Zack Roth isn’t up to the challenge, just why chance it? Clearly the biggest takeaway from the Fiesta Bowl last year was how, after we got down early, we panicked and tried to play catch up. I think I mentioned in my write up that it was the only time that I can truly remember our coaching staff getting out coached and they didn’t quite rise to the occasion. Given, Andy Dalton throwing 3 picks doesn’t help matters, but as soon as we got down, we abandoned the bread and butter run game and tried to pass our way back into it, which clearly didn’t work. That’s the fault of the coaching staff and I think they’ll correct it this year. As good as Dalton is at running the option and as good as our receivers are at blocking for it, I think you’re going to see all sorts of zone read and speed option plays to start the game and, if they work, that’s definitely getting used to control the clock. And once we hit that magical 167 mark? Well, that’s when you start mixing it up a little bit. I’m kidding about using that number as a benchmark, but we’ve lived by the run all year and I see no reason to stop.

Of course, playing devil’s advocate once again, let’s say Wisconsin comes out, loads the box, and dares Dalton to try and win another game with his arm alone. Not that Utah and Baylor are necessarily the best comparisons here, but based on his performances in those games, the biggest on our schedule, I have little fear about him having a repeat of last year. When the pressure has been turned up this year, he's risen to the occasion and he'll do it once more if need be.

So I guess the only thing left here is to pontificate on how I think the game will go. Given my track record from last year – I said that we’d run the ball the entire game and win by 2 TDs – all of this is clearly to be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s my blogduty so pontificate I will. So I just spent 500 or so words talking about how I thought we’d avoid the pitfalls of last year and how we should run the ball hard to start the game and see where that got us. But you know what? I really like our passing game. A lot. Jeremy Kerley would be enough to convince me of this, especially when you complement him with Bart Johnson and Jimmy Young, but with the addition of Josh Boyce this year, I see no reason why we don’t try and utilize them early on, much like we did against Baylor and Utah. Heck, Skye Dawson caught a 50+ yarder early in the Oregon State game and while he didn’t do much else, that kept the Beavers on their toes a bit and was a big factor in the win. Yes, overall I would MUCH rather have us stick to the game plan that has put us on the road to 12-0, but if we’re going to keep them honest, we’ll have to hit a few home runs in the passing game to open up the run. It’s science. I definitely think we trot out a few 3-4 receiver sets early before bludgeoning them into submission with our own three headed rushing attack.

As for Wisconsin, what you see is what you’re going to get. They’re going to run, run, run a little bit more before going for a big pass play and, when that fails, run it some more. I’d say there’s a very good chance they out rush us overall, but I think it will be closer than the experts predict. I think Kelly Griffin plays and does just enough to make life difficult for the Badger backs. But, not so difficult that they don’t put a few points on the board. They’re going to score points. I can see two rushing TDs and another to Kendricks, but no more than that. Wide receiver Nick Toon might be expecting a big day, but he hasn’t been quite the same player this year as he was the last with his hobbling injuries, and with Teague and Greg McCoy version 2010 2.0, we’ve got quite a lockdown situation going on back there. Plus, with Tejay playing centerfield, I don’t see him getting behind us one time all night. That may sound like a bold prediction, but that’s how I see it. Scott Tolzien is going to get an up close and personal look at the top ranked pass defense in the country, and I doubt he’s going to enjoy the experience.

So clearly, being a mega homer, I like TCU to win the game. But if you’re a casual fan tuning in with no rooting interest, why should you pick the upstart, non-BCS little guy over the tried and true, thoroughbred Big Ten school? A few reasons exist, some tangible, most not.

The numbers don’t lie: TCU is stronger than Wisconsin in just about every facet of the game. We have the better offense, the better defense, the better special teams. Really, the only place they beat us in in penalties and turnovers, and while those two areas become infinitely important in a close game, which this will be, I don’t think we’re going to beat ourselves this year like we did last. Speaking of…

We’ve been there and we know what it feels like to lose: As an obvious disclaimer, Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl is about 10,000 times bigger in every way than Boise State in the Fiesta. We’re not trying to kid ourselves into thinking it’s just another game – this is the most important game for TCU since the 1930s. That’s some heavy stuff right there. It’s important not only because it’s the FREAKING ROSE BOWL, but because it’s a knife in the heart of blue bloods everywhere. Utah beating Alabama was a huge deal and likely played a key role in their Pac 10 invite this past summer. But every SEC fan in the country ignores that loss because, “Alabama was worn down from an SEC schedule and was in letdown mode after losing to Florida in the SEC Championship.” That’s not the case for us. Wisconsin had their one slip up and enters this game playing their best football of the entire season. The hottest team in the country, some might say. This is huge. Last year, besides being outplayed and outcoached for the first time in memory, we let the gravity of the situation get to us. The Fiesta Bowl was seen as the destination, and a win was just gravy. Not this year. This senior laden team is ready for battle. They wanted to get out there early and get the jitters out. They want the extra practice. They want the pressure that comes with it. And most importantly, anything less than a win is failure. They know what that lonely plane ride home feels like when you’re this close and miss; I have a feeling this particular trip home will feel significantly different.

