Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Night Football Hilarity

I hope they at least got an autograph...

Amon Construction Stadium pics

For those unable to make the home opener, here's a look from Section V:
Bar tab after the Baylor game. Don't ask.

Movement Watch Roundup: Week 3.

20th in both polls, thanks to three of the losses listed below. Let's do it.

New Coaches' rankings reflected.

The Good.

#22 Clemson 38, Auburn 24. 17 game win streak is finally over. And Auburn's defense is garbage.

Illinois 17, Arizona State 14. See ya later, Devils. Ron Zook taketh away and Ron Zook giveth.

Miami, FL 24, Ohio State 6. In the easiest to call upset of the weekend, Ohio State finally came tumbling back to earth after some scares. They completed four total passes. True story.

#3 LSU 19, Mississippi State 6. Technically a "meh" but MSU would've jumped us had they won, so good. Also, LSU's defense is the most terrifying thing to emerge from the swamps of Louisiana since a Glen Davis BM.

The Bad.

# 18 Texas 49, UCLA 20. Texas has another McCoy at QB and it makes me want to vomit. Still, the most impressive UT offensive performance in ages - perhaps they were winning one for Old Freaknasty? Also, Chris Petersen is all sorts of about to be your next Head Coach of the UCLA Bruins. Again, remember, a UT win is always in the bad category whether it effects us or not. It's the way of things.

The Meh.

UCF 10, FIU 17. UCF probably would not have jumped us with a win, but having them completely out of the race helps. Also, remember that time FIU was only known for brawling with Miami? Apparently they'd kinda good at football now which makes total sense in that they're just Boise but instead of getting recruits too dumb to go to a Cal-based school, they're pulling from Florida.

Here we go again...

I guess word first started to get out via twitter, but I heard through a text about mid-morning on Saturday that Pitt and Syracuse were all but officially gone from the Big East to the ACC. Turns out, I suppose, that the ACC's bird in hand (their new TV contract with ESPN) was worth more than the Big East's two in the bush (their anticipated new TV contract that was believed to be even bigger than the ACC's). Hard to blame those two schools for doing what they felt was the right thing to do for their own interests. But it definitely sucks to see TCU, once again, move to a new conference only to see it evaporate before their eyes.

Below, I am going to take a look at a few different scenarios for the Frogs. But before I do, I just want to say this. TCU is still an up & coming athletic department with a solid football program and sterling new facilities being built at a rapid pace. It's located in one of the biggest media markets in the country and in prime recruiting country. We're going to be fine. I'll admit that our prospects aren't as bright as everyone's- but they are a lot brighter than many others'.

I'd like to take a look at a few possible scenarios for TCU, but first I think it's necessary to eliminate some of the fantasy dreamworld stuff that clouds the brains of 97% of college football fans in this country. I'm generally an optimistic thinker, and even though I've definitely had some overly-hopeful brainstorming sessions in which I rationalize the Frogs somehow ending up in the Pac "16", the SEC or the ACC, I'm not going to waste your or my time walking you through them.

Here are a few scenarios that I think are within the realm of possibility:

TCU to the Big 12

Why it might happen: Texas, the 800lb gorilla and unofficial president of the Big 12, has at least publicly said that they want the Big 12 to survive. If they can convince Oklahoma, Missouri et al to stay with them, the remaining nine will look to add one (to get back to ten) or three (to get back to twelve and accurate naming) to stabilize. In the past, the league has stated they'd like to look to new markets for expansion, but in their current and vulnerable state they might be willing to add another Texas team. One rumor has TCU, BYU and Louisville joining the league, while Houston has also been mentioned. A week ago many among the TCU faithful might've had a mind to tell UT & friends to go eff themselves, but that has obviously changed.

Why it won't: Admit it, you're waiting for the news at any minute that the Big 12 is officially dead. When everyone is looking for a way out, it's probably over. Even if they do somehow survive all of this, the Big 12 extending an invite to TCU isn't a given.

My verdict: This is one worth keeping an eye on, because I have a feeling that the whole Pac 16 thing may not happen without Texas. But the chances of it happening are pretty low.

The Big East backfills

Why it might happen: This league has done it before. When they lost Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College in 2005, they went out and plucked Louisville, Cincinnati and South Florida from Conference USA. Despite it's weakened status after the latest departures, it does still have an automatic BCS bid (at least for now) and is still one of the best basketball conferences in the country. There are still a lot of teams that would probably still like to join- Baylor, Iowa State, Houston, Central Florida, SMU, Memphis, etc, etc.

