Thursday, November 25, 2010

Movement Watch, as dictated by a dying Sir Wesley

OK, so he's not really dying. But he's on some trip with his family, so he wrote up his usual movement watch post a bit early and asked me to post it for him. So anything you read from here forward is straight from Sir Wesley to you...through me:

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 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.

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