Monday, November 21, 2011

And now, some happy TCU related news...



While the "glory days" of Ross Evans are coming to an abrupt and humiliating end, arguably the greatest TCU baseball player in history announced that he and his woman are getting married. Hopefully, Bryan and Ashley will enjoy a long marriage to go with a long pro career.

So, this happened...



(insert "did the door go out of bounds?" joke here)

With that, I leave it to you, the award winning commentariat, because I have no desire to touch this one.

Let your voice be heard

(sic)

The BCS Balloon lost a bit of air when the latest BCS rankings came out last night and TCU dropped a spot to #20. Not to say that it's inconceivable, because this past weekend showed us that just about anything is possible in college football- but it's readily apparent that, even if Houston stumbles down the stretch, the Frogs may have a tough time jumping the necessary four spots to get to #16. We're definitely not giving up hope of a trip to New Orleans or Miami, but it's definitely time to think about alternatives.

Should the Frogs fall short of a third straight BCS trip (and really, isn't it already a successful season that we're even talking about this with such a young team?), they'll be headed to one of the Mountain West's four affiliated bowls, Las Vegas (who gets the first pick), Poinsettia (second), Independence (third) and New Mexico (fourth). A common misconception is that teams are automatically slotted according to their place in the standings- which couldn't be further from the truth. These bowl games are for-profit businesses, and care far less about a team's on-field record than they do that same team's potential impact on their own bottom line.

This is where you, the consumers, come in.

If you're a TCU season ticket holder or a Frog Club member, you should've received an email yesterday about pre-purchasing bowl tickets for any of the potential destinations. Don't be foolish and think that this is all about expediting the request & dispersal process- this is a valuable tool for the school and the MWC bowl partners to gauge fan interest for certain scenarios. If TCU can tell a bowl game that they've pre-sold "X" amount of tickets to their event compared to "Y" amount for the other, it helps all of the involved parties reach decisions that are as mutually-beneficial as possible. So in a way, you can vote for the Frogs' bowl destination by filling out your bowl ticket request form. If you didn't get the email, or (more likely) deleted it without reading, you can simply log on to your account on gofrogs.com and then click on "season renewals" to find the form. It needs to be turned in by December 9th, but the decisions will all be made by then so the sooner you turn it in, the more your "vote" counts.

To help you in the process, here is a handy-dandy pro/con list:

Las Vegas Bowl:
-Pro: Vegas is always a good time, and who knows the next time you'll have a chance to see TCU football in Sin City? Also, the opponent will be from the Pac 12- take your pick from the middle of that mediocre conference's pack, but think along the lines of UCLA or Cal.

-Con: The game is on December 22nd (a Thursday) and that stadium is a dump. Vegas may be fun, but buying a plane ticket there on short notice probably is not.

Independence Bowl:
-Pro: Shreveport is a ridiculously easy drive for just about all TCU fans, and the Independence Bowl actually has a higher per-team payout than Vegas. If you're into gambling, Louisiana will take your money just as quickly as will Nevada. The opponent will be from the ACC, giving Frog fans a chance to see their team against some fresh blood.

-Con: Is a 3.5-hour bus trip down I-20 the day after Christmas really much of a reward for the winningest senior class in school history? The folks in Shreveport are pretty far down on the ACC's bowl pecking order, which means they'll be picking a very mediocre team- and it won't be the very mediocre Miami Hurricanes, either.

Poinsettia Bowl:
-Pro: Like Las Vegas, San Diego is always a fun place to visit. I'm sure the Frogs have plenty of fans in Southern California that will miss seeing TCU play out that way with regularity.

-Con: Where do I start? The game is on Wednesday, December 21st. It's played in a cavernous NFL stadium that will make even a decent crowd look like nothing. The opponent would be from the WAC, so think either Nevada or Louisiana Tech. We've been down this exact same road already.

New Mexico Bowl:
-Pro: I guess if you live in Albuquerque, this would be convenient for you. Since the Pac 12 may not be able to fill their slot in this game, you could see a lower-tier Big Ten team playing there. Also, I hear there's a sweet party at Pinkman's place.