Why it won't: For the same reason that the Big 12 won't: this league looks like it's on life-support now. UConn is all but literally on its knees publicly begging for a spot in the ACC, and you have to assume every other school is either doing the same as them or the same as TCU. I would bet that even the basketball-only schools like Marquette and Georgetown are planning an escape route.

My verdict: There's a distinct possibility that this one comes to fruition, and even though this "Super CUSA" would assuredly lose its BCS status, TCU could take a leadership role in selecting the new members in order to make lemonade of the lemon. Likely gone would be the thought of putting 40,000+ in the stands every week and playing in BCS bowls on the reg, but the Frogs could very much continue their march to athletic prominence. Do remember that the Fiesta Bowl appearance, the Rose Bowl win and all of the progress made already was done without BCS status.

Big 12/Big East merger

Why it might happen: The hulls of both of these conferences are taking on a lot of water, so you've got to think that building a new boat together is more appetizing than approaching a lesser conference with hat in hand. I'm sure that the geographic disparity could be overlooked for what could be a decent football league and a good basketball league that might fetch decent TV money.

Why it won't: With the ACC looking to expand further, how many teams from these conferences will even be left- especially if the Big Ten and SEC decide to join the ACC and Pac 12 in the race to 16? If too many more teams leave either league, this may be moot.

My verdict: This is the most likely scenario, and I think the question is just how exactly this new league might look. If you took the seven Big East schools left after Pitt/Syracuse and the five Big 12 schools left after the rumored Pac 16 formation, you'd have a western division of TCU, Baylor, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri and Iowa State and an eastern division of West Virginia, Cincinnati, Louisville, South Florida, UConn and Rutgers. Add in Notre Dame and maybe a few others for basketball and you might have yourself a BCS league with a healthy TV contract. But of course, there could be some of those members picked off by further ACC expansion or even the Big Ten or SEC. Even if that's the case, you could plug those holes and still possibly preserve BCS status.

TCU asking the MWC or CUSA for another chance

Why it might happen: If all of the power leagues go to 16 members and the Frogs aren't included in one, independence is just not an option. TCU needs a conference home, even if it means the horribly awkward situation in which we go back to a conference we previously dumped.

Why it won't: I honestly believe that one of the above scenarios will happen, if not something even better and currently unimaginable.

My verdict: This is purely a worst-case scenario, and I don't think things will come to this. If they did, though, I'd imagine either league would eventually decide to take the Frogs back.

T-shirt pre sale ends today...

We finally got off of the couch and created our first Spitblood TCU T-Shirts. I thought our following would like to express that you don't wake up and read your local newspaper, you don't wake up and read the Wall Street Journal, you don't wake up and read Drudge Report, NurseFrog doesn't wake up and read Perez Hilton, and you sure as shit don't wake up and read Killer Frogs. You wake up and read THE Morning Dump. (Or TMD for those of you who like to save time by abbreviating)
The front has our Spitblood TCU logo, white, red, purple. The back has the large Morning Dump logo and subscriber below it.
I'm running a pre-sale on shirts that will go to print next week. Click on the sidebar button to order.
They sell for $15 a shirt plus $5 shipping. Put your order in before the pre sale is over.

Game 3 Recap: ULMs.

Now that we've all had a couple of days to read the positive press and reflect on things, the game wasn't THAT bad I don't suppose. Clearly we've all been shopping with Paris Hilton at Stupid Spoiled Whore a bit too much lately because a 21 point win for this particular team should most certainly not be something to bitch and moan about. The problem is, as much as we say we've tempered our expectations from last year, we have done the exact opposite and seemingly have greater expectations than we did before. I know this because I am the ringleader of this particular mindset. And unless we change it, this season is going to wind up a major, major failure, even if in reality it isn't.

Then again, in light of Saturday's off-field activity, we'd have to be forgiven a little for being overly pessimistic about everything football related. Much like the NBA and NFL lockouts, as well as last year's initial cycle of realignment, it's completely pointless for us to fret about any of this until it is over because there's a lot of behind the scenes BS going on that we won't know about until the dust settles. So while we're all going to be unsettled and have our panties in a wad, there's really nothing that can be solved by doing that, so let's put on our big boys pants and chill the F out. All I'm going to say is, from what's coming out now, the Big East as constructed as recently as last Friday didn't sound like it was long for the world, so we may as well get the fence sitters out of the way and move forward. Also, fuck you, Jamie Dixon.

