Thursday, May 31, 2012

WHAT A DICK! Bootlegger's Boy Edition.


"The top man of any organization sets the moral tone for his associates.... Switzer has never set the best of examples in his personal life for the young men on the Sooner football team.... Perhaps, it's time for him to move on." -- Article from a 1982 issue of the Daily Oklahoman calling for Switzer's resignation... 7 years before he actually did.

For those of you painfully unfamiliar with college football history, the man pictured above might only leap out to you as Barry Switzer, the world's best worst NFL Super Bowl winning coach of all time.  But before Barry was banging stewardesses midair alongside the Double J and running up a $100,000 bar tab during Super Bowl week, he was carving out a cozy place for himself in hell as the most successful Coach not named Bud Wilkinson to roam the sidelines in Norman, Oklahoma.  Like a lot of you, I was aware that Switzer is widely considered one of the most rogue, slimy coaches of all time, but until I took a trip down memory lane via this Sports Illustrated article, I didn't have a full understanding of just how outlandish the man's tactics really were.  On the surface, Barry Switzer was a hell of a coach, but beneath the surface was hidden a serpent that would cut any corner and ignore even the most basic tenets of human nature in order to gain a the almighty W.  Shall we begin?

Barry Switzer was the HBC at Oklahoma from 1973-1989.  In that time he would win 157 games, three national titles, eight bowl games, 12 Big 8 titles and produce one Heisman winner in Billy Sims.  He would also, despite these accomplishments, be run out of town after enacting a scorched earth policy against the NCAA rulebook and the laws of the State of Oklahoma.  Oklahoma has real, actual laws?  Who knew?!  But seriously - three national titles and 12 Conference championships in 16 years and he would be forced to RESIGN?  In OKLAHOMA?  Mystifying.

Switzer's downfall initially began in 1983, the year he was busted by the SEC for insider trading, a case which was ultimately dismissed.  Switzer's defense? He "accidentally" overheard the information he was being prosecuted for while innocently lounging on some bleacher's near a group of industry insiders, the official, "My dog ate my homework" defense for such a crime.  Perhaps I spoke too soon about that whole, "Oklahoma has laws," thing?  But no matter how much ill will Switzer's federal gaffe generated, that was all erased when he won his final National Title the following season.  Funny how that stuff works.  But the cracks were clearly beginning to form in Switzer's facade.

Let's skip ahead to 1987.  That year Oklahoma featured a tight end by the name of Bernard Hall.  Unfortunately, Hall caught a case of the sticky fingers, stole from a few of his teammates and was voted off the team by his peers, missing the entirety of the 1987 season.  The following off-season, though, after a bout of unfortunate injuries and a defection at the tight end position, Switzer faced a dilemma:  His team - who had themselves voted off Hall not one year earlier - wanted Hall reinstated to fill the void on the strong side.  But did Switzer, a man who is supposed to be responsible for shaping the lives of the charges placed under his command, want to set the example that any player is expendable, unless of course that player is needed to start?  Of COURSE he did!  It's Barry Switzer!  So a vote was taken and Switzer signed off on Hall's being reinstated.  Keep this fact in mind for a few paragraphs later.

Flash forward to 1989.  OU is on probation and one nose hair away from being the second team ever to receive the Death Penalty.  Keep in mind, at the time the after effects the DP had on SMU were being felt supremely hard to the point that it was widely accepted that the costs to the program were too great for the NCAA to ever take such harsh measures against another program. So OU had to be REALLY screwing up for such a thing to even be whispered in passing.  I won't go into everything here, but one prominent example is the case of William Lambert, an OU booster who claims he suspiciously employed 100-150 OU players and COACHES during Switzer's tenure, paying them for work that was never performed. The best part about it? All of Lambert's nefarious activities took place AFTER he had served a four year stint in the federal pen for stealing stock certificates.  Pretty sure the NCAA rulebook has stipulations regarding known felons cavorting with student athletes, but I could be wrong.  At least that excuses Rhett Bomar's partaking of the same benefits decades later - it's just the Oklahoma way!

So now Switzer has cheated the fair market system, made it known that it's ok to steal from your teammates as long as the situation dictates that your absence won't cost the team any wins and had dalliances with boosters with known criminal records.  But surely Barry wouldn't harbor out and out criminals, would he?  Keep in mind, we're still in 1989, the year that OU went under probation.  Perhaps we should take this chronologically:
  • In January when OU was playing in the Florida Citrus Bowl, an assistant Coach was "horsing around" - not in the Sandusky way, fortunately - ran up a bar tab at a local resort and injured a bowl representative.  Did OU take care of the expenses?  Of course not!  
  • During the same bowl week, a local newspaper reported that a handful of OU players decided to be rock stars and trash their hotel rooms.  In this situation, a normal coach would likely publicly apologize for his players actions and privately punish them for their ignorance.  Switzer's response?  He went on the defensive and blamed the newspapers for reporting the incident.  Class-y.
  • In mid-January, several Oklahoma players were getting their hairs cut in the athletic dorm when an argument broke out.  The end result?  One OU player shot another, all over a missing cassette tape.  When asked about the incident later, Switzer copped to having familiarity with the player's volatile attitude.  So why did he recruit him?  "Because everybody else did."  Nice one, Barry.
  • In late January, starting QB Charles Thompson, thought to be an out and out good kid, sold 17 grams of cocaine to an undercover police officer.  He would serve two years in prison.  This incident would occur after Thompson had privately spent time in a drug rehab facility, so you'd think OU would be offering him all the help they had at their disposal to help keep him on the straight and narrow.  Guess again.
  • And then, the big one, came in February when three OU players were arrested for allegedly raping an OU coed.  One of the accused?  Bernard Hall, the same Bernard Hall who had been kicked off the team and then reinstated for stealing from his teammates.  Wow.  Just, wow.  
Even the most ardent of Switzer Era OU apologists would have a hard time defending the coach in hindsight, but let's suppose someone wanted to make the argument that these events all occurred in a tightly compact window of 1989 and that they were an aberration.  Let's have another history lesson. For ease of reading, I'll just copy/paste the direct passage from the article:

•On Feb. 10, Jimbo Elrod, an All-America defensive end in 1975, was ordered to stand trial in Muskogee, Okla., on a charge of stealing a pickup truck. He also faces marijuana and cocaine possession charges.
•Greg Roberts, an offensive guard who was the Out-land Trophy winner in 1978, is charged in Tampa with racketeering and drug-related offenses. Authorities allege that Roberts is "the principal operator...of a distribution ring that brought drugs from Miami for sale in the Tampa area." In 1982 Roberts and former teammate David Overstreet, who was killed in 1984 while driving drunk, were charged with raping an Oklahoma coed. The woman dropped her complaint shortly after.
•John Truitt, a defensive end from 1980 to '83, was arrested in Oklahoma City last April for possession of cocaine. Truitt, who was in town to see the annual Red-White intrasquad game, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute. He was sentenced to probation.
•Stanley Wilson, a running back for the Sooners from 1979 to '82 and a member of the Cincinnati Bengals for the past six seasons, has a history of drug abuse that culminated in his suspension from this year's Super Bowl. He was discovered apparently strung out in his Miami hotel room the day before the game.

And that's without even mentioning perhaps Switzer's greatest error in judgment, Brian Bosworth!  He could be an entire article unto himself.  So it's fair to say that, for all of Barry's self proclamations that he's a good man and program leader, perhaps he's a teence misguided.  As one player, referring to the rapes, put it:  "What happened was not an isolated kind of thing. The attitude is, We're Sooners. This is the way we party."  Who do you think is responsible for cultivating that sort of mentality?  Shit, it rolls downhill.

