Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Thoughts on The Texas Series


A few thoughts on the upcoming series in Austin...

I REALLY hope Augie Garrido is arrogant enough to hold Taylor Jungmann (hands down Texas's most talented starter who has the most capability to dominate a game) back until Sunday like he did in their regional. I don't think this will be the case though, because I think even Garrido realizes the importance of game 1 in a series that will most likely be decided by pitching.

Just like Texas needs to throw Jungmann in game 1, I think we need to throw Purke in game 1 as well. Not only would that be a pitching matchup of two potential future early first round picks (Purke looks on track to do it again), but I think game 1 is of the utmost importance in a series like this. Purke may not have the best ERA and may not have been our best pitcher this past weekend, but I can almost guarantee that Texas hasn't seen a lefty this season with the kind of stuff Purke has. I do worry a bit about his nerves getting the best of him in the big spotlight, but Purke has been lights out lately and has enough experience this year and has really learned how to pitch off his fastball. I love Winkler and know he's a gamer, but I want the guy who is the most capable of completely taking over a game in the opener, and that is Matt Purke.

Cole Green, the Big 12 pitcher of the year, has really struggled down the stretch and I think the Winkler v Green matchup favors us at this point in the season. We beat Green last year in our lone win at the Super Regionals, so we should know what to expect from him. He's not overpowering like Jungmann and Brandon Workman can be, but he mixes pitches well and stays around the strike zone (24 walks in 106 IP), but doesn't strike many batters out. Green gave up 7 in 4 IP vs Aggy in the conference tourney, 4 runs in 5.2 the week before that, and 4 runs in 2.2 IP the weekend before that against La Tech. He did look sharp against Louisiana Lafayette last weekend, but it was ULL. There has been some speculation that he might be hurt, but then again, Texas fans make excuses for anything that go wrong.

I would feel extremely confident in a game 3 matchup with Stephen Maxwell pitching. I think Texas will work their rotation around from last weekend and not save Jungmann for game 3 (see my first point) and have Brandon Workman pitch game 3. Workman is extremely talented and was projected by many to be a first round pick this year but that wasn't the case. Workman was 12-1 this year, but has the highest ERA of any of their 3 starters by almost a run at 3.43. I haven't seen much of him this year, but in years past he was a hard throwing righty who can hit mid-90s and has a big, slow overhand curve. His fastball seems pretty straight (read hittable), so if we can catch up to the speed, I dont see it being an issue. Workman lost his job in the starting rotation last season with the emergence of Jungmann, so he didn't start against us in Austin. Maxwell stepped up huge Sunday in the biggest start of his life, and had Baylor hitters completely baffled. He seems to be hitting his stride right now as well, and if we have to play a 3rd game, he's the guy I'd want going there.

Don't give Texas a chance to use Ruffin in a save situation(gay pun not intended, but I'm not changing it now). Chance Ruffin, arguably the best closer in the nation, has been filthy since being moved to the closer's role this season with an ERA of .73 with 96 K's in 61.2 IP this season. That is not a typo. They may use him for multiple innings at a time in a tie game as well, so let's hope we can get leads early and not let put them in situations where he can thrive. Not to mention, this kid is a total douche who thinks he is God's gift to baseball, althought Matt Purke's Omahawk is sure to catch some serious shit while he's on the mound this weekend.

We are going to have to manufacture runs, not just rely on the long ball. This isn't like all the ballparks we have played in all season, many being in thin air against sub-par pitching. Douche-Falk (see what I did there) Field is enormous by college standards and is definitely a pitchers park. Our squad did set a school record for homeruns this season, but we have also shown an ability to manufacture runs with aggressive baserunning, bunting, advancing runners, and productive outs. Anyone who watched last weekends regional saw plenty of that kind of ball, and even got to experience the humor of Baylor and Lamar trying to play defense against it. Let's hope we come a little more prepared for Texas's bunts than we did last year as well, because everyone in the country knows that's how they play so we should've seen it coming.

Basically, I think in order to beat Texas this year, I think we have to beat them at their own game and not try to out-slug them, because they showed us last year that they can play that way too (has that Kevin Keyes bomb landed yet, and I wonder what Matt Carpenter said to him when he rounded 3rd...). Our starters and their combined 35-2 record need to continue to dominate, the back end of our bullpen (Tyler Lockwood and Kaleb Merck) need to continue to be rock solid like they have all year, and we need to manufacture runs and not rely on the long ball. I like the idea of Featherston in the leadoff spot because he is red hot right now, so let's hope he can keep it up and the heart of our order can drive in some runs early and often this weekend. Our team this year is light years better, especially on the mound and defensively, than the team we had last year, and let's hope Texas and their cocky ass attitude fail to realize that and we take full advantage.

