Thursday, March 3, 2011

Spring Prospectus

Now that Lyle has graciously run us through each position and some of you have been kind enough to share your depth chart opinions, we can compare those thoughts to what the coaches have put on paper. That's right, spring practice starts tomorrow and the spring prospectus is out. Much like our predictions, this prospectus is clearly pre-spring and things can change. This should be a great indicator of where people stand as of this moment though.


Schedule Announced!

Yeah Gary, we're pretty pissed about the home sched, too.

Yes, you read that right - the 2011 football schedule is out shockingly early this year. We didn't even have time to do an announcement pool! Deeper analysis will surely follow, but for the sake of timeliness - read: beating everyone to the punch - here's the first glance:

2011 TCU Football Schedule
Sept. 3 - at Baylor
Sept. 10 - at Air Force*
Sept. 17 - vs. Louisiana-Monroe
Sept. 24 - vs. Portland State
Oct. 1 - vs. SMU
Oct. 8 - at San Diego State*
Oct. 22 - vs. New Mexico*
Oct. 28 - vs. BYU^, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Nov. 5 - at Wyoming*
Nov. 12 - at Boise State*
Nov. 19 - vs. Colorado State*
Dec. 3 - vs. UNLV*

*Mountain West Conference game
^at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas

Thanks, BYU.

The Least BYU can do is Amend their Policy in this Direction.

If you're like me and you follow Mountain West Basketball, you're well aware of BYU's latest Honor Code casualty, Brandon Davies; assuming none of you are like me, I'll explain. We're all well aware of the BYU Honor code. It's the reason Harvey Unga went from being a sleeper pick in the NFL Draft to "flame broiling" burgers in a microwave at Burger King, or at least that's what I assume he's doing. Whether or not you agree with the Honor Code really isn't the issue - but, please let the fact that said code includes daily shaving and not drinking iced tea guide your decision. Also take into account that 90% of college is drunken hookups and losing your inhibitions. Do you remember your first night at college? You're a cocky 18 year old fresh out of your parents house without any supervision and all the girls are better looking because they're new and because they're all drunk. Everyone was a possible conquest. And at TCU, most everyone comes from a relatively upper class, well-parented/morally conscious lifestyle so the line between modesty and full blown whorebag is only one or two Zimas away. And you're supposed to turn that down? You're supposed to go four years without that kind of attention? I don't think you can even whack it at BYU. Seriously, how do these people survive?!?!

Anyway

Unlike a lot of our fans, I don't dislike BYU because of their religion specifically. Sure, I think some of their rituals and beliefs are silly, but I respect that they likely feel the same way about non-Mormon Christians and if that's what they want to believe, that's fine. No, I hate BYU fans because they're elitist assholes and because they are, or were, our biggest MWC rival. We've never beaten them in basketball, they had our number in football for a couple of years, and because they would've ruined the next several years of our football lives with their independence bullshit had the Big East not extended an invite. And now you can go ahead and add taking food out of our athletic mouths to the list.

Since I'm assuming most of you don't know anything about the Cougars basketball team that doesn't carry the surname Fredette, let me enlighten you: Not only was Davies a starter on this team, he was their leading rebounder and their biggest presence in the middle. This would be like the Boston Celtics trading an up and coming big man for an overrated swingman who will end up defining what it means to be a "journeyman." oh wait...

Yes, BYU is mostly a hot shooting team that beats you with their guard play and murders you from the outside, but you have to have a guy like Davies in the middle to get rebounds and disrupt other teams flow. The lack of a player like that is one of the myriad reasons why TCU is the worst team in the MWC. The impact of his absence was clearly demonstrated last night as the Cougars were absolutely TROUNCED at home by New Mexico, losing by 18. The most eye popping stat of the loss isn't the margin of victory though - it's the fact that BYU was out rebounded 46-29. The Cougars were swept on the year by New Mexico and, after a tune up game against Wyoming to close out the regular season, have to be absolutely terrified heading into the Conference Tourney.

So I know what a lot of you are thinking - Haha, BYU really screwed the pooch on this one! Or not screwed because that would be, you know, illegal, but at least spooned the pooch a little. And you're right, a season killing, self imposed suspension couldn't happen to a better group of people. But the long term monetary implications are what really kill teams like us. If we're going to subsidize the rest of the conference in football, we deserve a life raft when it comes to basketball don't you think?

