I have a feeling a lot of you join me in not being real big Bill Belichik fans (you know, because he's a cheater), but we've all got a reason to root for the Patriots now. After a long fight back from his cancer diagnosis in the spring, Marcus Cannon has been added to the Pats' active roster. He's been practicing with the team for the past few weeks, but today was the deadline for them to decide between playing him and shelving him for the rest of the season. He must've made quite an impact in practice, though, because it's not like a Super Bowl-contending team is going to make a roster move just for a PR bump.
The Patriots' next game is on Monday Night Football against Kansas City. Go get 'em, Marcus!
Perhaps you should teach them how to handle ONE basketball first, Jimbo...
Alright kids, it's that time again - time to completely blow TCU's earl;y season record against terrible, terrible competition out of proportion!!! This year's victims to date are Florida-Gulf Coast of Atlantic Sun Conference fame, as well as our pals up in Sherman, the Austin College Kangaroos. Just in case you were wondering, they are Division III, or, "Probably would finish middle of the pack in most UIL 5A Conferences." So you see what we're working with here. But, completely ignoring those facts, as well as the one showing TCU only beating Gulf Coast by UNO points, let's get the hype machine rolling.
Easily the biggest story heading into this season, pre Big 12, was the dividends our then acceptance into the Big East had paid us in recruiting. More notably, the dividends said invite had paid us in recruiting SIZE. With the additions of Checik Cone, Aldrick McKinney, Craig Williams and, the basketball teams' version of Dwight Smith, Ryan Rhoomes, the Frogs have 5 players who stand 6'8" or taller. If you include Connell Crossland, that numbers jumps to 7 at 6'7" or more. For the four of you who followed TCU basketball these past few years, you understand how big of a deal this is. Our tallest returning players from last year is Sophomore Amric Fields at 6'9" which is great, except he weighs 210 pounds and has the game of the poorest man in the entire world's dog's Kevin Durant. Keep in mind, Durant tips the scales at least 25 pounds more than Fields, and you know how skinny Durant looks on the floor.
So, theoretically, shouldn't this size and length advantage make the Frogs more aggressive on the boards and in the passing lanes? At least through two teams, the answer is YES as TCU has out-rebounded their opponents 72-64 and forced a staggering 64 turnovers. The Frogs have also blocked 8 shots. TCU has always been a high flying to the point of recklessness team, but that's been mostly rosters of undersized players with outstanding leaping ability and only marginal basketball sense. We still have those guys, most notably JR Cadot and his team leading 8 boards per contest, but don't underestimate how having a guy like McKinney down low will open things up for everyone else. Hank Thorns is clearly loving it having already dished out 13 assists. Expect him to compete for the league crown once again this year.
Looking closer at the games, the one point victory over Florida Gulf Coast is pretty hollow, but the Frogs jumped out to a comfortable lead before giving it back, so at least we know they're capable of generating said lead, which is something past squads have not been able to. But last night's win could turn out to be at least semi-significant. Ignoring the level of competition - especially when you consider the Frogs have almost lost to Mid-American Christian and HAVE lost to Lousiana Tech under Christian, so realize that no game is truly a given - you could make the argument that the 103-45 spanking of was one of the most complete efforts any of Christian's TCU teams have given. Every player on the team scored, including 4 in double figures, and the team shot nearly 60% from the field. It was TCU's first 100 point regulation game under Christian and the 45 points the Kangaroos scored was, at least to my cursory glance, the lowest output by an opposing team. Again, I must reiterate, Austin College would arguably lose by double digits to Fort Worth Dunbar and Flower Mound Marcus may actually cause the scoreboard to be switched off. Of course, the games weren't without their drawbacks as TCU has been sloppy to the tune of 38 turnovers, but you have to take the bad with the good and learn from it. As Lestor Freamon told us, we're building something here, and all the pieces matter.
