Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I was pretty happy to hear Chris Del Conte's reponse to Ohio State President Gordon Gee's comments last week, when he essentially said that when you start getting criticized by the Ohio States of the world, you know you've arrived.
Not that I'm comparing this kid to Gordon Gee. In fact, I hope you'll be go somewhat easy on him in your comments because frankly, I think he might have Asperger's and also because making fun of someone for having a gay-sounding lisp is considered inappopriate these days. But this kid echoes the sentiment of plenty of UT fans, which I find completely hilarious and indirectly flattering.
He starts the video by saying that he hates TCU more than any other school in the nation. And while he spends nearly seven minutes attempting to tell the viewer why...he never gets to the heart of it. He makes a few points over the course of the video, which I'll take the opportunity to respond:
"Of all the BCS conferences, you join the easiest to win. I don't think the Big 12 is in a position to turn schools away right now"
-I'm not usually one for internet shorthand, but this really made me "LOL". In whatever fantasy land this guy lives in (presumably his parents' house), TCU has their choice of whatever conference they want to join. And of all those, he believes, TCU decided to avoid playing in a conference against the same former SWC rivals that they've exhaustively tried to schedule in non-conference games for the past 15 years. Back here in reality, we've come to understand the fact that the Big 12 has no interest in new teams based on athletic prowess, but instead on marketability. The Big 12 has showed they don't want TCU, while the Big East does.
"When TCU beat Baylor, the newspapers acted like they had just beaten Alabama"
-Wrong again. The local media, which has been reluctant to cover TCU since the SWC broke up, simply gave the Frogs their due after their humiliation of Baylor. Had TCU simply beaten Baylor's best team in 20 years, you wouldn't have heard much. But championship-caliber teams are supposed to beat the Bears handily, and the Frogs absolutely destroyed them. I, for one, actually give Baylor credit for coming to face TCU in Fort Worth...unlike certain other teams...
"You can't even fill your own stadium"
-Oh, attendance smack. The ultimate fall-back for the ill-informed masses. But actually, we did fill our stadium three times this year, and four times in the past two seasons. For a school of about 6,500 undergraduates to average over 42,000 fans in a market saturated by pro sports and a myriad of other entertainment options, I'd say TCU is doing just fine.
So why does this guy, or any other UT fan like him, hate TCU with such passion? It's because we represent a threat to their monopoly on athletic success and fanfare in the state. For a long time now, the Longhorns have had a stranglehold on glory. Their fans enjoyed being the only ones who had signficant accomplishments of which to be proud (no offense to Baylor and their women's basketball national championship, but I put that right along with our national titles in equestrian and riflery). But now here comes little ol' TCU with Top 10 rankings, BCS berths and a brand-new stadium on the way for football as well as Top 10 rankings, All-America players and a College World Series berth (that went straight through Austin) in baseball. And UT fans can't stand having even a shred of the spotlight taken off of them. Are we not supposed to be proud of the success our Frogs have accomplished?
This was my first in-person look at this year's squad, so I'll talk about the product on the court first. The biggest difference, to me, is the addition of Hank Thorns at point guard. Having a true 1 out there has allowed Tuffy Moss to flourish as a shooting guard, giving the Frogs their best scoring threat since Corey Santee. This year's Frogs also have a much better ability to finish plays- Garlon Green, Sammy Yeager (despite an uncharacteristically cold shooting night) and J.R. Cadot all got the crowd on their feet with emphatic dunks. I don't want to put thoughts of the Final Four in people's heads or anything, but this is a team that will be refreshingly distant from the conference cellar.
While many believe that the Frogs will need a great improvement to be able to compete in the Big East, I think the biggest need for improvement with this program is in the stands. The box score will tell you there were a little over 4,000 there last night, but I'm not sure a TCU basketball box score has ever reported anything under about 3,500...and I've been at some games with much, MUCH fewer fans than that.
Don't get me wrong, here- I'm keenly aware of the status of this program over the past few years, so I'm not expecting Daniel-Meyer to be rivaling Cameron Indoor right now. But the student section last night was completely non-existant. I did spy a few pockets of what looked like current frat dudes, but they looked as if they couldn't have been less enthusiastic or likely to stand up or cheer.
