Sunday, November 20, 2011

Frogs LOSE a spot in the BCS, slip to 20th.

Well, crud. Despite all of the upheaval in the college football football landscape this weekend, the Frogs actually LOST a spot in the BCS rankings, falling to 20th. Compounding matters, with a bye week coming up and the teams right behind us having games, we need a few more upsets to fall in our favor. Of course, nothing will matter until Houston drops a game, so all of our worries may be moot anyway. Here's a breakdown:

The Good. With Michigan dispatching Nebraska pretty handily and giving them their third loss, we probably don't have to worry about them moving ahead of us, although they're sitting in our rearview mirror at 21st. Clemson's, 17th, pretty convincing loss to North Carolina State gives them a pretty small margin for error, too. With games against #12 South Carolina and #5 Virginia Tech coming up, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who would expect the Tigers to emerge from that slate unscathed. Conversely, South Carolina is ranked right above the Tigers, so with a loss they could drop behind us as well. Bottom line, I think it's safe to say we're gaining a spot no matter that outcome.

Michigan State and the winner of Penn State/Wisconsin this weekend will be meeting in the Big Ten Championship, so it's likely one of those teams would drop behind us after that, though they all sit in front of us at present at 19th, 16th and 14th, respective. Best case is probably #19 Penn State beating #16 Wisconsin then losing to the #14 Spartans the following weekend. But Michigan State has a tricky one at Northwestern this weekend and, with the Legends Division wrapped up, it's easy to see them falling asleep a bit. #15 Michigan can't win the Legends and still has to play at Ohio State but, although they will be convincingly favored, they haven't beaten them too often in the 2000s, so that's definitely one to keep your eye on.
And then there's #13 Georgia who, after dropping their first two games, has gone on an absolute tear, reeling off 9 straight to win the SEC East. Presuming they're simply lambs for the Bama/LSU slaughter in that game, they'll enter Selection Sunday with an extra loss, although beating #23 Georgia Tech this weekend is most certainly not a given. The Dawgs are a team to watch closely as they could finish anywhere from 11-2 and in the Sugar Bowl to 9-4 and in the Chic Fila. With 3 losses, here's to thinking Georgia Tech will stay behind us, even if they win Saturday.

Another positive is West Virginia not making it into the rankings this week. They're probably the last team out, but with games remaining against unranked Pitt and USF, it's hard to imagine a 3 loss Big East team jumping into the top 20, although I wouldn't rule it out as I'll bring up later.

Lastly, we all owe Reggie Bush a HUGE debt of gratitude for taking bribes while at USC, thus making them ineligible for bowl consideration this year. If they were, we'd be at 21.

So, to recap, we will likely gain a spot due to the Clemson/SC game, will likely gain one, and possibly two, once the Big Ten shakes out and could very well gain another once Georgia finishes their season. All things being equal, we SHOULD be able to sneak into the top 16 although it's not near as much of a certainty as I hoped it would be earlier today.

The Bad. Baylor's win over Oklahoma has turned out to be an absolute dagger as it boosted the Bears to #18 and only dropped OU to #9. If the Bears win their remaining games against Tech and #25 UT, they will stay ahead of us and could find themselves BCS Bowl eligible, believe it or not. UT and Tech both lost this weekend, so that won't help their SOS, but dont' underestimate the allure of Robert Griffin, Heisman contender reborn, to mess with the minds of the voters and their love of shiny things. I hoped OU would drop further, but it looks like they are going to stay up as the top ranked 2 loss team in the country. Even if they lose to #4 Oklahoma State, I can't see them falling below 20th.

Also bad is the re-emerging of #22 Notre Dame. Even with 3 losses, if they beat #6 Stanford this weekend, combined with our bye, you can probably kiss our spot in the rankings goodbye.

Things also weren't improved when #8 Houston easily cruised past SMU in their Gameday debut, although we were all pretty foolish to expect a different outcome. Tulsa didn't crack the rankings this week, but they're our last, best hope to kill the Cougars hopes.

The worst news of all, though, is the timing of our bye week. Non-AQ teams on the cusp typically disappear during a bye week as the voters basically use it as an excuse to irrationally punish them. This makes me extremely nervous seeing as how all of the teams surrounding us have game to be played, and in many cases two more. Is it entirely possible that the voters will set our ceiling at 17 in order to avoid having a 2 loss non-AQ BCS participant? If you say no, you clearly aren't familiar with how the system works.

