Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Bad Memories

Eddie Dzurilla of Bleacherreport recently posted this article on the worst losses since Gary Patterson took over the reins from Fran. I had a hard time reading this bc it brings back so many shitty memories, but I brought myself to and relived some of the most gut wrenching-belligerent days that I have had in the past decade. My vote for worst loss goes to the 2003 Southern Miss game. While the loss to the Donkeys this past season was a doozy, that game over in Hattiesburg will forever haunt my dreams. I can just remember sitting at Mama's pizza that day thinking we were about to pull off a huge comeback victory and make history as the first BCS buster. That victory would have been monumental for TCU in the national spotlight and TCU would be remembered, among many other great achievements, as the first team to go to a BCS game as a non-bcs conference member. Not only did that dream fade that evening in Hattiesburg, but now we have to live with the fact that one of our current conference foes gets to have the title as the first BCS buster. What a kick in the balls.

One last regular season series

While the RPI carnage inflicted even while winning 3 of 4 against Air Force last weekend (the Frogs fell from #13 to #20...and have now fallen even further to #23) dashes the hopes of earning a Top 8 national seed, they still look like they're in a good position to host a Regional for the second straight year (and David Peterson of HornedFrogSports.com thinks he knows who they'll be playing that weekend). And really, I'm not ready to completely give up hope on a Top 8 seed just yet- after the disappointment of last year's conference tournament, I figured the Frogs' chances of hosting were shot, but the committee was prett forgiving.

Before they can celebrate that, though, they've got to take care of business in next week's MWC Tournament and before that, this weekend's final regular season series against Cal State Bakersfield. If there's good news on the RPI front, it's that the Roadrunners have drastically improved theirs from the high 100's down to #118. That's good news for TCU, because some of the teams dragging down the Frogs' strength of schedule were having the same effect on the RPI. But as they've learned against Air Force and Dallas Baptist, you can't just cruise by the weaker teams- and Bakersfield is just a few weeks removed from winning 2 of 3 over Arizona in Tucson.

While the team looks to wrap up a successful season on the field, things have been oustanding in the bleachers. Even with the three remaining regular season games, the Frogs have already set a program record for attendance this season, just as the football team did in the fall. Of the top ten attended games in Lupton Stadium's history, seven have been this year, and all five of the top five attended weekend series have come in 2010. This weekend's games need to average just over 2,200 for the season average to be 3,000 fans per game...which would be a nearly 40% increase over last year...which was the previous record. Well done, Frog fans.

Lessons in SMU Hate - Conference Expansion.

The end of result of a major conference "reassigning" SMU to its ranks.

I’ve long been wanting to work up a Dallas Morning News hate post disguised as SMU hate. I actually started a post along those lines months ago and have continued building it over time as I’ve gained more kindling for the fire, but it may be too over the top even for this site. For instance, the Jean Jacques Taylor section alone is over 1000 words, but more than half of those are the F and C words, so you can see how the editing required to make it public would probably dilute the message too much for everyone to completely understand how I feel. Fortunately though, the DMN is the gift that keeps on giving in the hate department, and their own Kate Hairopoulos produced an article this past weekend that stands up well enough to garner its own posting entirely.

In Kate’s defense, the hate derived from this article isn’t due to her specific style as she mostly gives equal play to both TCU and SMU and, although it she definitely gives it that little SMU punch that DMN writers are required, it’s not enough to condemn her to the scathing diatribe that should hit the interwebs this summer and potentially spell the end of SpitBlood as we know it. So without further ado, let’s talk a little bit about the SMU Mustangs – your new Metroplex favorite to replace Missouri or Nebraska in the Big 12!

In all of this conference expansion banter – aside from my Pullitzer nominated piece from Monday – we’ve mostly focused on TCU going to the Big 12, with remaining in the MWC being a bit of a last resort should the conference shakeup truly go down. Well, turns out SMU has been doing the same thing, and they’re starting to make their case. Pretty amazing what one year of success will do for a school’s ego, but I suppose when you’ve been the middle section of the human centipede of college football for the past 25 years, you better strike while the iron is at least lukewarm.