Had Barry Switzer's complete bastardizing of the rules been limited only to football, the situation may have not been QUITE so amplified.  But of course they weren't, and once the regents started turning a blind eye to Switzer, they transferred that mentality to other areas, the most famous incident being the case of wrestler Joe Brett Reynolds who was caught having another student take a test for him.  In most instances, blatant cheating like that on a college campus results in an immediate expulsion for the student, no matter the case. Which is pretty much what happened - Reynolds was suspended but with the caveat that he could reapply for reinstatement after 2 years, a VERY generous offer considering most students are just outcast altogether.  But Reynolds was a star who generated esteem and money for the school, and much like Bernard Hall, he was NEEDED for the athletic department.  So Reynolds lawyered up, took his case to the board and after it was surmised that perhaps his professor had "entrapped him," his suspension was reduced to 11 months.  You can imagine how this decision went over with the academics.  The staff revolted, as did the student body, who circulated a petition to appeal the decision in front of the board, a petition that was outright ignored.   Frank Horton, the President of the University was one of the most of the vocal opponents of the decision.  At the time of the article, Reynolds was the 5th ranked wrestler in the country, competing for a national title;  Horton, after being deemed unsympathetic to the athletic department, had resigned.

This is what happens when you let a soulless man like Switzer become a god at your school.  That's not to say that Gary Patterson isn't god at TCU;  He is.  OH, he is.  But Patterson also has a conscience, not to mention at least a tenuous grasp of right and wrong.  Seriously, the events of this offseason are CHILDS PLAY compared to the things that OU was getting away with under Switzer's watch, the difference being his guys were rarely kicked off the the team. Things had gotten so bad at OU by 1989 that former OU players were publicly bashing the coach and asking for his resignation.  Heck, as referenced in the opening paragraph, folks were calling for his head as far back as 1982!  And, after the opening months of 89, surely Switzer realized that he, to use the current terminology, had a lack of institutional control and needed to change his lackadaisical stance towards punishment, right?  In reference to the dorm shooting, the drug arrest, and the rape arrest, Switzer had this to say: "Isolated incidents."  He would resign that June.

Seriously, Barry Switzer, What a Dick!

Schedule Posters!


That picture was just tweeted out by Stansly Maponga, and I will probably be really fussy and unable to focus on anything until someone brings me one to put up in my office.

What a Dick! The Joe Don Looney Edition

When planning out the Oklahoma week of our Big 12 Orientation course, we decided that it might be fun to outsource some of the material to a UT fan because, well, UT fans hate OU and hatred makes for good readin'.  We handed the assignment for the OU week "What a Dick!" post to a burnt orange-wearing friend of Spit Blood named Pumpkinass, and what we got from him is less hateful than it is just an interesting look at an asshole of somewhat admirable proportions that links the power triumvirate of the new Big 12- Texas, TCU and Oklahoma.  So, enough from me, here is what Pumpkin ass had to say:

OU has produced 152 All-Americans, and just as many world-class sons of bitches.  Their most visible candidates for #1 are cartoonish:  Switzer is Milton's Lucifer and Bozworth is a white Clubber Lang, but the top spot for me goes to Joe Don Looney.

Like Billy Clyde Puckett, the literary creation of Dan Jenkins, Looney played football at Fort Worth's Paschal High School, attended TCU, and was drafted by the New York Giants.  Unlike Puckett, Looney had previously enrolled at Texas, where he failed every class but psychology and supposedly beat asses all over the 40 acres without having ever darkened DKR's office doorstep.

His stint at TCU was just as brief.  He never buckled his chinstrap, but was runoff after KO'ing a heavyweight novice in a VFW boxing match.

He briefly stopped over at a junior college before suiting up for the Sooners in 1962.  With two minutes left and OU losing their opening game against Syracuse 3-0, Looney, who was third-string at the time, told head coach Bud Wilkinson "Put me in the game, I'll win this SOB," which was interestingly also the original lyrics to John Fogerty's "Centerfield."  Wilkinson obliged him and one play and 60 yards later, Oklahoma had won and a star was born.

Looney took All-American honors that year and had high hopes for '63, but didn't play past the Texas game, similar to Marcus Dupree--whose OU career would end mid-season against Texas 20 years later.  Dupree's exit was because of an injury and self-initiated; Looney was said to have punched an assistant coach and sent packing.  Other players have said this was just an excuse to make an example of the rebellious running back, but Joe Don was out, just like Terry Allen's "Great Joe Bob".

His NFL career never got going and he played for 5 teams in 5 years.  Detroit coach Harry Gilmer found out how difficult he was to instruct when he asked his backup halfback to run in a play in a game against the 49ers.  "If you want a messenger boy," Joe Don told him, "call Western Union."

With eccentric parallels to Ricky Williams, Joe Don Looney would later bathe elephants and study with gurus in India and live in an octagonal house in Big Bend.  State Troopers found him dead near his wrecked motorcycle outside of Study Butte, Texas on September 24, 1988.  The brakes had not been used.



"The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over." -Hunter S. Thompson.

Save the Date: August 25th


There are still a lot of details left to be worked out, but we just want to grab a space on your calendar.  It's time to start honing your short game, because the 3rd Annual Spit Blood Scramble will be held on Saturday, August 25th- again hosted by our friends at Whitestone Golf Club out in Benbrook.

So if you're in a wedding that day, just send a gift.  If that's the day of your own wedding, well, it's probably not too late to move your nuptials to another day, now is it?  Last year we had 85 of you yahoos participating, and raised over $8,000 for charity.  This year, we're aiming for 100 entrants and at least 10 G's.

Plenty of additional information, such as prizes and how to sign up, will be coming in the weeks to come.  But for now, give us a casual show of hands in the comments section as to who all is planning on teeing it and with us this summer.

Big 12 Orientation: Oklahoma Baseball

Apparently he wears that 'stache non-ironically

OU Baseball at-a-glance:
-Program founded: 1898
-Overall record: 2,328-1,318-11
-2 National Championships (1951, 1994)
-10 College World Series appearances (most recent: 2010)
-34 NCAA Tournament appearances
-22 conference titles (zero Big 12)
-1 conference tournament title (one Big 12)

History with TCU: The Sooners and Horned Frogs have met 89 times on the diamond, with OU holding a 62-27 advantage in the all-time series.   They held an eight-game winning streak over the Frogs until a couple of TCU freshmen helped reverse that curse this year.  Derek Odell's walk-off single in the bottom of the 9th helped beat the Sooners 4-3 in Fort Worth on May 1st, and then Brandon Finnegan's seven shutout innings fueled the Frogs to a 1-0 win in Norman (their first since 2006) on May 15th.  It was TCU's first season sweep of Oklahoma since 2004.

Notable former OU Baseball Players:

  • Bobby Witt- He hit an interleague home run for the Rangers in 1997.

  • Mark Redman- He won a World Series ring with the Marlins in 2003.
  • Russ Ortiz- He won 21 games for the Braves one year.
  • Garrett Buechele- He's Steve Buechele's kid. 

Recent History: Larry Cochell probably could've coached baseball at Oklahoma for the rest of his life, having won multiple conference championships, made the Sooners an NCAA Tournament regular and won it all in 1994.   Then, in a 2005 interview televised by ESPN 2, he had the following to say about Joe Dunigan III, an African-American player on his team:
“There are honkies and white people and there are n*****s and black people. Dunigan is a good black kid.  There’s no n***** in him.”

