Friday, July 22, 2011

Advanced Scouting: Big East teams and trips

Despite TCU's move to the Big East still being one more season away, there's no doubt that every Frog fan is thinking about the transition and the new rivalries that will be forged once we get there. Because we'll all be paying a little more attention to the eight current members of the Big East a little closer this year than ever before, here are CFN's previews of each of them:

-West Virginia
-South Florida

...and since the new conference will bring a new set of away-game destinations, you're probably already thinking about which games you'll want to fly east to see in person. A Syracuse fan that goes by the internet name of Texan Mark has very dilligently put together a blog detailing the top attractions in Big East cities and includes tips on tailgating at Big East stadiums. Check it out, and bookmark it for future travel plans:

Texan Mark's Tailgate Guides

Rod Gilmore to Announce TCU vs. Baylor, BYU

The Friday Night "C "Team. Fill in your own blanks for what the C stands for.

Isn't this just freaking great? Rod Gilmore, the world's biggest Boise State sack rider and TCU detractor, will be calling our only 2 games on ESPN this year. For those not familiar, I spent about 6 weeks of my life last fall devoted to spreading as much Rod Gilmore related hate around this site as I possibly could. Every single week, he'd show up on various ESPN outlets, whether it be College Football Live, the typical Tuesday night Ohio v. Marshall game (speaking of those, if they still run twitter feeds across the top of the screen during those games, I plan on sending in as many "fuck you Rod Gilmore" and "Craig James is a douche" tweets as I can until one makes it on air), or the bi-weekly Boise State Friday night game and run his mouth for as long as the microphone was in front of him about how much more deserving Boise was than TCU of a BCS bid last year. Then this happened, and the 2nd shittiest ESPN personality behind Senator (HA) James was forced to eat crow and shut his mouth, at least for the rest of the season.

I'll be the first to put my homerisms aside and admit that this season, Boise has to be the MWC frontrunner and more likely candidate to reach a BCS bowl, but do we really need Gilmore and his uber pretentious Stanford dork brain to be there week 1 against Baylor to be ultra critical of every minor mistake we make and go off on rants about how "this team just doesn't look BCS caliber to me."? I am putting the over/under on Boise State references in those 2 games at 80- that's 20 per quarter in each game, but if we fall behind in either one of those, look for that number to skyrocket. We already know ESPN wont be touting us for one final season, and Gilmore is a part of the douche factory that Bristol, CT churns out, but I just want him to shut his mouth and call the game like he should, then let it be decided on the field instead of trying to influence pollsters like they always do.

Another issue to take into consideration now that BYU is independent (in an athletic sense only- it's hard to be independent in real life when you get married @ age 19, Jake Heaps), ESPN and Gilmore will probably be treating them as their new darlings a la Boise State, hoping and praying (to Jesus, not Joseph Smith) that somehow they crack the BCS like they did Boise the past few years. So let's all hope they don't show up undefeated. Also, Baylor is in the Big 12-2=UT, so you know Gilmore will be hyping them up in game 1 like they're going to be a player in the national scene and Robert Griffin will be a Heisman contender (spoiler alert: they wont, and he wont after the TCU game).

So, my challenge to all of you as TCU fans and almost as importantly, Rod Gilmore Haters, is to make sure you buy tickets to both the Baylor game and the BYU game. Trust me, you do not want to be sitting at home on a Friday night listening to Rod Gilmore try to rub one out to the greatness of Boise or the potential of Baylor and BYU on national TV. If you expect any sort of non-biased color commentary in these 2 games and any TCU praise whatsoever, you're going to be disappointed. So make the quick trip to Waco (being the butthole of the state has it's perks- it's not that far from anywhere) and the easy drive to Arlington and watch the Frogs humiliate these perennial doormats in person, because watching Gilmore try and discredit your wins may cause even the gentlest TCU fan consider resorting to animal cruelty, but that's clearly more of Baylor thing.

Scouting the 2011 Opponents: SMU

"Can I write check?"

A lot like we do with Baylor, it's easy to get distracted making fun of SMU- what with their blue-blooded, east-coast, cokehead student body and their mostly-laughable last two decades of football. But they've now been to a bowl game two years in a row, return 17 starters and will be one of the toughest tests of the 2011 season for the Frogs when they come to Fort Worth on September 30th.

While Kyle Padron was fairly pedestrian against TCU last year (169 yards on just 14-35 passing and an INT), he did throw for 3,828 yards as a sophomore and is nearing 6,000 and 5o TDs for his career. He's got 1,000-yard receiver Cole Beasley returning as well as Darius Johnson, a junior out of the Houston area that's so athletic you wonder how the heck he ended up at SMU. There's also four returning starters on the senior-laden offensive line that will protect Padron and pave the way for Zach Line, the junior tailback who lit up TCU for 139 yards on just 17 carries last year on his way to nearly 1,500 for the season.

The defense that returns 8 starters in 2011, you might be surprised, ranked a respectable 40th overall a year ago. Junior linebackers Ja'Gared Davis and Taylor Reed are tackling machines, senior Chris Banjo is a head-hunter at free safety, and both defensive ends (6-6, 287 Taylor Thompson and 6-9, 295 Margus Hunt) have NFL size and potential. I wouldn't rank this unit anywhere near a Patterson defense just yet, but it's light years beyond where the Mustang D was just a few short years ago.

Bottom line: SMU is a team with an extremely dangerous offense and a defense that, for the first time in years, gives them a chance to win ballgames. What hurt them last year was the crippling combination of inconsistency and turnovers...which are two areas that experience (something they have a lot of) goes a long way in reversing.

Keep an eye on their season opener against aggy down in College Station. I'm not calling for the upset, but I think it will be a lot closer to the hard-fought contests between those two programs in the mid-80s than the pile up the stats, get our freshmen some PT-type easy win that most of those maroon-clad fascists are probably expecting. If SMU can stand their ground in Kyle Field, it will give them a measure of confidence for their trip west on I-30 for what you know will be their Super Bowl.

-CFN 2011 SMU Preview
-CFN 2011 SMU Offensive breakdown
-CFN 2011 SMU Defensive breakdown
-CFN 2011 SMU depth chart