Wednesday, October 12, 2011

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Basketball Stuff

While we all wait for the acid rain to subside in post-apocalyptic Detroit so that the Rangers and Tigers can get underway in Game 4 of the ALCS, I thought I'd share this message from Jim Christian and open up the comments section for your thoughts on the program headed into the 2011-2012 season.

Practice starts Friday, and Alex Apple (his real name, apparently) over at is slated to provide regular updates leading up to the season opener on November 11. I, for one, will get sucked into this team as I have been year after year. Sure, it's been a complete beating to be a TCU hoops fan for most of the past decade, but it was a complete beating to be a fan of the aforementioned baseball team for my entire life and that has paid off quite well lately.

Update: The Frogs were picked 7th in conference (ahead of just Boise State) and Hank Thorns was named 1st Team Preseason All-MWC. Read about it HERE. reaches 1,000,000 visits

Also an award winning, well oiled machine of greatness

Midseason Review: Offense

With no game this weekend and the Frogs having completed the first half of their 2011 season, let's look back at the first six games of the season and how the key figures have performed on the offensive side of the ball:

-To say we all had worries about the QB situation before the season is quite the understatement. There were all kinds of rumors about Casey Pachall: from him being hurt, to him feuding with Coach Patterson to him just flat-out not being ready to take over. Those sentiments have obviously been put to bed, though, as Pachall has guided the Frogs to over 440 yards per game while putting up numbers that are on pace to flirt with if not break a few of Andy Dalton's school records- such as his 69% completion percentage and the 30 TD passes he's on pace to throw. He's not quite the ground-gainer that Dalton was and has shown a tendency to take some of the big hits that Dalton was so great at avoiding, but so far Casey has done a great job soothing the anxiety that goes along with starting an unexperienced QB.

Running Backs:
-We pretty much knew what we had at running back going into the season with Wesley, Tucker and James as the three-headed monster taking a majority of the hand-offs. The 1,018 total rushing yards and 9 TDs accumulated by that triumvirate so far this year is a bit off the pace of last year's season totals, but that could be at least partially attributed to Wesley's injury. And actually, they are combining to average 6.1 yards a carry, which is nearly half a yard better than last year's average. And fullback Luke Shivers has continued his incredible scoring efficiency, finding the endzone twice this year on just six touches. He's like the anti-Dampier.

Receivers/Tight Ends:
-Josh Boyce really blossomed toward the end of his redshirt freshman season last year, so we knew he'd be good. But he's been absolutely amazing so far as a sophomore in 2011- hauling in 37 passes for 580 yards and 5 TDs- which puts him on pace to break or at least tie the school records in all three categories. Antoine Hicks has, at times (like the Air Force and SDSU games), looked like a solid second option for Pachall, while Skye Dawson has actually accumulated the second-most catches and yards. True freshman Brandon Carter has showed some flashes with 10 receptions, and I'd look for Fuenderson to find some more wrinkles to highlight his versatility after the bye-week. I'm still trying to figure out exactly how tight ends are utilized in this offense, but Logan Brock has looked very good when the gameplan actually calls for using him as a pass-catcher.

Offensive Line:
-Like QB, the O-line was a major worry going into the season. Replacing two NFL-bound tackles and a Rimington Award-winning center wasn't going to be easy, but that was compounded when one young tackle (James Dunbar) was ruled academically ineligible and a former walk-on tight end (Robert Deck) was shifted over to take his place. While the total rushing yards are a bit off of last year's pace and they've given up nearly as many sacks already this year (7) as they did all of last year (9), I would still give the guys up front a big thumbs up for their effort. I don't know if there are any guys on this line that are early-round NFL prospects, but they are getting the job done by opening holes and allowing Pachall time to deliver the ball downfield.

Bowling in the Future

One of the most frustrating things about TCU being in the Mountain West has been the miserable selection of bowl games affiliated with the conference. If the Frogs fell just short of a BCS bowl, they were either relegated to playing a team like Northern Illinois (2006) or had to rely on savvy maneuvering to produce a worthy result (2005 vs. Iowa State in Houston and 2008 vs. Boise in San Diego). This is also one of the underrated parts of the move to the Big 12, as that conference has a vastly superior array of affiliated bowl games.

First, let's look at the bowl games that TCU will have the opportunity to play in as a member of the MWC this year:

1) Las Vegas Bowl vs. Pac 12's #5 selection
-Played in Las Vegas' Sam Boyd Stadium on December 22
-Per team payout: $1 million

2) Poinsettia Bowl vs. WAC Champion
-Played in San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium on December 21
-Per team payout: $500,000

3) Independence Bowl vs. ACC's #7 selection
-Played in Shreveport's Independence Stadium on December 26
-Per team payout: $1.1 million

4) New Mexico Bowl vs. Pac 12's #7 selection
-Played in Albuquerque's University Stadium on December 17
-Per team payout: $750,000

5) Armed Forces Bowl vs. BYU or CUSA (but only if the Cougars or CDOA can't fill their slot)
-Played in Dallas/University Park's Ford Stadium on December 30
-Per team payout: $750,000

I'm sure you are all on the phone with your travel agents after reading that, but take a look at what the Big 12 currently offers in terms of bowl destinations:

1) Fiesta Bowl vs. Other BCS team (unless the conference champ is in the National Title Game) -Played in Glendale's University of Phoenix Stadium on January 2
-Per team payout: $17 million

2) Cotton Bowl vs. SEC's #3 selection
-Played in Arlington's New Stajium on January 6
-Per team payout: $3 million

3) Alamo Bowl vs. Pac 12's #2 selection
-Played in San Antonio's Alamodome on December 29
-Per team payout: $3 million

4) Insight Bowl vs. Big Ten's #4 or #5 selection
-Played in Tempe's Sun Devil Stadium on December 30
-Per team payout: $1.35 million

5) Holiday Bowl vs. Pac 12's #3 selection
-Played in San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium on December 28
-Per team payout: $2.35 million

6) Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas vs. Big Ten's #6 selection
-Played in Houston's Reliant Stadium on December 31
-Per team payout: $1.7 million

7)Pinstripe Bowl vs. Big East's #4 selection or Notre Dame
-Played in New York's Yankee Stadium on December 30
-Per team payout: $2 million

8) Ticket City Bowl vs. Big Ten's #7 selection or a CUSA team
-Played in Dallas' Cotton Bowl on January 2
-Per team payout: $1.2 million

PPS Campaign 2011 - $10 A Win

It's time to donate again, $10 more for the victory on Saturday. For those of you who don't know, our 2011 fundraising campaign for Purple People Seaters this year challenges you, the readers of Spitblood, to donate $10 for every win this season. So, that's $40 for the season, or you can join the train late and donate $10 starting this latest win. Please click here to donate. I was wondering why only 3 people donated but then also just realized that the link was broken on the sidebar button. It is fixed now, and thanks for everyone failing to tell me that when they went to donate it didn't work. I guess charity only works if it's convenient. Donate away!

Morning Dump

TCU finds love at last with the Big 12 Star-Telegram

Missouri locked into Big 12 for at least 2012 ESPN

TCU's win over SDSU sets up showdown with Boise for MWC crown ESPN

TCU women's hoops picked to win MWC