Whoa!  I don't recommend following up Cochell's footsteps unless you want to lose your job as quickly as he did.   After that, OU tapped then-Oral Roberts head coach Sunny Golloway to be their new man, and since then he's led the Sooners to the NCAA Tournament in four out of six seasons, inlcuding the current one.  This year's OU squad sports a record of 38-22 heading into their NCAA Regional opener against Appalachian State tomorrow in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Outlook for next year:  Like many teams in college baseball, the Sooners' outlook for 2013 hinges on which of their draft-eligible players leave to play pro ball.  Top hitter Max White, who has batted .356 this year and leads the team with 54 RBI, is a junior that will have to choose between getting paid or one more shot at Omaha.  The same goes for two of the Sooners' most reliable pitchers- redshirt sophomore Jordan John (2.30 ERA in 109 IP) and junior Steven Okert (2.92 ERA in 77 IP)

Morning Dump


Baseball:

With sons in two NCAA Regionals, the Merck family is in a pickle this weekend Star-Telegram

Kyle Von Tungeln discussing the weekend ahead:




Men's Golf:

TCU tied for 23rd at NCAA's, Brun seven shots back of the lead Star-Telegram

Brun paces Frogs at NCAA Championships gofrogs.com


Athletic Department:

Chris Del Conte's Notes on a Scorecard gofrogs.com


TCU-area construction news:

Get ready for some traffic headaches at Berry & University NBC 5





View more videos at: http://nbcdfw.com.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spit Blood salutes Jason Coats

As was noted in the dump this morning, Jason Coats' career at TCU is now over after doctors found a slight tear in the ACL of the knee he injured in the regular season finale against San Diego State.  As his playing days in Fort Worth come to a close, he holds the school record for both at-bats and doubles and ranks in the Top 5 in games played, base hits, total bases, triples, runs and runs batted in.  No doubt about it, we'll miss seeing #38 out there in left field.

So as the rest of his Horned Frog teammates prepare to take down Ole Miss and the rest of the College Station Regional, Coats is left to ponder his next step.  Hopefully, he'll be able to rehab his knee and fulfill the massive potential he has in the world of professional baseball.  Either way, he seems like a kid that will be successful in whatever is next for him.

Perhaps a look back at Coat's most memorable clutch hit- to win the 2009 Fort Worth Regional in his freshman year- will bring good luck to the rest of the young Horned Frog line up in College Station this weekend:


Big 12 Orientation: Oklahoma Basketball

It's nice to speak with you again, Chuck- I guess by now you've found the bodies

OU Hoops at-a-glance:
-Program founded: 1908
-Overall record: 1,539-995
-4 Final Four appearances (1939, 1947, 1988, 2002)
-8 Elite Eight appearances (most recent: 2009)
-27 NCAA Tournament appearances
-15 regular-season conference titles (1 Big 12)
-7 conference tournament titles (3 Big 12)
-Home Base: Lloyd Noble Center (12,000)

History with TCU: The obvious connection between these two basketball programs is that Billy Tubbs left Oklahoma in 1994 after a very successful 13-year stint as the Sooners' head coach claiming that "he did not feel appreciated enough working at a football school" and then took the job at TCU...which, you'll remember, was not a football school at the time.  There have been only twelve meetings between the two schools on the court, though, with Oklahoma taking eleven of them.  TCU's only win came over Tubbs' squad in Oklahoma City of December of 1986, but the Sooners have done bad, bad things to the Frogs in their two most recent meetings.  They beat TCU 63-35 in 2006 and 90-66 a year later at Daniel-Meyer.

Famous Former Sooner cagers:

  •  Eduardo Najera.  If he ever played for the Spurs, he would have the best-selling jersey in the entire NBA.   
  • Waymon Tisdale.  He retired from the NBA in 1997 to focus on his jazz career, but sadly he passed away in 2009 after a fight with bone cancer.
  •  Stacey King.  Michael Jordan won him 3 rings.
  •  Mookie Blaylock.  More than just the original name of Pearl Jam, Blaylock was also on the original NBA Jam...but only for the Game Boy and Sega CD versions.   

Recent History: When Tubbs left in 1994, OU immediately hired then-Washington State coach Kelvin Sampson to take his place.  Sampson reeled off nine NCAA appearances in his first nine seasons in Norman- a stretch that included a National Coach of the Year award (1995) three consecutive Big 12 Tournament titles (2001-2003) and a trip to the Final Four in 2002.  Most of that success is tainted, though, as Sampson came under fire from the NCAA for committing numerous recruiting fractions just before he jumped ship to go to Indiana in 2006.  VCU coach and former Duke player and assistant Jeff Capel was hired to replace him, but Capel produced just two NCAA appearances in five seasons, and went a combined 27-36 in his last two seasons before being fired.  Longtime college and NBA coach Lon Kruger, who had most recently led UNLV to the Big Dance in four out of five years, was hired before the 2011-2012 season and led the Sooners to a 15-16 overall record and 5-13 in Big 12 play.

Outlook for next year:  Like the Frogs, the Sooners are losing their top two scoring threats from 2011-2012.  Steven Pledger, who led OU wih just over 16 points per game, has graduated.  Calvin Newell, who was second at 13 points per contest, has transferred to Central Florida.  Romero Osby, a 6'8" senior-to-be forward who was the leading rebounder on the team and third leading scorer, will most likely be looked upon to be a leader for the 2012-13 Sooners.  Cameron Clark a 6'6" guard from Sherman who will be a junior next year, came in as a four-star recruit but has of yet failed to live up to expectations.  Of the incoming freshmen, 6'4" shooting guard Jelon Hornbeak from Arlington Grace Prep is seen as the next big thing. 




Craig James: Miserable Failure (!)


If only fellow SMU alum and convicted felon Jeffrey Skilling were in charge of counting the votes- he could've just projected that James was the winner and that would make it reality!  When you're only getting 3% of the vote, it's likely that someone either on your staff or in your own family didn't even vote for you.  You're a douche bag, Craig James, and everyone is laughing at you.

Morning Dump

Baseball:

ACL tear finishes Jason Coats' TCU career Star-Telegram


Basketball:

Video interview with new coach Trent Johnson gofrogs.com


Men's Golf:


TCU in 24th place after Day 1 at NCAA Championships gofrogs.com

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Big 12 Orientation, Week 6: Oklahoma Football.


Oklahoma At-A-Glance:
  • Team Founded 1895.
  • 821-307-53 Overall Record.
  • 7 National Titles (1950, 1955, 1956, 1974, 1975, 1985, 2000).
  • 45 Bowl Appearances (27-17-1).
  • 43 Conference Titles
  • 5 Heisman Winners (most recent:  Sam Bradford)
  • 8 BCS Appearances, 5 bungled BCS appearances.
History with TCU.  Despite being a mere 3 hours away from one another, TCU and Oklahoma have only met 11 times in their history with the Sooners holding a 7-4 edge.  The most recent meeting came in 2008 - the year of Ross Evans - and was a mostly forgettable demolition by the National Title Game bound Sooners.  However, the most memorable game in the series for TCU fans - the third ranked top moment in the GP era as judged by this here website - would likely be the 2005 edition with the Frogs emerging as the most unlikely for victors 17-10.  How unlikely?  Future stud Adrian Peterson was held to 63 yards on 22 carries, an average of 2.8 YPC, and Derek Moore scored the opening TD;  Moore wouldn't score another TD that season and scored only 2 more total during his time at TCU.  Clearly dude understood the value of good timing.  Of course, the game is probably just as much remembered for what happened the next week, but for a moment TCU were kings of the college football world.  Our own lyle lanley suggested that September 3rd, 2005 is the day TCU Football was officially reborn under Gary Patterson, and I'd tend to agree with him.  