It doesn't take much to make that arena loud and boisterous, but it does take more than nothing. I assume ticket sales will skyrocket once the team starts playing a Big East schedule, but it'd be nice if the crowd weren't 100% newcomers come 2012.
TCU's move a good idea? Our columnist debate Star-Telegram
TCU makes leap, accepts Big East invite Star-Telegram
Jobs or TCU coaches got easier and harder Star-Telegram
Horned Frogs ready for their close-ups Star-Telegram
TCU falls in line with the BCS machine Star-Telegram
TCU's move to Big East provides security ESPN
Gary Patterson glad TCU no longer non-AQ ESPN
TCU will enter Big East in 2012 Boston Globe
Texas: College football's new East Wall Street Journal
TCU's Carder makes AFCA All-America team Star-Telegram
Broyles award panel picks 5 finalists Washington Post
ESPN's Edwards: TCU could get title shot ESPN
UW football: Tale of the tape shows TCU smaller than UW-Whitewater Madison.com
Frogs beat USC, but Big East's a concern Star-Telegram
Trojans' woes continue as they fall to TCU, 81-69 Los Angeles Times
Monday, November 29, 2010
Waking up this fine Monday morning after a long and extremely fulfilling Thanksgiving break, I thought this would be a nice time to reflect back on all of the things we, as TCU fans, should be thankful for. And more importantly, all of the things that Boise State fans are NOT thankful for right now.
I am thankful for… the Nevada Wolfpack. Of course I had to lead with this one. Most of you guys probably fought off the post-Thanksgiving tryptophan blues and stayed up for the entirety of this one. Me? I was in New York, where the game didn’t start until after 10PM and I was running on turkey, dressing, and a combination of whiskey, wine, and vodka, a menagerie of cocktails even more volatile than the Molotov variety. Needless to say, when I got back to my room during the third quarter and it was 24-7 Boise, I was pretty much just praying for Nevada to cover and called it a night. So when I woke up at 6AM the next morning and stumbled to the bathroom, you can imagine my shock and awe when I saw “34-31” in favor of Nevada on my phone. In fact, I almost didn’t believe it and had to stare at it for at least 45 seconds to let it sink in. Could it? Could it be that Nevada posted a comeback against that defense, while completiely shutting down the much feared Broncos offensive attack? Well, I was on no sleep from that point on, just counting down the minutes until Gameday came on and I could verify the results… and HOLY CRAP IS THAT HOW IT REALLY HAPPENED? I honestly couldn’t believe it. But it really had to be that way, didn’t it? When you don’t lose a regular season game in 3 seasons, the chances of someone coming out and flattening you are slim and none; it would have to be a steady momentum swing, followed by the opposing team capitalizing on a few Boise mistakes, and perhaps come down to a last second field goal.
I just didn’t expect Boise to be the one to fudge up the last part.
I can’t imagine what it was like watching it in person, watching Kellen Moore hit Titus Young on the worst blown coverage in a hail mary situation I’ve ever seen, and have Kyle Brotzman have a chip shot to win it… and completely blow it. Seeing the replays, it REALLY looked like he made that… it must have missed by mere inches. But, Boise fans aren’t in a uproar, so I suppose it’s not really an issue. The bottom line is that Boise got beat… they just got beat. If you’re a team that’s supposed to be next in line for the national title game, you take care of your business when you’re up by 17 points on the road, and they didn’t do it. Major props to Colin Kaepernick and the Nevada D for coming up huge. There are a LOT of sad faces in Boise, Idaho right now… especially when you consider that they aren’t even going to win the conference, either.
I am thankful for… Kyle Brotzman. No, not because he more or less singlehandedly ushered TCU into the BCS, but because he showed me that there are more gut punching losses than the Ross Evans game. Seriously, I don’t think you can even compare the two. Sure, it hurt at the time for us, but we had no clue that those two missed FGs would cost us the game; they were painful mostly because we had some promising drives come up empty. But to miss a mere PAT to win it, and then miss another in OT from the same distance after making every single attempt since game 1 and cost your team a chance at the Rose Bowl or beyond? OMG that has to feel rough. You have to feel pretty awful for the kid, no matter that the end result was 100% positive for us. That’s just brutal.