From reading the article,which is culled from separate conversations with TCU AD Chris Del Conte and SMU AD Steve Orsini, SMU wants you to believe two things: One, that they can absolutely dominate and deliver the Dallas market for a major conference. In this case, that would presumably be the Big 12. And two, they’re an athletic program on the rise, so potential suitors better catch them before they hit the stratosphere and have enough clout to be an independent like Notre Dame (that's an exaggeration, but only a slight one). It's a pretty good case… if the presidents of your conference are a classroom of drunk four year olds.

I mean, God bless SMU. They covet our success so badly and are so envious that it’s not the 1980s anymore as far as the rivalry is concerned that they have to create this bizarre reality for themselves where being an also ran in Conference USA gets you national recognition. And, honestly, who can blame them? A lot of major programs out there would love to have the success that TCU has had under Franchione and Patterson. But, when a trained dolphin -or, in this case, an unpaid blogger- can deconstruct the arguments for your position with the bare minimum of research, you’re probably in over your head.

Taking a look at the whole “delivering the Dallas market” argument, just use common sense by looking at their attendance. Even this past season – the most successful season of SMU Football in 25 years – their own fans didn’t care enough to attend the games. And while TCU obviously has its own attendance issues in the face of success, at least our stadium has the capacity to encompass a growing fanbase. With a brand new, state of the art stadium that only holds 32,000 people, what kind of statement are you making about your expectations? That you basically don’t have any? And it’s not like anyone outside of the hardcore fan is tuning in to a Tuesday night CUSA game on ESPN featuring a .500 SMU team and the Tulane (insert mascot here) . So basically, you’re going to carry the 5th largest media market in the country despite not having the seating capacity to hold more than 1.3% - yes, I did the math- of them nor giving them the ability to watch you on television because you're not on? Yes, I realize that theoretically if they join a major conference, they'll inherit a better TV contract, but is anyone in north Texas going to watch an SMU game unless it involves Texas, Texas A&M or Tech?

And before you start accusing me of calling the kettle black, remember I took the negative nelly stance that we're likely not at the top of a major conference's list either due to these same things. But I just want to make it perfectly clear that we're higher up the list than SMU.

True story: I was at dinner Saturday night with some folks, and there was a table of people behind us that must’ve been family of an SMU graduate as their ceremony was earlier that afternoon. A couple of the guys started arguing about football and one, apparently an SMU grad, was ferociously touting the team’s 8-5 finish last year, and especially their whipping of a Nevada team without two of their biggest three offensive playmakers in the Hawaii Bowl. But his friends, who I didn’t catch their affiliation, pretty much ignored the guy, despite the fact that anyone in the restaurant could hear him yelling. And it wasn't like they were ignoring him in the sense of, "Yeah, good point. I have no rebuttal." It was more like when you turn on the TV and Barack Obama is giving a speech, how you just cast your eyes downward in shame and shake your head, like you don't even know where to begin naysaying. When your team’s success is so futile that you can’t even inspire your alcohol'd up buddies enough to acknowledge your position, you’re probably not in jeopardy of getting picked up by a major conference anytime soon.

The second argument – that SMU is a program on the rise and better be acknowledged – is also, at present, laughable at best. I mean, sure, when you go from a season where you won approximately 1 game to a bowl the next is, by definition, improvement. And I’m not sitting here discounting June Jones’ abilities as a miracle worker, despite accusing him of fielding a team of rapists in order to gain notoriety in an earlier discussion. But the fact that one year of football semi-success would be enough to have the Big 12 or Pac 10 - yes, the article mentions that -come calling is just ludicrious. Their basketball team consistently loses to ours, if that’s any indication of that team’s success. And you know what their next biggest, men’s (read: money making) sport is? Soccer. A team that they opted to field instead of a baseball team.

Yes, that’s right, they don’t even have a baseball team!

In their Big 12 related defense, neither do Colorado or Iowa State… but it’s fucking 0 degrees in both of those states during baseball months, so what are you gonna do? Purporting to be a major athletic program in the state of Texas and not having a baseball team is kind of like purporting to be a porn star while savoring your V card. UTA has a baseball team. So does Texas State. SO DOES PARIS, TEXAS JUNIOR COLLEGE. IT HAS 2200 STUDENTS! MY HIGH SCHOOL HAD 2200 STUDENTS. ALSO, A BASEBALL TEAM. HOW CAN THEY TAKE THEMSELVES SERIOUSLY? AND I DON’T EVEN LIKE BASEBALL, YET STILL MAKE THIS ARGUMENT! AAAAAH THAT SCHOOL IS SO TERRIBLE!!