Famous ex-Sooners:
  • Adrian Peterson, natch.
  • Sam Bradford
  • Billy Simms
  • The less-bad Roy Williams
  • Jason White
  • THE BOZ
  • Lee Roy Selmon
Rivalries:
  • The Red River Rivalry vs. UT. I mean, do I REALLY need to elaborate on this one?  I'd have to think we're all pretty well acquainted with this one.  Beginning in 1900, UT and OU have played 106 times with UT holding a 59-42-5 advantage.  Seen as one of the most storied rivalries in all of sports, more recently the game has had added significance with six of the last ten meetings featuring an eventual national title participant and the Big 12 south race being decided in October seemingly every year.  Perhaps my favorite part of the rivarly is the way the Cotton Bowl is split right down the middle between the two schools, as well as the way the two fanbases genuinely HATE each other.  TEASER:  Come back later in the week from some good ole fashioned one sided OU Hate from a real life UT fan!
  • The Bedlam Game vs. Oklahoma State.  Not so much a "rivalry" as a "one sided ass kicking contest," with OU holding the overall edge 76-17-7.  Apparently fecal warfare has been involved as chefs have been bribed to lace the opposing teams' food with laxatives.  The state of Oklahoma, everyone!
  • Nebraska-OU (deceased).  One of college football's greatest and oldest rivalries went the way of the buffalo when the Big 12 was divided into divisions;  it officially became kaputt when Nebraska bolted to the Big Televenwelve.  OU leads the overall series 45-38-3.
Recent History.  Clearly OU is one of the most highly decorated, tradition-rich football programs in the country.  Alongside Texas, they've ruled the Big 12 since the earf turned 2000 - right, Carl Everett? - and, if form holds, they'll do so again this year.  Since Bob Stoops took over, OU has only finished the season out of the Top 25 twice, one time being his first year when the program was big time down, and they've won a national title and played for 3 others.  Stoops gets a lot of flack for not being able to win the big game, but the folks saying that are mostly fans of teams who have never been to the big game in the first place.  The general consensus is that Stoops is the only coach in the Big 12 with more acumen than Patterson, and while I don't necessarily agree with that assessment, I certainly can't outright refute it either.  The Sooners last played for a national title in 2008, losing out the Tebows, and were on pace to do so again the following year before Sam Bradford's shoulder esploded on the turf at J World.  Since then, with Landry Fields under center, OU has Sun, Fiesta and Insight Bowl titles under their belt and are the early favorites to win the Big 12 next year.  

2012 Outlook.  Jones returns, as do targets Kenny Stills and Jaz Reynolds, although Reynolds' status is currently up in the air after an off-season incident.  Leading rusher Dom Whaley will be back after suffering a mid-season injury last year.  The 2011 Sooners were the fifth ranked passing team and 10th rated scoring team in the entire NCAA and finished with an overall record of 10-3, remaining in the Conference title hunt until the last weekend of the season when they lost to arch rival Oklahoma State.  Note to TCU fans:  When you're crying in your bed at night, worrying about TCU's off-season defections, just look to the 2012 Sooners, a team who gave up 22 points per game last year, yet still could've won their Conference backed by a superior offense.  Mostly as a result of Jones' return, the Sooners are going to be ranked in the Top 5 of just about any college football poll and are the pre-season favorites to win the Big 12.  However, how good is Landry Jones, really?  He was great in 2010, no question, however he struggled a bit last season.  True, injuries to Dom Whaley and leading WR Ryan Broyles didn't help matters, but losing to Tech?  Really?  Come on, Landry!  Had Jones been able to turn pro after his sophomore season he would've been one of the top QBs off the board, but after a down year he returned to Norman to improve his stock, no question.  With Whaley back and an experienced defense behind him, Jones should have every opportunity to run the tables.  Also helping matters was the late season emergence of backup QB Blake Bell, the "Belldozer," who is sort of like Tim Tebow but with a penis.  Bell came in during goal line situations for short runs and eased the pressure on Jones and hurt his stats a bit.  How the two co-exist could be the difference between a dream season and a merely great one for the Sooners.  TCU and OU meet in the final weekend of the season this year for what many would suggest could be the defacto Big 12 Championship.  They'd be wrong, but god bless them and their optimism.  We're looking forward to it, nonetheless.

Miscellania:
I feel like we could do an entire post dedicated to one Barry Switzer, and we just might so I'm not going to waste any ammunition here.  Instead I'd like to indulge my elementary aged self a little.  For those of you who don't know, the man above is Jim Ross, one of the biggest OU fans alive.  You also should recognize Ross as the voice of the WWF, quite possibly the greatest sports commentator of all time.  A sampling of his work to close this thing out:


Remember to vote, and remember the 5

We'd like to remind those of you residing in Texas to perform your civic duty today by getting out to the polls and vote.  It's important in any election cycle, but today your vote for anyone but Craig James will be a vote for non-douche bags everywhere.  While I think it would be irresponsible to state, as fact, that CRAIG JAMES KILLED FIVE HOOKERS WHILE AT SMU, I feel it would be equally irresponsible to make him a senator before we know for sure one way or the other.

Another Roster Exodus

As he was on this play against Baylor, Ed Wesley is gone
This offseason, TCU fans have been treated to both kinds of loss.  First was the sudden, seemingly out of the blue arrest and expulsion of Tanner Brock, DJ Yendrey, Ty Horn and Devin Johnson in February.  Those losses stung for sure, but then a few weeks ago rumors started to bubble up that Ed Wesley and Deryck Gildon might also be departing the roster.  As more and more smoke came off of the rumor mill in regards to these guys, Frog fans were left to ponder what this team might look like without them.  I know it hung over me like a depressing fog.

Those rumors were confirmed this weekend, of course, along with the additional news of offensive linemen Nykiren Wellington and Carter Wall also being removed from the program for academic reasons.  If you're keeping track at home, as I know many of you are, that's eight players gone during the offseason- six of which either would've started or had a more than decent chance of starting this fall.

Ouch.  As one friend of Spit Blood put it, OUR PETS HEADS ARE FALLING OFF!!!

Am I worried about this?  Yes, for sure.  Is the sky falling? Despite the common sentiment of Frog fans- no, it isn't.  Look- despite the talent level among those departed and the valuable playmaking ability and depth lost, those guys are gone for a reason.  They were either A) not doing things the right way, B) not putting in the work required to be a successful student-athlete at this level, or C) just didn't want to be here anymore.  In the tough dogfight of a football season, Coach Patterson will be better off relying on guys that don't display those attributes.

The question, now, is who will be stepping up into the void left by the departures?  The highest profile of those not returning is Wesley, who has been a staple in the offense the past three years.  The good news is that he may end up being the one we miss the least.  Matthew Tucker and Waymon James are both capable of 1,000 yard seasons, and senior Aundre Dean and early-enrollee freshman BJ Catalon are both talented and hungry enough to provide quality depth.

Linebacker is most likely the position causing the most hand-wringing among the purple and white faithful.  Gildon was already viewed as a questionable replacement for Brock, but his own departure makes the LB depth chart a gigantic mystery box.  Walk-on sophomores Danny Heiss and Joel Hasley appear to be the most capable of joining senior Kenny Cain in the rotation right now, but two incoming freshmen (AJ Hilliard and James McFarland) as well as JUCO transfer PJ Dawson will likely be given every opportunity to crash the starting line up.  And even though Devonte Fields is viewed as the next big thing at defensive end, is it beyond the limits of your imagination to see his 6'4" 240lb frame playing behind the line of scrimmage this fall?  I don't like how big a question mark this all-important position is this late in the game, but my money is on GP and company finding some guys that will make plays.

Like the situation at linebacker, depth was already a bit questioned along the offensive line.  Wellington and Wall weren't viewed as being integral to the 2012 game plan or even future superstars, but they did provide a measure of depth.  With Eric Tausch and Michael Thompson probably combining to serve as the #2 man at all 5 positions along the line, redshirt freshmen like Brady Foltz, Bobby Thompson and Jamelle Naff may be called upon to contribute a little bit more than they regularly would've this early in their career.  It may even be that you'll see the rarity of a true freshman or a walk-on getting snaps, but Eddie Williamson has most definitely earned our trust with being able to put together a tough and reliable O-Line. 

I'm not trying to tell people they shouldn't be worried about all of this.  I just think we need to escape the kind of defeatism that can run rampant amongst our fanbase at times.  There will most likely be moments next fall when we say things like "man I miss Tanner Brock" or "that was a freshman mistake", but I think we'll also be making comments at other times like "the Big 12 has to live with three more years of that guy" or "now I see why people have been raving about our recruiting the past few years".

102 days 'till kickoff for us to wait, and the team to continue to prepare.  Go Frogs.

Big 12 Orientation, Week 6: Oklahoma


This week we're back to profiling a school that is oddly referred to by its inverse initials.  I couldn't tell you why the University of Oklahoma is shortened to the colloquial "OU", but it's kind of fitting since it's the flagship university of such a backward state anyway.

