Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kolby Griffin. One of the Good Guys.

Some of you may be aware - I was not until lyle brought it to my attention today - but incoming defensive back recruit Kolby Griffin has been lending some of his time this off-season to putting together a personal journal over at PurpleMenace. If you're familiar with Kolby, you'll know he's an extremely well spoken guy with a rock solid reputation and genuine excitement at being a Horned Frog. But after reading today's entry, I'll be rooting for him more than ever once he arrives on campus.

(Read the article, or else you'll be lost. Seriously. Do it.)

I know we can be pretty gruff and accusatory here from time to time, and it may seem that I especially have been known to revel in the misfortune of others, but to get personal for a paragraph, I can directly relate to what Kolby experienced at Camp Miles. My older brother was born with cerebral palsy and, while he's not anywhere near as incapacitated or dependent on others as the boy Kolby Griffin describes, it's still something that he has to struggle with on a daily basis. It takes a pretty incredible person to really integrate themselves into the lives of someone with this disability because, unless you've grown up around someone with it, you really can't understand all the intricacies and nuances of the person's psyche. My brother recently moved to Houston into the Brookwood Community, which is a pretty world class assisted living center for people with mental disabilities, and having been around the other residents, it really does open your eyes to how fortunate we all are. Character doesn't make tackles or score touchdowns, but based on Kolby Griffin's already immense talents, I think it's safe to say that by the time he leaves Fort Worth, he'll be remembered as one of my favorites to ever suit up at Amon G.

Lessons in SMU...Pity? The Self-Fulfilling Cycle of Suck (UPDATE).

SMU is doing their best to cut the kids, or in this case athletic support, in half.

So yesterday I put up a post pretty much outlining why SMU, as currently construed, will never be a society that enables football success. If it's not a lack of athletes, then it's a lack of administrative support and vis-a-versa. So today I come across an article published in the Dallas Observer that more or less mirrors what I wrote yesterday, but with a pretty glaring twist.

June Jones may be on his way out in Dallas. And the SMU Administration may not give two shits about it.

Ok, so it's not how it sounds - on the surface, SMU wants Jones. But the way they're treating his program makes it pretty clear that SMU either does not want a football team five years from now, or that the school is run by complete effing retards. I think it's a little bit of both. But, as the story will tell you, SMU offered Jones a contract extension last year amidst all the Hawaii Bowl hoopteedoo and made a big announcement about how he's going to be at SMU for a long time. The only problem? Jones hasn't signed the contract yet. And there are considerable rumblings that he may not even finish out his current deal. I knew this thing was bad, but holy crap it's SO much worse than any outsider can imagine. SMU has really crapped the bed on this one and, until they get someone with a semblance of competence in running the show, this could be one of the uglier power struggles you're ever likely to see.

For this to happen, and like I said earlier, SMU has to figure out who they really think they are. The article refers to another recruit who was actually accepted to Penn - an Ivy League school - yet had to go through the SMU subcommittee TWICE to gain acceptance. It's great to have academic aspirations, but that's just absurd. If SMU wants to be on par with schools like that, fine. It's not going to happen, but fine. But why make such a big production about the phoneix like rising of your football program if you're just going to tear it down? It's like buying a multi-million dollar yacht and then taking it out for a spin at Niagara Falls.

Naturally, the alumni are continuing to revolt and are even planning to run an ad in the Dallas Morning News smearing SMU President Gerald Turner. It's just incredible. Victor Boschini may be attempting to run the TCU Fraternity system into the ground, but my goodness, at least he's learned to not bite the hand - football - that feeds him. To think that SMU could go from the euphoria of a winning season and their first bowl bid in decades to this is absolutely shocking. Like I said, I can't even come up with proper hate for this. I just feel bad for them.

Viva Le Resistance!

Andy Dalton' Heisman Chances are Making the Sound of a Dying Giraffe

You'll recall a couple of weeks ago I put out the call to the hundreds of thousands who comprise SpitBlood Nation to get in touch with's Stewart Mandel re: his Heisman hopeful list and threaten nothing short of decapitation if he doesn't get our boy AD into the mix. Mandel is usually pretty reliable when it comes to correcting his errors and, as fate would have it, he didn't disappoint me this time. From his current mailbag...

Stewart -- I saw your list of preseason Heisman candidates and I am perplexed at how you could have left Andy Dalton of TCU off your list. I understand you have a lot of people to cover but he is coming off of one of the most successful campaigns that TCU has seen. He is a couple of games away from beating the school's all-time wins record. He may not be flashy, but he is a proven winner. Come on Stewart, get with the program.
-- Chuck, Dallas

That Heisman list must have been pretty all-encompassing, because I didn't get a whole lot of complaints about excluded players -- just a whole bunch from Dallas/Fort Worth. Dalton's omission was not intentional. Perhaps subconsciously my lingering memory of his three picks in the Fiesta Bowl affected my thinking, but that's not entirely fair, considering Kellen Moore -- who did make my cut -- didn't exactly tear it up that night in Glendale, either.

While Dalton is far from a favorite, I could see him entering the discussion early, especially if he has a big game in TCU's nationally televised opener against Oregon State. Beyond that, however, the Horned Frogs aren't going to play in a lot of must-see-TV games, and Dalton would have to put together much gaudier stats than he did last season (2,756 yards, 23 touchdowns, eight interceptions) and lead his team to another undefeated season to remain a factor.