I am thankful for… Andy Dalton’s bionic arm. I was wandering the streets of Manhattan during the bulk of the first part of our game and had to rely solely on iPhone updates to keep track. So with that situation laid out before you, you can imagine my grief when all I saw was, “Dalton sack, fumble, UNM recovered and returned to the 1” followed by, “UNM rushing TD, Stump Godfrey” followed by, “Gallegos incomplete pass.” Yogi is in? Holy shit we are SO toast! Given, I kind of figured that if Dalton was REALLY injured my phone would’ve been blowing up with frantic texts… but in the back of my mind I kind of wondered if everyone was just in shock and denial and didn’t know how to react at our season crumbling before their very eyes. Of course, I got home and saw the replay at halftime and everyone was all smiles and assuring us Dalton was fine, and Dalton himself said so after the game, but my goodness did my mood turn sour for a while there.
Also in a sour mood? Gary Patterson at halftime. Not sure how many of you could hear the broadcast live, but during the halftime break the VS crew snuck a camera into GP’s pre halftime huddle, with the disclaimer that, “We HOPE it’s a G rated affair.” Well, it wasn’t… and it was awesome.
I am thankful for… Casey Pachall. I thought it was kind of strange that Yogi came in and filled in for Dalton when he went down. Apparently so did GP and the crew, because Pachall came in the next series and Yogi never returned. Given, we should’ve been able to beat UNM with me under center, but Pachall came in and ran the offense like he was the starter all year. Well, ok, that’s probably a pretty big exaggeration considering we didn’t throw the ball much at all in the second half – but it can’t be denied that with Pachall under center for the majority of the game, the O had their biggest output of the season. He threw for a TD and rushed for another one while completing 4/6 passes for 54 yards, including a beautiful fake option throwback to Evan Frosch for the score. It may have only been one game against the worst team in division I or II, but you couldn’t have watched it and not felt a little less apprehensive about the future.
I am thankful for… Legs. Cause we got em. Four players with at least 50 yards, and four different players with a rushing score. Oh yeah, and none of them graduate. Think that fact terrifies everyone on our schedule for next year? Aundre Dean, Waymon James, Matthew Tucker and Ed Wesley , plus what Pachall brings on that front, is the best rushing attack in the country in any year. In the words of Bill Simmons, “NO ONE DENIES THIS!” Bring it, Tech.
I am thankful for… the BCS! Assuming the rumors have FINALLY come to fruition, TCU will officially accept an invitation to the Big East this afternoon… and I for one could not be more excited about joining the cartel. Even after reading Death to the BCS on the plane ride home yesterday, I am so glad to cast off our MWC bonds that I can hardly stand it. For one, no matter how you spin it, BCS recognition always beats no BCS recognition, even if you’re joining the worst BCS league there is – and we are. Second, everyone may want the Big 12, but how can you not think the Big East is better? In the Big 12, no matter what we do, we will always be second fiddle to Texas, aggy and OU, and possibly even Tech. Now? We’re the top dog and we’ll be able to forge our own identity without being accused of riding coattails to the top. We’ll run the table every other year, at worst, and spend New Years in Miami. We’ll have higher rankings to start the year and won’t have to worry about who we do or don’t play; if we win the conference, we’re in the BCS, no questions asked. I know some folks worry that the Big East could potentially lose their BCS status in the next round of negotiations, but just remember how strong the conference was last year and how they have a BCS game to show for every single season, plus ranked teams. Add TCU’s past 4 seasons, which includes 2 BCS berths and conference championships, and I’m suggesting there’s no way the resume doesn’t stack up, and it’ll actually be stronger than the ACC and possibly Pac 10.
And I haven’t even mentioned basketball in this. Our bball program, clearly, has nowhere to go but up. And we’re going to take some lumps. But would you rather get run over by Colorado State and Wyoming, or Syracuse and Georgetown? It’s a no brainer. Plus, over time we’ll sneak up on some of those teams, eventually; in a 30+ game season, it will happen. The Big East is the best basketball conference in the country in my mind – much better than the Big 12 – and recruiting will be vastly more stable for us than it currently is. I’m not saying we’re going to be a perennial NCAA tournament team, but at least this gives the program more than one leg to stand on and is a step in a positive direction, especially when your recruiting ground will be Texas and the north east basketball factory prep schools.