I'll leave you with a little UT cockiness from their Cali douche leader Augie Garrido. After being swept out of the Big 12 tournament by Missouri (beat them), Aggy (beat them), and Tech (beat them 4 times), Phil Jackson wannabe and ultra-douche Augie responded with "Even a lion passes up a kill if it just ate". Well Augie, you cocky drunken asshole, it's time for you to starve...

Holaday picked by Detroit in 6th round

Bryan Holaday, TCU's Johnny Bench Award-finalist catcher, has been picked by the Detroit Tigers in the 6th round of the MLB Draft (193rd overall selection). For you complete morons out there, don't worry- he (and any other drafted player) can finish the season with their college teams before moving on to pro ball.

Elsewhere, the first of TCU's signees has been selected. Tyler Green, a right-handed pitcher from Brazoswood HS, was picked by the Arizona Diamondbacks with in the 8th round. Even though the Frogs were lucky enough to have Matt Purke turn down 1st round money last year, I don't think you can assume that Green will pass up 8th round money. I don't know what 8th round money is, but it's probably enough to seriously sway an 18-year old into skipping college. We'll just have to wait and see with him.

Schadenfreude: Baylor Edition

While we typically limit non-TCU postings on this site to jam-band related deaths, I feel like, with the weekend's pounding still fresh in our minds, this post will be deemed appropriate. At the risk of having another post flailing our hands about conference expansion, I'll spare the details and commentary about possible scenarios and reveal one truth that will likely be self evident if anything happens: Baylor is SO fucked. And they know it, too.

We're all familiar with the potential Pac-16 expansion where the Conference grabs six altogether non-Pacific teams from the Big 12, being five members from the south division and Colorado. You've also likely realized that the sixth south member not included is none other than the Baylor Bears, otherwise known as the chairman of the metaphorical Lucky Uterus club. In this instance, said lady parts would belong to former Governor Ann Richards, who all but forced Baylor into the Big 12 over SMU, TCU, Rice and Houston when the Big 12 was formed, seeing as how she went there and all. See what happens when you elect a democrat?

As we're all well aware, Baylor is by no means shy about building themselves up by way of their conference affiliation, which is about as relevant Houston Texans fans - they of 0 playoff appearances - legitimizing their team because they beat the Dallas Cowboys in their first game as a franchise. The best part about it, though, is that Baylor genuinely thinks they bring something to the table, despite their relative lack of success in money making sports, IE football. And that is what makes them being left out of the Pac 10 expansion discussion altogether so satisfying.

Baylor would have you believe a report that the Pac 10 is willing to substitute the Bears for the Buffaloes if the ball really gets rolling on their proposed mega conference. But in these emails gathered by the Dallas Morning News, Baylor regent Buddy Jones apparently sees the writing on the walls for the Bears, and let's just say it's not too positive.

That Waaahmbulance you have stalling on the other line? Better give them the directions to Waco.

In his emails, Jones PLEADS with the major alumni, suggesting that if Baylor isn't allowed to piggyback their way to more success, it would be "perhaps a setback of immense proportion!" He begs them to contact the major power brokers from Texas, Texas Tech and Texas A&M and plead Baylor's case to be included in any potential realignment deals. He even gives them a few talking points, which I will naturally pick apart here:

  • The four Texas schools in the Big XII conference have decades (if not a century) of history as being a family. The continuation of this almost sacred relationship is important to our State and to higher education in Texas.
Oh yeah, asswipe? Where was that "sacred relationship" when you ramrodded your way into the Big12 in lieu of equally, if not more deserving schools like TCU, SMU and Houston? They'll cite that they were a charter member of the conference, which I will note, but so was Rice. And SMU came in three years later. What happened to "family" then? Baylor is like the accidental child you had during a drunken fling with a Taiwanese hooker that you can't get away from because she has DNA evidence that you're the father, so you have to raise it as your own and give it all the breaks your legitimate children would receive. Or maybe that's only happened to me...
  • As the Big 10, PAC 10 and Big XII discuss re-alignment, the best possible scenario for these four schools (U.T., A&M, Tech and Baylor) is to stay in the Big XII Conference as it currently exists. That is the absolute BEST THING FOR ALL OF US – KEEP THE BIG XII INTACT.
Yeah it's great for everyone... except for the fact that the above mentioned schools would generate TONS more money by dumping the Bears and forming a super conference without them,as outlined by every article ever written about conference expansion
  • However, if some schools in the Big XII North feel compelled to go elsewhere (we hear rumors of Colorado, Missouri and Nebraska looking toward the Big 10), the next best scenario is to KEEP ALL SIX SCHOOLS FROM THE BIG XII SOUTH AS A PACKAGE DEAL. Do not leave Baylor out.
If you lose the two dominant football schools in the Big 12 North, what do you do then? Let's say the Big 12 stays intact, likely the only way Baylor will remain a part of a BCS conference. Then you have an even more lopsided conference. Actually, maybe this IS the best scenario for the Bears - if Nebraska and Missouri leave, then Baylor could be shifted to the Big 12 North, where at least they wouldn't have to finish sixth in the division every year... because there'd only be five teams.