But baseball aside – and, in truth, it is because football is what drives conference expansion – the scariest part about the article is that SMU genuinely believes that they are a better candidate to be adopted by a major conference than TCU. For me, the crux of Hairopoulos' article are these two paragraphs which, coincidentally, are the first two of the article, so at least you can’t say she’s lacking for direct assertion.

SMU athletic director Steve Orsini sounded like a chamber of commerce brochure as he started ticking off his athletic program's attributes: beautiful facilities, beautiful campus in Dallas. All the pieces coming together.

TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte offered just as much persuasion, citing a school-wide

mission for excellence illustrated by what he describes as the athletic department's 10-year transformation, which led to the Horned Frogs playing in a BCS bowl last season.”

That’s it, Steve? That’s all you’ve got? I mean, if you’re trying to sell a vacation home in Del Boca Vista to a menopausal divorcee, then your discriptions of locational beauty are certainly pertinent, but an athletic department? If he genuinely believes that campus attractiveness is a major factor in this process, then he's obviously never traveled to College Station, Lubbock or Stillwater. How can you even compare the two programs? If this is the summation of his head-to-head battles, Chris Del Conte has the easiest job in the country outside of a professional golfer that keeps his dick in his pants – or at least knows how to appropriate hush hush money when necessary.

When I first took in the article, I honestly thought I was reading The Onion, the same farcical publication that has printed articles headlined, “Special Olympics T-ball Stand Pitches Perfect Game” “Mormon Family trying to ignore dog’s huge boner” and “My baby don’t need no damn medicine.” Heck, while I’m at it, “Don’t Tell Me You’ve never wondered what Yoda’s penis looks like” and “Pedophile Nervous for First Day of school,” have also graced their pages over time. That’s how rambunctuously ridiculous I thought it was. And if you think I didn’t use this paragraph mostly as a way for me to google search my way down The Onion's memory lane, then perhaps, “I Hope my baby don’t come out all fucked up and shit” will make that more clear.

Is SMU’s vision of reality clearly as distorted as Steve Orsini makes it sound? One honest to god, roundly mediocre football season in the past 25 years, and you’re ready for the Big 12? SMU lost to Washington State last year. You wanna know how many other games Washington State won last year other than that one? Well, look at your butthole in the mirror and you’ll find your answer. Maybe it's a Dallas thing. I mean, Cowboys fans, myself included, have tried to excuse the futility of the past 15 years based on the five Lombardi trophies residing in the team's trophy case, which is ironic because it's the same thing we deride Spurs fans for. And SMU, even at its peak, never even came close to imitating the success of those two franchises.

Look, I'm all for SMU upgrading and making the Skillet rivalry a little more interesting because, let's be honest, playing SMU has only been about a notch above playing Tennessee Tech in recent years. But, even if they manage to win a game or two against us over the next decade, they still have a LONG way to go before they can compare their success to ours, not to mention garner the national respect we're just now starting to receive. Even if your little brother beats you in one on one in the backyard, he's still your little brother. You can still go into his room and break all of his toys without much fear of retribution. SMU can walk tall all they want, but, as the great philosopher Ric Flair has taught us, to be the man, you gotta beat the man and before that, SMU has to prove they can beat the boys of Conference USA. Until that day comes, just stay in your place, Ponies, and get the hell off my lawn.

And that's today's lesson in SMU hate.

Morning Dump

Henry keeps giving, but would would love to take title at Colonial Star-Telegram

Beeler leads TCU women to fast start at nationals
Star-Telegram

Senior plans to dive at TCU
Hudson Hub Times

Calhoun expects conference shake-up
Colorado Springs Gazette

Mountain West president: Expansion gains support
Idaho Statesman

Early look at the MWC bowl picture
ESPN

Sorting through the Big 10 expansion scenarios
USA Today