Read more:

I'm not sure if Chuck from Dallas is a reader of ours, but regardless, we appreciate your dedication to the cause. Pretty cool that, out of all the potential snubs on his list, Dalton is the only one that stood out to Mandel and got the fanbase in an uproar. Shows that little old TCU has picked up a few more supporters over Dalton's career.

But I think the main thing to be noted in his reply is that it clearly reflects how the voters for these things think and why it's going to be exponentially more difficult for a non-BCS athlete to get into the Heisman mix regardless of statistics: The voters have shorter memories than a 12 year old without his Ritalyn and obviously have no clear idea how the whole satellite television + DVR arrangement truly works. These guys write about college football for a living. That's all they have to do. For Mandel, he puts out several columns a week and attends games on Saturdays. That's it. That's what he gets paid extremely well to do. So why couldn't he Tivo a couple of Frogs games and just watch a few offensive series in between Lost podcasts? And that doesn't even exist anymore, so BOOM, free time! Seriously, he could devote 30 minutes every other football weekend to seeing how Dalton plays and cast judgment. Like I said, it's his JOB! All of us would kill for that opportunity. Do those guys even go into an office? I mean, if we're considering this in normal job terms, he could potentially put in 40 hours a week of watching football, give or take a few hours to hash out his columns, and be fully informed. I'll make it simple, Stuey - record the Oregon State game, the Baylor game, the BYU game and the Utah game and just watch our offensive series. Heck, just watch passing downs. DVR's have a fast forward button. It's AMAZING! This will take considerably less time than it takes for you to figure out which underrated TV babe to make your mailbag crush. And come to think of it, YOU DISCONTINUED THAT TOO! So even MORE time! And while some, like WWHD, don't exactly use the whole DVR rewatch system to its highest efficiency, I have no doubt that a college educated sports writer could get this system down with minimal practice.

And also on that note, you can't see it until you click the article, but next to the reply there is a picture of Dalton from the Fiesta Bowl with the caption: "TCU's schedule could hurt Andy Dalton's chances of remaining in the 2010 Heisman race for long." Now, at first I took this to be the same old song and dance that our strength of schedule would be a detriment to his campaign, but after reading his response it's obviously television related as well. And while most of his top tier guys - Terrelle Pryor, Jacquizz Rodgers, Jake Locker, etc - are going to benefit from playing in BCS conferences with productive television contracts, he has Kellen Moore and Case Keenum in the same conversation. Ignoring the Virginia Tech game, is watching Kellen Moore pick apart stalwarts like San Jose State, Louisiana Tech and New Mexico State on ESPN superior to seeing Dalton do the same to BYU, Utah and Baylor on a second tier network? Or having the only proof of Keenum's existence be in box scores because no one watches CUSA games? Does ESPN really rule the world that much? Again Stu, DVR. The magazine will pay for it, I promise.

As for the former part of my argument, I'm not going to sit here and suggest that we should completely neglect what happened in the Fiesta Bowl; in the biggest game of Dalton's career, he didn't play anywhere close to his best game. No one holds that against him - it's not like he's Ross Evans and blew it despite the only person he had to look out for was himself - but it's true. So it's natural that, when putting together a preseason list of any sort, these mental midgets will give heavy consideration to recent events. But at the same time, what does it matter? It was ONE game, and while it was unfortunately the last one on record for AD, it was still just one game in 13. AND bowl games have no bearing on the Heisman voting. This is glaringly noted year after year when the Heisman runner up, typically matching up against in the favorite in the BCS National Championship, uses that snub as victory fuel. So, hypothetically, if TCU goes 12-0 this year and Dalton throws 3 INTs in the bowl game, it won't affect the voting. I'm not saying either of those things happen - although I think the first is extremely likely while the second is just the opposite - but just trying to show that the bowl game shouldn't be weighted heavier than regular season performance. Rewatch the Clemson game; we don't win that without Dalton. Nor the Air Force game. The Heisman has to focus on stats, I get that, but if Tebow won mostly based on crying and his "will to win," Dalton should at least be in the picture. And if he wants to imitate Tebow's Heisman season and score a bazillion touchdowns on his own, that won't hurt either.

But, in the meantime, let's take solace in the fact that our angry emails were heard and that when it comes to internet battles, we're currently 2-0 and batting 1.000. Mandel may just be one sportswriter, but if he's a heavyweight, and if we can get to him, we can get to anyone. Andy Dalton may not win the Heisman, but I'll be damned if we don't get him as much publicity as possible.

Go Frogs.

Pulling back the curtain...

I've got to be honest, for being a behind-the-scenes look at the making of this year's intro video, this youtube clip is actually fairly boring. But hey, it's July 15 so pretty much anything TCU football-related will get me excited.

Morning Dump

TCU's Andy Dalton selected for O'Brien watch list Star-Telegram

Dalton on O'Brien award watch list

Catching up with TCU Gary Patterson
CBS Sports

My MWC preseason picks


Festus Kigen ready to make noise this fall


Gray, Winkler and Ramirez no hit Korea

Braves' Coats fitting in with new his team
Bourne Courier