  • There was a report today that the PAC 10 might extend an offer to invite five of the South schools to join the PAC 10 (Texas, A&M, Tech, Oklahoma and OSU). The report said Baylor would be replaced with Colorado. This is Armageddon for our University. This would be devastating to Baylor and to the state of Texas. WE MUST STICK TOGETHER.
Think this has been covered. Even Armaggedon star Bruce Willis would agree that this situation would be bad for Baylor
  • Baylor is superior to Colorado academically. Baylor has athletic facilities superior to Colorado. Colorado doesn’t participate in the number of sports that Baylor does. Baylor’s overall record in all collegiate sports dwarfs that of Colorado. Our football, basketball (women’s and men’s), baseball, softball, track, tennis, golf programs are vastly superior to Colorado’s. The Baptist church base extends across the country and certainly trumps the University of Colorado’s local base limited to a small town in Colorado.
Now here's where the real fun begins. As far as the number of athletic programs each school boasts, I suppose I can't dispute facts. If Baylor has more in number, then there's no argument Colorado can give. As for facilities, I've never had the pleasure of visiting either campus, so I can't be the judge there either, although I will say that Folsom Field in Boulder has one of the coolest settings you will see in all of college football. And while you can't argue that Baylor's men's basketball program is on the rise, let's not forget they aren't 10 years removed from one of the biggest murder scandals in NCAA history, if not THE biggest. Scott Drew has put together a solid program in Waco, but let's not kid ourselves - that guy is one of the slimiest coaches this side of John Calipari and, as their success grows, it's only a matter of time before his "tactics" are exposed. There's a reason why every other coach in the conference hates the guy. This would likely not settle well with a conference whose flagship football school is embroiled in some controversy of their own.

And when you start arguing for inclusion based on your golf and softball teams, I have to take some issue. This move is 110% about football and football related revenues. And, while Colorado has seen some SERIOUS down years under current Head Coach Dan Hawkins, there's not even a remotely legitimate argument Baylor can make in light of touting their accomplishments over that of the Buffaloes.

Colorado is the 16th winningest college football program of all time; Baylor? Well, they don't mention any sort of accolades in this department, but seeing as how they have 140 fewer overall wins, I think it's safe to say they aren't exactly knocking down any barriers. In the conference titles department? Colorado has 26 to Baylor's... 5. Yes. Five. And actually, four and a half because they shared their last one... in 1994... in the Southwest Conference... that doesn't exist anymore. Shall we talk bowl appearances? 27-16, Buffs. Big 12 division titles? 4-0 Buffs. Heisman's? 1-0 Buffs. National Titles? 1-0, Buffs - although I'm not going to say that Gary Barnett did it the "right" way, but it's still probably as legit as Baylor's recent Elite Eight run. Head to head results - Colorado 9, Baylor 6 and 4-2 since the Big 12 was formed. And the ultimate trump card? The one around which this entire debate centers? Baylor's football program generates roughly $44 million annually. Colorado generates roughly $53 million annually. I'm not mathematician, but that's nearly a 10% difference, which, when you're talking millions of dollars, is a pretty significant difference. I'm not trying to act like I'm some know it all about either football program, but if we're talking hard numbers, can you argue with me?

I was going to expound upon the whole "THE ENTIRE BAPTIST CHURCH BACKS BAYLOR!!" vs "ONLY A SMALL PART OF COLORADO BACKS THE BUFFALOES" scenario, but I couldn't stop laughing long enough to type. Let's just leave it at this: Denver, which is seriously just over a mountain from Boulder, boasts the 16th largest media market in the country. Waco? 89th.

I rest my case.
  • I am asking you to commit to me to keeping all six schools from the Big XII South together if we can’t keep the whole Big XII intact. BAYLOR MUST BE INCLUDED IN THE PACKAGE. Make it clear that when it comes to our four Texas schools, IT IS ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL!!
... And when you begin quoting movies starring Chris O'Donnell and Oliver Platt, I think it's time to close.