The university was founded in 1890 on 407 acres donated to the state from the residents of Norman.  Today, OU has a total enrollment of 30,303 and ranks 101st on US News & World Report's list of best colleges in America.  It is one of the few Big 12 schools that can compete with TCU in terms of endowment funds, but OU's $1.2 billion is obviously not nearly as big as TCU's when you look at it proportionally to enrollment.

Here are a few videos to get your better acquainted with our new friends north of the Red, and Sir Wesley ought to be profiling their football program later today:






...and this one, which wouldn't let me embed but you need to watch.

Morning Dump

Football:

TCU's depth takes a hit with four departures Star-Telegram


Baseball:

TCU to face Ole Miss in regional opener Star-Telegram


Frogs tabbed a two seed, will head to College Station gofrogs.com


Basketball:

Pooh Williamson added to men's basketball coaching staff gofrogs.com


Other Sports:

Men's golf starts NCAA Championships in California today gofrogs.com

Relays spark Frogs on final day of NCAA Track prelims gofrogs.com

Monday, May 28, 2012

Frogs heading to College Station


For most of the year, the so-called experts from around the college baseball blogosphere predicted that TCU would be playing their 9th consecutive NCAA Regional in Waco.  Instead, the Frogs are headed to College Station to take place in the regional being hosted by former SWC rival Texas A&M.

TCU, the #2 seed in the College Station Regional,  will play #3 seed Ole Miss in the first round on Friday, meaning that the Frogs and Rebels will finally get to play the rubber match of their season-opening series, which rain cut short with both teams having taken a game.  The Aggies, who beat TCU 4-1 at Lupton Stadium in April, are the #1 seed and will play #4 seed Dayton- making their first ever NCAA Tournament appearance.  All of the games in this Regional will be on ESPN3.com.

Whoever moves on from the action in College Station this weekend will be paired up in the Super Regionals with the winner of the Los Angeles Regional.  UCLA, the #2 national seed, will host San Diego, New Mexico and Creighton.  You can't look past the Aggies or Rebels (or even the Flyers), but wouldn't it be sweet to have a shot at revenge against either the Lobos or Bruins with a trip to Omaha on the line?


Friday, May 25, 2012

Big 12 Orientation: Oklahoma State's famous alumni

In addition to the ex-Cowboy athletes mentioned earlier in the week and of course T. Boone Pickens, below are a few of the well-known OSU alumni you might see wearing that blinding, crossing-guard orange at a future meeting between the Pokes and Frogs:

Garth Brooks- Sometimes it's easy to forget just how huge this guy has been over the course of his career.  To date, he's sold about 128 million records...which is just a little bit more than U2 and Elton John...combined.  Before he became famous in country music and for looking oddly like Mavericks' GM Donnie Nelson, Brooks threw javelin for the OSU track team and earned a degree in advertising in 1984.

Ed Roberts- If you already knew who this guy was, you're probably a huge nerd.  Known as the "Father of the Personal Comptuer", Roberts is quite the legend in the technology world.  His Altair 8800 was one of the first home computers available for purchase by the general public, and the popularity of the product inspired Bill Gates and Paul Allen to develop software for it that became the first products of a little company called Microsoft. 

Gary Busey-  You always wondered what kind of environment could produce someone as batshit crazy as Busey, didn't you?  Turns out, it's Stillwater.  Before his acting career that has included roles in Point Break, Rookie of the Year, Under Siege and an oscar nominated performance in The Buddy Holly Story, Busey dropped out of Oklahoma State one class credit short of graduation. 

Hoyt Axton-  You might remember Axton as the Dad from Gremlins, but his acting career was always more of a side project to his work as a folk singer.  He put out 22 albums between 1962 and 1990, and you probably would recognize this little ditty he wrote that was made famous by Three Dog Night. 

Chester Gould- The longtime newspaper cartoonist and creator of Dick Tracy, the native of Pawnee, Oklahoma graduate from Northwestern after having spent his first two years at what was then called Oklahoma A&M.

James Marsden-  After dropping out of OSU after a year and a half to pursue a career in Hollywood, Marsden made his acting debut in a 1993 TV movie about the Branch Davidians' standoff with the ATF and Waco.  Since then he's become a bit more famous after landing a role in Zoolander, as Cyclops in the X Men movies and more recently as Liz Lemon's new boyfriend, Criss Chros, on 30 Rock.


Strange victory puts Frogs in winner's bracket


I'm not sure you could classify any 31-run baseball game as being "normal", but TCU's 16-15 win over San Diego State yesterday in the first round of the Mountain West Tournament was certainly one of the weirdest and wildest contests I've ever encountered on a diamond.

Through the first 8 innings, things looked to be going just as Jim Schlossnagle had drawn them up.  The offense, led by freshmen Kevin Cron (a home run and 5 RBI) and Derek Odell (extended his hit streak to 12 with a 4-for-4 performance), exploded for 14 runs on 13 base hits.  On the mound, the freshmen combination of Brandon Finnegan and Trey Teakell had held the Aztecs to just 5 hits and looked to be comfortably guiding the Frogs to an easy opening-round win as Teakell began the top of the 9th with a 14-4 lead.

And then...it all fell apart.

SDSU catcher Jake Romanski led off with a double on an 0-2 pitch.  Jomel Torres then homered.  14-6.  OK, nothing to see here, just a garbage-time two-run bomb.  No biggie.  After getting pinch-hitter Dillon Bryant to weakly ground out, Teakell then gave up back to back singles...and then a three-run bomb to left fielder Chris Wilson.  14-9.  Alright guys, let's just chill out and get two outs and get out of here.  The next hitter reached base on a throwing error by Davy Wright, who was filling in at catcher after Elander had been lifted to rest with a 10-run lead.  Teakell then hit the next batter, which was finally enough for Schloss as he brought in Justin Scharf...who immediately gave up an RBI double to Matt Munoz.  14-10.  What the hell is going on?  Next batter: Romanski again, with an RBI single.  14-11.  Tying run coming to the plate with one out.  Holy shit.  Scharf gets pulled, Kevin Allen comes in.  Three batters, two wild pitches, a walk and a hit by pitch later, Allen left the game with a 14-13 lead, the bases loaded and still just one out.  Now Schlossnagle goes to Stefan Crichton to put out the fire.  The first batter he faced, Tim Zier, singled to left field, scoring two runs and giving the Aztecs a 15-14 lead.  Meltdown complete.  Oh my God.  Crichton eventually got Spencer Thornton to fly out to end the inning, but the damage was done.  11 runs, 8 hits and an error.  Defeat had escaped the jaws of victory and was now staring the Frogs right in the face.

Keaton Jones struck out to begin the bottom of the 9th, and the Frogs- who were leading by 10 runs just minutes earlier- were now down to their final two outs.  But then Kyle Von Tungeln deposited a 1-2 pitch over the right field fence for just his second home run of the year, and TCU had a new lease on life with a 15-15 tie.  I let out a big sigh of relief sitting at home, I can only imagine the weight lifted off of the collective chests in the TCU dugout as Von Tungeln rounded the bases.  Davy Wright followed with a single, and then pinch hitter Josh Gonzales ripped a double that put Wright- as the winning run- on third base with just one out.  Jantzen Witte was intentionally walked to load the bases, and then Brett Johnson looped a 1-1 pitch just over a drawn-in infield and Wright raced home to secure the wild and wacky 16-15 win.

The Frogs had gone from being the 1993 Houston Oilers to being the 1994 John Tyler Lions.  

So how do you digest this one?  Pessimists will dwell on the collapse and let doubt linger about the bullpen.  Optimists will point to the fact that, finally, it was the offense bailing out the pitching and that the Frogs found a way to win even when all seemed lost.