I'll be honest guys, this was kind of a gut punch. Picking up 3 spots was going to be hard; picking up 4 with two weeks to go and only one game remaining to be played may prove to be impossible. Nothing happens without Houston losing, but I kind of hoped we'd at least make it a discussion. Our best cases are going to be as such:

  • #12 South Carolina beats #17 Clemson, who then falls to #5 Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship, although that USC loss SHOULD do the trick.
  • #18 Baylor loses to Tech or #25 Texas. It hurts, but we're going to have to root for those assholes.
  • #19 Penn State beats #16 Wisconsin, and then loses to #14 Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship.
  • #15 Michigan loses to UR Ohio State this weekend in Ann Arbor.
  • #13 Georgia loses to #23 Georgia Tech AND the SEC Championship. I'm not sure one loss or the other guarantees us anything.
That's five potential spots, which would be one more than we need. A lot of "Ifs" there. I'm keeping my hopes up because, at this point, why wouldn't I? But I probably wouldn't book your flights to New Orleans QUITE yet.

Here are the games to keep an eye on this weekend. Consider this your Movement Watch.

#25 UT @ aggy. 7:00PM. ESPN. Just because, one of these teams has to lose.

#8 Houston @ Tulsa. 11:00AM. Fox Sports SW.

Pitt @ West Virginia. 6:00PM. ESPN.

#13 Georgia @ #23 Georgia Tech. 11:00AM. ESPN.
Michigan State @ Northwestern. 11:00AM. BTN.

#19 Penn State @ #16 Wisconsin. 2:30PM. ESPN.

Texas Tech vs. #18 Baylor @ Jerryworld. 6:00PM. Fox Sports SW.
#17 Clemson @ #12 South Carolina. 6:45PM. ESPN.
#22 Notre Dame @ #6 Stanford. 7:00PM. ABC.

Frogs Lose to Norfolk State.

Despite 15 points and 6 boards from Adrick McKinney and another 12 points from Hank Thorns, the Frogs dropped their second round game in the Paradise Jam to Norfolk State 66-53. Poor shooting - 25% from the field, including a stunningly awful 1-18 from beyond the arc - and rebounding - 26-41 - ultimately did the Frogs in on the night. As fan, we probably overvalued the win over Virginia, but this team made some positive strides and has one more game to build on when they play the loser of Ole Miss and Marquette tomorrow afternoon. Here's to hoping they enjoy the rest of their stay in beautiful St. Thomas.

Saturday Review.

I think we all felt a little like this watching the game.

I'm going to come right out and say it - yesterday's game was pretty damned boring. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the fact that the Frogs are good enough to sleepwalk their way to a 24 point victory. And I suppose a comedown was inevitable after last week's nerve fest. But if there's one thing I'm looking forward to about the Big 12 it's that the increased level of excitement because, even if we're winning by 3 TDs, at least it will be against a team that you can convince yourself to hate fairly easily. Something about whipping Colorado State and New Mexico just doesn't do it for me anymore. I suppose knowing what's coming next year has stolen my youthful innocence and made me a bit jaded. Oh, to be young and naive again...

But you know what wasn't boring? Everything else about the College Football Weekend. We'll focus more on that later, but first I'll do my duty and break this sucker down.

From the get go it was pretty clear what our operating method was going to be: Run the ball and control the clock. It worked, at least partly: We outgained the Rams 255-160 yards on the ground, but they bested us in the clock category by about one minute. Once again Waymon James led all rushers with 108 yards on 15 carries and while I can't argue with the results, it's still a little curious as to why he doesn't dominate in the carries department. It's even more curious when you take into account the fumbleitis exhibited by Ed Wesley and Matthew Tucker, the former coughing up another one yesterday. As I said, I can't argue with the results, especially since Tuck and Ed both had a TD, and I understand that at least part of Waymon's success is due to the fact that the limited number of carries keeps him fresh. But it's becoming increasingly more clear that the Sherman Tank is our best back. I will be very interested to see how the coaching staff chooses to use him in a bowl game and next year in Big 12 play.

In my preview I suggested that La Manga would have a "baseline" game of 250 yards and 3 TDs. As SnK pointed out, that's a pretty ridiculous baseline, and perhaps I was still so caught up in Boise euphoria and was basing my choice of that. In any case, it was obvious that the Rams weren't going to let Pachall go bombs away on them, and even clearer that the coaching staff wasn't going to let him open up the playbook unless necessary. Pachall was 13/20 for 117 yards and no TDs or picks; this was easily his weakest output of the season. I'm sure the staff wanted to play it a little bit more buttoned down this week in order to not let Casey get overconfident and make mistakes or get injured. It also looked like Josh Boyce was moving curiously slow, although I have not read anything suggesting he was injured.

