Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Doing things the right way

TCU is, so says The Wall Street Journal:

Movement Watch: Week 2.

The song is called "Movement"

Despite the TCU dynasty being OFFICIALLY OVER OMG WE'RE NEVER WINNING ANOTHER GAME AND GARY PATTERSON IS GOING TO LEAVE US FOR KANSAS STATE AND TCU IS GOING TO DROP FOOTBALL ALTOGETHER AND MAKE IT A CLUB, INTRAMURAL SPORT... yes, despite all that, the Frogs still managed to stay ranked this week, sneaking into the Top 25 at 25th in both polls. As I'm sure you're all well aware, that's one spot higher than Baylor in the Coaches' and several spots lower in the AP. The AP voters probably got it more right than the Coaches', but you know my motto: Fuck Baylor and Fuck the AP poll. We're rolling Coaches' this week.

As is the new policy, we're sticking mostly with games that could directly impact TCU's status with a few high potential upsets tossed in for conversation. Just a reminder, I reserve the right to scrap the Movement watch altogether if TCU drops too far out, but for now we're still going.

Potential Upsets, Effecting:

#19 Missouri @ #23 Arizona State. Friday, 9:30PM. ESPN.

One night after their cross state rival Wildcats travel to Stillwater for a Thurday night treat, the Sun Devils face their own Big 12 test in the Missourah Tigers. Looking at this matchup you may think, "Well, Missouri is ranked and Arizona State isn't and Arizona State hasn't done shit in a long time.. so Tigers!" but you'd be wrong. Believe it or not, Arizona State is favored by nearly a touchdown in this one, more than likely thanks to their dismantling of UC Davis compared to Missouri's 11-point squeaker against Miami, the bad one. New Missouri signal caller James Franklin did not live up to the standard his predecessors have set for him in Columbia, and getting stared down by Arizona Linebacker and escaped mental patient Vontaze Burfict probably won't make things any easier. Of course, you shouldn't judge a team based on their opener, but I have a feeling Mizzou Coach Gary Pinkel would rather have a cupcake or two at home instead of the road game in Tempe. As for Arizona State, this is pretty much Coach Dennis Erickson's last stand because he's fired without good results this season. Fortunately he seems to have a decent QB in Brock Osweiller and no shortage of porn stars in training to incentivize his team with if they pull off this one. They should also serve as a pretty good distraction to the visiting Tigers. I have very little to go on here, but I think the Sun Devils get it done. The best news here though? No matter who wins or loses, we gain a spot in the rankings with our own win!

#20 Penn State vs. #2 Alabama. Saturday, 2:30PM. ABC.

When these two teams played last year, it was hyped as one of the best games on the calendar. Unfortunately, much like Oregon/LSU and Boise/Georgia this year, it didn't live up to its billing, resulting in a 3 TD Bama rout. Now that the game shifts back to the Happy Valley, will things be any different? Definitely hard to say as both teams put a beat down on their cupcake opponents this past Saturday by almost identical scores. However, the big difference in this one should come in the passing game, as Alabama looks like they have one while Penn State is still searching for answers. Neither team has named a QB, but AJ McCarron looks like the guy at Alabama after a solid opening performance, while Penn State will play both Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden. An unsteady QB situation going up against a Nick Saban defense? Ruh-roh. Add Trent Richardson, who is ready to break out after receiving limited carries in the opener, into the mix and sounds like TCU should easily gain at least one spot in the polls with a win.

#21 Texas vs. BYU. Saturday, 6:00PM. ESPN2.

Cheering for BYU? Ugh, but it's part of our repertoire this week. BYU looked pretty shaky last weekend in taking down a poor Ole Miss team, while Texas, despite some early struggles, looked like they may have figured things out a little bit towards the end of their blowout against Rice. So that and the Austin setting should set up nicely for the Matthew McConaugheys. But don't be so certain; after all, Garrett Gilbert is still under center for UT, and all reports suggest he did not look like the second coming of Johnny Unitas, which apparently Robert Griffin sotally is, right every ESPN commentator ever? The Horns also proved that their 105,000 strong can only do so much in winning TWO home games last year. But, it looks like UT's bowing to the lowly level of hiring a non-AQ offensive coordinator paid off, at least for one game, with a variation of quirky formations leading to 34 points and over 500 yards of offense. Strangely enough for BYU, their defense is what held the ship together in Oxford this past weekend, winning the game on a forced fumble TD recovery late. Jake Heaps and college football's version of a boring, Spurs-like offense were only able to put up 7 points against a defense that will likely give up a billion more points than that once things are said and done. I don't know why I'm still typing, as much as I hate Texas and wish they would lose every game, they aren't dropping this one.