Either way- two more wins, and TCU will have the tournament hardware in their possession.  Next up, they face co-champion and #1 seed New Mexico, who pounded tournament host UNLV 13-0 last night.  First pitch is 9:00pm and MWC Pitcher and Freshman of the Year Preston Morrison is expected to take the hill for TCU.

WHAT A DICK! The Johnny Bright Incident Edition.


When you think of Oklahoma, what comes to mind?  For me it's "that place with a bunch of rednecks with an economy fueled by oil, the Winstar Casino and Toby Keith album residuals." Considering the state was established by a bunch of criminal, racist land thieves, my estimation of the joint shouldn't really come as much of a surprise.  Seriously, had the state not produced the Flaming Lips, I'd say let's call a redo on the Lousiana Purchase and give the thing back to the French.  But for now Oklahoma will eternally be that place teabagging the northern parts of Texas as well as our Big 12 ally, so we must acknowledge its existence.

But they're still a bunch of racists.

For those of you like me, the Johnny Bright Incident was not something I was intimately familiar with;  in fact, I'd never even heard of it until lyle passed the wikipedia entry along to me.  Considering today's college football landscape, it's pretty insane to imagine that once upon a time not too long ago, African Americans playing the game wasn't only rare, it was downright unsanctioned.  It was not uncommon for all white teams to refuse to play against a team with black athletes, even if they had as few as one.  Actually, come to think of it, maybe SMU should've employed the, "forfeit all games against teams with black players" tactic from Death Penalty - June Cometh.  They likely would've come off with a higher winning percentage.  I'll crunch the numbers later...

ANYHOO... the Johnny Bright Incident.  Back in 1951, college football was very different;  in direct correlation to this game, Oklahoma State was still referred to as Oklahoma aggy,  Drake University had a Heisman Trophy candidate on their roster and both teams played in the same Conference.  That Heisman candidate was named Johnny Bright, and he was kind of a badass.  Bright played halfback/quarterback for the Bulldogs and was essential Cam Newton/Vince Young before either of those boys were a glimmer in their daddy's balls.  (Interesting Bright fact:  Upon graduating high school, Bright initially accepted an offer to Michigan State, but later changed his commitment to Drake due to concerns about the MSU program's direction.  That'd be like spurning UT for San Marcos, or Notre Dame for Houston, which actually happened this year.  Actually, maybe that last one was a good call.)  During his time at Drake, Bright led the nation in total offense multiple times and pretty much was the Drake offense, scoring 70% of their points as a senior.  Bright likely would've won the Heisman his senior year, but he was limited during the final three games of the season due to injuries suffered against Okie aggy.

Football players are injured with relative frequency; no matter what Roger Goodell thinks, football is a violent game and will always be that way even with rule changes.  But the events of October 20th, 1951 go far beyond what can reasonably be expected on a football field in the way of injuries.  Consider:  In the first seven minutes of the game, Bright was knocked unconscious... THREE separate times.  That's an average of being concussed once every 2.33 minutes.  And each occurence was at the hands of the same player, an aggy by the miraculously dated name of Wilbanks Smith.  Make no mistake, these were not clean hits as Smith's final shot, an elbow to the chops, broke Bright's jaw.  No matter, Bright would come out a few plays later and complete a 61 yard TD pass.  See what I said about that "kind of a badass" thing?  Unfortunately, though, even the toughest of SOBs would have a difficult time overcoming THREE brain thumps, and Bright would be forced to leave the game later, marking the first time in his career at Drake that he had fewer than 100 yards of total offense.

It's possible that this incident could've gone unnoticed, an aberration in an otherwise normal college football season, were it not for a few minor details.  The most notable?  Okie aggy players later mentioned that coaches had preached in practice that they needed to, "get that (SO not going there, but you can probably fill in the blank)."  Worst of all, the OA scout team player filling Bright's spot was said to have shown another player a knot on his jaw after the final hit and said that Smith had given him the same injury in practice, clearly suggesting that this was all rehearsed well ahead of time.  Contrary to popular belief, Sean Payton was NOT the defensive line coach for the Pokes back then.  Drake and fellow Conference member Bradley would actually withdraw from the Missouri Valley Conference in protest of the incident once it became clear that no action was going to be taken against Wilbanks Smith. Poor form, MVC, which is probably why no one takes that league seriously to this day.

Since that day, the JBI has developed a bit of a legacy for itself, beginning with a Des Moines, Iowa cameraman's photoreel from the that day making the cover of Life magazine and won a Pulitzer Prize. The photos showed that Smith was CLEARLY taking shots at Bright either after plays were over, or when the ball was WELL away. The Incident would also inspire later rule changes related to illegal blocking and the implementation of safer helmets.  And, the story actually has a decent ending for Bright as he put together a nice little career in the Canadian Football League, retiring as the league's all-time leading rusher. (Counterpoint:  Bright was actually selected by the Eagles in the first round of the NFL Draft, but opted to play in Canada because he worried about being the first black player for Philly, a fear surely instilled in him after he was treated, so Smith ruined a Heisman Trophy bid and potential NFL career in one fell swoop.  We aren't officially at "What a dick" time yet, but seriously, Wilbanks, what a dick!")  But clearly there is something screamingly wrong when a black athlete from that era was treated like a Colorado Hotel worker with the misfortune of coming into contact with Kobe Bryant, by a white athlete, the coaching staff was overheard promoting it and not a thing was done to rectify the situation.  

Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Incident?  Bright had actually played in Stillwater two years earlier, becoming the first black athlete to do so, and made it through the game without any injuries.  So why, two years later, would anything like this happen?  Could it be an isolated incident from a particularly racist player?  Could it have been one of the first noted instances of the bounty program and it was just coincidental that the target was black?  Was it just a bunch of Oklahoma rednecks doing Oklahoma redneck things?  When making your decision, consider this final piece of the puzzle:  Oklahoma State eventually recognized the injustice done that day by their player, formally apologizing to Drake University.  The only issue?  They didn't do so until 2005, 54 years after the game was played... and 22 years after Bright's death.  A tiger can't change it's stripes, I guess.  I'm going out on a limb and saying it was the third option.

Seriously, Okie aggy, what a bunch of dicks!


Morning Dump


Baseball:

TCU recovers from 11-run meltdown to scrape by with 9th inning win Star-Telegram

Frogs advance in MWC Tournament with wild 16-15 victory gofrogs.com

TCU's epic meltdown-turned-comeback win brought out mixed emotions Star-Telegram

Cron's big day at the plate illustrates progress Star-Telegram


Football:

TCU's offensive line depth takes a hit with transfer of Wellington Star-Telegram

James Fry named to Rimington Trophy watch list gofrogs.com


Track & Field:

TCU's Gipson & Ugen advance to finals at NCAA Championships gofrogs.com

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Big 12 Orientation: Oklahoma State's other sports


Like Iowa State, the Pokes up at Okie Lite seem to have an infatuation with wrestling...or as I assume most of them say it, 'wrastlin'.  I'll still never understand the allure of watching two boys play Twister with each other- but I guess if you're going to spend the money to field teams in non-marquee sports, you might as well have a trophy case filled with hardware.  OSU's got that, as I assume that dusting off their 34 wrestling national championship trophies is a full-time job.

Cowboy fans, with their gigantic inferiority complex due to OU's dominance on the football field, are probably quick to point out that they've won 50 total team national titles- the 4th most of any Division 1 school in the nation.  On top of those 34 won by the wrestling team, they've won 10 men's golf titles, 3 in cross country, 2 in men's basketball and 1 in baseball.  Neato.

One of the earliest memories I have of Oklahoma State sports from childhood is being terrified of their mascot, which looks like the Cousin Eddie version of the creepy king from Burger King.  OSU fans would defend this creepiness with the semi-cool story of Pistol Pete's origins in Stillwater, but I'd counter that my pointing out that Pistol Pete is also the mascot at both Wyoming and New Mexico State.  That's good company!