We have the best coach in college football: I love saying that because it makes fans everywhere absolutely CRINGE, but it’s true. GP is the best coach in the entire country, and it pisses people off to hear that because they can’t have him. Think of what he’s done – he came into the program when we were arguably worse than SMU, faced a couple of down seasons along the way, and now has a private school of 7000 students in Fort Worth, Texas primed to become the only non-BCS team to play in back to back BCS games, the first to play in a Rose Bowl, and had to basically put a restraining order on the Big East before accepting their invitation. He’s also one of the most well compensated coaches in the country, TCU has the second highest winning percentage in the NCAA since 2008 and has won at least 10 games in seven of the past nine seasons. Oh yeah, and he helped raise over $100 million for a stadium renovation, with a lot of the money coming from donors who did not even attend TCU. I’d say that’s a person who has it going on. Bret Bielema is a good coach. Perhaps a bit of a ‘run up the score’ asshole, but a good coach. But he has nothing on GP. Chris Petersen got his number last year, it won’t happen twice in row. Fool me once, right George Bush?

We won the Lawry’s Beef Bowl: Well, this one definitely falls into the “intangible” category, but the numbers again don’t lie. In the 55 years that the Beef Bowl has been held, the winning team has gone on to win the Rose Bowl 38 times. Those are some good odds right there. Plus, hopefully it puts to rest some of the size comparisons when our scrawny little scrappy warriors bested the supposed beast masters from cheese country 670 pounds to 650.

Alright, so you can definitely dispute the merits of some of that reasoning, but my current lack of nerves makes me feel really, really good about Saturday. Our guys, our school, our entire city is ready and will accept nothing less than a win. I think it’ll be close, but unlike last year I don’t think the game will ever be truly in doubt. Two teams with unusual mascots enter the Rose Bowl, only the one who spits red blood from its eyes emerges. Alright, well both will technically leave, but one will have sad face emoticons floating above their heads. The Frogs win a close one and bring the college football old guard to its knees on a beautiful evening in the San Gabriel Mountains.

The Pick: TCU 24, Wisconsin 21.

Unlike you intelligent folk, I am not heading out to the game until Saturday morning, so plenty of travel related SNAFUs are certainly in play. Regardless, everyone have a safe trip out and I hope to see you on the golf course pregame. Go Frogs.

Morning Dump


Rose Bowl

TCU receiver won't catch foe off guard - Dallas Morning News

TCU team gets pep talk from former Notre Dame walk-on Rudy Ruettiger - Dallas Morning News

Cheesy fun - Pasadena Weekly

Well-grounded Wisconsin aims to run on TCU in Rose Bowl - USA Today

Kerley a key catalyst for TCU's run to Rose Bowl - Austin American Statesman

Rose Bowl: Competition fuels TCU linebacker Carder - Wisconsin Rapids Tribune

Tarrant County Betting On TCU Rose Bowl Win - KERA

Speed, position switches define TCU - ESPN

TCU's Jeremy Kerley can do it all - ESPN

Horned Frog offensive line a force too - ESPN


Daniels finds his niche - San Gabriel Valley Tribune

SMU Hate

Rich Phillips: SMU still has a way to go to reach TCU's status - Dallas Morning News

Basketball

Gameday: TCU men at Tulsa
- Star Telegram

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rose Bowl stuff to watch:

Here are some videos from the Horned Frogs meeting with the media out in L.A.:



More from Dalton HERE and HERE



More from Cannon HERE



More from Kerley HERE



More from Luxury Tax HERE



More from Kirkpatrick HERE



More from Fuente HERE and HERE



More from Anderson HERE

One Down...

Not from last night's game, but it was the best I could do for Amric Fields.

Well, it was the easiest one of the bunch, but they all count the same in the win column. Apparently taking note of my flawless prediction system from last week's post, the Frogs came out and absolutely smothered the (insert mascot here) to the tune of 99-73. It was the Frogs' biggest offensive output of the season and would've topped the century mark had we fared better than our 71% at the free throw line.