Potential Upsets, non-effecting:

#7 Okie Lite vs. Arizona. Thursday, 7:00PM. ESPN.

This one falls into this category mostly because, even if Arizona was to pull off the upset and we win, I doubt the voters will elevate us above a big, bad Big 12 school. However, the Wildcats are on the fringe of the top 25 themselves, so there's a chance their winning could negatively impact us anyway. As for this one, Oklahoma State scored a lot of points last week and likely will score a lot of points all year, but they still gave up 34 points to... Lousiana-Lafayette. Clearly the Big 12 is often won by the team that is able to score enough points to cover for their terrible defense, but unfortunately for the Cowboys it looks like Arizona scores points AND plays defense. A serious connundrum, no doubt. Of course, Arizona played the mighty Lumberjacks of Northern Arizona, a comically misplaced nickname if there ever was one, so they shouldn't toot their own horns too much. But I think this one is closer than one might expect. Can Bob Stoops' brother keep with the family tradition in taking out the Pokes? Nah, but it'd be cooler if he did.

#12 South Carolina @ Georgia. Saturday, 3:30PM. ESPN.

Based on how South Carolina played in the second half and how Georgia played in both halfs of their openers, the Cocks should win this one running away. Once Stephen Garcia was awakened from his THC induced slumber on the sidelines, he led the Gamecocks on a 56-20 run in what ended up being a blowout win over East Carolina. Of course, they WERE down 17-0 at the time which doesn't bode well for their defense, but as I expect our defense to improve dramatically this week, I'll give USC the benefit of the doubt. The Bulldogs, however, have some things to figure out, despite their valiant second half effort to fight back in a game they were never in in the first place. Regardless of who wins, though, a 1-1 South Carolina team stays up on TCU, although a 1-1 Georgia squad COULD sneak back in ahead of us based on SEC street cred.

Potential ESPN Approved Jumper:

None this week, since we're at the bottom of the barrel, but if we really want to look at the "also receiving votes" category, you can look towards that USC-Utah game as both teams sit right outside the Top 25. Keep in mind, however, that USC is ineligible for the Coaches' Poll and post season play, but remains eligible for the AP. So in other words, go Trojans because you can't do hurt us. A 2-0 Arizona team with a win over top ten ranked Oklahoma State on the road could also be seen as dangerous, and a 1-1 Georgia squad could turn some heads as well.

A little bit of room for movement, although we need to win by double digits against the Falcons to be guaranteed a spot in the rankings at all. Our ceiling this week is the 21-25 range. Let's keep climbin' that mountain.

A Reason For Hope?

I think we can all agree for the most part if we had to pick one bright moment from Friday night's game it would be the performance of one Casey Pachall, Mr. Pachall if you're nasty. And you are. Be honest with yourself. But just in case there are still those of you out there who are skeptical of whether or not we can depend on our QB play to keep us in games this year, let's play a game. Check these numbers:

A - 17/27, 175 yards, 6.5 yards per completion, 1 TD, 2 INT.
15 carries, 54 yards, 4.3 yards per rush, 2 TDs.

B - 16/25, 120 yards, 4.8 yards per completion, 0 TDs, 1 INT.
17 carries, 56 yards, 3.3 yards per rush, 2 TDs.

C - 15/21, 177 yards, 8.4 yards per completion, 1 TD, 0 INT.
8 carries, 21 yards, 2.6 yards per rush, 0 TD.

D - 25/39, 251 yards, 6.4 yards per completion, 4 TDs, 1 INT.
9 Carries, 23 yards, 2.3 yards per rush, 1 TD.

E - 18/30, 205 yards, 6.8 yards per completion, 1 TD, 0 INT.
7 carries, 7 yards, 1.0 yard per rush, 0 TD.

For those of you who are either too dense to grasp it or were not TCU fans before the Rose Bowl, those are the numbers for Andy Dalton and Casey Pachall in every season opener they have played. They aren't in order, because I want to make you work for this, so try and match each stat line with each year.