Until we started playing them again in football, I really had very little against Baylor. Seriously, they were always a tiny fish in a big pond that might occasionally make ripples. Their biggest victory in 20 years is an overtime win against the 8-5 2004 Texas A&M Aggies. Truly an accomplishment to hang your hat on. I just always assumed they had no fans. But once I was forced to pay attention to them again, I realized that they may have the very worst fans in the entire country, definitely in Texas. Scott Nix may have accused us of being a bunch of trust fund punks who ride our daddies coattails to success, but holy hell, Baylor's entire EXISTENCE is based on riding coattails. They were invited into the Big 12 and allowed to reap those benefits because the governor at the time happened to be an alumnus. And now, if they don't get their way, they're going to attempt to do it again!

My initial thought in this entire thing has been that if Texas - the biggest money shaker in all of these negotiations - ever decided to leave, aggy would be the only attachment based on the history and politics of their relationship. Oklahoma could be penciled in as an annual non-conference matchup and Tech may or may not be factored into their furthering scheduling. Now it looks like Texas would definitely not leave without Tech, but Baylor? I still just find that hard to believe. I'm not so naive to think that the state legislature would not get involved in any negotiations involving the three major state institutions, but would they really argue on Baylor's behalf?

To Baylor's credit, god bless them for taking such a proactive stance in all of this because, really, who has more to lose than them? You could say Iowa State, but they don't seem to be the primadonnas that Baylor are and would grudgingly accept their place in the MAC. Baylor though? Where do they go? Logic would dictate to the Mountain West, but, truthfully, where is their place? Boise is first in line, and then they'd presumably be up against Kansas, Kansas State, Houston, Fresno State, Nevada, etc, and would you take them outright over any of those schools? Would Conference USA add them to their already overflowing roster of schools?

The only thing that we can continue to say is that this situation will surely be fascinatingly ugly to watch unfold. And I hope Baylor ends up being the guy standing in the corner frowning and stroking himself during the orgy.

TCU again in exclusive group

As gofrogs.com pointed out today, the Horned Frogs have for the second straight year finished in the Top 10 in football and reached the Super Regionals in baseball. The only other schools to accomplish that feat this year are Texas, Florida and Alabama. Not too shabby, considering the other three are 800-lb gorillas with more current students than TCU has living alumni.

By winning the Super Regional series in Austin this weekend, TCU would join an even more exclusive club. That's because only nine schools have ever played in a BCS Bowl and the College World Series in the same school year (although a few have done it multiple times). It would be pretty sweet for TCU to be #10.

Stadium Funding: 80%

We've all been waiting for an update on the stadium renovation for a while, and today Mac Engel of the Star-Telegram delivered with this informative article. Among the highlights:

-Funding for the project is at about 80%. The fundraising deadline for the renovation to take place next offseason is June 30.

-The new seating capacity will be just over 40,000, but with the ability to easily increase to 50,000-55,000 should the need arise.

-The north & west sides of the stadium will be redone first, with the 2011 season being played in a partially-completed stage with a temporary capacity of 34,000. The east side is expected to be complete in time for the 2015 season. This is a change from what we've been hearing, which was that the east side renovation would be done almost immediately after the west.

-After the soccer and football facility upgrades, there are long-range plans to possibly double the capacity of Lupton Stadium.

Since we are all just trust-fund PUNKS, according to some among the killerfrogs crowd, I figured I'd post this in hopes that you'd forego your helicopter safari in the Serengeti this summer and help raise that last $20 million or so to make this thing happen.

Morning Dump


TCU baseball rounding third on the way to Omaha Star-Telegram

TCU rolls into Austin playing its best ball Star-Telegram

Are the Horns' bats enough to get past TCU? Austin American-Statesman

Conference Expansion:

Could Mountain West target Kansas, K-State? Topeka Capital-Journal

Sixteen Conference Expansion Scenarios SI.com

Mountain West doesn't invite Boise State...yet Star-Telegram

Mountain West made the right decision about Boise State Deseret News

Mountain West puts off expansion- for now San Diego Union-Tribune

Conference chaos derails Boise's big day Idaho Statesman

Wait continues for Boise State Idaho Press-Tribune

MWC holds off on Boise invitation Salt Lake Tribune

MWC expansion plans put on hold- for now The Coloradoan

Other TCU sports:

Cannon and Patterson named to Playboy All-America Team gofrogs.com

TCU Track ready for final round of national championships gofrogs.com