-Con: A bowl game on December 17th? Yikes. Although there is that slight chance of getting a Big Ten opponent, it's probably much more likely that the Pac 12's slot would be filled by a team from the MAC. Also, you'd probably hope to avoid the disastrous afternoon of driving around Albuquerque on an increasingly empty stomach before coming to the realization that Los Pollos Hermanos is not a real restaurant.

Saturday Review, part 2.

Probably the best theme song for the aftermath of this weekend.

Like many of you, as the day wore down I had my eyes planted pretty firmly on the OU/Baylor game on my TV and the Oregon/USC game on ESPN3, giggling at the chaos that would ensue if the scores held as they were. When they were over though, all I could think was, "Thanks a lot guys, WHY COULDN'T YOU ALL BE THIS TERRIBLE LAST YEAR?!?!" Ah well...

In case you missed it, here's a look at what went down.
  • #2 Okahoma State 31, Iowa State 37 OT. Despite having a 24 point lead in the second half, the Cowboys couldn't get it done, losing in OT after a Brandon Weeden pick on a BAD throw to Justin Blackmon. To make matters worse, the Pokes had a shot at likely winning it in regulation with a field goal, but it was missed by the TINIEST of margins right over the top of the goal post. But what looked to be an absolutely fatal blow to their championship hopes may actually turn out OK with everything else that transpired...
  • #4 Oregon 35, USC 38. This one wasn't as close as the scoreboard indicated as USC led 38-14 in the second half before turnovers and Oregon's comical offensive speed knocked them back on their heels a bit. The Ducks ultimately lost on a missed field goal as time ran out. All week Oregon had talked about how they were the ones truly deserving of a rematch against LSU. That went out the window with this setback.
  • #5 Oklahoma 38, #22 Baylor 45. Alright, I'm on the record as saying I could never cheer for Baylor, that Robert Griffin is a joke and that Waco should be, if not wiped from the earth, at least condescendingly ignored by it. But I was also on record saying that Baylor was going to absolutely shock someone this year and O.M.G. that was a heck of a show they put on last night. In case you missed it, here's what transpired. With less than 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Baylor led the Sooners 38-24 and, while there was still clearly plenty of time left in the game for OU to make it interesting, it did not look good for the Sooners at all. Then, in the span of 5 minutes, OU scores twice on runs from Jared Lorezen lite QB Blake Bell to bring the score to 38-37. However, rather than try and force OT the Sooners line up to go for 2 seeing as how Bell had scored 4 times on the evening with the same exact play and never as close as 2 yards. But then, after the teams trade timeouts, OU makes a fatal mistake and false starts, forcing the PAT attempt. So with the game tied and with 51 seconds left, you'd have to think OT is all but assured, right? But after Baylor handed the ball off on their first play after the kickoff, clearly playing for the extra period, OU got greedy and called the first of their 3 timeouts, presuming to get the ball back for one last gasp effort in regulation. And then, Griffin took over. Here's the box score of that final drive: Ganaway 4 yard rush, OU timeout, Griffin 22 yard rush, Griffin 8 yard rush, Griffin 12 yard pass to Kendall Wright, Griffin 34 yard pass to Terrance Williams for a TD. Ballgame. But that doesn't tell the whole story because, as much as I don't care for the guy, hate the hype and still have vivid memories of his mental shrinking act last year in Amon G, I have to give credit for his TD pass because it was one of the more ballsy throws you'll ever see that fit in perfectly between 2 defenders. For the night Griffin had a Mangaesque 479 yards and 4 TDs to no picks and, given everything else that has happened, probably secured himself a front row seat in New York City next month. Like I said, I wasn't pulling for Baylor necessarily, but there was something strangely satisfying about watching Bob Stoops DERP his way out of a national title shot. Naturally the Bears rushed the field for the second time this year and the parent chaperones clearly had to order an extra milkshake machine for the sock hop that evening.
  • #7 Clemson 13, North Carolina State 37. THERE'S the Clemson we know and love! True, they probably wouldn't have been in the discussion for the national title game without an Alabama loss... but yeesh, they didn't even make the attempt!
  • #11 Houston 37, SMU 7. Clearly not the upset we wanted, but I just wanted to once again beg the question SERIOUSLYHOWDIDWELOSETOSMU!?!?!
So four games, four top ten teams going down, and now your guess is as good as anyone's as to how the rest of the season is going to shake out. It's not entirely difficult to see future #3 Arkansas sneak past #1 LSU this weekend, which would result in #2 Alabama going to the SEC Championship and then potentially losing to #13 Georgia who would essentially be playing a home game, which could lead to an Arky/LSU rematch for all the marbles despite neither even playing for the SEC Championship. Wrap your head around that.