I think we all assumed that in Thorns' absence the onus would fall first on Ronnie Moss, then some sort of pupu platter of JR Cadot and Garlon Green, but it was Amric Fields getting his Jesus Shuttlesworth on last night, finishing with 26 points to lead all scorers, including three 3's. But, Cadot arguably had the bigger game, contributing a double double with 19 points and 10 boards and, apparently, a veritable highlight reel of scrotum tickling dunks. In his first game back running the point, Moss played the part well, dishing out more assists (7) than shot attempts (6). His night ended with 9 points.

Of course, as there always will be, there are a couple of nits to pick here, namely on the defensive end where we allowed Chicago State to score 10 points more than their season average, including letting guard Carl Montgomery drop 30. Clearly they lack offensive balance much like the Frogs of yesteryear as no one else even scored in double figures, but if we can't shut down a one man team that, to use a term from its home base in Big Ten country, DEFINES little sisters of the poor, then that San Diego State conference opening game next week could be a terrifying proposition. Those 15 turnovers need to be cleaned up as well.

But enough of my nay saying - we got the W and have a chance to post our best season opening record since before I had any idea I was even attending TCU. We're not going to shoot up any bracketology lists, but we didn't get tripped up and that's the main thing to remember. Tulsa is up Tuesday and will be well rested after a seven day layoff. Should be a very good indicator of where this team is without Thorns.

Morning Dump

Football:
'Little-guy' Frogs perfect audience for Rudy's pep speech Star-Telegram

Bumpas answers questions
Star-Telegram

It's TCU's speed vs. Wisconsin's size
Star-Telegram

TCU takes pride in being nation's top defense
Star-Telegram

Badger line not just big and beefy
Star-Telegram

Is grass greener in SoCal? TCU defensive players talk
Star-Telegram

TCU defense meets the media
GoFrogs.com

Andy Dalton is TCU's Alpha Frog
LA Times

Texas Christian's Wayne Daniels chose his sport wisely
LA Times

TCU prepares for Wisconsin's power
ESPN

Frogs' D presents unique test for Wisconsin
ESPN

TCU's Johnson a leader in any language
Pasadena Star-News

Kilgore father headed to Rose Bowl
KLTV

Move over, O'Brien and Baugh: Andy Dalton is greatest QB in TCU
history Fox Sports Southwest

Badgers lose 'beef bowl'
TMJ4

Carimi blocking out pressure
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

'Grandaddy' of bowls never gets too old
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

UW corners Brinkley, Fenelus have made great strides
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Outland Trophy winner Carimini healthier in 2010
Wisconsin Rapids Tribune

In the Rose Bowl it's Wisonsin's dump truck against TCU's Ferrari
Madison.com

Don't worry, offense not about to change its style
Madison.com

Chryst-Tolzien connection has been something special
Madison.com

Basketball:
Fast start powers TCU past Chicago State
Star-Telegram

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

June Jones Tired of White Collar Drug Trade, Opts To Join Barksdale Crew.

Presumably, June Jones' new boss.

Pretty interesting little tidbit from the college sports blog over at the Dallas Morning News - it appears that Mike Leach may not be the only irritable, pass happy head coach interested in checking out the Maryland Terrapins head coaching vacancy. Sorry, Pony fans, but it appears that SMU Head Coach January Jones has tossed her hat into the ring in the land of crab cakes and football - and all this time I thought the former Mrs. Draper was too busy with her masturbating daughter to do much else? Oh... JUNE Jones, sorry, my mistake.

Anyway, ignoring that futile attempt at humor, yes word on the street is that, after two relatively successful years on the Hilltop, June is ready to strike out on his own once again, completing his west to east manifest destiny coaching cycle. While it is widely assumed that Mike Leach is the front runner for the job, the fact that June would risk pissing off the hands that have spoon fed him that $2.5 million contract has to be a pretty good indicator that there is at least SOME mutual interest. Of course, it's not like they're going to fire him, but you have to imagine that Jones isn't seeking out head coaching opportunities without a legitimate shot at landing them. And while you might think, "Maryland?? Really? Why not hold out for something a little nicer?" you have to remember a few things. One, SMU is more or less at their ceiling for the time being, especially with TCU moving into the Big East. Sure, they can swap places with us in the Mountain West, but to be honest, what does that prove? Two, although eight win seasons wouldn't register too highly on the success scale at most schools, at SMU that kind of success is earth shattering. If June is still miffed with the SMU administration for mucking up his program, the iron is not going to be any hotter than it is now, especially for an aging old man with the temperament of Walter Matthau and the wardrobe of Don Ho.

