Friday, February 12, 2010

TCU Merchandise Moving On Up

The Collegiate Licensing Company has ranked the university No. 55 out of 75 top-selling institutions for collegiate merchandise for the first quarter of the 2009-2010 year. The university moved up four positions from the fiscal year ranking for 2008-2009.
University bookstore general manager Llisa Lewis said she thought the university would be ranked higher by the end of the 2009-2010 year.
The rankings were based on licensing royalties, which Lewis said is why the university ranks lower when compared to other schools. She said licensing royalties were collected not only on merchandise sold in the university bookstores, but also merchandise sold at other outlets nationwide. The University of Texas at Austin was ranked No. 1 for the fourth consecutive year on the CLC's list for 2008-2009.
The University of Florida, Louisiana State University, the University of Alabama and the University of North Carolina were listed in the top 10. Lewis said she was not surprised these schools were near the top of the list because of their national exposure and the number of students enrolled at the schools annually.
Lewis said she thought that if the schools were ranked by royalties returned per-student, TCU would rank higher. She said a nationally well-known school with more than 50,000 students could more easily out-sell a regionally well-known school with fewer than 10,000 students simply because of the number of alumni.
She also said increased national exposure from this year should contribute to increased university merchandise sales. Bookstore employees have been receiving orders from Horned Frog fans nationwide, she said.
"We got so many Christmas calls for 5- to 10-year-old little boys who wanted a jersey," Lewis said. "I had one dad who was calling from Ohio and he was like, 'Well, we're in the playoffs, and he wants a TCU jersey.'"
While sales made during football season account for a large portion of yearly revenue, Lewis said the university's unique atmosphere was another big draw for consumers.
"I think the value of TCU (is) in its entire program, not just football, but the entire school is reflective in what people see in the football program," Lewis said. "They see a core value, no gimmicks...and an honesty that just isn't out there in, unfortunately, a lot of other programs, both pro and college."
Lewis said she could not provide exact figures for total collegiate gear sales because the information is privileged, referring questions to Brian Gutierrez, vice chancellor for finance and administration. Gutierrez could not be reached for comment before press time Thursday.
Freshman pre-business major Andres Ventura said he thought the ranking could be higher, and he agreed that the success of athletic programs on campus probably contributed to the school's ranking.
Freshman nursing major Sarah Woolman, who was shopping for Clinique products with her mother and grandmother Tuesday afternoon, said she thinks the school's ranking will be higher next year. She said the atmosphere on campus combined with the bookstore's post-game clothing discounts after football wins may boost the school's ranking.
Michele Woolman, Sarah Woolman's mother, said the type of sales the university bookstore offered during football season were similar the merchandise discounts after football games at the University of Oklahoma's bookstore. Sarah Woolman transferred this semester from the University of Oklahoma, which was No. 10 on the 2008-2009 CLC list.

2010 Recruiting Class Intros - Mash Up, part one.

After the initial run on intros, I've hit a bit of a wall in regards to youtube footage of the remaining members of the 2010 class. I've searched and searched, but either haven't been able to find anything at all, or haven't been able to find anything that would really give you a good idea of what to expect from the new guys. I also don't have lyle feeding me links, so that doesn't help the situation either. So, as a compromise, I'm just going to do three mash ups over the next week for the remaining 13 members of the class who haven't been looked at. Will anything I have to say be novel or original? No. Is this mostly just an attempt to not let football season die? Absolutely - and I feel like at least a handful of you will be on board with this, so let's get it started!

Jonathan Anderson - DB, 6'1", 196. Corpus Christi (Carroll HS).

Anderson comes in as the 32nd ranked prospect in the state at his position and the 54th ranked prospect overall as a high school safety. From what I can tell, this kid will fit the mold perfectly for a Patterson trained hard hitting run stopper. He's not as fast as some of the other kids we have in this class - 4.69 - but what he lacks in speed he absolutely makes up for in on-field destruction of opposing runners. I'd speak more to his coverage abilities, but his highlight tapes were mostly just of him blowing up running backs, and I'm perfectly ok with that. Could fit the GP hybrid safety/LB mold. He probably needs some tuning up of his tackling skills - he relies a lot more on brute strength rather than technique, and against higher level competition, this will haunt him - but if you don't trust our defensive staff to develop players at this point, then you probably never will. I wouldn't expect him to see the field too often this season as a redshirt is likely, but he should be a fun kid to watch develop.

Matt Anderson -ATH, 6'2", 214. Vanderbilt, TX (Industrial HS).

Another one of our signing day steals, Anderson comes to Fort Worth after being a firm commit to, of all teams, Utah. However, his family eventually urged him to Fort Worth and he has not looked back since. He's another one of the now extremely well known "high school running back that will play defense" recruits that have become Patterson's calling card, and Matt will be a safety for the Horned Frogs more than likely. He's very quick for his size - 4.55 - and extremely athletic, so I'd look for him to play free or weakside safety for GP, although with some size he could maybe even play linebacker. However, all of this is just assuming he's able to keep up and remain competitive - he is coming off of an ACL injury, not to mention the learning curve of switching from offense to defense. I think, if he can stay healthy though, he may be the dark horse of this recruiting class.

Travaras Battle-Smith
Travaras Battle-Smith, ATH, 5'10", 175. San Antonio, TX (John Jay HS).

