Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Daryl Washington is charming the pants off Arizona

If this had been one of Vickypoo's dog fights, D-Wash would've won and Mike would've been put down.

When Daryl Washington was drafted last year, he didn't get near the press that Jerry Hughes did. Everybody was talking about HUUUUUUUUUUUGGGHHHHEEESSS and what the first round pick was gonna do in Indy. But in a huge role reversal, Hughes in danger of becoming completely irrelevant and Washington has made everybody take notice.
Seriously, the way Wash is progressing, he could be the defensive version of LT.... longevity and popular. Plus, he's impressed many folks with his positive outlook and non-thuggery. He's quickly becoming Cards fans favorite player.

This week, D-Wash vs Romo...

If you care to read, here's a weekly Q&A the Arizona Republic does with Cards players that, as they say, "spotlights a Cardinals player for a series of on-the-spot, off-beat questions."

Outside the huddle: Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington

Brad Edwards: Gameday in Houston Sucked


SWW has done a great job outlining what needs to happen for TCU to go BCS Ballin’. Assuming Houston (-12.5) loses, here is a Brad Edwards (not funny) recap of what he’s basically already said.

TCU at #18 is being hurt by computers (CPU 18 vs both human polls at 17). They need to move forward 2 spots. Given some of the huge discrepancies between all 3 polls right now and the fact in week 15 human voters (2/3’s BCS formula) will (get paid off and) make crazy changes ignoring where they’ve previously slotted teams:

Moving Forward
-TCU needs #17 Baylor to lose. #22 UT is 1 spot ahead of TCU in the CPU but they're 29th in the Coaches and 25th in the Harris so they shouldn’t jump TCU (unless they buy voters)

-TCU would jump #15 Wisc if they lose, but if they win TCU could jump #13 Mich St. with a little human help (Harris 11 / Coaches 9 / CPU 16)

-Decent chance to jump #11 K-State if they lose given where humans already have them ( Harris 15 / Coaches 15 / CPU 6)

-Ok chance to jump #14 UGA if they lose but the CPU (14) might not ding them much so TCU needs a bad UGA loss so humans (12/14) ignore the “S-E-C” factor

-Jumping #10 OU is a long shot, #9 Oregon (7 Humans / CPU 10) is less long but tough given their brand rep with voters, neither of these will likely happen

-Houston isn’t totally out of the realm of possibilities (depending on margin of loss/voter reaction), but long nonetheless

Moving Back
-Clemson (20 BCS / 20 Harris / 21 Coaches /21 CPU) would prob jump TCU with a win

-#23 West VA (with a win over S. FL) only jumps TCU if there’s a voter conspiracy, same for #19 Neb (off), both have CPU’s below TCU (West Va 29, Neb 20)

-#22 UT, there’s no way this happens unless they cheat…which they’re actually really really good at

To summarize- TCU needs to move up 2 spots. Only Clemson (+7) can (without foul play) jump them. If UT (+2.5) wins, TCU would jump Baylor. TCU has anywhere from a lock with Wisc (-9) to a decent shot with Mich St. at jumping the loser of the Big 10 championship. They also have a good-decent chance of jumping UGA (+13.5) and K-State (-10.5).

Nobody on a national level is talking about what happens if Houston loses. If they do fall, the implications of “a two loss TCU team with losses to SMU and a Baylor who just won/lost to UT by X” will become a storyline that’ll run throughout the day (HOU game is early Sat – UT/Baylor is afternoon). How much, and more importantly HOW, ESPN decides to pimp that story for the 24 hours before ballots are due will have a massive influence on voters. Once the story breaks, all of them will then be closely examining where they slot us in relation to the top 16 given the implications. I think best case would be this gets little press and is realized as late as possible in the news cycle.

Video of Cadot's Amazing Buzzer-Beater




Thanks to whoever got this up on youtube. Bonus points for syncing Estridge's radio call of the play.

Recruiting News



In case you haven't noticed, we're not exactly the kind of site that is going to call and/or text high school-aged boys on a daily basis to find out the latest in their process of selecting a college destination. But after a relatively long quite period, there has been a flurry of recruiting activity as of late- so we'll bring those of you that are not recruitniks up to speed.

Last night, the Frogs received the much-anticipated commitment from A.J. Hilliard (shown above), a linebacker from Klein Oak out of the Houston area. A.J., who stands 6'2" and weighs 215lbs currently, was previously committed to Arizona. That makes two recruits that GP & company have stolen from the Wildcats in the past three seasons (Matt Brown was also previously committed there). He had standing scholarship offers from schools in the Pac 12, Big Ten, Big 12 and Big East as well as some of the top non-BCS schools- but if you read the article about him from purplemenace.com, it sounds as if TCU was his dream destination. It's pretty refreshing to hear kids say that about our school- especially from an elite, hard-hitting tackling machine like Hilliard!

Then this morning came word that the Frogs had landed commitment #17 for the Class 0f 2012 with Gerren Ballard out of Whitewright. Ballard is listed at 6'6" and 230lbs by purplemenace, but Dave Campbell's Texas Football listed him at 247lbs and a recent ESPN article at 250lbs. Purplemenace also has him listed as a tight end, but with that kind of size and the versatile athleticism he displayed in his highlight video (that you'll need a subscription to watch), there's no doubt that the TCU coaching staff will at least toy with the idea of moving him to offensive tackle or defensive end. This commitment seemed to come out of nowhere, even to those who follow TCU recruiting closely- but some of the very best Horned Frogs have followed similiar scripts. Guys like Tank Carder, Stansly Maponga and Ed Wesley were all relatively unknown before Patterson tapped them for greatness.

Part of the intrigue of landing Ballard is that he is a high school teammate of Tyrone Swoopes, a 6'5" 220lb quarterback who will be one of the most sought-after recruits in the entire country for the Class of 2013. He is the nephew of former Texas Tech and WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes, and he reportedly loves TCU- a rumor that is substantiated to some degree by the fact that his facebook profile picture is of him wearing a TCU jersey at Amon Carter Stadium. Unlike the two future Frogs mentioned above, Swoopes has a free highlight tape available on youtube- so enjoy watching this* and imagining him playing for the Frogs!

*-Ballard is the #8 you'll see occasionally throughout Swoopes' video




Final BCS Push Preview.

Camo is pretty much a South Mississippi tuxedo, so this seems appropriate.

We touched on it a bit Monday morning, but with TCU's Bowl destination coming down to the last weekend of the season, it makes sense to dig a little deeper into things. But first, a reflection: How absolutely stunning is it that TCU, a team took a hit night one on ESPN against Baylor of all teams, and then lost a CLUNKER to SMU, is scoreboard watching this late in the season in hopes of being included in a BCS Bowl for a third straight year Think about how low you felt after the SMU game. Personally, due to the relocation of the visiting locker room during construction, I got stuck in a throng of cheering SMU fans whooping it up as their team made their way to their trailers. I was actually IN the team procession at one point. It was absolute insult to injury and at that point I doubt anyone saw TCU even sniffing a Conference title, let alone a potential Top 16 ranking, although the Big 12 invite the following week admittedly helped my emotions. The fact that TCU has that kind of clout and recognition shows how much of a debt of gratitude we owe to GP and his staff and furthers the fact that he's the best coach in America.

I've been thinking a lot about these BCS scenarios this week and, amidst all the clutter, one thought keeps arising: When the BCS made the stipulation that a non-AQ receives auto bid if they're in the Top 16 as long as they win their Conference AND are ranked ahead of one AQ league champion, do you think they ever REALLY thought it'd come to that? Back then, the Big East was riding the success of Bobby Petrino coached Louisville, Rich Rodriguez coached West Virginia and Brian Kelly coached Cincinnati. Heck, even Pitt hadn't yet gone into their Wannstedt induced death spiral. Remember when Rutgers, USF and WVU were all gunning for the #1 overall ranking in the country? Yeah, that was pretty weird. At the time, it looked like the Big East had survived the earlier defections of Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College. Now? All of those coaches, save Greg Schiano at Rutgers, are gone, only one program ranks in the Top 25 and there's a very real possibility of a 2 loss TCU team going to the Sugar Bowl while higher ranked schools like Arkansas, South Carolina and Kansas State go to lower tier bowls. I'm not saying the BCS system is going to get blown up after this season... but yeah, the BCS system is going to get blown up after this season.

But you know what? I'll take it!

First though, we need fate on our side. Here's a closer look at the weekend's games that will matter the most:

The Big 'Un:

#6 Houston vs. #24 Southern Miss. Saturday, 11:00AM. ABC.

Why Houston Will Lose. Isn't it funny how Houston, despite being undefeated, hasn't even been jokingly mentioned in national title discussions? After all, even Boise and TCU typically get play in an undefeated season, even if its all the most cruelly teasing of lip servicing. But Houston? Nada. Part of it is because of the seasons Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech and Stanford have been having. But most of it? It's because Houston has played NO ONE and hasn't been all that convincing in the games they have played. They squeaked by a BAD UCLA team that just fired their Coach by 4 points in week one, required a 28 point comeback to beat Louisiana Tech by 1 and only beat UTEP by a TD. Along the way they've beaten up on the likes of Tulane, Rice and UAB to pad out their bruising conference slate. I know you can only beat the teams on your schedule, but at least make it nasty. Southern Miss will be the best team Houston has played this year to date, and it's not even really a discussion.

