Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Dabble of Football Notes.

Casey Pachall Back-up quarterback Casey Pachall #4 of the TCU Horned Frogs passes against the University of New Mexico Lobos on November 27, 2010 at University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico. TCU won 66-17.

With the Metroplex rightfully buzzing about the Mavs unbelievable run, the Rangers presumed return to form with Hamilton and Cruz back in the mix and not to mention the Baseball Frog's beginning post season play, it'd be forgivable for a person to have put college football on the back burner for the time being. And while I personally have sports ADD in the sense that I can't follow more than one sport religiously at a time, I'm still a sucker for mock rankings, which SI's Andy Staples has conveniently provided for us this week. In his first post-spring look at things, Staples has the Frogs ranked 15th, sandwiched between the Big Ten's Michigan State and our old pals Wisconsin, respectively. I'm definitely one of those people who reads every inch of column space SI devotes to college football so I can pretend the season is just around the corner, but for those of you who are Frog Monogamists, here is what he had to say:

Key returnees: WR Josh Boyce, RB Ed Wesley, LB Tank Carder, LB Tanner Brock

Spring star: QB Casey Pachall

Spring recap: Looking back at the Top 25 I put out in January, I felt I was expecting too much of a TCU team that lost 26 seniors. But while I think it would be presumptuous to start the Horned Frogs in the top 10, I also have faith in their ability to reload. Coach Gary Patterson went 6-6 when he took over the program in 2001. He then won double-digit games in seven of the next nine seasons. He has earned the benefit of the doubt.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/andy_staples/05/24/post-spring-top-25/index.html#ixzz1NIuDkeag

I think that's probably a fair ranking for us, or at least truer than his immediate post-BCS Title Game rankings where he had us 8th. Losing 4/5 of your offensive line and a four year starting QB isn't exactly good for the business of winning immediately. However, I'm glad to see he bows a little bit at the altar of Patterson and gives him the benefit of the doubt where reloading is concerned, which is something we all should do as well. The schedule is tailor made for at least 10 wins and as long as our offensive line isn't a complete disaster, we're going to score a lot of points. And on defense? Well, see that whole "benefit of the doubt" thing. We're approaching the 90 day mark for the regular season. It really can't get here fast enough.

Switching gears a little bit though, I think one thing that has maybe gone a little under the radar is the absolute rampage our coaching staff has been on this off season where recruiting is concerned. We - well, lyle and shortnkerley, I've been pretty AWOL lately - have tried to keep you updated as much as possible, but if you're not clear on everything I highly suggest you go see the current list over at Purple Menace. Stars are bullshit, of course, but it's worth noting that four of our eleven verbals picked up four of them, and LaDarius Anthony is sitting pretty at three although it's not too far fetched to think he could add one more point, shiny thing to his name with a big senior season.

However, with the latest interested party, our coaching staff can add a whole new level of swagger to their acumen. The player in question is Travis Blanks, a four star cornerback from Tallahassee, FL and the 27th overall prospect in the country, per Rivals. However, it's his list that really sticks out - Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, The U, Ohio State and... TCU? Not bad company to keep if I do say so myself. Whether Blanks ends up in purple or not - and based on his reaction, playing in the Big East could be a deal breaker - the fact that we're in the discussion with all of those larger, closer schools is pretty derned swell.

Up next: Baylor fan drinks too much, forgets his manners.

Final Regional Projections

Is a rematch with the 'Noles in TCU's future?

In a matter of just days, the official field of 64 for the 2011 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament will be announced- making this the last week that we'll be gazing into the crystal ball to see where (and who) TCU will be playing once it begins.

For most of the year, Baseball America has not put out full regional projections. Instead, they've put out a "Stock Report" that actually takes a much more in-depth look at the selection process. In this week's edition, BA's Aaron Fitt lists TCU as being "on the bubble" in terms of hosting a Regional, but in the sub-group that he believes will be granted hosting duties. Among the teams that he believes are nipping at the Frogs' heels (read: teams you should be rooting against in their respective conference tournaments) are Miami, Central Florida, Stetson, Clemson and future Big East rival UConn.

College Baseball Daily agrees that TCU will end up hosting the first weekend of the tournament, but they've laid out a fairly difficult gauntlet for the Frogs in their latest regional projections. The #2 seed in that hypothetical Fort Worth Regional would be Clemson, who is 39-17 on the year with an RPI ranking of #9- six spots ahead of TCU. Whether it ends up being the Tigers or not, the message from CBD is that the Frogs should expect the NCAA to send a very formidable opponent their way. The winner of that foursome (which also would include Southeastern Louisiana and Michigan State) woud face the winner of the Tallahassee Regional- hosted by projected overall national #8 seed Florida State. Don't you know the Seminoles would like the chance at revenge against TCU!

According to the latest projections from Southeastern Baseball, TCU might be seeing some familiar faces as they try to get back to Omaha. Their version of the Fort Worth Regional includes Oklahoma State and Texas State, who went a combined 1-3 against TCU this spring, as well as James Madison (the alma mater of Charles Haley, not the president). Should the Frogs survive that weekend, Southeastern Baseball has them slated for a third consecutive trip to Austin for the Super Regionals. The potential for TCU-Texas III and Mavs-Heat II to be going on at the same time is probably enough to prescribe half of the readership of Spit Blood, young as you all may be, some kind of blood pressure medication.

MWC Tournament starts tonight

After another successful regular season, the Horned Frogs' road back to Omaha begins with the MWC Tournament this week in San Diego. The recent news that the TCU pitching staff will not be back to 100% as hoped for this tournament is a bit of a bummer, and we'll write more on that topic later, but the Frogs are still the #1 seed for this event that they've posted a 13-3 record in over the past five years- winning four titles in that span.

Tonight's action gets started at 5:00pm Fort Worth time, when #3 seed BYU takes on #6 seed New Mexico. Immediately following, it'll be #4 seed and tournament host San Diego State taking on #5 seed UNLV. The lower-seeded team among the two that advance would then play TCU tomorrow night at 9:00pm.

The Frogs were a combined 14-2 against these four teams this season, but keep an eye on that game between the Aztecs and the Rebels- it could hold the biggest threat to TCU other than #2 seed Utah- who I'm sure we'll discuss plenty as the tournament goes on. UNLV ace Tanner Peters, the 2011 MWC Pitcher of the Year, is slated to pitch tonight. But Rebels coach Tim Chambers still has nearly 12 hours to change his mind. If he were roll the dice to save Peters for the second round, it could match TCU up against a pitcher that held them 41 points under their season batting average and struck out 17 Frogs in 15 innings in his two starts against them.

Those of you with The Mtn and/or CBS College Sports will be able to watch all of the tournament, as BOTH networks will carry every game live. For those of you who do not or are not ready to commit 30+ hours of couch time to a college baseball tournament, you can follow along on the interweb at MWC Tournament Central. You can also follow via twitter @TheMWCOlySports or just the TCU games by following @FollowtheFrogs or @TCU_Baseball.

Morning Dump


Just when it was coming together, TCU pitching staff takes another hit Star-Telegram

Ten Frogs earn All-MWC accolades gofrogs.com


Yahoo! Sports honors Tanner Brock gofrogs.com

Big East:

Gary Patterson talks Big East ESPN

Patterson, Frogs thinking big with move to Big East CBS Sports

Calhoun predicts Big East split in 4-5 years CBS Sports