It must once again be stressed that Chris Del Conte took the timeliest job possible and has taken full advantage of what he has. Guy is a STUD. And it cannot be overlooked that the two men who came before him, Eric Hyman and Danny Morrison, deserve as much credit as anyone else not named Patterson. With Hyman overseeing a CWS winning team and the first SEC East champion football team in school history at South Carolina, and Morrison moving on to a coveted NFL job, could TCU be the Athletic Director U to Penn State’s Linebacker U?
On another Boise related note – if they felt bad about Friday night, how do you think they feel now knowing that they’ve basically quit the WAC to join the WAC, Sr.? Ouch guys. Just ouch. I’m sorry. Kisses!
I am thankful for… Alabama. Well, not as thankful as I COULD Be, but I’m thankful that they showed that Auburn can be beat, as long as you don’t completely fall asleep on them in the second half or get your QB concussed before a potential game winning drive. They absolutely shut DOWN Cam Newton early in the game and I’m still pretty shocked they didn’t win. But, clearly without the full support of the home crowd behind them – and that stadium was as pro Bama as it has ever been in history – the Tigers are liable to stumble and if you put the pedal to the metal on them, they will lose. I fully expect the entire state of South Carolina not located in Clemson to be in attendance at the Georgia Dome on Saturday. Throw the Frogs a bone here, alright?
I am thankful for… the Rose Bowl. Or, I’m thankful for the BCS for finally neglecting to let the Rose Bowl play by its own rules and take a team that it’s not entirely comfortable taking. In fact, I bet they HATE it and I wouldn’t be surprised if they expose the entire Oregon team to ecoli this week so they lose to Oregon State and have to come to Pasadena in the post season. And how sweet and ironic is it that the Rose Bowl is currently our guaranteed BACK UP plan? Big Ten and Pac 10 teams DREAM of playing in the Rose Bowl. In fact, in DTTBCS it talks about how Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler consistently got smoked in the Rose Bowl, yet are remembered as gods at Ohio State and Michigan. Just getting to the Rose Bowl is all that mattered, and we’re basically saying, “Yeah, I GUESS we’ll go there if we can’t get to the NC.” Greatness. Just absolute greatness. I love every minute of it. Expect a HOSTILE welcome by the old guard.
So I’ve spilled my beans, what are you guys thankful for this holiday season?
Yup, here it is- this email from TCU was forwarded to me just now from a friend in the media:
A major announcement involving the TCU athletics program will be made today at a 1 p.m. news conference in the Four Sevens Team Room of the Meyer-Martin Athletic Complex.
TCU chancellor Victor Boschini and director of intercollegiate athletics Chris Del Conte will be present.
TCU fans should stop, smell the roses Star-Telegram
Season coming up roses for No. 3 TCU Star-Telegram
For TCU's sake, let's go Gamecocks New York Post
TCU in great position for Rose Bowl, maybe more AP
Frogs life not charmed in bizarro BCS-land Killeen Daily Herald
Imagining life with no BCS Wall Street Journal
Frogs, Trojans to meet Monday in Fort Worth GoFrogs.com
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Wrong, according to the "experts" at ESPN.
Watching the BCS Countdown show on ESPN Sunday night, and it's clear that the network that has the television rights to the BCS is letting the nation know they do not want the Horned Frogs to be part of the championship game they'll be airing.
Kirk Herbstreit, Craig James and Rod Gilmore all declared that TCU would not deserve a shot at the title if Auburn or Oregon were to lose next weekend. In fact, Gilmore didn't even have TCU in his Top 5! It should be noted that Gilmore is a Stanford alum, and I believe shortnkerley's will be letting you know his opinion on Gilmore later this week.
When you look at this week's standings, it is clear that the computers and the human voters as a whole consider the Frogs to be the #3 team in the country. Given their healthy lead over #4 Stanford in the computers (they are actually closer to #2 Oregon than they are to Stanford), a scenario in which the Frogs are shut out of the title game for a 1-loss team would mean a good number of voters actively deciding to vote against TCU.
Keep an eye on what the haters are saying throughout the week...
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
So I want to hear your opinion: give me your regular prediction for the TCU game tomorrow (final score, players of the game for offense/defense/special teams) as well as who among Oregon (vs. Arizona), Auburn (at Alabama) or Boise (at Nevada) will stumble today.