So why should you believe that USM has any chance at all? It's simple - they're the best defense Houston will have faced all year by a mile. The Golden Eagles bring in the 25th ranked scoring defense in the country, only allowing 20 points per game; the highest ranked UH has faced to date is Louisiana Tech's 37th ranked unit, and you saw how that went. USM has also picked 16 passes on the season, good for 10th in the entire NCAA. Of Keenum's three picks this year, 2 came in that same game against LT. Southern Miss isn't turning many heads, giving up 220 yard per game though the air, but while you'd think that's a death knell against Houston, think again. Louisiana Tech and UCLA both rank far worse in that area, and they held Cougar High to their lowest scoring outputs of the season. That's not to say Houston's offense is a one trick pony, ranking 55th in the nation in rushing behind backs Charles Sims and Michael Hayes, but it goes without saying that as Case Keenum goes, so goes Houston's chances of winning. Keenum is going to get his yards, but it's the ability of the defense to create a few turnovers and keep him out of the end zone that will determine the outcome. USM is built to do just that.

Besides that, the Brett Favre's have been tested, going on the road to beat a Virginia team that was a win away from making the ACC Championship and dismantling SMU's lofty expectations following the TCU game when they were at their peak. Seriously, the Eagles single handedly turned JJ McDermott from the Aaron Rogers we made him out to be, into his current status as Ryan Leaf and I mean that in the sense that Ryan Leaf is currently out of football and a bit of a drug addict. And they're not all defense - the USM's are averaging over 36 points per contest as well. Senior QB Austin Davis is putting together a nice year leading the NCAA's 32th ranked passing defense, as are backs Jamal Woodyard and Kendrick Hardy, piling up a 24th ranked 207.8 yards per game.

The bottom line here is USM has a team capable of forcing Keenum into making mistakes and putting points on the board. They may be a 2 TD underdog, but I wouldn't count out the Golden Eagles by any means.

Why Houston Will Win. For one, because the BCS won't want to deal with the backlash of having a 2 loss non-AQ participant in a game. For the other, Houston is pretty damned potent as of late. Yes, they had their early season struggles - unsurprisingly, that is when they played their toughest competition - but have rolled off win after win, capped by Saturday's pasting of a Tulsa team that was thought to be a legitimate threat. Case Keenum, partly thanks to a 12th year of eligibility, has shattered all NCAA career passing records known to mankind, and sports a mildly impressive 43-3 TD:INT ratio. Mildly. The Cougs are 1st in the NCAA in points scored with 52.1 per game and, believe it or not, have a defense to match, ranking 30th and 0nly giving up 21. In other words, even if you do the unthinkable and shut down Keenum, the Cougars defense has been able to do enough to keep them in games, which is not something you could say about their past teams.

Gut Feeling. The good news about USM's chances are that they match up fairly well with Houston on offense and defense. The bad news is, if this becomes a shootout, Cougar High is capable of piling up yards unlike any other team in the nation. In all truth, I think this one will be closer than the experts expect and not nearly has high scoring. I see it playing out a lot like the Cougars game against Louisiana Tech, albeit without the 28 point deficit for the home team. However, and I say this with the deepest of regrets, I think Houston is a team on a mission and, playing in front of the most raucous home crowd in school history, they pull off the win and book their ticket to New Orleans.

Fortunately, this one will be over about the time the second half of our game starts so we'll know for certain where our bowl destiny lies and can just focus on the game at hand. Win or lose for Houston, let's hope Gary can keep the guys motivated and their eyes off the scoreboard.

The Lit'ler Uns. If Houston wins, the rest of this post will self destruct.

#23 Texas @ #17 Baylor. Saturday, 2:30PM. ABC.

Why Baylor Will Lose. Because they're BAYLOR. The same Baylor team that had one WON Big 12 road game until last year. The same Baylor that has been dragging down the Big 12's RPI ever since they backdoored themselves an invite. The same Baylor that has never had a plus .500 record in the Big 12 until this year. The same Baylor that has rushed the field TWICE this season. Aren't they due to revert to their old selves?

As for tangible reasons, as you all well know by now, Robert Griffin the turd (zing!) went head banging last weekend against Tech, although it wasn't so much the kind you do at a Metallica concert and more the kind you do when a large being wearing colors opposite of your own slams your brain into the turf. Seriously - Cowboys Stadium is more dangerous for potential NFL prospects than cocaine was for potential NBA prospects in the 80s. Griffin says he's going to play this week, and I am sure he will because this is probably the biggest UT/Baylor game in school history, but will he be 100%? To our dismay, Terrance Ganaway has mostly backed up his shit talk from Week 1 to the tune of 1200 yards and 14 scores, but it's no secret that Griffin is the only reason Baylor has had success. If he's not out there making plays, the Bears can pretty much mark it 8-4.

And on the other side of the ball, Texas, a team that has had some SERIOUS ups and downs this year, may have finally found a signal caller just in time for the last week of the season. Yes, Colt McCoy the third, after being benched earlier in the year in favor of David Ash, seems to have taken control of the starting spot after leading the Horns to a comeback win over aggy this past weekend. You laugh and say, "yeah, but... it's aggy. they are TERRIBLE" but keep in mind that the game was in College Station, it's the last one that will be played between these two schools for a LONG time barring a bowl matchup, and that the ags always give UT their best performance of the season, no matter the circumstances. In other words, McCoy had a lot to overcome Thanksgiving night and still managed to pull out a victory. The UT defense has been no slouch all year and would've won them a few more games had the offense showed up to play every week. Perhaps now is the time it will all come together? And besides that, UT lost 6 games last year in conference, but has bounced back to beat two of those teams. Don't you think they'll be extra fired up not only to avenge the loss to Baylor last year in Austin, but to push their revenge tour back to .500?

Why Baylor Will Win. Because Texas, even though they're going up against a TERRIBLE Baylor defense, may not have the offensive fire power to hang. As a refresher, this is the same UT team that held Kansas State to 121 yards... and lost. Tech scored 42 against the Bears... and still lost by 24 points. Oklahoma is the best defense Baylor has faced all season, and the Bears doubled up their season average. The Longhorns are about on par with the Sooners points-wise, although they give up about 75 fewer yards per game. Griffin may not have one of his 400+ yard, 4 TD days, but presuming he's healthy, the Bears should be able to move the ball effectively enough to keep the game out of reach. Besides, in my experience, when you REALLY want Texas to lose they don't, and when you need them to win, which ONLY becomes an issue when it involved gambling or rankings, they don't. It'd be SO UT for Houston to lose Saturday AM only to have the Horns follow it up with a loss in Waco and the Frogs finish 17th and out of the BCS.

Gut Feeling. I'm an optimist - Texas wins in a low scoring game.

#15 Wisconsin @ #13 Michigan State. Big Ten Championship Game @ Indianapolis. Saturday, 7:17PM. Fox.

Why Wisconsin Will Win. Clearly the football gods frowned on Bret Bielma's get rich quick scheme of importing QB Russell Wilson to Madison because if a team has had a more gut wrenching path this season, I dare you to name them. The Badgers started the year as a dark horse national title contender, ramped up the talk with blowout wins, and then lost to Michigan State on a last second hail mary play after battling back from a 14 point fourth quarter deficit in the last minute of regulation. Then, THE VERY NEXT WEEK, they battled back from a 12 point fourth quarter deficit at Ohio State to take the lead in the last minute of regulation and lost on a last second hail mary play. Just... ouch. Bret Bielma is a total asshat and deserves what he got, but man, that's just painful stuff.

Since those two games, though? Wisconsin has outscored their opponents 177-54, including a 45-7 blowout of Penn State last week to win their division. And that's the thing about Wisconsin - they score a lot of points, good for 4th nationally, but they also have the 4th ranked scoring defense, only giving up 15 points per game. Seriously, if the games were only 59 minutes long, there would be no discussion of a Bama/LSU rematch and LSU would by no means be an overwhelming favorite. RB Montee Ball has been an absolute machine this season, rolling up 1622 yards and an NCAA leading 29 TDs and will probably get an invite to NYC later this month. Michigan State has only allowed 8 TDs on the ground this year, 2 to Wisconsin, so it's unlikely Ball will be blasting through the Spartans defense in goal line situations, but would you bet against it?

Wisconsin knows they're capable of beating MSU and actually held a 2 TD lead of their own in the first quarter of that game. They clearly understand they let one slip away and will be out for blood. The most important thing Wisconsin has going for it is revenge. Revenge for the way they lost the last one to MSU. Revenge for the way they lost the Rose Bowl last year and wanting a shot at redemption. Wisconsin has played up to their talent since the losses to OSU and MSU. They feel like a dangerous team.

