Dear TCU Football and all related parties,
Hey guys! How is it going? Good here – just a fan of the fifth ranked team in the country and all… you know, you guys. Did you get my last letter? You know, the one where I criticized the 27 point shut out win? Well, you’ll have to forgive me for being so cynical; where have my once debonair manners gone? Also, have you been getting Robert Griffin’s dear john letters? You know, the ones where he’s saying that TCU isn’t that good and hinting that if we played again the outcome would be different? I mean, he does have a point – Baylor HAS beaten the worst team in Conference USA and the worst team in the Big 12 since then, so that’s certainly something to hang your hat on. But I’m afraid he must be a little confused because 35 point trips to brown town don’t just reverse themselves overnight, I don’t think. Guess he must have been “using the facilities” during the film session of the game in Fort Worth; still, if he doesn't have any more stamina than he showed at Amon G, could it have REALLY taken that long?
But what I'm really writing to you about is tomorrow’s game against the Wyoming Cowboys. Now I know you guys are very comfortable with your current ranking. Who wouldn’t be, am I right? But, this game is pretty important for a multitude of reasons, and as much as I know you don’t like hearing about style points, this is probably one of those times where you have to go against Coach’s public persona and pile it on. Now, before you protest, just remember that part of this is your fault; a 27 point shut out is nice and all, but don’t you think Utah and Air Force are going to do far worse things to Colorado State? If Air Force doesn't put up at least 400 rushing yards on those guys, then I'll be a monkey's uncle. The country clearly was not impressed with the effort of the offense last week so you need to come out this week and really give the Cowboys a good thrashing to wash that Fort Collins taste out of your mouths. You need it for yourselves, but most importantly you need it if you want any chance of jumping Boise in the coming weeks. With Air Force and Utah on the rise, your strength of schedule is getting better, sure, but with every Virginia Tech and Nevada win, Boise’s status in the minds of the voters increases exponentially as well.
So I’m sure you saw where Boise didn’t exactly light up Oregon State at home a couple of weeks ago. Likewise, I’m sure you saw that, a week before that, Boise DID light up Wyoming on the road, 51-6. That’s impressive stuff, no matter who you’re playing, especially when you do it at their place. It has been suggested that, since our games against Oregon State basically cancel each other out, this is the measuring stick that will be used down the road if it becomes a “do we pick Boise or TCU for our bowl?” situation and we absolutely must capitalize. The crowd support may not be there – pretty busy afternoon in the metroplex in case you missed it – but just because the stands aren’t full doesn’t mean you have to play uninspired football. Think of what it will be like in Salt Lake City next month. If you can’t win in front of a friendly home crowd, just remember what it was like up there two years ago. There should be no excuses if this game isn’t over in the first half and, while we may not put up 51 points, we should certainly be able to win 45-0 and keep the margins the same.
And while you might argue, “It’s easy for you to say, but I don’t care what you think – pitching two shut outs in a row is tough! We even let lowly Tennesee Tech and Baylor combine for 17!!” But just remember this: Whyoming is bad. Wyoming is really bad. As in “almost as bad as New Mexico and Colorado State” bad. Remember last year when Wyoming won a bowl game? Holy crap are those days long gone. If Colorado State’s offense last week was McDonald’s, then Wyoming’s would be something along the lines of Arby’s. ARBY’S! You know who’s bad at offense? Texas. And these guys are worse than Texas.
So now I want to address the offensive and defensive units, respectively and explain in very clear terms exactly what you’re up against. First I want to start with the defense, so Coach P would you hand this to Coach Bumpas so he can read it to the guys? Yes, you can let him finish combing his moustache first.
So defense, here’s what you’re up against. Wyoming is the sixth to last ranked scoring offense in the country. Sadly, this only makes them seventh place out of nine in the MWC in total offense in front of Colorado State and New Mexico. And people REALLY think we’re getting an auto bid next year? But anyway, they average 15 points per contest. If the Wyoming offense was a medical condition, it would be considered anemic due to low levels of iron. It is, in a word, a succubus. And, if you want to get really cutesy with it, if you look at total yards per game, Wyoming ranks SECOND to last, ahead of only the powerhouse soon to be in a dead conference, the San Jose State Trojans. That number? 250.6 yards per game. For a comparison, the offense that you guys have been backing up in weeks not ending in Baylor averages 275 yards per game… on the ground. They’re even behind New Mexico State whose students started a campaign this week telling the promiscuous young gentlemen and ladies on campus not to let the players “get it in until they get a win.” So, when the football team at a lonely outpost in Hobbs, New Mexico can’t get laid because of their poor performances, then the prospects in Laramie must be pretty dire right about now.
Leading this vaunted charge is Dwyane Wade related spelling challenged Quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels who has, to date, put up 4 TDs and 5 INTs in 803 yards. I’m not here to throw stones though – lord knows our passing attack isn’t keeping any defensive coordinators up at night – but when your ground game is only averaging 68 yards per game – 118th in the country, which is still only 8th in the conference ahead of Colorado State – you’ve gotta pick up the pace a little if you want to win some games. Of course, it probably doesn’t help when you’re trying to throw while lying flat on your back, as Samuels has to the tune of 12 times. He says, Thanks, O Line!"
Shockingly enough, Wyoming actually HAS won some games, two to be precise, and their losses have actually all come against ranked competition so that’s nothing for them to be too ashamed of. Unfortunately in the wins, it was the defense that kept them in it until the offense could make some things happen – sound familiar??? They beat Southern Utah in their opener 28-20 and Toledo last weekend 20-15, which sounds fine until you consider that USU also lost to San Jose State, the worst team in division 1, let Texas State run up 42 on them and that Toledo, bless them, are in the MAC.