Heading into last night's game, BYU was ranked 3rd in the country following their weekend win over San Diego State and, based on the performances of the other top ranked teams, were pretty much locked into a one seed in the tournament barring some sort of epic fail in the Conference tournmanet. Now? While logically you'd think, "Ah, a 2 seed isn't that bad," think again because here's where the BYU doctrines could screw us again: BYU can't play games on a Sunday. The Selection Committee is guaranteed to take that into account, but it's not as easy as slotting them as a two seed in one of the regions that plays their games on Thurs/Sat. There are waaaaaaay too many logistical scenarios to take into account here, but it's a real possibility that due to the suspension/loss, an early exit in the conference tourny, and this scheduling SNAFU, BYU could fall from a top line seed to a three or four seed, making their road to the Final Four far tougher than it would've been had they kept Davies on board. And, once again, while seeing BYU cut down the nets in Houston is up there with SMU making a BCS game and Tech dropping out of first place in total STDs among US Universities, thus destroying all of my stereotypes about them, sometimes you have to think about the bottom line. And by handing out this suspension, the Mountain West just potentially lost $7.8 MEELLION dollars!! You have to factor in travel expenses for the team's involved, which would be substantial if BYU really went all the way, but even after all that, once it's split evenly, TCU probably lost a cool $500,000. Sure, that's paid out over a six year span, so I'm not sure how that affects us when we leave... but it's the principle, no?

And while it's not much money, it's money for nothing! And it's gone! Gone because BYU has the most archaic governing system in the history of such things. Gone because one player acted on the most basic of human instincts there is. Gone because BYU refuses to allow college students to be college students. As much as we all hate socialism around these parts, it's a jarring fact that without it, college athletics would probably not exist in a lot of places. You'll believe me in a couple of years when the MWC dissolves.

However, if there's a bright side to the situation it's that Brandon Davies is looking for a new school... and TCU has literally THOUSANDS of women who are willing and able to accommodate his needs... If Jim Christian doesn't have a "hostess committee" on the way to Provo right now, then we really are in for some lean years. If we really want to be in the SEC one day, then we have to start exploiting our women. Why haven't WWHD and I quit our jobs to become sleazy boosters again?


Looking Ahead: Special Teams

Last and probably frankly least important in the eyes of most fans, we come to special teams. Of course, anyone who actually knows the game also knows the value of special teams and the enormous impact they have on any given contest.

Place-kicker Ross Evans and punter Anson Kelton return in 2011 for their fourth years as the starter at their respective positions. Evans was 11-for-13 on field goals last year and 68-for-73 on PATs. I realize it might be nit-picky to point it out, but 5 missed PATs? I know being the kicker is a high-pressure job, but I look at kicking PATs like I do uncontested lay-ups in basketball: someone who's going to school for free shouldn't miss them. Kelton, despite his size, has never really been a boomer: he averaged just 41.6 yards per punt last year, but he did have 8 of 50 yards or more last year, and had about 40% of his punts downed inside the opponents' 20 yard-line.

Behind them, though, is a bit of a mystery as there are no scholarship back-ups for either. Kevin Sharples, who handled kick-offs last year, has graduated and former committed recruit Chad Hedlund opted to sign with Wake Forest instead of TCU.

The biggest loss to the Horned Frog special teams, without a doubt, is Jeremy Kerley. #85 accounted for 915 yards returning both punts and kicks last year. Greg McCoy, who returned a kick-off for a touchdown two years ago against Wyoming, returned 5 for 167 last year. Skye Dawson fielded 3 kicks for 87 yards and 1 punt for 25 yards- which represents the entirety of Division 1 punt-returning experience.

Daniel Shelley, who handled snapping duties last year on field goals, PATs and punts, returns in that capacity for his junior season. Bart Johnson was the holder for field goals and PATs, so a replacement will need to be found there.

Now's the time for us fans with no inside information to play the guessing game! Who do you see dropping back deep to return punts and/or kick-offs in 2011? Who will hold for field goals and PATs? Who will handle kickoffs, and who are the place-kicker and punter of the future? What younger position players will show their potential by making big hits on punt & kick coverage? Take a break from your TPS reports to let us know your predictions in the comments section.

Frogs add '12 Kilgore RB

LaDarious Anthony, previously committed to Baylor, had a change of heart last night and switched his commitment to the Frogs. Anthony is a 6 foot 180 pound back out of Kilgore and is related to former Frogs Wayne Daniels and Nick Sanders. You have to feel good for the kid who could have made a terrible decision to spend four years of his life in Waco. He looks to be a great addition to the 2012 class, see for yourself.

Morning Dump

Football:
Dalton could be draft surprise
Fox Sports Southwest

Aledo star has Texas, TCU, A&M on his final list
Star-Telegram

Baseball:
Q&A with Matt Purke
MLBTradeRumors.com

Basketball:
TCU men lose 13th straight to end regular season
Star-Telegram

Athletic Department:
Notes on a scorecard GoFrogs.com

TCU's purple takes the spotlight at Texas Capitol
Star-Telegram