Why Michigan State Will Win. Mostly because they already have against Wisconsin in the regular season. They flustered Russell Wilson better than anyone, picking him twice - he only has 3 for the season- and held him to 223 yards. They only allowed Ball into the end zone once. Kirk Cousins had one of the better games of his career, passing for nearly 300 yards and 3 TDs. The Spartans have a defense to match that of the Badgers, ranking 6th nationally, and are among the top 15 in rushing yards allowed, passing yards allowed and INTs. They're also playing with confidence, bringing a 4 game win streak of their own into Indianapolis.

Gut Feeling. I'll be honest - I realize Michigan State has already beatenWisconsin once this year, but it took an absolute miracle, complete with booth review, to pull it out. Michigan State is a nice team, but I can't see them beating Wisconsin twice in the same year, not with the way the last one ended. If the Spartans are able to throw a few punches and keep it close in the first half, this one could be very interesting. However, I think Wisconsin comes out firing and this one gets away from the Spartans a little bit. I'm not sure if one team winning is preferable over the other, but a convincing Wisconsin win should be enough to do the trick for TCU in the rankings.

#1 LSU vs. #14 Georgia. SEC Championship Game @ Atlanta. Saturday, 3:00PM. CBS.

Why Georgia Will Lose. Because, to paraphrase Stewart Mandel, LSU devours teams souls like nothing he has ever seen before. Sure, the Dawgs are on a 10 game win streak, but they've played two current top 25 teams all year. Guess what? They lost to both of them. LSU has played three teams in the top ten and beaten them all. Besides, are you going to bet against the Hat when he has destiny on his side?

Why Georgia Will Win. First and foremost, and to completely belittle my point above, Georgia DOES enter the game on a ten game win streak. No matter the competition, you can't deny that they're a hot team you don't want to tangle with right now. And, they're seemingly getting stronger, crushing then-ranked Auburn and Georgia Tech in two of their three most recent outings. The Bulldogs also have the inherent advantage of having the SEC Championship game played in Atlanta, their largest alumni base and a mere stones throw from Athens. LSU fans are going to travel in huge numbers, but Georgia will outnumber them to some extent. Sure, they've only played for the Championship in the Dome twice, but in those two games they outscored LSU and Arkansas by a combined 64-17 en route to the Sugar Bowl. The Dawgs haven't had many opportunities, but they have definitely made the most of the ones they've been given.

But, and this is for the conspiracy theorists among you all, here's an added kicker. Current BCS rules stipulate that a Conference can only send two teams to BCS games in a given year. However, if Georgia were to win the SEC Championship, they would automatically be sent to the Sugar Bowl, which would slot Alabama into the National Title game, and more than likely, LSU. In this case, the SEC would be the first Conference ever to send three teams to the BCS, which would mean an increased financial windfall as well as more fuel for the "S-E-C!!" fire. Since Bama and LSU are more than likely going to go to the Championship anyway, would the Tigers turn it down a notch for the good of the Conference?

Gut Feeling. Yeah, no - to answer my question, that's not happening. I suppose it's entirely possible that Georgia is a much better team that we give them credit for, and that LSU could be caught sleeping knowing they have a Title game spot locked up win or lose, but I just think LSU is way too good to lose this weekend, and there's no reason to chance it. The home crowd could very well spring the Bulldogs to an early lead, but recall Arkansas jumped out 14-0 in the blink of an eye and all LSU did was outscore them 41-3 the rest of the way. It might not be that lopsided, but here's to LSU completing perhaps the most challenging regular season in NCAA history unscathed en route to New Orleans.

The Undercards.

Sorry, I've totally exhausted my previewing interest above, so these aren't getting much play, especially since I'm not sure any of them will matter. You're probably pretty tired of reading, too.

#3 Oklahoma State vs. #10 Oklahoma. Saturday, 7:00PM. ABC. We only care if OSU beats OU, although there is a significant gap in points to make up between us and the Sooners, so I'm not even sure a loss to the #3 team in the nation bumps them too far. The voters, they like visible schools.

#5 Virginia Tech vs. #20 Clemson. ACC Championship @ Jacksonville, FL. Saturday, 7:00PM. ESPN. Oh the ACC Championship, the most unloved, unattended Championship game in all of sport. Seriously, check it out Saturday - the attendance numbers will make Jaguars Stadium look like an SMU home game. For those of you who don't follow college football, Virginia Tech is a team that has flown under the radar this season due to their early season loss to this exact Clemson team, a 23-3 meltdown. Without that loss, you might be talking about the Goiter vs. the Head in New Orleans come January. However, since then Virginia Tech has reeled off 8 straight while Clemson has stumbled a bit, losing three of their last four. As I said earlier this week, I'm not sure Clemson jumps us with a win, but why take the chance? With momentum on their side, VT wins by double digits.

And with that, the Movement/BCS/Weekend Preview posts for the 2011 season are complete. I hope you enjoyed them. If the cards fall our way, this could be one for the refrigerator. If not, well, it was a fun ride while it lasted. In any case, see you next year!

Frogs vs. the other Knight tonight

"But Daaaddy, I wanted a better job than Lamar!"

There've been a lot of ups and downs in the young TCU basketball season so far, even amongst the Frogs' three wins. The one-point victories over Houston and Florida Gulf Coast were marred by enormous leads being given up in the final few minutes, but the upset of Virginia was made even more sweet when the Cavs blew out #15 Michigan last night. Coach Christian and his scrappy bunch will look to find a little stability tonight when Lamar visits Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.

The Cardinals, you may or may not be aware, are coached by nepotism benificiary Pat Knight. When his Dad (whom I'll just refer to as "Knight" because getting Bobby Knight mad at our blog will be good for our traffic numbers) quit mid-season at Tech in 2008, young Patrick was given the keys to the kingdom (and I use that term very loosely when referring to anything in Lubbock). And how could Texas Tech ever bungle a head coaching decision, huh? Three subpar seasons later, they finally decided they'd had enough and sent Prince Patty on his way. So then his Dad picks up the phone and calls our old buddy, Billy Tubbs, who was the AD down at Lamar. "Give my kid a job," says Knight, "he's got nowhere else to go." So Tubbs hires him...and promptly retires. Or at least that's how I imagine it went down.

All kidding aside, though, Lamar is a pretty good squad. Of their four wins, three are by double-digits. Their two losses both came on the road, against Louisville (RPI #10) and Ohio (RPI #55) in overtime, so you can't really hold that against them. TCU, just FYI, currently has an RPI ranking of #51. But it should be noted that RPI rankings this early in the season are about as accurate as the financial records at major Houston energy firms.

One aspect of the game to watch tonight is rebounding. In separate Q&A sessions with purplemenace.com this week, neither Amric Fields nor Nate Butler hesitated to name rebounding as the area in which the Frogs had the most room to improve. The statistics back them up, as TCU currently ranks tied for 264th in the country at 33.0 boards per game. The Cardinals, by comparison, are tied with Baylor for 27th in the nation at 41.2 per game. If those patterns hold, it'll be a long night of watching Lamar get second chances on offense while the Frogs have to settle for shorter possessions when they've got the ball- which is not good news for a team that is prone to cold shooting streaks like TCU.

Despite the relative proximity of crazy Fort Worth to clinically-insane Beaumont and the Tubbs connection, this will be the first meeting between TCU and Lamar since 1989. The Frogs own an 8-2 advantage in the all-time series, which dates back to 1971. I'm not naive enough to think there'll be a completely packed house at DMC for this one, but I hope there's at least a decent and vocal student contingent to help give the Frogs somewhat of a home-court advantage.

Morning Dump



Football:
TCU football honored for its high graduation rate gofrogs.com

Patterson holds weekly press conference gofrogs.com

Patterson undecided whether kicker will play against UNLV Star-Telegram

UNLV may be 2-9, but they are making progress Star-Telegram

TCU will learn its bowl fate this weekend Star-Telegram

Independence Bowl picture begins to clear Shreveport Times


Basketball:

TCU men return home on winning note Star-Telegram

Frogs host Lamar tonight at Daniel-Meyer gofrogs.com

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

You may not see this on Saturday:

Ross Evans has apparently not practiced with the team since he was arrested last week, according to Coach Patterson during his press conference earlier today. As a senior, Evans will at least be suited up for Senior Day- but it's unclear whether or not he'll be doing any actual kicking, balls or apartment doors.

So if #37 is a no-go for kicking duties against UNLV, what is your preferred alternative? Should redshirt freshman Ryan DeNucci simply take his place? Should the Frogs just go for it on all 4th downs and go for two after every touchdown? But then who handles kickoffs...maybe Tank Carder?!?

Fuente a candidate for the KU job

In the "good for him, but bad for us" department, both ESPN Insider and coachingsearch.com have mentioned TCU Co-Offensive Coordinator and QB Coach Justin Fuente as a possible replacement for Turner Gill as the head coach at Kansas.

The candidate list that ESPN has for KU includes a number of guys with head coaching experience (including Mike Leach, Jim Leavitt, Troy Calhoun and Kevin Sumlin among others), but Fuente would be a great choice for the Jayhawks if they chose to go with a fresh, up-and-coming coach. He has ties in Texas from his five years at TCU, Oklahoma from the two years he spent playing in Norman, the upper midwest from his six years at Illinois State and Kentucky from his two years playing at Murray State. He's also got a combined six years of coordinating experience between TCU and Illinois State, with both of those teams setting multiple school records under his leadership.