So all I’m saying is that these guys aren’t exactly going to be world beaters when you’re on the field. You may think that holding two teams in a row to a combined CERO points is an unreasonable expectation… but you’d also think that LaceDarius Dunn would find it reasonable not to break his girlfriend’s face, no matter the circumstances. All I’m saying is that reason is defied on a daily basis, and when you’re playing a team this tragically flawed offensively, at home, immediately following a game where you shut down an equally disturbingly poor squad, on the road, this should be a relatively small hurdle to overcome.
Now Coach Bumpas, if you wouldn’t mind rolling this up and smacking Coach Fuenderson across the forehead with it a few times while reminding it that the “jailbreak screen” is the worst play in the playbook, I’d appreciate it. Also, while you’re doing this, give spitblood’s congratulations to the latest soldier in the fight against monogamy to fall, Andy Dalton. Welcome to the club, Rooster, BYU will hate you even more now! But a word of advice – assert your control over the TIVO early if you know what’s good for you. Pee on the box to mark your territory if you need to, just show her who’s boss, because the first time Breaking Bad gets skipped in the recording process in lieu of Real Housewives of What City That Show Is In Now, I'm not letting you watch it at my place.
Ok, I just thought about the jailbreak screen again. Bumpas, you know what you do.
So offense. Offense, offense, offense. What gives, guys? The 29 point output against Oregon State is acceptable; they did hold Boise to 37, after all. But after scoring 55 and 45 against Tennessee Tech and Baylor, respectively – two horrid football teams, I know –what’s with the slow start at SMU and then whatever happened last week? Andy Dalton is fourth year starter, the winningest current QB in college football, and has all of his receiving weapons back from a year ago, the run game is stronger than it was last year, and the line, despite the pre season worries, is playing as well as it ever has. I understand that, even if you have the players, if you don’t have the scheme you can’t take victories for granted – see: Texas and Florida, Universities of – but we have the exact same coordinators running the exact same scheme with the exact same key personnel from last year’s team that set every offensive record imaginable. It’s absolutely mesmerizing to ponder.
But, if there are two things that are the cure for an ailing offense and one of them is more cowbell, the other is certainly a defense that has given up 105 points in three losses on the year, including 34 to the Longhorns who, as you may be aware, have an offense that’s more limp than Brett Favre. Or maybe I should be more specific, because clearly our ground game has got it going on, so let’s view this game as a cure for an ailing Andy Dalton. To be honest though guys, the more I think about it, the more I don’t care if he never hits 20 pass attempts in a game ever again. Honestly. Take last week’s sudden change to the pistol formation, keeping in mind that I don’t know shit about football tactics. But, the way we used it basically played to our biggest strengths – the legs of Andy Dalton, and the outside speed of Ed Wesley. And it worked. Really well! So more of that, guys, because I really like it and because Wyoming gives up over 250 yards per game on the ground. Sure, you may say, “but look what they did against Air Force a couple of weeks back! That’s the most high powered run game in the country and they still only produced 20 points!” I’ll admit, this definitely stuck out to me and gave me a little bit of fear when looking at this weekend’s game… then I saw that Air Force, despite not finding the end zone as often as they’d like, STILL had 379 yards on the ground against the Cowboys and choose to view it as some bad luck on the part of the Falcons. And, although the passing game has clearly been off, we have much more of that going for us than those guys! They'll have to respect it, at least a little. If we can’t put up at least six or seven touchdowns this weekend, then there is clearly something wrong and that Utah game is going to look pretty terrifying.
But let’s say that Fuenderson decides that, despite our increasingly advanced ground game, that they need to get Dalton out of his funk this week and have him air it out over and over again. Well, believe it or not, Wyoming is actually not terrible against the pass if you look at the stats… but you also have to take into consideration that the Air Force game severely skews those numbers in their favor, and that they let Garrett Gilbert have a career day by his standards. Also, Kellen Moore threw for 370 yards against them. Andy Dalton isn’t Kellen Moore… but, he’s a lot better than Garrett Gilbert, and Gilbert put up 222 and a TD. So I’m not saying that we should necessarily put it all on Andy’s arm to pull this one out… but if that’s the direction you want to go, a happy medium of around 300 yards would not be unreasonable to expect. And, despite what I said earily, maybe that IS what we need to do? Maybe, now that he’s got the big question off the table, he’s ready to buckle down and get back on track? Hey, I feel for him – if that being on his mind is the reason for his less than normal performance last week, I totally understand. That stuff is TERRIFYING in the closing days. Not because you aren’t happy, because you are, but because your life is about to change dramatically. You're like a deer in the headlights, except it's your soul in the headlights. The only other things that I imagine can compare are the weeks before the birth of your first child and that five minutes before the series finale of The Wire. So now that he’s over the hump, maybe a career day against an inferior defense is in order?
Nah, let’s stick to the run game.
In closing, the point I'm trying to make is that this game should be a challenge in the same way playing sports trivia against your mom should be a challenge; in essence, not one. We should have no problem outperforming the destruction our cohorts in Boise rained down upon these same Cowboys and we shouldn’t have to worry about losing style points this week. These next two weeks, and next week especially, should basically be a time for you guys to go out there, have some fun, and open the eyes of America to what TCU Football is really about: Blood, speed, rage and, more specifically to Wyoming, Quarterback death.
52-0 should do the trick.