One of the earlier commits for the 2010 class, Battle-Smith is already on campus and ready to compete in spring drills for the Frogs. He committed before his senior season of high school and has been solid ever since, so you have to admire his desire to play for TCU. He projects as a cornerback and looks to be a Rafael Priest type. In high school, B-S was sort of a jack of all trades - he played running back, defense, blocked kicks, returned fumbles for TDs and had one of the craziest punt returns I've ever seen that could only happen in a high school game. Seriously, check his highlights. However, and perhaps I'm just being cynical, but you know the old saying about a jack of all trades is that they are "good at all things, great at nothing" so you hope that he's able to make big strides when he's a one position player. He's very, very athletically gifted and has the size you want to see out of a quick, sniping corner, but it will be interesting to see how he does with one on one coverage against big, fast receivers from Utah, etc (not BYU though. Them boys slow as molasses!). Travaras was phenonemal in high school because he was the best athlete on the field the majority of the time - it will be interesting to see how he steps into the role of cornerback for the Frogs and tries to fill some major shoes of guys that have previously played the position.

Stephen Bryant
Stephen Bryant, ATH, 6'5", 220. New Deal, TX (New Deal HS)

The last signee we'll take a look at today is Stephan Bryant, an athlete from New Deal who will get his first action for the Frogs as a tight end, although he could grow into playing a variety of positions for TCU. He has tremendous size for an incoming recruit, and even better speed - 4.59. Tight ends have been a very hit or miss position for the Frogs. Some have been great - Schoebel - others have been good - Andrus - and some have been, well, not - Raegan, but that's not entirely his fault. I'm personally a big tight ends guy and think if you have that weapon who can block and catch for you, you can become an elite team. However, Evan Frosch and Logan Brock weren't exactly featured players this season, which is fine given our receiver and back talent, but you'd love to add that wrinkle to your offense from time to time. If Bryant can develop, it's entirely possible he'll become a major threat for opposing defenses given his quickness, but, coming from New Deal to Fort Worth is a major jump, so it's difficult to predict that will happen.

So there's your first mash up installment, of which there will be two or three more, each perhaps even more lackluster than the ones preceding it. Enjoy your weekend, and for those of you who are already working on day 2 of a weather induced 4 day bender like myself, keep on fighting the good fight.

TCU OC Fuente interviewed with USC

TCU offensive coordinator Justin Fuente interviewed with USC and coach Lane Kiffin on Thursday for the open offensive coordinator position with the Trojans, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

Fuente, who has been with the Horned Frogs since 2007, was one of two candidates who interviewed with USC this week.

Fuente started his career with the Horned Frogs as the running backs coach and was promoted to co-offensive coordinator in February 2009. During his first year as offensive coordinator, TCU set single-season school records with 488 points and 5,629 yards of total offense. TCU ranked third nationally in passing efficiency (162.2), fourth in total offense (469.1 yards per game) and scoring offense (40.7 points per game) and fifth in rushing (256.5 yards per game).

Fuente, who went from coaching running backs to quarterbacks in 2009, made junior Andy Dalton the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Year.

Fuente headed to L.A. ?

According to ESPN's Graham Watson, TCU Co-Offensive Coordinator Justin Fuente has interviewed for the OC position at USC.

Hopefully the lure of the bright lights of Hollywood won't be too much for Fuente to turn down and he'll realize that working under Patterson will be better for him in the long run than working under Lane Kiffin, who is going to have Chris Hansen jump out and surprise him one of these days if he keeps recruiting underage kiddos.

But I guess this is the price you pay for success. Of course there are the constant rumors of other, bigger schools wanting to come after Patterson, but I think you'll start to see other programs come after GP's assistants more and more. David Bailiff was the first to cash in on his apprenticeship under GP when he became the head coach at Texas State (and then Rice), and last year we lucked out when Illinois came calling for Mike Schultz.

So here's hoping that Fuente sticks around, but best of luck to him if he ends up moving on.

Friday Snow Day Funny

Very funny. Props out to fizzle for the find.

Expansion Bad for MWC

From ESPN College Football Blog:

The Mountain West’s quest to be an automatic qualifying conference is starting to hit some choppy water.

Two years into the four-year evaluation that could ultimately make the Mountain West an automatic qualifier, the conferences top three teams -- Utah, TCU and BYU -- have held up their end of the bargain, going to two BCS bowl games, notching double-digit wins and finishing the season ranked in the Top 25. But the good fortune of those schools has caught the eye of suitors from conferences such as the Pac-10 and the Big 12.

This week, talks heated up about Utah, BYU and TCU being candidates to fill holes in those conferences should expansion occur among the “Big Six.” The Big Ten kicked off the expansion talk in mid-December and this week, Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott said now would be the right time for the Pac-10 to talk about expansion as well.

Utah and BYU have been mentioned as possible candidates for the Pac-10 and TCU has been rumored to be a Big 12 replacement should Texas or Missouri end up in the Big Ten.

Any one of these scenarios would hamper the Mountain West’s hopes of becoming an automatic qualifier.

If Utah, BYU or TCU is invited to an automatic qualifying conference there’s no doubt they’d go. The money, the bowl contracts, the guaranteed shot at a BCS bowl every year without going undefeated is too enticing to pass up.

If the Mountain West lost one of its top two teams, it could probably add Boise State and still have enough juice to warrant an automatic bid. But if it lost two of the current top three teams hopes for an automatic bid would be dashed. The bottom half of the conference isn’t good enough to balance out the loss even if Boise State joined the league. And honestly, if the Mountain West lost two of its three top teams, Boise State would be better served staying in the WAC for better television exposure and more money.

It was less than a month ago that rumors about Boise State heading to the Mountain West started heating up again as the Mountain West looked well on its way to becoming the seventh nonautomatic qualifying conference. Now, the Mountain West is just trying to hold its current conference together.