If this came to fruition, Fuente would be the second Patterson assistant to be hired as a head coach, after defensive coordinator David Bailiff was hired at Texas State in 2004 (and then at Rice in 2007). Like when the baseball team lost Todd Whitting to Houston, we'd hate to see Fuente go. But that is just one of the prices of sustained success.

Aaron Brown back with the Lions

I don't know how I missed including this in the dump earlier this morning, but Aaron Brown has be re-signed by the Detroit Lions after Kevin Smith sprained his ankle against the Packers on Thursday.

Morning Dump


Football:

Frogs look for outright MWC title on Saturday against UNLV gofrogs.com

Injured QB Herring uncertain for UNLV's season finale at #18 TCU Las Vegas Review-Journal

Lousiana Tech has no preference for Poinsettia Bowl opponent Shreveport Times

Frogs in the NFL: Week 12 gofrogs.com


Basketball:

GP wants a big crowd for the TCU-Tech basketball game next Tuesday:


Monday, November 28, 2011

TCU's Bowl Game: Who and Where?


About this time every year, I get asked about a million times which bowl TCU will be invited to and who they'll end up playing in that game. There are obviously a lot of moving pieces that could render any or all of these scenarios more or less likely, but as of now here are my top guesses with explanations:

1. Independence Bowl vs. Wake Forest.
-I believe the most likely scenario is that TCU will beat UNLV on Saturday to win the MWC title outright, but that they'll fall short of a BCS bid...and that Boise State will not be selected for an at-large BCS spot. If that does end up being the case, I believe that the Las Vegas Bowl will pass on the Frogs for a third time (they previously passed on TCU in 2005 and 2008) and select the Broncos instead. The Poinsettia Bowl has the second pick, but the with it's pre-Christmas date and long distance from Fort Worth (in a stadium that the Frogs have played in six times since 2005- including earlier this fall), I fully expect TCU and the Independence Bowl staff to lobby hard against another TCU trip to San Diego. As for the opponent, the folks in Shreveport have the 7th selection from the ACC. According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, NC State will most likely head to the Belk Bowl (who has the 5th pick) and Virginia to the Music City Bowl (6th), leaving North Carolina and Wake Forest. You'd think that the 7-5 Tar Heels would be the better choice for the Independence Bowl, but according to Comcast Sportsnet, they will be unable to pick UNC over Wake because the Demon Deacons' 5-3 conference record is two games better than UNC's 3-5 mark.

2. Poinsettia Bowl vs. Louisiana Tech
-Then there's the possibility that all of the above happens...except that the Poinsettia Bowl staff is stubborn and picks TCU with the second MWC selection. Even though they have to know that very few TCU fans would travel out to the game after having spent thousands to travel there in '08, to Phoenix in '09 and Los Angeles last year, they might want a 10-win Frog team as a TV draw. And even though the alternative choices (San Diego State, Air Force or Wyoming) would or could sell more tickets, the allure of a MWC Champ vs. WAC Champ (Louisiana Tech has already accepted an invitation) match up might be too much for them to pass up.

3. Sugar Bowl vs. Michigan
-The Frogs' BCS hopes are still alive, but I wouldn't bet on it. Should everything shake out for them to qualify, though, I think they'd be headed for New Orleans because even with two losses they'd likely be a better choice than whoever wins the Big East. The Wolverines, who are currently #16 in the BCS, will need to slide up to #14 to be considered for an at-large spot. But with Georgia (who plays LSU) and both Big Ten title game participants (so one of them has to lose) right in front of them, it seems reasonable to think that you'll see a lot of pasty-white Michiganders in the French Quarter in early January. If Kansas State beats Iowa State this weekend to get to 10-2, they might also be a candidate here.

4. Las Vegas Bowl vs. Arizona State
-There is also a chance that Boise State could slide into an at-large BCS bid, although I would classify the Broncos' odds as less likely than TCU's own complicated BCS scenario. Were the Fiesta or Sugar Bowl to become smitten with Boise, though, I think the Frogs would end up in Vegas because I don't think the Vegas Bowl people would pass on TCU for any other school than Boise. The Sun Devils, at 6-6 and now without a coach, are likely to be the last available bowl-eligible Pac 12 team.

The odds that the Frogs would play in any game other than these four seems so remote that it makes no sense to continue down this speculative road, but I guess it's worth mentioning that the other MWC-affiliated game is the New Mexico Bowl. And since the MWC has five bowl teams to fill what will likely be four spots, there is always the chance of an at-large bid to another non-BCS bowl. But it seems as if the MWC is going to shop any of it's teams around, it'll likely be Air Force to the Military Bowl.

BCS Hopes Still Alive and Well.


While the weekend didn't bring the results we wanted - notably Houston looking particularly dominant over what was thought to be a potent Tulsa team - the Frogs BCS hopes are just as alive as they were last week, and perhaps more so. The latest rankings had the Frogs move up to 18th from 20th, thanks the losses by Clemson and Penn State, and more movement is potentially on the horizon as we enter the final week of the season. We'll have a more substantial post later in the week detailing the chances of the cards falling in our favor, but here's what we need to happen, in order of importance.
  • #8 Houston losing to #24 Southern Miss in the CUSA Championship Game. Nothing happens without that card falling.
  • #23 Texas Defeating #17 Baylor in Waco. At one point this looked like a long shot, but with Texas riding momentum from their last second win in College Station, plus Griffin playing with a concussion, not to mention UT wanting revenge for last year's defeat, we can't rule it out. With 4 losses on the year, Texas more than likely would not have the points to jump TCU with this win.
  • A one sided victory for either team in the Big Ten Championship between #13 Michigan State and #15 Wisconsin. As I've said before, I'm not very good at BCS math so one of you will have to fill us in, but at 0.12 points behind #15 Wisconsin, and 0.20, it's probably going to take a blowout for us to make up the difference.
  • A #14 Georgia blowout in the SEC Championship. Georgia has certainly helped their case in the polls with their 10 game win streak, so it's not a given that a third loss on the season to the undisputed #1 ranked team would drop them very far in the polls, if at all. When you see that Baylor sit ahead of us at present with 3 losses, it becomes an even foggier proposition. But, the game will be played in Atlanta and will be at least marginally pro-UGA based on casual fans, although you can bet it won't be as lopsided as in years past with the LSU faithful as rabid and ready to travel as they have been in years. If LSU is to roll the Bulldogs, would the voters treat the Dawgs more harshly given a perceived home field advantage? This is result we don't NEED to have happen, but one that we would certainly take in stride.
  • #3 Oklahoma State blowing out #10 Oklahoma. Much like the above game, I'm not sure a loss would even drop OU far enough down to move us up, but it's the preferable outcome for a TCU fan holding out hope. We need the Boone Pickenses to unleash the kraken.
  • #5 Virginia Tech defeats #20 Clemson in the ACC Championship. Just to be safe because Clemson is lurking a little too close for comfort, although they'd have to make up a pretty decent gap in points.
  • UCLA blowing out #8 Oregon in the Pac 12 Championship. Hahahaha, ok, so there isn't a chance in hell of this working out, but a boy can dream.
Just a few things to think about this week. We definitely need the first point to happen, and probably two of the other four, in order to have a shot at the Sugar Bowl, presumably against Michigan. It's a long shot, but crazier things have happened.

Morning Dump

Football:

Obstacles stacked in way of return trip to BCS for TCU ESPN Dallas

TCU moves up two spots to #18 in latest BCS rankings ESPN

Louisiana Tech officially accepts Poinsettia Bowl bid San Diego Union-Tribune

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Cadot beats the buzzer & Houston

While we were all probably a bit disappointed in rooting against U of H's football team on Friday in their game against Tulsa, the basketball Frogs did provide some TCU joy at the Cougars' expense Saturday night. JR Cadot put back his own miss at the buzzer as the Frogs won in Houston, 81-80. Nice bounce back from the disappointing end to the tournament in St. Thomas.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Black Friday Sale At The Varsity


*
Our sponsor and friends at The Varsity Fort Worthare offering 10% off everything in the store not only on Black Friday but all the way through Sunday.

*do not cut in line or you will be treated like this trash from Wisconsin

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

This Weekend's Games of Interest

If this seems like it's just mailed in, it's because I typed it up on Monday morning. I'm no where near a computer right now.Wyoming (7-3) at Boise State (9-1) ~ 1:00pm Saturday on The Mtn
-I'm really not even sure this game has any bearing at all on the Frogs. Either way, one of their road wins will look better. Perhaps since TCU's resume is mostly built around the Boise win, we ought to root for the Broncos? Meh, I don't really care.

Air Force (6-5) at Colorado State (3-7) ~ 5:00pm Saturday on The Mtn
-Despite already having six wins, the Falcons actually still need to win this game to reach bowl eligibility because two of their wins have come against FCS opponents. If they are bowl eligibile and neither TCU nor Boise State reaches the BCS, the MWC will have 5 bowl eligible teams for 4 spots, meaning one team (probably Air Force) can be shopped around for an at-large spot.