The good news about this year is that BYU and Utah are no longer with us in Conference play and picking up Boise is addition by subtraction because their basketball team is the opposite of their football team on the good scale. Further good news is that, other than New Mexico and UNLV, the rest of the Conference is pretty wide open. The bad news is, of course, we still have absolutely no idea what kind of team TCU is capable of becoming. I think Jim Christian would honestly tell you he doesn't either, but I think he'd also privately tell you he thinks he finally has a group of players he can work with. Gone are team cancers like Ronnie Moss and Sammy Yeager, players who never put the team on anywhere near the pedestals they placed themselves. The team finally some consistency with JR Cadot, Hank Thorns and Garlon Green, a one year older Amric Fields, plus the new, talented additions mentioned above. However, I think finally having a size advantage, or at least COMPARABLE size to leagues foes is going to set the tone for this season going forward.
Probably more so than most of you, I really would love for TCU to have a competitive basketball program, a sentiment I've stated in many a post before this. I'm not crazy enough to want to sacrifice football success for that of basketball, but at least COMPETING for a Conference championship ever 2-3 years would suffice. This pertains even more to my interests now that the NBA season is in SERIOUS jeopardy. And while things haven't quite come together as the school hoped when they hired Jim Christian, could this be the year they finally do? We'll get a really good look at their chances this weekend in the Virgin Islands. Heck, we might even do a preview, that's how excited we are!
Another benefit of the win in Boise is that it puts Dutch Meyer's school-record 109 wins at TCU in range for Patterson to reach by the end of the season. GP sits at 106 right now, so wins against Colorado State and UNLV to close out the regular season followed by a bowl win would tie him with the legendary coach who has multiple facilities around campus named after him (hint, hint, TCU administration...).
I'm going to break character for a bit here and not do the usual hate on our upcoming opponent and try to dig up reasons why Colorado State is the most despicable program in the country for a week. The events of this weekend have made me impervious to any sort of negativity this week, and it all began on Saturday as I watched what was quite possibly the ugliest kick since Jordan Jefferson's preseason shenanigans. Not only that, but the Cowboys beat a decent team convincingly and the Texans...well, sorry guys. Seriously though, I want to go back and give my own opinions on what took place Saturday, and I know Sir Wesley already did this in detail and hit the nail right on the head per usual, but I'm still riding my high and would like to reflect on it a little bit too. So feel free to read ahead if you want, but really I'm doing this more because it feels so damn good to keep talking about this game, but perhaps more importantly how bright the future looks for this team.
One thing that has failed to be mentioned yet but might be what has me most excited about that game is the fact that everyone who scored a point for us sans Ross Evans were freshmen and sophomores. I realize that only constitutes 3 people, but man, that's quite a nice little nucleus to have going into the Big 12, isn't it? I think even the biggest of the few remaining Big 12 naysayers would believe we're going to win quite a few games with Casey Pachall throwing to Boyce, Carter, David Porter, Cam White, LaDarius Brown, and turning and handing it to Tucker, James, and Wesley. I'm sure I'm leaving out several other future contributors, but the list goes on, so you get the point. Oh, and the most crucial play of the day that didn't somehow come as a result of Casey Pachall's beautifully inked right arm was made by a freshman as well- thank you, Jonathan Anderson for blowing up their RB and getting us the damn ball back. You're quickly emerging as the next great safety at TCU. It's weird to say, but we didn't win that game with experience at all- we won it by straight up out-talenting our opponent, displaying ridonkulous speed that we all knew this team had, and of course, the great GP reminded Frog Nation why he's the best coach money can buy. I'd stack that dude up against the Nick Saban's, Bob Stoops's and Joe Pater...uhh...well I'd stack him up against Saban and Stoops any day of the week. Seriously, let's start building the GP statue outside of the Carter like tomorrow.