Most importantly though? While Hawaii certainly dabbles in the touristy marijuana trade, and Dallas deals with the white collar crowd, there's no drug market like the one in West Bodymore. The overall success experienced by the Barksdale gang is incomparable to anything he's seen in his past stops. And while SMU drug lords foolishly cast their casualties off in heavily trafficked porta-potties, in Baltimore there's a steady supply of empty vacants for just such purposes. Sadly for SMU, it sounds like he may already have Snoop and Partlow on their tail.

Frogs in action at home tonight


It hasn't been a good week, health-wise, for basketball teams in the Metroplex. The night after Dirk went down with a knee injury in the Mavs' win over Oklahoma City, the Frogs return to action against Chicago State without starting point guard Hank Thorns.

I should probably apologize for discussing the NBA here on spitblood- after all, this blog is about the Frogs, not whatever petty arguments exist out there between folks cheering for the state's three pro basketball squads. But if you are a fan of trash-talk between Spurs, Mavs and Rockets fans, 2011 will be a fun year here on SB. We're planning on launching an NBA trash-talk board as part of our Section V Forum. So be sure to come back after the Rose Bowl and keep up with basketball season and recruiting until it's up & running.

Anywho, Thorn's injury was not as bad as originally expected and he should return for the bulk of the MWC schedule. Tonight is the most winnable game of the remaining non-conference slate, as Chicago State comes in at 3-12. They were doubled up, 102-51, last time out against Drake. Everyone loves the Drake, but apparently Drake doesn't like CSU because, well, Chicago isn't a state.

Morning Dump

TCU's years of wondering in the wilderness wiped away by Rose Bowl stroll Star-Telegram

TCU fans welcome in Los Angeles
Star-Telegram

TCU safety will make presence know at Rose Bowl even if his name isn't
Star-Telegram

Photo gallery: TCU attends Beef Bowl
Star-Telegram

TCU's Dalton gets rosy finish as winningest QB
AP

ESPN selling Wisconsin Rose Bowl champion shirt
NBC DFW

S.C. AD hoped to help Frogs into title game ESPN

Stop and smell the (purple) roses
ESPN

Competition drives UW's three headed monster
ESPN

Video: preparing for the Rose Bowl
ESPN

Wisconsin keeps pedal down in bowl prep
ESPN

Saturday's Rose Bowl will feature a number of NFL prospects
LA Times

At Texas Christian, all sports ride football's coattails
LA Times

For Texas Christian, the 4-2-5 means W-I-N
LA Times

Wisconsin's strong running back core will be a challenge in Rose Bowl
LA Times

TCU in Rose Bowl a giant leap even for TCU faithful
OC Register

Watt bigger than life on and off the field
Madison.com

UW's Welch knows legacy could rest on one kick
Madison.com

The book on TCU
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Dalton has air of a true leader for Horned Frogs
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

UW's Henry, Taylor have tackled all lingering doubts
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Badgers' tailback rotation still the same
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Rose Bowl week kicking in
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Beverly Hills prepares for Rose Bowl fans with promotions
Beverly Hills Courier

Monday, December 27, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Frogs nearly 100% healthy

Stefan Stevenson of the Star-Telegram had an update from the Frogs' practices in L.A. in this morning's paper. In it, he reported on the overall health of the team- Jeremy Kerley and Jake Kirkpatrick are apparently back to 100% after nursing some nagging injuries the past few weeks. The big injury question remains Kelly Griffin as he tries to come back from the broken ankle he suffered in the Air Force game in late October. He's listed as a game-time decision, so keep your fingers crossed that #69 will be available to play at least a few snaps against the Badgers' big & physical O-line.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Rose Bowl Preview: Special Teams.


As a companion to the "completely mailed in preview part 1: Offensive Line" post, here's your second half featuring the Special teams units.

Run Down:

Kicking For Points:

TCU - Ross Evans. 11-13, long 43. 65-70 PATs

Wisconsin - Phillip Welch. 15-19, long 49. 67-67 PATs.

Oh, you can make your extra points and don't take kick backs from bookies to keep the spread intact? YOU WIN, BADGERS!

Edge - Cheese.

Kicking for Field Position:

TCU - Kevin Sharples. 66.1 yd average. 14 TB, 0 OOB.

Wisconsin - Phillip Welch. 64 yd average. 10 TB, 1 OOB.

The numbers don't lie.

Edge - Frogs.

Punt Returns:

TCU - Jeremy Kerley, Curtis Clay, Skye Dawson. 14.8 yd avg. 0 TD.

Wisconsin - Jared Abbrederis, David Gilreath, Aaron Henry. 11.1 yd avg. 0 TD.