San Diego State (6-4) at UNLV (2-8) ~ 9:00pm Saturday on The Mtn
-This one might be the difference between the New Mexico Bowl or the Poinsettia Bowl for San Diego State. Then again, I don't care enough to double-check that.

New Mexico (1-10) is idle this week. But they'll probably get beaten by their turkey dinners.











TCU non-conference opponents:

SMU (6-5) vs Rice (4-7) ~ 11:00am Saturday on FSN
-Just because we might be scrapping for every possible decimal points for TCU to get to #16 in the BCS rankings, it'd be good if the Ponies could pull out of their late-season slump to grab one last regular-season win against the Owls.

BYU (8-3), Portland State (7-4) and Louisiana-Monroe (3-8) are all idle this weekend.












Texas (6-4) at Texas A&M (6-5) ~ 7:00pm Thursday on ESPN
-The best part about this game? One of them has to lose!

Iowa State (6-4) at Oklahoma (8-2) ~ 11:00am Saturday on FX
-Oh man, what did I tell you about the Cyclones? I'm somewhat tempted to call for them to pull off a second consecutive upset, but I think the Sooners will be playing angry after their loss in Waco last week.

Missouri (6-5) vs Kansas (2-9) ~ @ Kansas City ~ 2:30pm Saturday on FSN
-For the jean-shorts wearing folks of the Big 12 North, this is apparently a pretty big rivalry. And since Missouri is headed off to the SEC, this might be their last meeting for a while. I probably won't watch it.

Texas Tech (5-6) vs Baylor (7-3) ~ @ Jerry World ~ 7:00pm Saturday on FSN
-As much as I don't want to ever root for Baylor, and as counter-productive as that might or might not be in terms of TCU's BCS chances, I've got to root for Tech to not make it to a bowl game.

Kansas State (9-2) and Oklahoma State (10-1) are idle this week

Giving Thanks

I'd say a good 90-95% of the stuff we post on this blog is either sarcastic, cynical, or both. But as we all prepare to spend the Thanksgiving weekend with our families, let's all to take a moment to share what makes us thankful to be Horned Frog fans. I'll go first, and then you all can fill up our comments section with your additions.

There are obviously plenty of things to be thankful for as a TCU fan these days, but first and foremost I'm thankful that we have the best football coach in America. Gary Patterson has taken TCU football from a Metroplex afterthought to one of the winningest programs in the country, all while keeping his players on track to earn degrees and out of trouble (for the most part). He's brought TCU conference championships in three different conferences already, and next year he'll take aim at the Big 12. He's also the driving force behind the masterpiece of a stadium that is currently rising up on the western edge of the TCU campus. Without him, there's clearly no Spit Blood...but there are also a whole lot less smiles in Fort Worth, Texas.

Who's next? And will someone pass me the stuffing?

Morning Dump

Football:
TCU under BCS consideration
Star-Telegram

TCU works on passing the Turkey and Dressing
Star-Telegram

Boise State, TCU in live invite to MAACO Bowl Las Vegas
Las Vegas Review Journal

Miami out, TCU iffy for Independence bowl
Shreveport Times

Baseball:
Dominican Republic trip should help build team chemistry, TCU baseball coach says
Star-Telegram

Basketball:
Cadot named to Paradise Jam all-tournament team
GoFrogs.com

Horned Frogs travel to Orland for UCF Thanksgiving Classic
GoFrogs.com

TCU signee sparks Trimble Tech past Cedar Hill in heavyweight match up
Star-Telegram

Athletic Department:
James and Ventress earn TCU weekly honors
GoFrogs.com

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Day TCU Football?


With Texas A&M's departure to the SEC, it's all but certain that the tradition of Texas and Texas A&M playing each other on Thanksgiving Day will be going away. But UT athletic director DeLoss Dodds doesn't want to give up hosting a game on Turkey Day every other year-- and in fact, he wants to host one every year.

In this article from the Dallas Morning News, Dodds suggets that the Longhorns could host rotation of in-state opponents on Thanksgiving Day- including TCU, Texas Tech and Baylor.

What do you think? Would it be cool to watch the Frogs play on Thanksgiving Day, or would you be disgusted at giving in to Texas' "me! me! me!" attitude?

Bowling Talk



Nothing earth-shattering out there, but a few quick bits of information about some of the Frogs' potential bowl destinations:

-According to a quote attributed to her in the Idaho Statesman, Tina Kunzer-Murphy has said that Utah is "out of the running" to be the Pac 12's representative in the Las Vegas Bowl. Since Boise State and Utah played eachother in that game last year, it was thought that the Utes' presence might be the main impediment to the Las Vegas Bowl picking the Broncos over the conference champion Horned Frogs.

-The Denver Post is reporting that Air Force, should they become bowl-eligible with a win over Colorado State this weekend, would not be considered for an invitation to their second consecutive Independence Bowl. This is noteworthy because the only two MWC teams that will sell tickets in Shreveport are Air Force and TCU.

-The San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that the Poinsettia Bowl will invite Louisiana Tech as their representative from the WAC. The article also indicates that the Poinsettia Bowl staff expects to get either TCU or Boise State if neither of them head to the BCS.

What to make of the Frogs' trip to St. Thomas?

For the handful of us out there that have remained TCU basketball fans through the Dougherty years and the beginning of the Jim Christian rebuilding project, Friday night was pretty awesome. My commute home became a 2-hour trip as I circled the block outside of my place, listening in awe as the heroics of Hank Thorns came through my speakers via KTCU and the Frogs eventually outlasted Virginia, 57-55, in the first round of the US Virgin Islands Paradise Jam.

This program has been looking for a "signature win" that could simultaneously inspire confidence that the team could build on and rally the fanbase. Beating a team that was picked to finish 4th in the prestigious ACC would certainly seem to qualify. The number of texts I sent and received after the game (don't worry- I'd parked my car by then) and the number of facebook posts I saw regarding the win told me that TCU fans definitely took notice. When I found out that the Frogs' next two games would be televised on FSN, they became appointment viewing in my household- since I don't get the mtn, these would be two of only a very few chances for me to see this emerging team play on television.

And then...they fell flat on their faces in double-digit losses to both Norfolk State and Ole Miss.

I'm no basketball X's and O's genius, but looking at the stats from the weekend are pretty telling. The intense, stifling defense that the Frogs used to upset UVA went away after that- TCU went from allowing UVA to shoot 37.5% to allowing Norfolk State to shoot 47.6% to letting Ole Miss shoot a ridiculous 60.0% from the field. Sometimes opposing players just get hot- and Ole Miss' Murphy Holloway (20 points on 9-of-13 shooting) certainly did, but you've got to be able to prevent them from taking the shots they want to take and force them into lower-percentage attempts.

When the Frogs have the ball, they appear to be relying on the three-ball way too much. Over the course of their three games in St. Thomas, they were 10-of-47 from beyond the arc- including a 1-for-18 performance against Norfolk State. Through their first five games, they are shooting 23.4% from three-point land- which ranks them 321st in the nation. Obviously, shot selection is going to have to improve.

And then there's rebounding, where the Frogs used a 30-28 advantage to help them in the win against UVA...and then were beaten by a combined 17 on the boards the rest of the weekend. Their season average of 32.8 per contest ranks them 265th in the country, so again this is an area of the game where TCU needs to get better if they want to celebrate more wins like Friday night.

For the record, I am a Jim Christian guy. I think he's done a tremendous job considering the bare cupboard that he inherited and some of the unfortunate team chemistry obstacles that have hindered progress in his first few years in Fort Worth. I think he's gradually overcoming those issues by overhauling his staff and rethinking the type of players he recruits to the program, but it's not going to happen overnight- or even in a long weekend in the Caribbean, as we've just learned. Hopefully he and his team will pattern more of the rest of their season off of the win over Virginia rather than the two losses.


Morning Dump

Football:
Maponga on Ted Hendricks midseason watch list
GoFrogs.com

Carder and Evans receive MW weekly honors
GoFrogs.com

Where will TCU wind up bowling? ESPN

Cannon makes NFL debut vs Chiefs
ESPN

Basketball:
Ole Miss tops TCU, takes third at Paradise Jam
Star-Telegram

Swimming:
TCU women's swimming and diving adds eight during fall
GoFrogs.com

Monday, November 21, 2011

And now, some happy TCU related news...



While the "glory days" of Ross Evans are coming to an abrupt and humiliating end, arguably the greatest TCU baseball player in history announced that he and his woman are getting married. Hopefully, Bryan and Ashley will enjoy a long marriage to go with a long pro career.

So, this happened...



(insert "did the door go out of bounds?" joke here)

With that, I leave it to you, the award winning commentariat, because I have no desire to touch this one.

Let your voice be heard

(sic)

The BCS Balloon lost a bit of air when the latest BCS rankings came out last night and TCU dropped a spot to #20. Not to say that it's inconceivable, because this past weekend showed us that just about anything is possible in college football- but it's readily apparent that, even if Houston stumbles down the stretch, the Frogs may have a tough time jumping the necessary four spots to get to #16. We're definitely not giving up hope of a trip to New Orleans or Miami, but it's definitely time to think about alternatives.