Before I give you the answers though, which line do you think is the best? Clearly line D has the premier passing stats and B has strongest rushing stats. But if you have to give your QB one line based on both the passing and rushing stats to give yourself the best chance to win, you almost certainly take D, don't you?

Think you have it? Here's the answer key:

A - Andy Dalton, 2010 vs. Oregon State, 30-21 win.
B - Andy Dalton, 2008 vs. New Mexico, 26-3 win.
C - Andy Dalton, 2009 vs. Virginia, 30-14 win.
D - Casey Pachall, 2011 vs. Baylor, 50-48 loss.
E - Andy Dalton, 2007 vs. Baylor, 27-0 win.

Other than Pachall's line, since it is so fresh in our minds, that probably wasn't as easy as you thought it would be was it? But look closely at those numbers. Is there any question that Pachall had a stronger performance in year one, game one than Dalton did in any opener in his career? It certainly looks like it. Given, you'd take Dalton's end results every time considering all of these games were wins and every season ended in a bowl win, but I'm just trying to make it clear it took him a game or two to hit his stride. It only took Pachall one half. If our defense can ever get behind him the way they did Dalton - a BIG if at this juncture - good things will happen.

Of course, the naysayers will suggest, "Our defense played TERRIBLE Friday night, but as bad as they were, Baylor's was only two points less shitty. Is this line a result of Pachall playing well, or Baylor playing bad once they thought the game was in hand?" It's a valid point, and clearly it will take a full season before we we can judge either defense, but here's a look at how the 4 defenses Dalton faced in openers fared over the course of the season. I'll use PPG as the measure, and I'm manually counting the rankings so let's have a margin of error of 2-3:

2007 Baylor - 37.0 PPG, 111th ranked.
2008 New Mexico - 22.8 PPG, 46th ranked.
2009 Virginia - 26.3 PPG, 65th ranked.
2010 Oregon State - 26.8 PPG, 68th ranked.

Not exactly the 85 Bear, eh? Like I said, we have no idea how Baylor's defense will end up this season. If they give up 48 PPG, they will be among the worst defenses to ever play college football. Clearly this is unlikely to happen, but even if they modestly finish top 50, that's about the best ranked defense either QB will have played in a season opener. So if we can stop Chop Block U from running all over us Saturday and Pachall can come close to duplicating his performance against a stronger defensive unit and win the game, I think things bode much better for this season than we may be thinking right now. It's a lot of IFs, but stranger things have happened, such as...


... Baylor being the saviors of college football as we know it! Once you stop laughing, consider what has happened this morning: The SEC has unanimously accepted aggy into their ranks. However, they also said they would ultimately vote down aggy if there is a threat of legal action. To this point, eight Big 12 schools have more or less said they'll let aggy mozey on to an eternity of 6-6 seasons. That missing ninth team? You guessed it, BAYLOR. So let's say, for the sake of discussion, Baylor DOES sue aggy, and they sue them for a ludicrous amount of money. Then let's say Baylor President Ken Starr doesn't fail at a high profile court case as he's prone to do and Baylor wins their case. As a result, the SEC decides they are fine with their current alignment/doesn't want to deal with all the legal mumbo jumbo, and the Big 12 survives once again. Super Conference talk is beaten back and college football in its current state survives. How does THAT make you feel?

Morning Dump

TCU's Pachall striving to go from durress to success Star-Telegram

Air Force not lulled by TCU's defense Star-Telegram

Casey pachall is better* than Andy Dalton Star-Telegram

TCU football stadium flying Star-Telegram

Patterson meets with the media

Young TCU players discover speed of college game WFAA

Can TCU forget surprising loss whn it visits Air Force Colorado Springs Gazette

Ramsey: Air Force's defense will face enraged Horned Frogs Colorado Springs Gazette

TCU looks to rebound in MWC opner vs. Air Force Idaho press-Tribune

TCU must take steps to fix surprising porous defense Las Vegas Review-Journal

TCU secondary misses veteran leader ESPN

Chris Del Conte talks super conferences ESPN

Who's next to jump off Big 12's sinking ship? Star-Telegram

A Jets rookie from the roads of Hutto, TX New York Times

Cathcing up with coach Schlossnagle