Our last chance to see Kerley Fries.

Edge - Frogs.

Kick Returns:

TCU - Jeremy Kerley, Greg McCoy, Skye Dawson. 26.7 yd avg. 0 TD.

Wisconsin - David Gilreath, James White. 22.6 yd avg. 1 TD.

Tough Call.

Edge - Push.

Coverage:

TCU - 20.5 yd avg, 0 TDs on kick returns; 7.2 yd avg., 0 TDs on punt returns

Wisconsin - 24.4 yd avg, 2 TDs on kick returns; 12.0 yd avg, 1 TD on punt returns.

Edge - Frogs.

That's a nice, comfortable 4.5-1.5 margin for the Frogs. So if you're into special teams, the Frogs are your team.

Eight more days. Merry Xmas Eve.

Morning Dump

Fiesta loss in mind, TCU changes Rose Bowl practices Star-Telegram

Glasgow and Jennings recognized as nation's best
GoFrogs.com

Tank and Tejay tabbed ESPN All-Americans
ESPN

BYU DT Tayo Fabuluje transferring to TCU
Salt Lake Tribune

Frog fever spreading to artwork
CBS11

'A dream come true'
Pasadena Weekly

Clay putting on a kick in bowl practices
Madison.com

Anderson's big spirit helps him get the job done downfield
Madison.com

Wisconsin Badgers set for a healthy Rose Bowl
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin's Moffitt sticks around for all the right reasons
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rose Bowl Preview: Defensive Backs.

Don't know about you guys, but I miss our old duds.

To close out our Rose Bowl previews - well, there will be a special teams preview, but that's only out of necessity and who cares? - we'll finish up with the only #1 ranked individual unit on either team, the TCU Horned Frogs secondary. It's feels a bit funny to type that about a Patterson coached defense, but the secondary has overshadowed the front seven all year and deserves all the hype coming its way. How Jason Teague wasn't an All-American is beyond me, but hey, motivation.

Wisconsin:
Jay Valai - Sr. 5'9", 205 lbs.
Devin Smith - Jr. 5'11", 185 lbs.
Niles Brinkley - Sr. 5'10", 190 lbs.
Shelton Johnson - 6"0, 180 lbs.
Dezmen Southward - Fr. 6'2:, 205 lbs.
Aaron Henry - Jr. 6'0", 204 lbs.
Antonio Fenelus - Jr. 5'9", 190 lbs.

TCU:
Colin Jones - Sr. 6'0", 208 lbs.
Tejay Johnson - Sr. 6'1", 212 lbs.
Tekerrein Cuba - Jr. 6'4", 210
Alex Ibiloye - Sr. 6'0", 195 lbs.
Jason Teague - Sr. 6'2", 197 lbs.
Greg McCoy - Jr. 5'10", 181 lbs.
Travaras Battle - Fr. 6'0", 180 lbs.
Malcolm Williams - Sr., 5"11, 200 lbs.
Jurrell Thompson - So. 5'11", 216 lbs.

Underinformed Analaysis:

Sorry for the overload there, but both teams feature a pretty solid rotation of secondary players, and that goes the extra mile for TCU as we feature five of them on any given play. First, the enemy.

The two studs of the Badger defensive backfield would be Fenelus and Henry, who both had 53 tackles on the year and combined for 6 INTs. Fenelus, especially, has a nose for the ball as he accounted for 4 of those and recovered two fumbles. For his part, Henry recovered 3. The Wisconsin offense is going to get tons of credit - and it should - but the defense isn't too shabby either and would be what the ESPN's call "opportunistic." They finished the year with 14 interceptions, although the linebackers and defensive linemen account for an inordinate amount of those with six of the 14. When you have that kind of production out of players you typically don't associate with picking off passes then, yep, I suppose opportunistic would be the appropriate word. Bravo, Rod Gilmore!

Safety Jay Valai finished third in the group in tackles, parking - see what I did there - himself into 39 ball carriers and picking off a pass. As a whole, the unit gave up 19 TDs through the air, which is pretty middle of the pack, but those 14 picks rank in the upper echelon of all D-1 teams. They also only gave up 105 first downs through the air all year. Teams only attempted 28 passes per contest against the Badgers, and completed 16, around 57%.

One thing that really stuck out to me, although it won't have any direct bearing on the game, is the amount of Wisconsin D backs from the Metroplex. Jay Valai is from Colleyville Heritage, Devin Smith is from Coppell and Shelton Johnson is from Carrollton. You always hate for local players to end up out of state, and when you have to face off against them it hurts even more, but hopefully this will add a bit of an edge to a game that mainly features a bunch of faceless opponents. Resident HS football expert lyle lanley would have to help me out on the potential rematches we might face here, but with all the players we have from the area, you have to imagine some of the guys know one another. But still, familiarity with your opponent can only get you so far, and while it certainly can't be viewed as a bad thing, I definitely don't expect it to turn the tide one way or another.