TCU wouldn't mind a freaky Friday in college football Star-Telegram
Dalton, TCU hope memories aren't soured by BCS AP
No. 4 TCU at New Mexico: What you need to know Dallas Morning News
No. 21 TCU women lose to No. 10 West Virginia Star-Telegram
TCU ready for No. 17 Iowa State Friday afternoon GoFrogs.com
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Last week I believe I made the proclamation that I was finished with the movement watch, gave my predictions for the rest of the season and presumed that we were going to let that ride out. But then I checked the schedule and holy CRAP does Friday set up beautifully for some big time football watchin’; the top three HUMAN teams play, and none of the games overlap. So, when TCU takes the field Saturday afternoon in Albuquerque, it could be with the knowledge that the final outcome of the contest is going to determine whether or not the Frogs play in a National Championship game. No pressure, or anything. Here’s a look.
Friday Afternoon, 1:30PM, CBS. #2 Auburn @ #11 Alabama -4.5.
-This is a very, very weird game for TCU fans. On one hand, you want Auburn to lose to have a shot at the title game. On the other, Auburn still has a very, very good chance of playing in the Sugar Bowl, and if not there, the Orange Bowl, assuming they beat Bama and lose to USC. However, I’m sticking to my guns here and, like I said in the fake out final movement watch, picking them to lose to Alabama and Carolina. The Tigers have had a week off to prepare, but Alabama basically has too, roughing up Georgia State in a kooky Thursday night SEC contest. Barring some shocking turn of events – think Cam Newton turning himself in – Auburn will be at full strength and ready to take it to their rival for the first time in a couple of years. But, like I said, they haven’t played a tough road game all year, and have almost lost two of the three they did play. The game will be a lot tighter than any Tide fan will tell you, but they’ll pull it out in the end.
Friday Late-Afternoon, 6:00PM, ESPN. #1 Oregon -18 vs. #21 Arizona.
-I’m reposting what I wrote last week, because it’s the exact same way I feel today.
“Do you remember when Arizona knocked off Iowa, was ranked in the Top 10 and seen as a legitimate threat in the Pac 10? Do you also remember when Oregon State was ranked in the Top 25, was a major attribute to our schedule, and the annual Civil War game against the Ducks was seen as a logical defacto Pac 10 Championship? Me either. Those days are LONG GONE after the Wildcats dropped consecutive games to Stanford and USC and Oregon State went o-for Washington. True, Oregon faced the best defense they'd seen all year in Berkeley this past weekend and had it not been for a MAJOR faux pas by the kicker, may be sitting at the bottom of the Top Ten right now. True, Arizona is going to be the second best defense they face all year, only allowing 320 yards and 18 points per game. Also true? Texas has the 7th best defense in the country and they've lost 5 games, so sizing up a game based on stats is bullshit.
The Wildcats derailed Oregon's title dreams a few years back, but for us to even be able to put this in the same perspective the state of Oregon would have to be wiped off the map by a hurricane, thus moving the game to Tucson, LaMichael James would have to have the judge change his mind in his girlfriend abusing case and lock him up for the remainder of the season, and Darron Thomas would have to realize his lifelong dream of becoming a Broadway backup dancer and quit the team to head east. In other words, Oregon is going undefeated.”
Friday Late Night, 9:15 PM, ESPN. #4 Boise State @ # 19 Nevada +14.
-As I’ve so often done already, since I am now writing this post twice, I’m re-quoting last week I said that the Boise/Fresno game was going to be a pretty good indicator of how things were going to go from here on out. The glass half full indicator says, “Boise beat the piss out of Fresno and still didn’t jump us in the standings, despite them being ESPN’s gimp and despite TCU not playing.” The reality indicator says, “Sure, they didn’t jump us, but you’re an idiot if you think it’ll be smooth sailing if Boise wins this one.” I said I’d be biting my nails anticipating this past week’s rankings, but I’ll be in borderline cardiac-arrest mode if Boise Michael Vick’s the Reno Dogs like they did the Fresno ones. Other than the game against Virginia Tech, 14 point is the closest spread Boise has come up against in any game this season; and it’s really 17 if you factor in Nevada playing at home. And while earlier I pretty resigned myself to thinking that Boise, despite all of the hype surrounding this game and Nevada, would probably roll in a cake walk like they’ve done just about every week this season. However, after checking out Andrea Adelman’s column over at ESPN.com which detailed the last 3 Boise/Nevada matchups, my stance has changed a bit. Even when Boise has been at their best, Nevada has risen to the challenge, including last year, when Nevada gave Boise a tough match and then went out and got creamed by SMU in the Hawaii Bowl. In other words, this is definitely one of those games where the records do not necessarily matter. Unfortunately, I do think Boise will win, but if Nevada can keep it within 2 TDs, I think that will work out in TCU’s favor come Sunday evening.
