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?