Wisconsin is going to blitz us hard from the edges first, but when Dalton has time to throw, it's not going to be like watching Antoine Hicks against New Mexico and I wouldn't expect Dalton to have a Baylor-esque day either. The Badger backs may not be the biggest, but if Dalton hangs a few floaters as he has a tendency to do in these games, it could be a repeat of the Fiesta Bowl.

All of that being said, then you have the Frogs and, ladies and germs, this is maybe the most lopsided of all the comparisons, although that's not saying much because everything else was so close. Without even getting into individual numbers - although Colin Jones' 70 tackles are shocking - TCU is heads above any other team in the NCAA when it comes to passing defense. A brief rundown:

Completions per game - 12.1. Rank: 1st.
Completion % - 48.0. Rank: 1st.
Total Passing Yards - 1505. Rank: 1st.
Yards Per Game - 126.3. Rank: 1st.
TD's Allowed - 10. Rank: 4th.
First Downs Allowed - 58. Rank: 1st.
Attempts Per Game - 25.2. Rank: 7th.
Picks - 12. Rank: 12th.

I'd do the comparisons with Wisconsin, but they aren't close. In fact, in some cases, it's not even worth mentioning the second place overall team, such as is yards per game where we lead the next best team by 20, or first downs allowed where it's closer to 20. I'm not sure what got into these guys this year - although a recent run on highly ranked DB recruits, plus 5 seniors certainly helped - but my goodness they were terrifying. I'm not sure how many times Jason Teague ended up being thrown to overall to end the regular season, but we all should remember how that number was 1 until midway through the year. Did you hear about how Jordan Wynn isn't playing in the bowl game? I hear it's because, after our game, he decided to quit football. So far that rumor is unconfirmed, though.

Really, this should be the area where we feel the most confident heading into this game. TCU clearly isn't going to go up and get many picks, but that isn't our style. The size of our DB's allows then to play physical with receivers, who are typically bigger than the average DB, and they have enough speed to keep up and break up passes, assuming the receiver even gets a good look. Scott Tolzien may have won the Unitas Award as the top senior QB in football - over Andy Dalton, you'll recall - but I don't think you'll see him put that arm to much use on New Years Day. Of course, Wisconsin has proved that they can win games, and win them handily, by being a one dimensional run team, but I'd venture to say the odds are always going to be better when you shut down one aspect like we should.

The Badgers passing defense may be a lot better than you'd imagine, but no one touches the Frogs in this one.

Edge - Frogs.

Spitblood Christmas Gifts for Frog Haters

In the spirit of Christmas giving and all that other holiday jazz, I thought I'd reflect back on this past TCU sports year and remember all those who have attempted (and failed) to wrong the Frogs. I have made a list of all the Frog dissenters, and I have decided I will take on the role as Spitblood Santa Claus and give "gifts" (not necessarily good ones) to those who have been naughty, since I'm pretty sure nobody actually gets lumps of coal in their stockings. So without further adieu, here is your 2010 list of the Frog haters complete with gifts from the Spitblood Santa.

Jim Delany

Jim- while you haven’t necessarily wronged the Frogs or even directly insulted us, your subtle comments about how superior your Big 10 is to any non-AQ team, and your die hard allegiance to the BCS has given me the urge to give you a gift. For you, Mr. Delany, I give you a big box of tissues, since all you’ve done this bowl season is cry, cry, cry about how the poor Big 10 and BCS have had to sacrifice so much so TCU, Utah, and Boise can be invited into your exclusive BCS games. These tissues should also come in handy during the Arkansas throttling of a vastly overrated Ohio State team and more importantly, when TCU runs circles around Wisconsin at the Granddaddy of Them All.

E. Gordon Gee

I know I already used this picture, but it's just damn funny.

Oh, Mr. G (Summer Heights High, anyone?), people as football ignorant as you really should just keep their mouths shut, but since you too are part of the Big 10 elitist clan, I guess you thought people should know how you feel about little Ole TCU as well. Gee’s clueless rant about how Ohio State plays a “murderer’s row” schedule and doesn’t beat up on “Little Sisters of the Poor” like TCU and Boise do made him quite the enemy in the TCU community recently. Since you’re old as shit and probably not exactly hip and with the times (dude wears a bowtie and Ben Franklin bifocals still), I’m assuming you don’t have cable television. So, Gordo, for Christmas I give you DirecTV complete with the MTN, Versus, CBS College Sports, and anywhere else you can find TCU on TV. That way you can see the teams you’ve insulted play, and in the future you won’t have to put your foot in your mouth about a week after your senile old man comments were released. Actually, a better idea for Gee’s gift might be a “Football for Dummies” book…or a tombstone.