Saturday Afternoon, 2:30 PM, CBS. #5 LSU @ #12 Arkansas -3.5.
-I’m not sure why they moved this game to Saturday - it used to always be Aggy/UT early Friday, then Arky/LSU at 1:30. Why do you have to screw with my expectations, network television!?!? – but they did, and it actually works out in our favor this year. Clearly Alabama/Auburn is more important to TCU fans in the long scheme of things, but depending on how that shakes out, this one becomes increasingly important. LSU, despite everyone wondering how the heck they’ve done it, only have one loss, and has one of the most ravenously dedicated fan bases in the country. Think some BCS game won’t snatch up Tiger Treats in a heartbeat? The general consensus is that, if it comes down to it, the Orange Bowl would take TCU over a one loss AQ team simply because they wouldn’t want to deal with the backlash, but if the cards fall, it could be Ohio State, TCU and LSU fighting for two BCS spots… do you really want those odds? Fortunately, Arkansas has some sort of weird voodoo over the Tigers in the years that they are favored and, particularly, when the game is in Little Rock as it is this year – google “Miracle on Markham” or “The one time in his career that Casey Dick didn’t make the Arkansas fan base want to mail him back to Allen in a body bag.” Given, one of those happened under the Rev. Nutt, but the main difference here is that under Petrino the Hogs are more inclined to play up to their expectations. LSU may LOOK like they’re finally found some semblance of an offensive rhythm… but they’re still ranked 52nd overall. Arkansas, of course, scores a shitton of points, and, unlike past years, actually ranks in the upper half of college football teams in total defense. This may not sound like much to us TCU fans, but believe me, this is an, “SMU being bowl eligible two years in a row” level of improvement. This is likely Ryan Mallett’s last regular season game in an Arkansas uniform and I think he throws the Frogs a bone here and eliminates LSU. Of course, if you read the press, there’s a very good chance the Arkansas could snag an at large bid with the win and only 2 losses… but even the BCS isn’t corrupt enough to put them over the Frogs.
Saturday Evening, 6:30 PM, Versus. #6 Stanford @ Oregon State +15.5.
-This game lost a lot of luster with Oregon State going in the tank, but after last week’s domination of USC, could the Beavers take out a ranked team two weeks in a row? With five losses, I don’t think they’re doing any favors to our strength of schedule, and this one only comes into play if Boise jumps us and the Rose Bowl has an open slot, but I’d much rather take Stanford off the table here and leave nothing to chance. It’s been said, but if there’s a fanbase that’s in a worse mood right now than ours, it has to be Stanford’s who could be Top 5 with one loss and end up in the Alamo Bowl. Ouch!
Of course, I suppose I’m obligated to remind you that unless we beat New Mexico, none of this means jack… but I feel pretty good about our chances. We’re favored by 44 and, unless the UNM team decides at the last minute that they REALLY like playing for a coach who fights his assistants and has won 2 games in 2 seasons, we’re probably going to cover. Should be a pretty exciting weekend for college football. Let’s just hope the cards fall our way.
TCU, Boise State fire back at Ohio State president Star-Telegram
TCU athletic director challenges Ohio State ESPN
TCU Coach Gary Patterson: Just because you play in the SEC doesn't make you a great school Dallas Morning News
Frogs aim for another perfect season in bout with Lobos The Sports Network
How the Ducks match up with Auburn, TCU and Boise State Oregonian
Clay gets FCA honor GoFrogs.com
Demolition begins at Amon G. Carter Stadium GoFrogs.com
Q&A with TCU swimming and diving question Richard Sybesma Star-Telegram
Notes on a Scorecard GoFrogs.com
Wylie gets another shot at W. Mequite, Boykin ESPN