MWC Tournament Preview


The Star-Telegram's story on the TCU baseball team this morning had the headline "TCU enters Mountain West Tournament with a solid pitching staff."  Now, I'm all for optimism and I certainly think the Frogs' pitching staff (which has been Omaha-caliber) definitely deserves credit for their performance.  But the storyline for this team headed into the conference tournament is, without a doubt, how their already-struggling offense can find a way to replace the productivity of the injured Jason Coats.

In what will all but certainly end up being his last ever plate appearance at Lupton Stadium on Sunday, Coats reached on a throwing error by San Diego State shortstop Evan Potter but twisted his knee as he rounded first base.  He was immediately pulled for a pinch runner, and on Monday it was determined that he would be out for at least this weekend with a sprain.  This means that, going into the most crucial weekend of the year so far, the Frogs will be without their best and most experienced hitter.  Coats accounted for nearly 20% of the team's total extra base hits, and his 45 runs batted in led the team by 11.

So who picks up the slack?  Junior catcher Josh Elander is second to Coats in just about every offensive category and junior third baseman Jantzen Witte has been solid at the plate since his mid-season return from injury, so certainly they'll be looked upon to produce this weekend.  But the Frogs will need other guys to step up and play a notch or two above what they have been over the course of the season.  Two prime candidates are freshmen Kevin Cron and Derek Odell, who have really come on as of late.  Cron, who's batting prowess in high school helped make him a 3rd round pick in last June's MLB Draft, has raised his batting average to .360 in 113 at-bats, and Odell is currently riding an 11-game hitting streak that dates back to his game-winning hit in the bottom of the 9th against Oklahoma on May 1st.  Senior outfielder Brance Rivera, whose .225 average denotes the season-long slump he's been in, would certainly be thrilled to get back to the superb form he showed as a sophomore (when he hit .342) and junior (.324).  Sophomore Brett Johnson ended the regular season on a high note, going 4-for-4 with a home run in the most recent win over SDSU.

The good news is, as Stefan Stevenson of the Star-Telegram wrote about this morning and as I mentioned above, the pitching staff ought to be able to get the job done this weekend even without a surprise breakout performance at the plate.  Freshman lefty Brandon Finnegan, who looked fantastic taking a no-hitter into the 8th in his last start on the road against OU, will get the start later today against the Aztecs.  That will give Schlossnagle some flexibility in choosing starters for subsequent games, regardless of which half of the bracket the Frogs advance through after the first game.

A win against SDSU this evening would put the Frogs in the winner's bracket, where they'd face the winner of tonight's New Mexico-UNLV game tomorrow night at 9:00pm.  If they were to fall to the Aztecs (as they did twice this season), they would face the loser between the Lobos and Rebels tomorrow at 5:00pm and would then have to win four straight to take home the trophy.

Morning Dump

Baseball:

Frogs open MWC Tournament today at 5:00pm vs. San Diego State gofrogs.com

TCU enters MWC Tournament with solid pitching staff Star-Telegram


Football:

Predicting the Big 12's 3,000-yard passers for 2012 ESPN

How committed are Texas' college coaches to their current programs? Dave Campbell's Texas Football


Big 12 stuff:

Del Conte clarifies comments on Big 12 expansion Star-Telegram

Texas' Dodds says he's OK with Big 12 not expanding Orlando Sentinel

Report: Dodds admits to courting Notre Dame ESPN


GMFP and JJ Henry playing together in yesterday's Pro-Am at Colonial:


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Big 12 Orientation: Oklahoma State Baseball

Robin Ventura apparently majored in being an idiot asshole at OSU
OSU-at-a-glance:
-Program founded: 1909
-Overall record: 2,354-1,184-4
-1 National Championship: (1959)
-19 College World Series appearances (most recent: 1999)
-39 NCAA Tournament appearances
-30 regular-season conference titles (zero Big 12)
-19 conference tournament titles (one Big 12)
-3 College Baseball Hall of Famers
-22 All-Americans

History with TCU:  Despite their relative proximity, the Cowboys and Horned Frogs had faced each other on the diamond just 16 times prior to 2004, when their respective current head coaches took over.  Since then, TCU has won 5 of 9 and the Frogs now hold an overall series advantage of 13-12.  OSU beat TCU as part of the Stillwater Regional in the 2008 NCAA Tournament, but the Frogs have taken 2 of 3 from the Cowboys in both this season and last.

Notable former OSU Baseball Players:

  • Robin Ventura.  See above.  Forget his National Player of the Year awards or his NCAA record 58-game hitting streak at OSU, his gold medal at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, and his six golden gloves won in his 16-year MLB career.  The current White Sox manager will always be remembered for getting his ass handed to him when he charged Nolan Ryan on the mound in 1993.
  • Mike Henneman: An All-Star with the Tigers in 1989, Henneman earned 193 saves in a 10-year MLB career that also included stops with the Astros and Rangers.
  • Pete Incaviglia: Despite looking like Ron Jeremy, "Inky" holds the NCAA single-season and all-time home run records.  He went straight from OSU to the Rangers without ever setting foot on a minor league field, and in recent years has been linked to the use of amphetamines.  Imagine that, someone from Oklahoma who likes meth...
  • Mickey Tettleton: He hit 245 major league home runs between 1984 and 1997 employing one of the weirdest batting stances I've ever seen.  The last 59 of those came in the three years he spent as Pudge's back up and DH in Arlington from 1995 to 1997.
  • Jeremy Burnitz.  He played for a lot of different teams, and I couldn't tell you much about him from memory.  He apparently hit 315 career home runs and was an All-Star with the Brewers in 1999.



Recent History: Think TCU has been dominant in the Mountain West?  Oklahoma State won the last sixteen Big 8 Baseball Tournaments!  That string included 10 trips to Omaha, but the golden era of OSU baseball came to a screetching halt when the Big 12 was formed and longtime coach Gary Ward left.  They've continued to field winning and even some really top-notch teams, but have won only one conference tournament title and made just one trip to Omaha since then. They are generally a tournament team, but the history of the program and the still somewhat fresh memory of their magnificent run in the 80s and 90s means the bar is set pretty high.

Outlook for next year:  With the Cowboys not quite living up to expectations in recent years, the watchful eye of T. Boon Pickens had to have been on the coaching job that Frank Anderson would do with this year's team.  The 2012 Cowboys are led with a heavy concentration of seniors and draft-eligible juniors- which is usually a recipe for success.  They are 32-24 overall though, went 13-11 in Big 12 play and probably need to win this weekend's conference tournament to make the NCAA Field.  With so many potential departures, another powerhouse program (TCU) entering the conference and Texas Tech having already decided to make a head coaching change, you have to wonder whether or not Frank Anderson will be around in 2013.

Let the countdown begin!

A friend of Spit Blood recently launched a new tumblr site, 2012 College Football Countdown, that's sole purpose is to (you guessed it) count down to the beginning of the 2012 college football season.  And even though there are 108 torturous days until the Frogs' season opener against Grambling, there are just 99 days until the first games kick off on Thursday, August 30th.

What will make this site so fun- other than marking another 24 hours gone from the prison sentence called the offseason- is that they've added a comments section to each post.  So, for instance, if you saw the picture above of a Wisconsin player denoting our current status of being 99 days away from kickoff- you've got an open forum to once again claim Pasadena scoreboard or tell everyone how terrible Badger fans are. 

So share this with fans of teams all across the country, and we can all count down to football season with bragging on our team and shit talking other teams.  You know, the reason college football was invented.

They're on twitter, too: @NCAAFcountdown

Del Conte on Big 12 expansion


TCU Athletic Director Chris Del Conte was in Lubbock today to speak at a morning function, and was interviewed by Chris Level of "Double T" 104.3 FM.  Among the topics discussed was the recurring Big 12 expansion rumors, and CDC let fly with the tasty nugget that the once seemingly dead conference "now has schools like Florida State, Clemson and Miami trying to get in."

I wonder what Iowa State would think about getting shipped over to an eastern division that included the three schools mentioned above, West Virginia and, say, Georgia Tech?