Robert Griffin III

So this is what it looks like when you know your season is over...

Quite possibly the biggest early season instigator of Frog opponent hate, Robert Griffin III, the savior of Baylor Bears football and greatest QB in Texas since Vince Young, was the gift that kept on giving to TCU fans for seemingly the entire first half of the season. Not only did he lead the most hyped Baylor team since, well, ever, into Fort Worth for what was quite possibly the biggest beat down of the season, but he just couldn’t seem to shake that loss. Griffin tried week after week to make it sound like losing to us was some fluke and that wasn’t the real Baylor, not to mention he claimed our defense wasn’t that fast, despite the fact that he was completely owned by us. Baylor really ended the season on a high note proving that the TCU loss was indeed a fluke like Griffin said…they lost 3 in a row. But hey, you’re bowl eligible and you beat Texas, so yippee!!! Have fun at the Houston Bowl. For you, RGIII, you get earplugs. You receive these earplugs because your display following the TCU destruction of you was just embarrassing. While sulking on the bench, you did exactly what you are not supposed to do, and acknowledged the hecklers, going so far as to waive your arms in the air encouraging the barrage of insults that flew your way. Next time, wear the earplugs so you don’t hear the verbal lashing you will inevitably take when you get stomped next year and don’t appease the crowd by playing right into their hands. Also, I’ll keep my eyes opened to see if another Star Wars remake is made- they’ll need someone to play Jar-Jar Binks.

Rod Gilmore

Again, reuse of a picture, but I want to emphasize the gayness of the hat.

You might be my least favorite person of 2010. Your undying allegiance for Boise State was so nauseating that it made watching Boise’s Friday night games pretty much unbearable. Then, you’d show up on BCS Countdown and spend another hour telling me how our resume didn’t come close to stacking up to theirs. I really don’t want to spend too much time retelling the tales of how much of a Boise sack rider you continue to be despite them losing because it will just infuriate me, so I’ll get to your gift. Since you are my least favorite, for Christmas I will give you Rose Bowl tickets to watch TCU play, however, I will smother those tickets in anthrax and hope that you are too ill to attend the game. If people find that too severe, I’ll just get you an Aeropostale gift card so you can buy as many gay conductor hats as your douchey heart desires. Or, how about a Chris Petersen blow-up doll, since we know he’d love to have sex with that guy. Die, Rod Gilmore. Just die.

Kirk Herbstreit/Craig James

...because your son is a pussy.

I’m lumping these two together, because they pretty much echoed each other’s sentiments all season on ESPN when it came to the Frogs, and it was always how we weren’t quite as good as Boise. My hatred for these guys isn’t as extreme as it is for Gilmore, who continues to think that Boise is the greatest football team since the late 80’s Miami Hurricanes, even after they lost. I’m not sure there is anything I can give Craig James, since SMU has probably given him everything he’s ever wanted and more since his days as a focal point of the biggest cheating scandal in sports, and they probably continue to give him gifts just to keep his mouth shut. But I’ll give your son, Adam, a pacifier and a rattle, since he’s such a baby that he cried to daddy because Mike Leach wasn’t nice to him. Actually, for Craig James, I’ll give the Woodland Christmas Critters from South Park 12 hours alone with you in Imaginationland. Enjoy it. For Herbstreit, I will send a girl into you Gameday trailer in Glendale, AZ…an Arizona State girl with every STD under the sun to infect your sleazy ass.

These are Woodland Critters, and this is what I want them to do to Craig James.

Florida State’s Centerfielder

This is what comes up when you google "Florida State center fielder". No joke.

If you’re like me, when you saw Matt Curry destroy that baseball to cap off what was quite possibly the biggest comeback in College World Series history, you knew it was gone. Then you saw the centerfielder positioning himself to catch the ball and you thought “how the Hell is that not gone?” Then you saw the baseball sail about 100 feet over his head and into the night sky, never to be seen again. I just don’t see the point in trying to fake out Curry on that one. We all saw his reaction, immediately screaming to the bench, knowing he just hit a ball further than he ever has before, and I didn’t appreciate that centerfielder toying with my emotions like that, either. For you, anonymous FSU centerfielder, I give you a rocket that goes up your ass, because that’s what you would need to launch you high enough to catch a ball that is hit that hard next time.