Should the Frogs fall short of a third straight BCS trip (and really, isn't it already a successful season that we're even talking about this with such a young team?), they'll be headed to one of the Mountain West's four affiliated bowls, Las Vegas (who gets the first pick), Poinsettia (second), Independence (third) and New Mexico (fourth). A common misconception is that teams are automatically slotted according to their place in the standings- which couldn't be further from the truth. These bowl games are for-profit businesses, and care far less about a team's on-field record than they do that same team's potential impact on their own bottom line.

This is where you, the consumers, come in.

If you're a TCU season ticket holder or a Frog Club member, you should've received an email yesterday about pre-purchasing bowl tickets for any of the potential destinations. Don't be foolish and think that this is all about expediting the request & dispersal process- this is a valuable tool for the school and the MWC bowl partners to gauge fan interest for certain scenarios. If TCU can tell a bowl game that they've pre-sold "X" amount of tickets to their event compared to "Y" amount for the other, it helps all of the involved parties reach decisions that are as mutually-beneficial as possible. So in a way, you can vote for the Frogs' bowl destination by filling out your bowl ticket request form. If you didn't get the email, or (more likely) deleted it without reading, you can simply log on to your account on gofrogs.com and then click on "season renewals" to find the form. It needs to be turned in by December 9th, but the decisions will all be made by then so the sooner you turn it in, the more your "vote" counts.

To help you in the process, here is a handy-dandy pro/con list:

Las Vegas Bowl:
-Pro: Vegas is always a good time, and who knows the next time you'll have a chance to see TCU football in Sin City? Also, the opponent will be from the Pac 12- take your pick from the middle of that mediocre conference's pack, but think along the lines of UCLA or Cal.

-Con: The game is on December 22nd (a Thursday) and that stadium is a dump. Vegas may be fun, but buying a plane ticket there on short notice probably is not.

Independence Bowl:
-Pro: Shreveport is a ridiculously easy drive for just about all TCU fans, and the Independence Bowl actually has a higher per-team payout than Vegas. If you're into gambling, Louisiana will take your money just as quickly as will Nevada. The opponent will be from the ACC, giving Frog fans a chance to see their team against some fresh blood.

-Con: Is a 3.5-hour bus trip down I-20 the day after Christmas really much of a reward for the winningest senior class in school history? The folks in Shreveport are pretty far down on the ACC's bowl pecking order, which means they'll be picking a very mediocre team- and it won't be the very mediocre Miami Hurricanes, either.

Poinsettia Bowl:
-Pro: Like Las Vegas, San Diego is always a fun place to visit. I'm sure the Frogs have plenty of fans in Southern California that will miss seeing TCU play out that way with regularity.

-Con: Where do I start? The game is on Wednesday, December 21st. It's played in a cavernous NFL stadium that will make even a decent crowd look like nothing. The opponent would be from the WAC, so think either Nevada or Louisiana Tech. We've been down this exact same road already.

New Mexico Bowl:
-Pro: I guess if you live in Albuquerque, this would be convenient for you. Since the Pac 12 may not be able to fill their slot in this game, you could see a lower-tier Big Ten team playing there. Also, I hear there's a sweet party at Pinkman's place.

-Con: A bowl game on December 17th? Yikes. Although there is that slight chance of getting a Big Ten opponent, it's probably much more likely that the Pac 12's slot would be filled by a team from the MAC. Also, you'd probably hope to avoid the disastrous afternoon of driving around Albuquerque on an increasingly empty stomach before coming to the realization that Los Pollos Hermanos is not a real restaurant.

Saturday Review, part 2.

Probably the best theme song for the aftermath of this weekend.

Like many of you, as the day wore down I had my eyes planted pretty firmly on the OU/Baylor game on my TV and the Oregon/USC game on ESPN3, giggling at the chaos that would ensue if the scores held as they were. When they were over though, all I could think was, "Thanks a lot guys, WHY COULDN'T YOU ALL BE THIS TERRIBLE LAST YEAR?!?!" Ah well...

In case you missed it, here's a look at what went down.
  • #2 Okahoma State 31, Iowa State 37 OT. Despite having a 24 point lead in the second half, the Cowboys couldn't get it done, losing in OT after a Brandon Weeden pick on a BAD throw to Justin Blackmon. To make matters worse, the Pokes had a shot at likely winning it in regulation with a field goal, but it was missed by the TINIEST of margins right over the top of the goal post. But what looked to be an absolutely fatal blow to their championship hopes may actually turn out OK with everything else that transpired...
  • #4 Oregon 35, USC 38. This one wasn't as close as the scoreboard indicated as USC led 38-14 in the second half before turnovers and Oregon's comical offensive speed knocked them back on their heels a bit. The Ducks ultimately lost on a missed field goal as time ran out. All week Oregon had talked about how they were the ones truly deserving of a rematch against LSU. That went out the window with this setback.
  • #5 Oklahoma 38, #22 Baylor 45. Alright, I'm on the record as saying I could never cheer for Baylor, that Robert Griffin is a joke and that Waco should be, if not wiped from the earth, at least condescendingly ignored by it. But I was also on record saying that Baylor was going to absolutely shock someone this year and O.M.G. that was a heck of a show they put on last night. In case you missed it, here's what transpired. With less than 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Baylor led the Sooners 38-24 and, while there was still clearly plenty of time left in the game for OU to make it interesting, it did not look good for the Sooners at all. Then, in the span of 5 minutes, OU scores twice on runs from Jared Lorezen lite QB Blake Bell to bring the score to 38-37. However, rather than try and force OT the Sooners line up to go for 2 seeing as how Bell had scored 4 times on the evening with the same exact play and never as close as 2 yards. But then, after the teams trade timeouts, OU makes a fatal mistake and false starts, forcing the PAT attempt. So with the game tied and with 51 seconds left, you'd have to think OT is all but assured, right? But after Baylor handed the ball off on their first play after the kickoff, clearly playing for the extra period, OU got greedy and called the first of their 3 timeouts, presuming to get the ball back for one last gasp effort in regulation. And then, Griffin took over. Here's the box score of that final drive: Ganaway 4 yard rush, OU timeout, Griffin 22 yard rush, Griffin 8 yard rush, Griffin 12 yard pass to Kendall Wright, Griffin 34 yard pass to Terrance Williams for a TD. Ballgame. But that doesn't tell the whole story because, as much as I don't care for the guy, hate the hype and still have vivid memories of his mental shrinking act last year in Amon G, I have to give credit for his TD pass because it was one of the more ballsy throws you'll ever see that fit in perfectly between 2 defenders. For the night Griffin had a Mangaesque 479 yards and 4 TDs to no picks and, given everything else that has happened, probably secured himself a front row seat in New York City next month. Like I said, I wasn't pulling for Baylor necessarily, but there was something strangely satisfying about watching Bob Stoops DERP his way out of a national title shot. Naturally the Bears rushed the field for the second time this year and the parent chaperones clearly had to order an extra milkshake machine for the sock hop that evening.
  • #7 Clemson 13, North Carolina State 37. THERE'S the Clemson we know and love! True, they probably wouldn't have been in the discussion for the national title game without an Alabama loss... but yeesh, they didn't even make the attempt!
  • #11 Houston 37, SMU 7. Clearly not the upset we wanted, but I just wanted to once again beg the question SERIOUSLYHOWDIDWELOSETOSMU!?!?!
So four games, four top ten teams going down, and now your guess is as good as anyone's as to how the rest of the season is going to shake out. It's not entirely difficult to see future #3 Arkansas sneak past #1 LSU this weekend, which would result in #2 Alabama going to the SEC Championship and then potentially losing to #13 Georgia who would essentially be playing a home game, which could lead to an Arky/LSU rematch for all the marbles despite neither even playing for the SEC Championship. Wrap your head around that.

You're likely going to end up with three, and potentially 4, SEC teams that are BCS eligible and 3 Big 12 teams. You'd also have 3 Pac 12 teams, although USC is ineligible for a bowl as well as the Pac 12 Championship game which they would qualify for otherwise. Oklahoma State, a team that looked like they were a Bedlam loss away from going from the BCS Championship to the Cotton Bowl, is right back in it and the rematch you maybe should be talking about is Arkansas/Alabama. Seriously, anything can happen.

However, if I were a betting man I'd go ahead and gear up for an LSU/Alabama rematch which will please some and probably be a fantastic game, but think of it this way: Alabama can potentially play for the BCS Championship without beating LSU and winning their Conference not to mention their own division. I understand you can't fault a team for playing in the most top heavy division perhaps in NCAA history, but there's just something that seems so wrong about that scenario. At present, here are the potential BCS NC contenders, although I fully expect more shaking up to occur before this thing is over.
  • #1 LSU. Controls their destiny by beating Arkansas and Georgia in the SEC Champ. Would have navigated probably the most difficult schedule ever played a National Title game participant. But for those or you nay saying an LSU/bama rematch, keep this in mind: If LSU loses a squeaker to Arkansas Friday, there's a chance they may not even drop below the Hogs in the rankings; regardless, they're dropping no lower than 3 and would by no means be out of the conversation. Games to keep an eye on: Friday vs. #3 Arkansas, potential SEC Championship vs #13 Georgia.
  • #2 Alabama. Is almost a shoo-in for the title game. If LSU wins out and the Tide beats Auburn, they only thing keeping them out would be the BCS having the balls to elevate Oklahoma State over them in the final rankings in lieu of a rematch. I do not think they have the balls, personally. Bama's best case is for LSU to win Friday because then they are guaranteed a spot without having to mess with Georgia in the SEC Championship. It doesn't seem fair that the #1 team has a tougher stretch to make the title game despite winning their division and the head to head matchup, but that is one of the main reasons why the BCS will not exist in its current form this time next year. Games to keep an eye on: Saturday @ #24 Auburn, potential SEC Championship vs #13 Georgia.
  • #3 Arkansas. This is where it gets tricky. With a win over LSU, the Hogs SHOULD move into the #2 spot behind Alabama, presuming they beat Auburn. In this case, Alabama would move on to the SEC Title game. If the Tide wins, Oklahoma State is to beat OU and win the B12, Stanford wins out and Virginia Tech wins the ACC title game, would any of those teams move past the Hogs? History suggests they might, given what happened with Michigan and OSU a few years back in a similar, rematch situation, but I kind of doubt it. Undermining the Hogs cause is that, due to the SEC's divisional tiebreak, they cannot advance to the SEC Championship without a Bama loss to Auburn. Arkansas' best case is for Auburn to shock Bama this weekend, but Alabama making the SEC Champ and then losing to Georgia would work as well. Still, Arkansas has to beat LSU for any of this to even become an issue, which is incredibly questionable. But, would you have picked 4 top 10 teams to fall this past weekend the way they did? I'm just saying, an Alabama/Arkansas rematch for the big one isn't as far fetched as you might think, nor is Arkansas/LSU. Games to keep an eye on: Friday @ #1 LSU.
  • #4 Oklahoma State. No team's fortunes changed quicker than those of the Cowboys' in the 24 hours that followed their loss to Iowa State. Playing in what has been considered the strongest Conference this season certainly helps their case, as does the potential voter hesitancy for a LSU/Bama rematch. Unfortunately, the Cowboys have a lot going against them as well and this is where the Big 12's dropping of their Championship game may come back to bite them. Lacking a title game, OSU was counting on their Bedlam game against OU to count as that performance and possibly springboard them into the title game. But thanks to Baylor and Tech, that game lost a LOT of appeal on the Sooners behalf. OSU still wins the B12 with a win, but does it count as much as winning an actual title game? That all depends on if you think the BCS would favor a 1 loss ACC Champion Virginia Tech or a 1 loss, non Champ Stanford over a one loss Oklahoma State squad; I think it's unlikely. OSU caught a break with Oregon losing, yet still controlling their destiny in the Pac 12 North because it keeps Stanford out of that title game, but that is the least of their worries at present because their bye week comes at a bad time. And, of course, they need LSU and Alabama losses to even be considered. Games to keep an eye on: Next Saturday vs. #9 OU.
  • #5 Virginia Tech. Where did these guys come from? Left for dead after losing to Clemson earlier this year, the Hokies are right back in the thick of things after the mayhem from this weekend. Curiously enough, this weekend's game against the BARELY unraked Cavaliers carries HUGE implications as the winner will advance to the ACC title game. Virginia Tech typically controls this series and will be a decided favorite, but it's being played in Charlottesville and the surprising Cavs would love nothing more than to dash the title hopes of their in state rival. Still, I think VT would need LSU, Alabama and OSU losses for a shot at it, even with the win this weekend and in the ACC title game, ironically against the same Clemson team who handed it to them earlier. In other words, the Hokies have a tough road ahead of them to remain in the discussion and may not even make a BCS game altogether. Games to keep an eye on: Sat @ Virginia, potential ACC Championship vs #17 Clemson.
  • #6 Stanford. I don't think they get in simply because they can't win their own Conference unless Oregon loses to Oregon State. Bama and LSU are probably the only teams who could pull off this feat, and even then it is a stretch. Besides, they still have a tricky one Saturday against suddenly resurgent #23 Notre Dame. For now here's to thinking the Cardinal are a BCS at large at best. Games to keep an eye on: Sat. vs #23 Notre Dame.
  • #7 Boise State. How much do you think Boise fans hate their kicker now? Sure, Brotzman cost them a sure trip to the Rose Bowl, but given the events of the weekend, Dan Goodale possibly cost them a shot at a National Title. Were the Broncos still undefeated, you'd have to imagine they'd be no worse than #4 right now, and possibly #3. I don't see them outranking #2 Alabama in that situation, though. So what now? I guess Boise still has a VERY, VERY remote chance of advancing to the title game, but it would take LSU beating Arkansas, Auburn beating Alabama, OU beating OSU AND remaining below the Broncos, Virginia Tech losing one of their next two AND Stanford losing to Notre Dame; even then, there are no guarantees. The Broncos can probably go ahead and print their boarding passes for a trip to Vegas. Games to keep an eye on: NEIN!
  • Houston. Sorry, it's just not happening. Also, DIE!!! Games to keep an eye on: Friday @ Tulsa.
So that's a WHOLE lot to think about for the next couple of weeks and, most importantly, here's exactly how to plan your Thanksgiving Weekend in order to avoid your family. If you combine it with yesterday's BCS Breakdown/Movement Watch, you can pretty much lock up Thursday-Saturday in a football/tryptophan haze. Go ahead, thank me in the comments.

Friday:
11:00AM-2:30 PM. Houston @ Tulsa.
1:30PM - 5:00PM. Arkansas @ LSU. CBS.


Saturday:
2:30PM - 6:00PM. Alabama @ Auburn. CBS.
2:30PM - 6:00PM. Virginia Tech @ Virginia. ESPN2.
7:00PM-10:30PM. Stanford vs. Notre Dame. ABC.

Morning Dump

Football:
A healthy Carder gives Frogs' defense a boost
Star-Telegram

Charmed? TCU's BCS hopes take a hit
ESPN

Basketball:
Oh Bubba no; Frogs hoops team ugly in loss against Norfolk State
Star-Telegram

TCU wraps up Paradise Jam vs Ole Miss
GoFrogs.com

Balanced attack sends NC State WBB to win over TCU
WCTI.com

Cross Country:
Kemboi set for 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championships
GoFrogs.com

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Frogs LOSE a spot in the BCS, slip to 20th.

Well, crud. Despite all of the upheaval in the college football football landscape this weekend, the Frogs actually LOST a spot in the BCS rankings, falling to 20th. Compounding matters, with a bye week coming up and the teams right behind us having games, we need a few more upsets to fall in our favor. Of course, nothing will matter until Houston drops a game, so all of our worries may be moot anyway. Here's a breakdown:

The Good. With Michigan dispatching Nebraska pretty handily and giving them their third loss, we probably don't have to worry about them moving ahead of us, although they're sitting in our rearview mirror at 21st. Clemson's, 17th, pretty convincing loss to North Carolina State gives them a pretty small margin for error, too. With games against #12 South Carolina and #5 Virginia Tech coming up, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who would expect the Tigers to emerge from that slate unscathed. Conversely, South Carolina is ranked right above the Tigers, so with a loss they could drop behind us as well. Bottom line, I think it's safe to say we're gaining a spot no matter that outcome.

Michigan State and the winner of Penn State/Wisconsin this weekend will be meeting in the Big Ten Championship, so it's likely one of those teams would drop behind us after that, though they all sit in front of us at present at 19th, 16th and 14th, respective. Best case is probably #19 Penn State beating #16 Wisconsin then losing to the #14 Spartans the following weekend. But Michigan State has a tricky one at Northwestern this weekend and, with the Legends Division wrapped up, it's easy to see them falling asleep a bit. #15 Michigan can't win the Legends and still has to play at Ohio State but, although they will be convincingly favored, they haven't beaten them too often in the 2000s, so that's definitely one to keep your eye on.
And then there's #13 Georgia who, after dropping their first two games, has gone on an absolute tear, reeling off 9 straight to win the SEC East. Presuming they're simply lambs for the Bama/LSU slaughter in that game, they'll enter Selection Sunday with an extra loss, although beating #23 Georgia Tech this weekend is most certainly not a given. The Dawgs are a team to watch closely as they could finish anywhere from 11-2 and in the Sugar Bowl to 9-4 and in the Chic Fila. With 3 losses, here's to thinking Georgia Tech will stay behind us, even if they win Saturday.

Another positive is West Virginia not making it into the rankings this week. They're probably the last team out, but with games remaining against unranked Pitt and USF, it's hard to imagine a 3 loss Big East team jumping into the top 20, although I wouldn't rule it out as I'll bring up later.

Lastly, we all owe Reggie Bush a HUGE debt of gratitude for taking bribes while at USC, thus making them ineligible for bowl consideration this year. If they were, we'd be at 21.