But there was still a game Saturday, despite no one on the West side of the stadium being around to see it, so let's talk about it. As has been the case the first two games this year, the recap is going to more or less completely stray from the offense/defense/special teams/overall grades because that way is boring. Plus, Jeremy Clark does the same thing over at Menace and does it better - he must not drink during games because he sees a LOT of stuff - so if you really care about a genuine breakdown, head thattaway. So these recaps are mostly going to reflect my current mood and how I want to handle them, and right now I want to rant.

I'm going to get it out of the way first thing so we can move on. But our fans. Are seriously. The worst. Of all time. GP and McCoy both made mention of it in the post game, and don't think the recruits in attendance didn't notice either. We may as well have been in an opposing stadium. The West side is clearly hopeless, although I understand a lot of the die hards got moved from their seats to the end zones to make way for the big money donors who don't attend games anyway, but it was pathetic. And Section V, the almighty section V we love to hype up, was just as bad after halftime. I get it guys, drinking is cool! and fun! But you can do it every single day of the week! So why not take a 3 hour break and watch football live and in person! lyle put it best earlier by saying, "All we have are a bunch of Dallas acting fairweather fans who like to bitch about Dallas." And that's all I'm going to say because I like my blood pressure like I like my opposing offenses - low scoring and bloody.

So we got that out of the way.

There's one main reason why I think everyone hated Saturday's game and that is because no one came back after halftime so all they have to go on are their memories of the first half and the box score. And when you look at the box score, it's not exactly a dominating performance. TOP was pretty much even, they gained over 300 yards of offense to our 400, and they had a receiver with 13 receptions. THIRTEEN!! In the first half the secondary looked lost, our LBs couldn't cover receivers to save their lives and the underneath routes were there ALL day. We also got burned on a fourth down conversion for a TD which is something I cannot remember ever having happened outside of Boise's fake punt.

I'll be honest, I was pretty unhappy with the results when I got home Saturday evening, although I'm pinning some of that lack of enthusiasm on the Conference shifting business. But I think a lot of it is because I JUST missed seeing Greg McCoy's kick return, which didn't allow me to gain the subsequent adrenaline infused boost of enthusiasm that came with it to carry me through the rest of the game. And, defensively, the rest of the game was a pretty big success. I definitely didn't realize it at the time, but after the first quarter our defense gave up 0 points and only 123 total yards, including only 71 in the second half. But like I said, sorry for overlooking that fact after a first quarter that featured 189 yards, 17 points and a 3 point TCU deficit. This clearly turned some folks off early and kept them in the parking lots after halftime. A bullshit reason to be sure, but it's all I can come up with.

Perhaps worst of all though was Tank Carder, THE ONE player even the most uninformed TCU fan is familiar with, missed about 6 tackles that he normally crushes. Tank Carder's performance has been one of the biggest headscratchers of the young season, and although I can't comment on the first two weeks, at least we know the reason why he looked out of sorts on Saturday. Turns out Tank had hand surgery and was playing with pins in his hand, which would certainly explain his inability to grab jerseys and fling players into the front row like we're used to him doing. I've never been good at sports, or at least contact sports, but according to message board posts by middle aged men who had a similar surgery and try and legitimize their knowledge by comparing Tank over coming it at high level NCAA football to them overcoming it in their weekly rec softball league, playing with pins in your hand hurts. A lot. So the fact that he was out there at all is a pretty big statement that he wants to play and contribute. And with Kenny Cain allegedly nursing an injury he sustained last weekend, his presence was even more vital.

But something is missing, isn't it? I'm sure our expectations play a role in that we mostly think of Brent Musberger deifying him in the Rose Bowl, but that can't be the entire reason. Perhaps the lack of Tanner Brock? I'm not going to act like I have any idea how to properly scheme an NCAA defense, but perhaps Tank and Tanner played more of a role in helping each other out than we gave credit for? It also can't help that our safeties are inexperienced which likely shifts even more focus on Tank. We know what he is capable of, and we can't discount his hand injury. Let's just hope we get Brock back sooner than later and those two can resume eating opposing backs alive.

Offensively though, things didn't look as in sync as they did in the fourth quarter against Baylor and all week against Air Force. Pachall had his weakest outing, which shouldn't suggest it was bad because he still had 204 yards on 15 completions and a TD and no picks. His TD pass to Boyce was absolutely on the money. But he was sacked twice, which equals the total for the year, and had the fumble at the end of the first half which could've made things even dicier than they were. Fortunately ULM got Evans'd and we went into the locker room with a 4 point lead. Post game Pachall suggested the team didn't come out as fired up as they should have been and that, until McCoy's return, there wasn't much doing in that department. Fortunately that was all it took.