Read more here: http://sportsblogs.star-telegram.com/mac-engel/2012/05/oops-tcu-ad-chris-del-conte-unintentionally-confirms-big-12-expansion-chatter.html#storylink=cpy


Recruiting Update


Spit Blood has never been- nor will it ever be- the place to find breaking news about TCU recruiting.  So for those of you who, like me, fork over $10 a month to sites like Purple Menace or Horned Frog Blitz, this post is going to be old news.  But since we know that a good chunk of you all out there are not the kind of hard-core fans that devour every bit of recruiting news as it happens, I'll bring you up to speed.

Last night, word came down that Ty Slanina (shown in the photo above) of East Bernard had committed to TCU over offers from Tech, Baylor, Stanford, Arizona, Utah and Mississippi State amongst others.  If you're a fan of the "do everything" kids that Patterson has had so much success with over the years, I think you're going to love Ty Slanina.  He plays quarterback and safety for the Brahmas in addition to returning kicks and punts, and with speed reported at 4.3 or 4.4 depending on the source, this 6'0" 182lb athlete (the #33 athlete in the nation according to Rivals) it's easy to imagine him playing any number of different positions for the Frogs- although many of the experts see his future at wide receiver. I think that, wherever he lines up, Slanina's combination of toughness and electric athleticism will quickly make him a fan favorite.

Here are the highlights from his sophomore season at East Bernard (which is a 2A town just southwest of the Greater Houston area):



Slanina's commitment followed, by a few days, the pledge of Bastrop linebacker Paul Whitmill to become a Horned Frog.  Like Slanina, Whitmill chose TCU over Tech & Baylor as well as schools like Arkansas, Wake Forest and Ole Miss.  He probably could start for Baylor from day one, but I think it says something about his character that he chose to join a TCU program that has consistently developed top-notch defenders over the past decade plus.  Whitmill is just a tad small for a linebacker at 5'11" 200lbs, but he makes up for it with his vision, speed and hitting ability  Rivals has him ranked as a four-star recruit and named him the 12th-best outside linebacker in the country.

Check out his sophomore highlights:

Morning Dump

Baseball:

Preston Morrison named MWC Pitcher & Freshman of the Year Star-Telegram

Six Horned Frogs tabbed for All-MWC honors gofrogs.com

Coats' injury hits TCU teammates, coaches hard Star-Telegram


Other Sports:

TCU rifle's Scherer takes aim at Olympic gold NBC 5

TCU track heads to Austin for NCAA West Preliminary Round gofrogs.com

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Experts still say Frogs headed to Waco

Sadly, this fine dining establishment has recently shuttered its doors

With just the conference tournaments remaining, the NCAA Baseball Tournament picture has really started to take shape in recent weeks.  The good news is that, despite slipping to the #2 seed in the MWC Tournament, the Frogs won't be playing for their postseason lives this weekend in Vegas: Baseball America projects them as a tournament team either way.

To read the tea leaves of the so-called experts, Frog fans can pencil in a trip to Waco for the first weekend in June.  Scoffing at the idea of tourism in a city that is essentially just a place to stop to go to the bathroom?  They actually have a trio of entertaining museums- the Texas Sports Hall of Fame, the Dr Pepper Museum and the Texas Ranger museum- that, along with the ruins of the Branch Davidian compound and Britney Griner's adam's apple, mean that there is no shortage of sight-seeing to do in this city that always smells like a Denny's when I drive through.

Kendall Rogers of Perfect Game USA has a projected Waco Regional that includes #1 seed Baylor, #2 seed TCU, #3 seed Sam Houston State (RPI: #49) and #4 seed Prairie View A&M (RPI: #228).  Mark Etheridge of SEBaseball.com's latest projections include a Waco Regional that includes Baylor, TCU, Prairie View and Wichita State (RPI: #44) as the #3 seed.

In either case, the team that emerges victorious from the Waco Regional would meet the winner of the Houston Regional, hosted by Rice.  Among the teams projected to take on the Owls in that regional are Dallas Baptist, Clemson, Oral Roberts, Cornell, Missouri State and Southeastern Louisiana.


Big 12 Orientation: Oklahoma State basketball

Hungover much, Eddie?

OSU Hoops at-a-glance:
-Program founded: 1908
-All time record: 1,532-1,071
-2 national titles (1945, 1946)
-6 Final Fours (most recent: 2004)
-24 NCAA Tournament appearances
-17 regular season conference titles (1 Big 12)
-4 conference tournament titles (2 Big 12)
-Gallagher-Iba Arena, the "Madison Square Gardens of the Plains", holds 13,611

History with TCU: The Cowboys and Horned Frogs have met 19 times on the basketball court, with OSU taking 17 of those match ups.  TCU's two wins, though, both came north of the Red River: a 37-16 win in Stillwater in 1925 and a 92-61 victory in Oklahoma City in 1986.  Their last meeting, a 66-58 OSU win, came at the Las Vegas Holiday Invitational during TCU's ill-fated 6-win season in 2005-06.  Perhaps the biggest connection between these two programs is that former Horned Frog coach Moe Iba (who won 96 games at TCU from 1987-1994) is the son of legendary coach Henry Iba- who won 655 games and those two national championships at OSU from 1934-1970.

Famous Former Cowboys:
  • Don Haskins: Went on to become a Hall of Fame coach, winning 719 games and the 1966 national title at Texas Western (now UTEP).  They even made a movie about him
     
  • John Starks: Famously went 2-for-18 from the field in Game 7 of the '94 NBA Finals against the Rockets while with the New York Knicks.  Also did stints with the Warriors (twice), Bulls and Jazz and won Sixth Man of the Year in 1997.
     
  • Bryant "Big Country" Reeves: Led OSU to the '95 Final Four and then became the first draft pick ever for the Vancouver Grizzlies.  Ate his way through a six-year, $61.8 million contract and retired midway through the 2001-2002 season.
     
  • Bill Self: He's won 476 games and a national title in his head coaching career at Oral Roberts, Tulsa, Illinois and his current gig at Kansas. 
     
  • Desmond Mason: The Waxahachie native spent ten years in the NBA with the Sonics, Bucks, Hornets, Thunder and Kings.  He won the 2001 Slam Dunk Contest.
     
  • John Lucas III: The son of former Spur & Rocket John Lucas, Jr, Lucas III originally attended Baylor but transferred after, you know, one of his teammates murdered another one and their coach tried to pin all of the program's misdeeds on the dead guy.  After transferring to OSU, he led the Cowboys to the 2004 Final Four and has played professionally for the Rockets, Bulls and a plethora of teams overseas.

Recent History: After the legendary (coach and drunk) Eddie Sutton retired as OSU's head coach following the 2005-06 season, he handed the reigns to his son Sean.  Gotta love taxpayer-supported nepotism!  The younger Sutton was fired after two NIT appearances and replaced with former UMass head coach Travis Ford.  In Ford's first season in Stillwater, 2008-09, the Cowboys won 23 games and advanced to the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament.  The next year they won 21 games and bowed out in the 1st round of the NCAA's.  The next year they won 20 games and went to the NIT.  Last year they went 15-18 (including winning just two games on the road all year) and didn't make any postseason appearance for the first time since 1990. 

Outlook for next year:  Much like the Frogs, OSU was led offensively last year by a 5'9" senior guard.  Keiton Page, who scored just over 17 per game, hands over the scoring torch to rising sophomore Le'Bryan (French for "The Bryan") Nash, a product of Dallas' Lincoln High who averaged 13.3 per contest as a freshman.  The team's leading rebounder last year was Michael Cobbins, a redshirt freshman from Amarillo.  Ford will need to dramatically reverse the downward slide the program has taken under his watch to save his job, and his hopes will likely be pinned to incoming freshman Marcus Smart.  Smart is a five-star 6'4" shooting guard from Flower Mound who chose OSU over offers from Kansas, North Carolina and Marquette amongst others.