Friday, January 21, 2011

The 2011 Schedule Predicament

Will the Frogs end up staying home to watch "Are You Afraid of the Dark?" a few weeks this fall?

It has become a TCU tradition lately to be one of the last teams in the country to finalize the next season's football schedule. But as we look ahead to the 2011 football season, the schedule is as incomplete as Scott Tolzein's two-point conversion pass attempt. It's as if Ben Roethlisberger has gone to the bathroom with all of our autumn travel & wedding plans (fall weddings: a rant for another day...) and his body guards won't let us check on them.

As of last summer, we knew that the Frogs still had one slot open in their non-conference slate for 2011. When BYU left the conference, it left the MWC with just eight teams for this fall and opened up an additional OOC slot (because each team would play just seven conference games). Then as we're all well aware, Tech decided to drop their game in Fort Worth. Regardless of how you feel about the Red Raiders' decision, it leaves TCU with an eye-opening THREE empty dates in the non-conference schedule for the season that will begin in about eight months. For those of you not in the know, the two non-conference games currently on the schedule are a home game against SMU and a trip to Waco to play Baylor

It's a pretty safe bet that Chris Del Conte and the rest of the TCU Athletic Department are furiously working the phones looking for opponents to fill those openings. The question is, will they find quality games like Clemson and Oregon State...or I-AA cupcakes like UC-Davis and Tennessee Tech?

As if that weren't enough, Boise State is attempting to get their game against TCU in Fort Worth moved to the blue turf of their home stadium. They apparently have the support of the athletic directors of the Mountain West, and the school presidents of the conference (minus TCU) will make the final decision in the next week. If they are successful in doing so- and you have to wonder what motivation the other schools of the conference would have to vote in TCU's favor- it would leave the Frogs with just FOUR home games for this fall.

Wow, it's not as if I was looking forward to tailgating for the Tech & Boise games or anything! And as difficult as it will be for Del Conte & company to fill three OOC dates, losing the Boise home game would make it even more difficult because it increases the need to convince teams- on short notice- to come to Fort Worth to ensure a full six-game home slate.

Given the way TCU (and just about everyone else these days) generally schedules one I-AA home game a year, you can expect that at least one of these openings will be against a team from that level. I'm not going to debate the merits of this scheduling practice, but I would prefer that if TCU schedules a I-AA team that it at least be one with a bit of a novelty factor to sell tickets. Think about hosting Harvard or Yale for the satisfaction that would come from pummeling those eggheads or Grambling, Southern or some other school whose band would rock Amon G. Carter at halftime. Texas Southern, who would definitely fit that Grambling/Southern dynamic, is rumored to be a possibility.

But when you've got a program that has it's sights set on reaching the top of the rankings like TCU does, you can't fill every slot on your dance card with teams that would seem to validate the idiocy of people like Gordon Gee or Rod Gilmore. TCU has got to find games against quality opponents that will challenge our players and garner respect among critics.

A few teams that are rumored to also be seeking 2011 opponents include: California, Florida State, Navy, Cincinnati, Clemson, Kansas, Purdue, Boston College, NC State and Idaho. Which of these teams would be willing to come play in Fort Worth this fall? I don't know, but it sure seems like Clemson should owe the Frogs a return game- right?

Two other options rumored to be under consideration:

-BYU. As much as I'd rather TCU give the Cougars the ex-girlfriend treatment and act as if they don't exist even when in the same room, having three open dates this late in the game definitely qualifies as desperate times.

-Compromise with Boise State. The Broncos have long complained about the difficulty they've had bringing in quality non-conference opponents to their home stadium. Perhaps they would allow the lone intra-conference game against TCU to remain in Fort Worth if the Frogs agree to a future OOC game on the blue turf?

Clearly, this issue will be a top priority for Del Conte over the next few weeks. We'll try to keep you as up to date as we can.


Texas Hammer said...

Our friend Coach Swederson at had an interesting idea the other day - play all 2011 games on the road!

That way the Carter is COMPLETELY redone and ready for 2012.


pt2tons said...

check the listed site for open dates.