“Get in the batter’s box and shut up” guy from UT

You heckle Bryan Holaday and this is what you get, Texas.

In what was arguably my favorite moment of the year, a despondent UT baseball fan, knowing that the end of the season was near for the unstoppable Longhorns and their pitching staff blurted out "get in the batter's box and shut up" at star TCU catcher Bryan Holaday. Holaday responded by doing exactly what the old redneck said, stepped into the batter’s box, and belted the following pitch well beyond the left field fence of Texas’s All-American Closer Chance Ruffin. Although not the game winner, Holaday’s homer no doubt crushed the spirits of UT and silenced everyone wearing burnt orange that day. For you, obnoxious, yet typical UT fan, I am giving you a framed photo of the Horned Frog squad dog piling on your longhorn, signed by Matt Purke, Kyle Winkler, Aaron Schultz, and of course, Bryan Holaday. Also, I’ll have the youtube video of you making a fool of yourself playing on loop on your computer through New Year’s.

BYU

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Do Mormons get Christmas gifts? If so, they are probably boring and they suck. I’ll spare everyone the rant for why I hate BYU and how they have wronged everyone in the MWC this season, but these selfish crybabies basically took their ball and went home once Utah headed for greener pastures, essentially spelling the end for the MWC. Since you’ll be all alone for the foreseeable future, and you’re not allowed to have and sort of sexual relations, I was thinking that maybe I’ll get you David Carradine’s Guide to Auto-Erotic Asphyxiation. Hopefully the end result is the same for your football program as it was for Mr. Carradine. That, or a simple dose of reality might do the trick for these delusional cult followers as well.

The Big 12 (10)- Mainly the University of Texas

Yes, you do suck.

There’s no denying anymore that your reasons for not wanting TCU to be a part of the Big 12 is because the powers that be (Texas, OU) in the conference are scared of adding more competition. Claim that it’s because we don’t add a TV market, or because our attendance is weak (Oh yeah, T. Boone Pickens- die as well), or that you’re happy with a 10 team conference, but the reality is that you don’t want to have more competition. Watching UT in shambles right now has been quite a treat and a nice dose of reality for them- you are not The Joneses, so stop thinking you are. Coaches are jumping ship and turning you down daily (Addazio, Steve), and it’s a treat to see. Funny that you don’t want anymore competition in the Big 12, but Texas was arguably the least competitive team in the conference and there is currently no light at the end of their tunnel. Texas is basically like a really cute, but insecure girl on prom night- she doesn’t want to let the hot girl in the limo with your friends because she doesn’t want the attention taken off her. In other words, they know that the addition of TCU would take the shine off of them, and Texas doesn’t want to play second fiddle to anyone in any sport (which they currently are to TCU in both baseball and football). Anyways, for the Big 12, I give you a set of testicles, so maybe one day you’ll man up and see the value of having winners in your conference. Texas- since you are so far up shit creek right now, for Christmas, I give you a paddle. Now you can try to crawl your way back to mediocrity.

Kyle Brotzman

Thank you?

I want to start this off by thanking Kyle Brotzman. You’re inadequacies as a kicker were quite the blessing for the Horned Frogs, and you have already given us quite the Christmas gift. Makes me wonder- what if Boise had actually kicked extra points this season instead of faking half of them in an effort to run up the score. Maybe Kyle could’ve used the practice…You so kindly missed not 1, but 2 chip shot field goals in that glorious late night choke job against Nevada. Honestly, I felt bad for Brotzman…and then I saw him on ESPN 2 days later with 2 earrings on, and all sympathies were removed. What a white trash loser. For Brotzman, I will have a doctor write you a prescription to Xanax, so next time you don’t completely have a nervous meltdown when the game, I mean the Rose Bowl, is on the line. Also, Kyle will be receiving all of the perks and benefits that TCU gets for going to the Rose Bowl, such as the recliner, Xbox 360, mountain bike, Vizio HDTV, and of course, ring. Without you Kyle, none of this would’ve been possible. Thank you.

So there you have it, folks. These are your 2010 gifts for the TCU haters (and Kyle Brotzman) of the year. I want to thank all of those mentioned above. Without them, the 2010 year wouldn’t have been nearly as enjoyable (or hate-filled) and the Frogs might not be where they are today. I look forward to another great season in 2011, and Merry Christmas to all.

P.S. If I left anything out, please feel free to mention it in the comments section. Also, I couldn't access any videos for this post and I'm sorry, so if anyone wants to link videos, please do that as well.