Well, that's a lie, because it took 6 other things as well: the 4 legs of Waymon James and Aundre Dean and the 2 hands of Josh Boyce. I know we've been referring to Waymon as the bowling ball, but maybe we should amend that to cannon ball, because dude looked like he was fired out of one everytime he touched the ball. 11 carries for 89 yards - an 8.1 yard average! - although his biggest play on the day may have been the block he threw on McCoy's run back. I definitely recommend going back and rewatching it because it's absolutely textbook. McCoy is running down the sidelines right behind Waymon, points at the defender, and Waymon knocks him into next Tuesday, at which point McCoy cranks up the jets and is never challenged the rest of the way. Pretty glad we have that guy.

And Dean. We knew he had a chance to be special considering he was the #1 overall RB coming out of Texas his senior year, and now we got to see it. He, too, had a 11 carries, gained 69 yards and probably would've scored had the play calling been a little more creative. It's been tough going for Dean since he arrived in FW via UCLA as he's been stuck behind 3 guys who could start for a lot of other teams, but with Wesley out indefinitely and his performance Saturday, I'd expect to see a lot more out of him as the year goes on.

As you're all probably aware, Boyce had a career high in receiving yards, finishing with 7 for 134 and a score. I'm assuming his previous career high was Utah last year. So at least we have that going for us.

What we don't have going for us though? Skye Dawson, for one. On a day that he had drops and only 2 receptions, he also got his position as punt returner all sorts of stole by Brandon Carter after a terrible muffed return in the second quarter. Carter immediately came in and rumbled off 18 yards... so let's go with that. That sequence was also why I think we had bad tastes in our mouths because we were pretty fortunate with the way it played out. After Dawson muffed the punt, ULM recovered BUT were called for illegal procedure and rekicked which led the Carter's return. Then on the subsequent drive, ULM was called for a big time momentum shifting PI which eventually led to a score. It sounds fickle, but I think, given the circumstances at the time, we felt kind of, I dunno, dirty for needing penalties to bail us out against a team like ULM. You should always take points no matter how you get them, but that seemed to be the feeling at the time.

Worst Recap Ever by far, so here are the positives we should take away. I like to leave things on a happy note:

  • Trent Thomas looked good and was capable of making tackles
  • Josh Boyce and Casey Pachall make beautiful music in a football sense
  • We don't miss Ed Wesley that bad and Aundre Dean should live up to expectations
  • We were forced to play our 4th and 5th options at LB and didn't lose
  • Our defense remember how to play football after the first quarter
  • We don't have to play Boise for 7 more weeks, and 8 if you include the bye. So we shouldn't have any humiliations until then, although SDSU shouldn't be overlooked.
  • We get to play an FCS team this week which should give Brock another week to heal up before SMU
  • Tank Carder was all over the backfield, he just couldn't take the knockout shots he's used to. This will get better.
  • The O Line had their worst outing of the year and we still scored 31 points on offense.
  • As bad off as we think our situation in the football world is, just know its worse for Baylor and SMU
  • Last time we had a weak outing at home it was against SDSU, and then we won a lot after that
Sorry, that was not very good. I'll do better next week as long as the team promises to do the same.

MailSack Update

I'm replacing Portland State hate this week with the first annual mailsack post. Partly because I don't want to hate on an FCS school who I know nothing about, partly because I'm sports depressed after the goings on of this weekend, and partly because I just feel like opening up the mailsack.

So if you have a question/comment/concern, go ahead and send it to by the end of the night if you want it answered. I look forward to hearing from you people.

Morning Dump

Coach says team needs to put in a premium effort Star-Telegram

TCU's defense sees the light for win in home opener Star-Telegram

TCU fans excited by stadium renovation

Frogs' victory gives faithful a hint of things to come

Emotion late, but Patterson gets victory 100th

Bengals lose game, find QB

“I’m the guy your boss brought here to show you how it’s done"

What better to take your mind off all of this Pitt/Syracuse stuff than one of the most explosive episodes ever of one of the best TV shows ever? Even though we didn't see Uncle Hank at all, we saw some major action going on south of the border and the longest Walter/Walter Jr. interaction in series history. I won't give away too much in this post, for those of you that haven't watched yet, but feel free to fill up the comments section with your thoughts on last night's BB.
Season 4, Episode 10: "Salud"