I could probably do an entire post on this guy alone, but I'll limit it to one paragraph although I feel like I'm doing him an injustice by doing so. Josh Boyce, he is a man among boyce out there (super lame pun. I'm not sorry). I know Pachall is the one getting the ball to him, but every time we've needed a guy to step up over the past 2 seasons, you've been there. Utah immediately comes to mind, and we know how he crushed their souls last year, but even in the rare losses he's been the guy keeping us around. His 4th quarter against Baylor was the spark in our comeback attempt, and it was obvious both he and CP were not playing at 100%. He had a 4th quarter TD to help ignite the comeback against SMU as well. And then of course, there was what he did Saturday, which was take the wind out of the Boise sails by tying it up on the 74 yard bomb, and then never looking back the rest of the game. The icing on the cake which cemented Boyce as my favorite current Frog and I think the best player on this team was definitely the "I'm taking this ball from you and you can't do shit about it" grit that he showed on that 2-point conversion that won the game for us. That is the kind of player that makes a team great. He was not going to be denied no matter what, and he made a great play on a ball where he had no business catching it, let alone getting in the endzone. He was quiet for a few weeks, but I think that ugly ass blue field woke a sleeping giant. He and CP will be legends when it's all said and done here.
Just to be myself for a little bit, I'll get angry for a second. Byron Hout, I hope every ligament in your knee shreds to pieces for what you did Saturday and basically your whole career at Boise State. His failed decapitation attempt of Pachall has already been posted, as well as him getting LaGarrette Blounted, but I can't find the video of him driving his knees into the back of Waymon James after he got used on a wheel route, but that play was dirty as well. I never seriously wish injury on opposing players, but I want him to get a knee injury so grotesque that they have to surround him with curtains on the sidelines and euthanize him Kentucky Derby style. I really do think if I saw that guy go down, I'd stand up and applaud it. It's been a long time coming for trash like him, and he doesn't deserve to be playing football anymore. Since we know the cowardly MWC won't suspend him I guess I'll just root for an injury. Hope that's okay with everyone. Actually, I don't care. That's how I feel.
Okay, now that I've had my moment of Hout Hate, I'd like to get back to the good stuff. I think if at the beginning of the year anyone had told me we would be 8-2 at this point in our season I would've been completely fine with that, but honestly I'm wayyyyy better than fine with it right now. I'm ecstatic. Maybe it's the way we got to 8-2, maybe it's how much progress this team has shown, maybe it's because the BCS is still barely in the picture, but whatever the reason is, I'm thrilled with it. This win Saturday is exactly the kind of signature win this squad needed to usher us in to the Big 12, which we all know will be a grind and a lot tougher than we deal with now. What's left to intimidate these guys? A Texas squad that completes less passes than Tim Tebow? OU in Fort Worth without Ryan Broyles and quite possibly Landry Jones? Oklahoma State with a QB who isn't in his 30's and no Justin Blackmon? I say bring it on. I'm not saying we can run the table, but I am saying that there's nothing that this team will see in the following years that will bring them to their knees and have them trembling. This TCU team got its swagger back Saturday, something I hadn't seen since Pasadena, and it's not going away any time soon. Enjoy the future, folks, because it's so bright it's blinding.
One last thing to leave you with before I go. SWW made mention about how I predicted TCU to win and then might have claimed I wasn't that heartfelt about it, but hey, I've gotta gloat for a second because I kinda hit the nail right on the head. Remember this from the so-called failed blog exchange...?
Bonus.) What is your prediction for Saturdays matchup?
34-31 TCU. GP's defense comes up with one late stop that's just enough to get the job done. TCU pounds it out with the three headed monster of Ed Wesley, Waymon James, and Matthew Tucker, but a big strike from Pachall to Josh Boyce in the 4th makes the difference. Boise may get in field goal range late with a shot to tie it, but the Boise kicker (who is probably on the TCU payroll like Brotzman was last year) will shank the shit out of it and then cry on the field Tim Tebow style.
Not bad, except for the whole being able to run the ball thing, eh? I also bet on the Frogs as well, so it wasn't a complete homer call on my part. Okay, so maybe it was, but still, I'm considering taking my next paycheck up the WinStar and putting it all on black. Who's coming with me???