I think we can all agree for the most part if we had to pick one bright moment from Friday night's game it would be the performance of one Casey Pachall, Mr. Pachall if you're nasty. And you are. Be honest with yourself. But just in case there are still those of you out there who are skeptical of whether or not we can depend on our QB play to keep us in games this year, let's play a game. Check these numbers:
A - 17/27, 175 yards, 6.5 yards per completion, 1 TD, 2 INT.
15 carries, 54 yards, 4.3 yards per rush, 2 TDs.
B - 16/25, 120 yards, 4.8 yards per completion, 0 TDs, 1 INT.
17 carries, 56 yards, 3.3 yards per rush, 2 TDs.
C - 15/21, 177 yards, 8.4 yards per completion, 1 TD, 0 INT.
8 carries, 21 yards, 2.6 yards per rush, 0 TD.
D - 25/39, 251 yards, 6.4 yards per completion, 4 TDs, 1 INT.
9 Carries, 23 yards, 2.3 yards per rush, 1 TD.
E - 18/30, 205 yards, 6.8 yards per completion, 1 TD, 0 INT.
7 carries, 7 yards, 1.0 yard per rush, 0 TD.
For those of you who are either too dense to grasp it or were not TCU fans before the Rose Bowl, those are the numbers for Andy Dalton and Casey Pachall in every season opener they have played. They aren't in order, because I want to make you work for this, so try and match each stat line with each year.
Before I give you the answers though, which line do you think is the best? Clearly line D has the premier passing stats and B has strongest rushing stats. But if you have to give your QB one line based on both the passing and rushing stats to give yourself the best chance to win, you almost certainly take D, don't you?
Think you have it? Here's the answer key:
A - Andy Dalton, 2010 vs. Oregon State, 30-21 win.
B - Andy Dalton, 2008 vs. New Mexico, 26-3 win.
C - Andy Dalton, 2009 vs. Virginia, 30-14 win.
D - Casey Pachall, 2011 vs. Baylor, 50-48 loss.
E - Andy Dalton, 2007 vs. Baylor, 27-0 win.
Other than Pachall's line, since it is so fresh in our minds, that probably wasn't as easy as you thought it would be was it? But look closely at those numbers. Is there any question that Pachall had a stronger performance in year one, game one than Dalton did in any opener in his career? It certainly looks like it. Given, you'd take Dalton's end results every time considering all of these games were wins and every season ended in a bowl win, but I'm just trying to make it clear it took him a game or two to hit his stride. It only took Pachall one half. If our defense can ever get behind him the way they did Dalton - a BIG if at this juncture - good things will happen.
Of course, the naysayers will suggest, "Our defense played TERRIBLE Friday night, but as bad as they were, Baylor's was only two points less shitty. Is this line a result of Pachall playing well, or Baylor playing bad once they thought the game was in hand?" It's a valid point, and clearly it will take a full season before we we can judge either defense, but here's a look at how the 4 defenses Dalton faced in openers fared over the course of the season. I'll use PPG as the measure, and I'm manually counting the rankings so let's have a margin of error of 2-3:
2007 Baylor - 37.0 PPG, 111th ranked.
2008 New Mexico - 22.8 PPG, 46th ranked.
2009 Virginia - 26.3 PPG, 65th ranked.
2010 Oregon State - 26.8 PPG, 68th ranked.
Not exactly the 85 Bear, eh? Like I said, we have no idea how Baylor's defense will end up this season. If they give up 48 PPG, they will be among the worst defenses to ever play college football. Clearly this is unlikely to happen, but even if they modestly finish top 50, that's about the best ranked defense either QB will have played in a season opener. So if we can stop Chop Block U from running all over us Saturday and Pachall can come close to duplicating his performance against a stronger defensive unit and win the game, I think things bode much better for this season than we may be thinking right now. It's a lot of IFs, but stranger things have happened, such as...
BONUS BAYLOR RELATED DISCUSSION QUESTION:
... Baylor being the saviors of college football as we know it! Once you stop laughing, consider what has happened this morning: The SEC has unanimously accepted aggy into their ranks. However, they also said they would ultimately vote down aggy if there is a threat of legal action. To this point, eight Big 12 schools have more or less said they'll let aggy mozey on to an eternity of 6-6 seasons. That missing ninth team? You guessed it, BAYLOR. So let's say, for the sake of discussion, Baylor DOES sue aggy, and they sue them for a ludicrous amount of money. Then let's say Baylor President Ken Starr doesn't fail at a high profile court case as he's prone to do and Baylor wins their case. As a result, the SEC decides they are fine with their current alignment/doesn't want to deal with all the legal mumbo jumbo, and the Big 12 survives once again. Super Conference talk is beaten back and college football in its current state survives. How does THAT make you feel?