You're likely going to end up with three, and potentially 4, SEC teams that are BCS eligible and 3 Big 12 teams. You'd also have 3 Pac 12 teams, although USC is ineligible for a bowl as well as the Pac 12 Championship game which they would qualify for otherwise. Oklahoma State, a team that looked like they were a Bedlam loss away from going from the BCS Championship to the Cotton Bowl, is right back in it and the rematch you maybe should be talking about is Arkansas/Alabama. Seriously, anything can happen.

However, if I were a betting man I'd go ahead and gear up for an LSU/Alabama rematch which will please some and probably be a fantastic game, but think of it this way: Alabama can potentially play for the BCS Championship without beating LSU and winning their Conference not to mention their own division. I understand you can't fault a team for playing in the most top heavy division perhaps in NCAA history, but there's just something that seems so wrong about that scenario. At present, here are the potential BCS NC contenders, although I fully expect more shaking up to occur before this thing is over.
  • #1 LSU. Controls their destiny by beating Arkansas and Georgia in the SEC Champ. Would have navigated probably the most difficult schedule ever played a National Title game participant. But for those or you nay saying an LSU/bama rematch, keep this in mind: If LSU loses a squeaker to Arkansas Friday, there's a chance they may not even drop below the Hogs in the rankings; regardless, they're dropping no lower than 3 and would by no means be out of the conversation. Games to keep an eye on: Friday vs. #3 Arkansas, potential SEC Championship vs #13 Georgia.
  • #2 Alabama. Is almost a shoo-in for the title game. If LSU wins out and the Tide beats Auburn, they only thing keeping them out would be the BCS having the balls to elevate Oklahoma State over them in the final rankings in lieu of a rematch. I do not think they have the balls, personally. Bama's best case is for LSU to win Friday because then they are guaranteed a spot without having to mess with Georgia in the SEC Championship. It doesn't seem fair that the #1 team has a tougher stretch to make the title game despite winning their division and the head to head matchup, but that is one of the main reasons why the BCS will not exist in its current form this time next year. Games to keep an eye on: Saturday @ #24 Auburn, potential SEC Championship vs #13 Georgia.
  • #3 Arkansas. This is where it gets tricky. With a win over LSU, the Hogs SHOULD move into the #2 spot behind Alabama, presuming they beat Auburn. In this case, Alabama would move on to the SEC Title game. If the Tide wins, Oklahoma State is to beat OU and win the B12, Stanford wins out and Virginia Tech wins the ACC title game, would any of those teams move past the Hogs? History suggests they might, given what happened with Michigan and OSU a few years back in a similar, rematch situation, but I kind of doubt it. Undermining the Hogs cause is that, due to the SEC's divisional tiebreak, they cannot advance to the SEC Championship without a Bama loss to Auburn. Arkansas' best case is for Auburn to shock Bama this weekend, but Alabama making the SEC Champ and then losing to Georgia would work as well. Still, Arkansas has to beat LSU for any of this to even become an issue, which is incredibly questionable. But, would you have picked 4 top 10 teams to fall this past weekend the way they did? I'm just saying, an Alabama/Arkansas rematch for the big one isn't as far fetched as you might think, nor is Arkansas/LSU. Games to keep an eye on: Friday @ #1 LSU.