West Virginia needs another non-con to play. They have Marshall, Norfolk State, LSU, and Bowling Green at home. Maybe we can get them to come to Jerry World on Sept. 17th. UNT is open the weekend that the "High Plains Pansies" were supposed to come. The Eagles also have a brand new stadium in order to lose in as well. Houston, Louisiana-Lafayette, ULM, Tulsa, and Tulane all have open games and are relatively close. I know they are not the best FBS matchups, but I would rather have Div-1 over 1-AA.

Rotten Arsenal said...

Is it too early to just halfway write off the 2011 season as "Casey Pachall's extended pre-season"? With the excess away games/games against crap opponents/probably going to get some terrible calls in MWC games, I'm not sure how much we can expect this year.

Oh well, I still think we can pull off a nice sneak season and take another MWC title. Not sure I'd bet money on it right now, but still... I think we're still gonna look better than the 2010 Longwhorns

LA Frog said...

How about this:
Sept 3 @ Baylor (scheduled)
Sept 10 Clemson @ Jerry World
Sept 17 Cinncinati
Sept 24 @ California
Oct 1 SMU (scheduled)
Oct 8 UNLV
Oct 15 @ SDSU
Oct 22 New Mexico
Oct 29 CSU
Nov 5 @ Wyoming
Nov 12 @ Air Force
Nov 19 OFF
Nov 26 @ Boise

This provides some good OCC:
- Clemson recruiting opportunity
- Renew rivalry with Cinncinnati?
- TCU recruiting opp. in CA (get a home game for 2012 to make a great 2012 home OCC schedule with OK and VA)

This also provides all games in November to be away games so that TCU can start construction early.

And even the Mtn might get more subscribers for the end of the year battle with Boise (I'd be there)

Joe said...

Why not bring in Texas State if you need an FCS team.

1. They kept it reasonable in 09 when they came to Ft. Worth.

2. They are moving to the WAC in 2012 so they are not deemed an FCS patsy.

3. Most important, why not welcome Fran back to FW in style.

Sir Wesley Willis said...

I like wacky ideas as much as anyone, but fewer home games in a different seat> zero home games, any day. But I see his point.

As far as the whole MWC being against us thing, I say meh. Given the weakened conference, there's no reason why we can't be 6-1 in conference at the absolute worst, and I think we can beat Boise anyway. And unless we really stack the deck against ourselves in the remaining non conference, no way we lose at home to SMU, and I have no faith in Baylor beating us either. Truthfully, another undefeated regular season isn't COMPLETELY far fetched, but I'm also not counting on it. I'm also a homer.

All that to say - if we get a few questionable calls that cost us a game, we probably didn't deserve to win anyway. And besides, we're getting out of the hell hole that is the 2011 iteration of the MWC at the end of it... who cares?

Richard said...

Easiest way to solve this problem is something I heard on FranktheTank's blog:

Ask a BE school for a favor.

My idea is that if you can get a BE school (and opponent) to break an existing match, then both can play TCU, taking care of 2 of the 3 slots. For instance, FIU @ Louisville could become FIU @ TCU & TCU @ Louisville. Payouts would be the same. You'd need a BE school that wants a challenge. Louisville & USF? Those are probably the only BE schools that may look to upgrade their schedule. For USF, its UTEP @ TCU & TCU @ USF. Oh, and Rutgers has a open spot. WVU is evidently full (they're playing Maryland) as is Navy.

Richard said...

Oh, and Florida State, Cincinnati, Clemson, Kansas, Purdue, Boston College, NC State and Idaho have filled up their OOC schedules already.

That leaves Cal.

Playing BYU isn't a bad idea, especially since now ABC/ESPN has the 3rd most interesting slate of games on championship week (CBS has the SEC title game; Fox has the B10 & P12 title games; ABC has the ACC). ESPN likely would be willing to schedule a TCU @ BYU game during championship week if Hawaii is willing to move their game against BYU up to October.

Richard said...

Looks like someone else thought of the UTEP @ TCU & TCU @ USF win-win-win deal: