Monday, December 5, 2011

Game 12 Wrap Up: Nobody Freak Out.

Typically in this space I would take the time to break down the game of the weekend just a bit as well as offer up a few thoughts about things going forward. However, in light of last night's events, I want to do things a little differently this morning. All you need to know about the game is this: The team did exactly what they needed to do. They destroyed a team they were far better than by 47 points, giving the voters enough evidence to make a fair assessment of how to rank them. And, they seemed to play even better once the USM demolition of Houston was announced on the stadium PA - nice touch, TCU announcer - which helped ease the minds of those who thought they might get caught scoreboard watching. The defense played VERY well and did their part long enough for the offense to get rolling - Kris Gardner scored a TD, they held the Rebels to ZERO of 15 on third down and only gave up 164 total yards, including 48 through the air. Greg McCoy had a nice Senior Day, returning his second TD on a kickoff and allowing no completions to his side of the field and was among the 19 to finish as the most successful TCU class ever. Casey Pachall didn't have a huge game, but he didn't have to. Neither did Matthew Tucker, Waymon James or Ed Wesley. When you can put up 56 points against anyone without your QB passing for 200 yards or having a back even sniff 100, you've made it look pretty easy, which is exactly what needed to be done.

Unfortunately, it wasn't enough.

I'm just as confused as many of you. Not because I really thought it would happen; with Baylor and Clemson destroying their competition and Michigan State only losing by three, the writing was on the wall and I never truly got my hopes up Sunday afternoon. A lot of you probably have qualms with Georgia and Oklahoma staying ahead of us despite their lackluster performances Saturday, but the Dawgs three losses have come against teams in the Top 9 and OU apparently had high enough computer rankings to make their odds of falling beneath us slim at best. All along I knew we had two things going against us - losing to a bad SMU team at home and the unprecedentedness of being a two loss automatic bid candidate from a non-AQ Conference. There had never even been a ONE loss non-AQ BCS participant. This, above all else, always gave me the biggest fits. Think about it - the BCS is the most elitist institution in sports with the most fickle voters. When it comes to putting pen to paper, did you ever really think they would completely forget how the system was designed to keep teams like TCU out in the first place? I'm not suggesting a conspiracy - the Coaches' DID rank us 15th, after all - but that was always a major sticking point with me and something I pictured being our downfall.

I completely understand the frustration. The 50 of us in Section V who braved the elements to watch the game live and in person Saturday were downright giddy each time someone got a hint of a cell phone signal long enough to update us on the offensively slow times at Cougar High. And when our game ended Texas was still teasing us by being competitive in Waco, thus furthering the elation. I even had a not-completely-tongue in cheek conversation along the lines of, "Hell, why are we joining a BCS Conference, let's just keep getting bids this way!!" as things were winding down. Like I said, the Clemson and Michigan State outcomes weren't heartening at all, but I think most everyone had at least talked themselves into Houston getting drop kicked out of the top 15, Georgia slipping more than two spots and OU sliding right past us, which SHOULD have been enough to get us in. As fate would have it, nothing happened, we remained at 18th in a week where we dominated our opponent after gaining two spots during our bye week, and we have to move on.

Let's take off our spoiled, "If we're not in the BCS, I'm not paying attention" colored glasses for a minute and put this thing in perspective. We all woke up the morning of September 3rd with a sour taste in our mouths. The Frogs had just lost a nail biter to our oldest, bitterest rival the Baylor Bears, which was even more painful when you consider the Bears ran their mouths all off-season and then backed it up. Our once inpenetrable defense had been shredded, our leading tackler from the year before was lost for the season, Tank Carder was playing like he was on sleepy time drugs and Ed Wesley was on the sidelines. All that we knew for sure was that our brand spanking new offensive line was going to be fine and that we had ourselves a pretty good QB of the future, although he was going to need some time to hit his stride, perhaps even an entire season. But still, I'd have to imagine quite a few among our ranks chalked up the Air Force game the following week as a loss, probably felt bad about BYU and most certainly gave us no chance in hell at Boise. I'm certainly guilty of this attitude. Of course, the Frogs followed up the Baylor loss with a nice win at Air Force, followed by a closer than it should've been game against ULM and a beatdown of Portland State, but you're lying if you said you felt any better about the rest of the season than you did on September 3rd. Turns out we were right. You all know what happened on September 30th, which puts us in the position we're in now.

Then three things happened. One, Patterson had a VERY un-typical postgame meltdown, blaming the refs and lashing out at SMU Coach June Jones for fuzzy reasons, turning the media and quite a bit of the college football world against him. Almost immediately afterwards, TCU received that coveted invite to the Big 12 they'd longed for since the SWC disbanded which gave the team new life, but led certain factions to call the Frogs "disloyal" and "opportunistic," ironic considering how the CFB landscape had been trending before and after that moment. Those two incidents led to the third thing, which is that TCU began playing with new life and finally got that chip back on their shoulder, the same one that had led to the successes of the preview two seasons. At San Diego State, they overcame turnovers and a late comeback attempt by the Aztecs to move to 2-0 in Conference play, absolutely ate New Mexico's soul, held off a better than expected BYU team and avoided a trap game in Laramie, setting up the Conference Championship in Boise the MWC had anticipated, although without the hype. Against all odds, including some of the ballsiest play calling ever by Patterson, as well as the most egregiously pro-home team officiating ever seen, the Frogs pulled out the win and have now coasted to 7 straight wins, including 24 straight Conference victories. We're Conference champs for the third consecutive year and leave the Mountain West on the highest note possible within that framework. When you go to bed tonight, frustrated about the Poinsettia Bowl, just think about how Craig Thompson feels and it will make it better, I promise.

It's here that I'm going to state an opinion that may not sit well with everyone, but one that I firmly believe: Without the SMU loss, we don't beat Boise, finish second in the Conference and wind up in San Diego anyway. I understand it sounds foolish to suggest that one game can directly lead to the outcome of another, but think about it. The mindset of the team CLEARLY changed after that loss. Instead of worrying about rankings and Conference Championships and the BCS, they took the games on a week to week basis and played like a team with nothing to lose and everything to prove. If we roll into Boise 8-1 with a high ranking and a BCS berth directly in our sights instead of 7-2 and nothing, does Patterson call the 2 point play to win it? Does Casey Pachall play with the loose, no pressure attitude that he did and have the game of his career? Do we get all of the same nauseating calls against us to set up the karmic shift in the form of Dan Goodale's gimpy leg? I say no. I say we show up high strung and let the pressure of the moment directly impact the game in a negative way. With Boise jumping ship too, a BCS almost all but assured no matter the outcome, and the Broncos having little chance of a national title bid , perhaps Craig Thompson refrains from using the Buffalo Wild Wings phone and things are called a little more evenly. Without the adversity of losing a game they had no business losing, what ammunition do Patterson and his staff have to refocus the teams' mindset from, "We should win because we're TCU" to "We won't win unless we play up to our potential"? All of those things played a HUGE role in the win and you're crazy if you believe otherwise.

Let's be honest, 10-2 was a BEST case scenario for this season. Thinking back to September 3rd, if someone had given you the option of beating SMU but losing to Boise or beating SMU but losing to Boise, which means you'd also lose the Conference, I'd have to imagine a lot of us would've taken the latter. I realize the Poinsettia Bowl is a drag. It's a drag because we thought we were going to get a backstage pass into the BCS. It's a drag because we've been there twice before. It's a drag because, as Conference champs, at the very least we should have received an invite to Las Vegas. It's a drag because it's before Xmas and few of us will be able to travel. It's a drag because of the opponent; if we're being honest, until the projections started coming out, I just assumed LT was in the Sun Belt. But those are all pretty petty reasons to be upset. After all, it's a lot better than Tech's Bowl game. Most importantly though, YOUR football team is still playing in it. Not that I expect many, if any, current Horned Frogs read Spitblood, but regardless if they do or not, the team feeds off of fan emotion a LOT more than you think. Read twitter sometime, because they talk about fan support, or lack thereof, with some frequency. If we're all mopey and bitchy and whiny about the bowl destination, how do you expect them to show up ready to play? I'm not saying fan support will be the reason for a win or a loss because the coaching staff has shown time and time again that they're capable of targeting focus, but it's not going to help matters if we all resign ourselves to the "Bah!Humbug!" attitude espoused on this very site yesterday. You know what's worse than playing Louisiana Tech? Losing to Louisiana Tech, a very real possibility if we show up flat because you KNOW they'll be fired up. Let's do our parts to help out.

I'm as bummed out as most of you because, despite my logical brain, I would've had to be a robot not to have held out a LITTLE bit of hope for a BCS game, even as the twitterverse was telling me otherwise. (Speaking of: How much has twitter ruined ESPN's hold on the BCS Selection process? I knew at least 2 hours before the show that Virginia Tech was in, TCU was out and OSU did not jump Bama. Kind of kills the excitement. At least I knew there was no need to watch Craig James.) But let's not allow the venue where we finish the season to tarnish the reality of how we got there. It's been one of the most memorable Gary Patterson coached TCU seasons ever, a sentiment he'd surely admit in private, even if it took a gallon of truth serum and liter of bourbon to get it out of him. Let's just enjoy the high points, learn from the low, and view this BCS snub as the first dousing of fuel for the Big 12 fire next season. We won't know for sure until it happens, but I have a feeling we're going to look back at this moment when we're knocking off Texas in Austin, Oklahoma State in Stillwater or Oklahoma at Amon G and realize we wouldn't have been there without it. Keep your chins up, Frog fans and let's kick the crap out of the Bulldogs. Go Frogs.


Rotten Arsenal said...

Don't mistake my "Bah! Humbug!"... I would watch and cheer on our boys if they were playing in the Hormel Corned Beef Hash Bowl in Paducah, Kentucky playing the local University of Phoenix office.
Truthfully, I just find the entire situation worthy of a "Bah! Humbug!"
-That Vegas won't pick us... ever...
-That by going to San Diego, my slim chance of going to the bowl game (Might could've found the cash for Shreveport, but with the impending small human money sucking machine coming, my budget is about zero). Watching a not-that-intriguing match-up live with your buddies, yelling and screaming is waaaaaaay better than watching a not-that-intriguing match-up in your living room. The team has my full support to annihilate and team that dares to take the field against them and I'll root just as hard, but I'd be lying if I said I was throughly excited by our bowl match-up
-The idiocy that is that BCS ranking system. I think it's reached a pinnacle of WTF results this year.

I don't give a crap that we aren't in a BCS Bowl because honestly, if it ain't the Rose Bowl or the NCG, it's still just a bowl game that not that many folks outside of the competing teams fanbases care about, but with bigger payouts that the Conferences get to spread around to teams don't pull their own weight.
My "Bah Humbug" was specifically about going to the one Bowl in our potential destinations that was just not appealing at all.

tcumaniac said...

if by "current horned frogs" you mean students, then yes... lots of us read SB

Jimbo Frog said...

I agree for the most part with this article, except I HATE Donkey State so much, I would take the SMU loss anyday if it meant beating Buck-face Moore. I hate Craig Do-Nothing Thompson even more for not doing ANYTHING to upgrade MWC bowl situation over the years that we have been there. Seriously is the WAC champion the best you can do Craig?

Reed said...

Amen. Go Frogs!


Sir Wesley Willis said...

RA - Oh, I get what you're saying, and I'm disappointed, I just wanted to offer a counterpoint and try and take it out of the "WE GOT SCREWED" perspective and make everyone remember where this season COULD'VE gone.

maniac - I meant current TCU players, but good to hear the students come check us out considering we were all already several years removed from college when spitblood started.

jimbo - if it makes you feel any better, Craig T will probably have to fight for shifts at the dip cone station at DQ once the MWC falls apart.

VikingFrog said...

As RA stated. I'm upset with the bowl because of it's timing and price point. Going to be a difficult bowl for me to make even if I had the cash (which I don't).

Roughton TCU said...

Current junior and everyday reader, you'd probably be surprised how many students visit the site.

I just wanted to say great article, it's what I needed to hear after all the bitching. I'll go to California, fuck it, can't complain too much about spending a few days in San Diego. And now that this season's over, I can fully appreciate how fucking ridiculously fantastic next fall will be. I will have trouble concealing my football anticipation boner for the next 8 months. Having grown up a frog fan, I couldn't have imagined the new stadium and the big 12 even as a freshman. Seeing our parking lot packed full of real universities with throngs of avid fans will be something fans my age have never experienced. A stadium packed with OU fans will be a god damn beautiful thing to behold, and destroying them will be even more amazing. Great time to be a Horned Frog.

D said...

good read willis

EdK said...

I agree with SWW's main point completely -- if we don't lose to SMU, we don't beat Boise. I am convinced of that.

If TCU's beats La. Tech, then the Frogs finish 11-2, win their conference and wind up about 12th in the AP poll. I will take that every single freaking year.

Frogger98 said...

I have to say, I would have rather beat Baylor and SMU. I don't think it is a given that we lose to Boise if that happens. Boise just was not as good as they have been this year.

With that said, I don't know how I feel about San Diego - it sucks because I can't make that trip, but I am still pretty proud of the season TCU had and think it will be good to keep a bowl winning streak going.

I just hope the K-State snub wasn't an indication of how its going to be for Big 12 teams going forward. I am worried that the lack of 12 teams and a conference game is going to hurt TCU's BCS chances in the future.

FrogHorn07 said...

The K-State snub is about fan base... the same preoblem could follow TCU. We still need to be conference champ or #1 or #2 to go to the BCS.

Cowtown Food Junkie said...

Completely agree with Roughton. This year was like a decent appetizer that makes you hungrier for the delicious main course that you know is coming next. All the negatives from this season are going to make the 2012 football season the most anticipated of my short Frogdom. The stadium was literally a construction zone. Every home game started at 1:30-2:30 during the hottest year we've had in Texas in some time (and that's saying something). Our home schedule was terrible, and we managed to lose to SMeeeew. Our one decent home game was in Jerryworld. The game against the Donkeys was moved to Boise.

Fast forward to next year. The stadium will be completed and one of the nicest in the country. Goodbye, New Mexico, UNLV, CSU, SDSU, and Wyoming. Hello, UT, OU, Ok State, Tech, and Baylor! Farewell, crappy bowl tie-ins. Hello, Alamo Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Cotton Bowl, and
Pinstripe Bowl! Adios, empty stadium after halftime. Hello to a vibrant home game atmosphere!! I'm sure all Frog fans are excited to be playing our old rivals. But for the few diehard fans of the post-SWC era who stay for the whole games and cheer our asses off, the thought of having most of a majority of our home games be like Tech in 2006 or Utah in 2009 makes me giddy with excitement for next year. We have lacked any kind of major college football atmosphere at our home games, and I fully expect that to change next year.

We should be overwhelmingly happy about this season. Nobody saw the Big 12 coming. That alone made the season a memorable success. This team has improved by leaps and bounds, and we have the best coach in the nation. The future is looking awfully bright. We are entering
a new, exciting era!!! Go Frogs!!!

Sir Wesley Willis said...

Frogger's point about the B12 was mentioned by Stewart Mandel in his weekly write up. Basically, the Sugar could be playing to the ACC because they have firm footing and a strong commissioner while the B12 doesn't. Not that I think there will ever be a playoff, but ACC is one of the plus 1 teams. Could be trying to shmooze them out of that attitude.

From what I understand, the K State/VT fan base traveling scenario is a total wash.

VikingFrog said...

The whole Virginia Tech thing stinks to all high hell.

Doesn't make a lot of sense. Coaches voting them ahead of Clemson seems absolutely silly seeing as Clemson took them to the woodshed twice.

Whatever. Win some lose some.

Looking forward to kicking ass and taking names in San Diego.

As a program we should dismantle La Tech and prove our worth as a force coming into the Big 12.

Travis said...

Well, since it seems our current students do indeed read this site, smart choice, then it stands to reason that our current Football student athletes do as well.


Great year Gentlemen, we are very proud of everything you accomplished! By now you all know how much we genuinely hate SMU, and Baylor, to a lesser extent, and we assume you do as well after those two loses. Oh well, the national media gave you all very little chance for success during this "rebuilding" year and you all stuck that right up their uninformed, elitist arses! That should of known a Coach Patterson team works hard, prepares and never quits during a game. Well done. MW conference champs, three straight years, a major completion of the pyrimad. Not to mention beating Boise on that ridiculous JV Smurf Turf. You all didn't know TCU's 12th Man was a guy named Karma, but he was with you that day.

Understand this when you hear alums, students, and fans are disappointed. It is not dissapointment with what you all accomplished, it is the entire bowl selection process. Again, and I cannot say it enough, you made us proud and are conference Champs! We have become somewhat spoiled, and it's this Senior classes fault, because you win so damn much!! We just assume you will when and it's a foregone conclusion. Well, you all are almost there. Two more weeks of hard work and preparation and you can finish 11-2, plus give Coach the all time tie with Dutch for career victories. That will be one Hell of an accomplishment Gentlemen.

I humbly salute you for a great year! Good luck with your finals. Now kick some La Tech ass!

Rotten Arsenal said...

I echo Travis' statements.

Blake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Taylor said...

wreck em tech

Rolls Boyce said...

word. go frogs!