So, to recap, we will likely gain a spot due to the Clemson/SC game, will likely gain one, and possibly two, once the Big Ten shakes out and could very well gain another once Georgia finishes their season. All things being equal, we SHOULD be able to sneak into the top 16 although it's not near as much of a certainty as I hoped it would be earlier today.

The Bad. Baylor's win over Oklahoma has turned out to be an absolute dagger as it boosted the Bears to #18 and only dropped OU to #9. If the Bears win their remaining games against Tech and #25 UT, they will stay ahead of us and could find themselves BCS Bowl eligible, believe it or not. UT and Tech both lost this weekend, so that won't help their SOS, but dont' underestimate the allure of Robert Griffin, Heisman contender reborn, to mess with the minds of the voters and their love of shiny things. I hoped OU would drop further, but it looks like they are going to stay up as the top ranked 2 loss team in the country. Even if they lose to #4 Oklahoma State, I can't see them falling below 20th.

Also bad is the re-emerging of #22 Notre Dame. Even with 3 losses, if they beat #6 Stanford this weekend, combined with our bye, you can probably kiss our spot in the rankings goodbye.

Things also weren't improved when #8 Houston easily cruised past SMU in their Gameday debut, although we were all pretty foolish to expect a different outcome. Tulsa didn't crack the rankings this week, but they're our last, best hope to kill the Cougars hopes.

The worst news of all, though, is the timing of our bye week. Non-AQ teams on the cusp typically disappear during a bye week as the voters basically use it as an excuse to irrationally punish them. This makes me extremely nervous seeing as how all of the teams surrounding us have game to be played, and in many cases two more. Is it entirely possible that the voters will set our ceiling at 17 in order to avoid having a 2 loss non-AQ BCS participant? If you say no, you clearly aren't familiar with how the system works.

I'll be honest guys, this was kind of a gut punch. Picking up 3 spots was going to be hard; picking up 4 with two weeks to go and only one game remaining to be played may prove to be impossible. Nothing happens without Houston losing, but I kind of hoped we'd at least make it a discussion. Our best cases are going to be as such:

  • #12 South Carolina beats #17 Clemson, who then falls to #5 Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship, although that USC loss SHOULD do the trick.
  • #18 Baylor loses to Tech or #25 Texas. It hurts, but we're going to have to root for those assholes.
  • #19 Penn State beats #16 Wisconsin, and then loses to #14 Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship.
  • #15 Michigan loses to UR Ohio State this weekend in Ann Arbor.
  • #13 Georgia loses to #23 Georgia Tech AND the SEC Championship. I'm not sure one loss or the other guarantees us anything.
That's five potential spots, which would be one more than we need. A lot of "Ifs" there. I'm keeping my hopes up because, at this point, why wouldn't I? But I probably wouldn't book your flights to New Orleans QUITE yet.

Here are the games to keep an eye on this weekend. Consider this your Movement Watch.

Thursday:
#25 UT @ aggy. 7:00PM. ESPN. Just because, one of these teams has to lose.

Friday:
#8 Houston @ Tulsa. 11:00AM. Fox Sports SW.

Pitt @ West Virginia. 6:00PM. ESPN.

Saturday:
#13 Georgia @ #23 Georgia Tech. 11:00AM. ESPN.
Michigan State @ Northwestern. 11:00AM. BTN.

#19 Penn State @ #16 Wisconsin. 2:30PM. ESPN.

Texas Tech vs. #18 Baylor @ Jerryworld. 6:00PM. Fox Sports SW.
#17 Clemson @ #12 South Carolina. 6:45PM. ESPN.
#22 Notre Dame @ #6 Stanford. 7:00PM. ABC.


Frogs Lose to Norfolk State.


Despite 15 points and 6 boards from Adrick McKinney and another 12 points from Hank Thorns, the Frogs dropped their second round game in the Paradise Jam to Norfolk State 66-53. Poor shooting - 25% from the field, including a stunningly awful 1-18 from beyond the arc - and rebounding - 26-41 - ultimately did the Frogs in on the night. As fan, we probably overvalued the win over Virginia, but this team made some positive strides and has one more game to build on when they play the loser of Ole Miss and Marquette tomorrow afternoon. Here's to hoping they enjoy the rest of their stay in beautiful St. Thomas.

Saturday Review.

I think we all felt a little like this watching the game.

I'm going to come right out and say it - yesterday's game was pretty damned boring. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the fact that the Frogs are good enough to sleepwalk their way to a 24 point victory. And I suppose a comedown was inevitable after last week's nerve fest. But if there's one thing I'm looking forward to about the Big 12 it's that the increased level of excitement because, even if we're winning by 3 TDs, at least it will be against a team that you can convince yourself to hate fairly easily. Something about whipping Colorado State and New Mexico just doesn't do it for me anymore. I suppose knowing what's coming next year has stolen my youthful innocence and made me a bit jaded. Oh, to be young and naive again...

But you know what wasn't boring? Everything else about the College Football Weekend. We'll focus more on that later, but first I'll do my duty and break this sucker down.

From the get go it was pretty clear what our operating method was going to be: Run the ball and control the clock. It worked, at least partly: We outgained the Rams 255-160 yards on the ground, but they bested us in the clock category by about one minute. Once again Waymon James led all rushers with 108 yards on 15 carries and while I can't argue with the results, it's still a little curious as to why he doesn't dominate in the carries department. It's even more curious when you take into account the fumbleitis exhibited by Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker, the former coughing up another one yesterday. As I said, I can't argue with the results, especially since Tuck and Ed both had a TD, and I understand that at least part of Waymon's success is due to the fact that the limited number of carries keeps him fresh. But it's becoming increasingly more clear that the Sherman Tank is our best back. I will be very interested to see how the coaching staff chooses to use him in a bowl game and next year in Big 12 play.

In my preview I suggested that La Manga would have a "baseline" game of 250 yards and 3 TDs. As SnK pointed out, that's a pretty ridiculous baseline, and perhaps I was still so caught up in Boise euphoria and was basing my choice of that. In any case, it was obvious that the Rams weren't going to let Pachall go bombs away on them, and even clearer that the coaching staff wasn't going to let him open up the playbook unless necessary. Pachall was 13/20 for 117 yards and no TDs or picks; this was easily his weakest output of the season. I'm sure the staff wanted to play it a little bit more buttoned down this week in order to not let Casey get overconfident and make mistakes or get injured. It also looked like Josh Boyce was moving curiously slow, although I have not read anything suggesting he was injured.

However, in a"file under conspiracy theories" suggestion, kerley's, perhaps after a few pre and in-game cocktails, had another suggestion. As lyle pointed out in a post last week, Pachall is INCREDIBLY close to breaking quite a few of the single season passing records set by our favorite Rooster. And while Coach Patterson has grown to appreciate what La Manga brings to this team, it's pretty clear by some of his quotes that he's not ready to put him in that rarified Dalton air quite yet. So what if he's purposefully going to deflate Pachall's numbers going forward to protect the records and keep Casey's head in the right place? Coaches' are full of motivational tactics and if Pachall breaks all of Dalton's records in his first year, it's understandable that the staff will worry about what will motivate him going forward. There's clearly no proof of this, and there's no real reason to believe it, but I don't recall Casey throwing any passes more than 10-15 yards yesterday and, other than the opening drive where Boyce dropped a pass in the end zone, it was pretty much run, run and run again when we got in the red zone. Just some food for thought. Don't shoot the messenger.

Quickly running through the other points of interest, the only real positive to come from our defense was Tank's SnK pre-approved pick six which officially put the game out of reach. As for the rest of the day? A Rams team with no offense to speak of starting a rookie QB outgained TCU 408-372 despite committing 11 penalties. The G-man looked every bit like he's ready to step in and lead the Rams for the rest of the season assuming Thomas remains on the bench. In his first collegiate start he went 14-24 for 248 yards and a TD and never looked rattled. His 66 yard TD pass wasn't a thing of beauty, but he made a big play when the pocket collapsed and Tank uncharacteristically broke out of coverage allowing the receiver to put about 20 yards between them. The defense never put much pressure on Grayson all afternoon, finishing with no sacks, but Chris Nwoke was never really able to get anything going so I suppose that's a positive. It was defintely a bend but don't break kind of afternoon from a defense that was clearly not playing their best game, although I suppose they deserve a bit of a break after last week.

Ross made both of his field goals, but kicked another ball out of bounds giving way to Ryan DeNucci later in the game. I don't fancy myself a special teams expert, but it's baffling how Evans can kick the ball 5 yards deep in the end zone to start the game yet still kick the ball out of bounds despite having, what, 20-30 yards to work with horizontally? The world will never know.

Overall, a pretty flat, uneven day which was expected but unpleasant to watch. However, a win is a win even if its not exciting and when we can complain about a 3+ TD victory, we're probably just being over-privileged assholes.

But you know what we can't complain about? The crowd support as it was easily the most packed the stadium has been all year with even the rich folk occupying their seats for most of the game. Also in the non-complaint department is everything else about the CFB weekend because it was one of the most exciting in recent memory. However, you're going to have to wait until tomorrow to read about it.

TO BE CONTINUED....