However, in a"file under conspiracy theories" suggestion, kerley's, perhaps after a few pre and in-game cocktails, had another suggestion. As lyle pointed out in a post last week, Pachall is INCREDIBLY close to breaking quite a few of the single season passing records set by our favorite Rooster. And while Coach Patterson has grown to appreciate what La Manga brings to this team, it's pretty clear by some of his quotes that he's not ready to put him in that rarified Dalton air quite yet. So what if he's purposefully going to deflate Pachall's numbers going forward to protect the records and keep Casey's head in the right place? Coaches' are full of motivational tactics and if Pachall breaks all of Dalton's records in his first year, it's understandable that the staff will worry about what will motivate him going forward. There's clearly no proof of this, and there's no real reason to believe it, but I don't recall Casey throwing any passes more than 10-15 yards yesterday and, other than the opening drive where Boyce dropped a pass in the end zone, it was pretty much run, run and run again when we got in the red zone. Just some food for thought. Don't shoot the messenger.

Quickly running through the other points of interest, the only real positive to come from our defense was Tank's SnK pre-approved pick six which officially put the game out of reach. As for the rest of the day? A Rams team with no offense to speak of starting a rookie QB outgained TCU 408-372 despite committing 11 penalties. The G-man looked every bit like he's ready to step in and lead the Rams for the rest of the season assuming Thomas remains on the bench. In his first collegiate start he went 14-24 for 248 yards and a TD and never looked rattled. His 66 yard TD pass wasn't a thing of beauty, but he made a big play when the pocket collapsed and Tank uncharacteristically broke out of coverage allowing the receiver to put about 20 yards between them. The defense never put much pressure on Grayson all afternoon, finishing with no sacks, but Chris Nwoke was never really able to get anything going so I suppose that's a positive. It was defintely a bend but don't break kind of afternoon from a defense that was clearly not playing their best game, although I suppose they deserve a bit of a break after last week.

Ross made both of his field goals, but kicked another ball out of bounds giving way to Ryan DeNucci later in the game. I don't fancy myself a special teams expert, but it's baffling how Evans can kick the ball 5 yards deep in the end zone to start the game yet still kick the ball out of bounds despite having, what, 20-30 yards to work with horizontally? The world will never know.

Overall, a pretty flat, uneven day which was expected but unpleasant to watch. However, a win is a win even if its not exciting and when we can complain about a 3+ TD victory, we're probably just being over-privileged assholes.

But you know what we can't complain about? The crowd support as it was easily the most packed the stadium has been all year with even the rich folk occupying their seats for most of the game. Also in the non-complaint department is everything else about the CFB weekend because it was one of the most exciting in recent memory. However, you're going to have to wait until tomorrow to read about it.


This makes about as much sense as Frozen Pizza for Thanksgiving Dinner

Okay, now I have a long standing hatred of the Fort Worth Weekly (*Please note: This statement is the solely the opinion of Rotten Arsenal and does not necessarily reflect the the views and opinions of other members of Spit Blood) which dates back over a decade to a dispute I had with KTCU. I do however thank them for giving Spit Blood props, but then they go and do this in their annual "Turkey Awards":

"Shortly after last year’s Turkey Awards issue hit the streets, Texas Christian University announced it would move to the Big East sports conference in 2012. This year, we hadn’t even opened the cranberry sauce before TCU reversed course and announced it’s moving to the Big 12, leaving the Big East high and dry. The school came in for some well-deserved ridicule, especially in light of the havoc this has undoubtedly caused for TCU’s 17 non-football sports teams. Still, we have to save a big portion of turkey for the whole miserable, broken, tottering, more-corrupt-than-Burma college athletics system that has made it worthwhile for schools like TCU to conference-hop like ADD sufferers with the TV remote. Come the 2012 Turkeys, the conferences will all be dead, and college football’s championship will be determined by a giant March Madness-style bracket. OK, has everyone chosen the holiday morsels they want? Great, now switch plates with someone else."


Now, of course, we must remember that the Fort Worth Weekly is generally opposed to anybody that is successful or powerful, and love to champion the poor, mistreated, vocal activist types who try to stick it to "the man", but this is really just idiotic.
"Well deserved ridicule"? Huh? For what? Because TCU said, "Yeah we realize that we said we were going to leave one conference for a slightly better conference because we though we could have more success, but then we changed our minds when it looked like the new conference was already falling apart and an even more lucrative opportunity that included less travel and a renewal of many old rivalries."  I guess that the FWeekly would just stick with a recent purchase, even if that purchase turned out to be a dud and someone offered to upgrade it to a better item. 

And I'm sure the "Havoc" that our non-football programs are feeling is nominal at best and the administrators, coaches, and players are all thrilled. 

The attempt at spinning it away from TCU and towards the BCS itself shows just how clueless these folks are about sports. This system will still be going strong next year and who knows for how long (although if the SEC gets a stranglehold on NCG, I'd be willing to bet there would be some new support from the non-SEC commissioners for a playoff).

Perhaps our local tabloid should stick to writing about things they marginally know about, like how awful the local media is, evil gas companies, and stupid politicians, and leave the college athletics to somebody else.