  • #4 Oklahoma State. No team's fortunes changed quicker than those of the Cowboys' in the 24 hours that followed their loss to Iowa State. Playing in what has been considered the strongest Conference this season certainly helps their case, as does the potential voter hesitancy for a LSU/Bama rematch. Unfortunately, the Cowboys have a lot going against them as well and this is where the Big 12's dropping of their Championship game may come back to bite them. Lacking a title game, OSU was counting on their Bedlam game against OU to count as that performance and possibly springboard them into the title game. But thanks to Baylor and Tech, that game lost a LOT of appeal on the Sooners behalf. OSU still wins the B12 with a win, but does it count as much as winning an actual title game? That all depends on if you think the BCS would favor a 1 loss ACC Champion Virginia Tech or a 1 loss, non Champ Stanford over a one loss Oklahoma State squad; I think it's unlikely. OSU caught a break with Oregon losing, yet still controlling their destiny in the Pac 12 North because it keeps Stanford out of that title game, but that is the least of their worries at present because their bye week comes at a bad time. And, of course, they need LSU and Alabama losses to even be considered. Games to keep an eye on: Next Saturday vs. #9 OU.
  • #5 Virginia Tech. Where did these guys come from? Left for dead after losing to Clemson earlier this year, the Hokies are right back in the thick of things after the mayhem from this weekend. Curiously enough, this weekend's game against the BARELY unraked Cavaliers carries HUGE implications as the winner will advance to the ACC title game. Virginia Tech typically controls this series and will be a decided favorite, but it's being played in Charlottesville and the surprising Cavs would love nothing more than to dash the title hopes of their in state rival. Still, I think VT would need LSU, Alabama and OSU losses for a shot at it, even with the win this weekend and in the ACC title game, ironically against the same Clemson team who handed it to them earlier. In other words, the Hokies have a tough road ahead of them to remain in the discussion and may not even make a BCS game altogether. Games to keep an eye on: Sat @ Virginia, potential ACC Championship vs #17 Clemson.
  • #6 Stanford. I don't think they get in simply because they can't win their own Conference unless Oregon loses to Oregon State. Bama and LSU are probably the only teams who could pull off this feat, and even then it is a stretch. Besides, they still have a tricky one Saturday against suddenly resurgent #23 Notre Dame. For now here's to thinking the Cardinal are a BCS at large at best. Games to keep an eye on: Sat. vs #23 Notre Dame.
  • #7 Boise State. How much do you think Boise fans hate their kicker now? Sure, Brotzman cost them a sure trip to the Rose Bowl, but given the events of the weekend, Dan Goodale possibly cost them a shot at a National Title. Were the Broncos still undefeated, you'd have to imagine they'd be no worse than #4 right now, and possibly #3. I don't see them outranking #2 Alabama in that situation, though. So what now? I guess Boise still has a VERY, VERY remote chance of advancing to the title game, but it would take LSU beating Arkansas, Auburn beating Alabama, OU beating OSU AND remaining below the Broncos, Virginia Tech losing one of their next two AND Stanford losing to Notre Dame; even then, there are no guarantees. The Broncos can probably go ahead and print their boarding passes for a trip to Vegas. Games to keep an eye on: NEIN!
  • Houston. Sorry, it's just not happening. Also, DIE!!! Games to keep an eye on: Friday @ Tulsa.
So that's a WHOLE lot to think about for the next couple of weeks and, most importantly, here's exactly how to plan your Thanksgiving Weekend in order to avoid your family. If you combine it with yesterday's BCS Breakdown/Movement Watch, you can pretty much lock up Thursday-Saturday in a football/tryptophan haze. Go ahead, thank me in the comments.

Friday:
11:00AM-2:30 PM. Houston @ Tulsa.
1:30PM - 5:00PM. Arkansas @ LSU. CBS.


Saturday:
2:30PM - 6:00PM. Alabama @ Auburn. CBS.
2:30PM - 6:00PM. Virginia Tech @ Virginia. ESPN2.
7:00PM-10:30PM. Stanford vs. Notre Dame. ABC.

Morning Dump

Football:
A healthy Carder gives Frogs' defense a boost
Star-Telegram

Charmed? TCU's BCS hopes take a hit
ESPN

Basketball:
Oh Bubba no; Frogs hoops team ugly in loss against Norfolk State
Star-Telegram

TCU wraps up Paradise Jam vs Ole Miss
GoFrogs.com

Balanced attack sends NC State WBB to win over TCU
WCTI.com

Cross Country:
Kemboi set for 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championships
GoFrogs.com