Part II: They Ask, We Answer:
Kris Wright (KW), Editor of TheSabre.com Asks: The ante has been upped for both teams since their last meeting in 2009. In TCU's case, that's because of the move to the Big Ea ... um, Big (sorta) 12. Are fans happy about the move? Do you think it will hurt the football program's winning percentage?
SnK (SnK), Lord Of Hate, SpitbloodTCU: Of course the fans are happy about the move to the Big (10) 12. This gives us the opportunity to do something we've been waiting for since the Southwest Conference disbanded- compete at the highest level with teams that our program has been playing for decades. As much as DeLoss Dodds and UT didn't want to let us in at first, even they realized it makes the most sense and we were the best possible fit for the conference. We've got the Aggies to thank as well since they got tired of being UT and OU's whipping boy/little brother nobody listened to. Without them jumping ship and heading to the SEC to be New Mississippi State we wouldn't have had this opportunity, so thanks Aggy, and keep blowing those 2nd half leads.
I do think this will hurt the football team's winning percentage, but it's hard to maintain a .787 winning percentage anywhere (which is what TCU has under Gary Patterson). However, an 11-1 or 10-2 season in the MWC meant the Poinsettia Bowl. 11-1 or 10-2 in the Big 12 will have you in a BCS game, if not the national championship game. It's also very refreshing to know that Boise State and BYU play tonight and I don't have to give a shit about the outcome.
KW: Your neighbors in Austin are in the headlines a lot. Any frustrations from TCU's standpoint about the lack of love from a football standpoint?
SnK: They can have all the headlines they want, but the product they've put on the field the past couple of years has been laughable. It's arguably the most high profile university in the country, so they'll always grab the top recruits and be at the forefront of the media. Also, having the Longhorn Network as ESPN's baby doesn't hurt either. I think this is how Coach Patterson would like it though- we can keep being an afterthought with Texas at the center of attention and fly under the radar and put a better product out on the field. I'm glad to see that people outside of Texas think that they are grabbing all the headlines. That means everyone must have forgotten about our football team's offseason dru...nevermind.
Also, aren't the 2 most recent University of Texas related headlines Vince Young's inability to manage $26 million and bomb threats that shut down their entire campus? Yeah, I think we are okay without the headlines.
KW: Who are 3 TCU players UVA fans should get familiar with prior to Saturday?
SnK: Josh Boyce is a star at WR, coming up just shy of 1000 yards last year (998) and has been the center of attention for opposing defenses so far this year and will continue to be, but his counterpart, Sophomore Brandon Carter, has emerged as quite a playmaker. He went off last game against Kansas with 8 catches for 141 yards and 2 TD's while the majority of the attention was being paid to Boyce, so don't sleep on Carter. True Freshman RB B.J. Catalon moves up to #2 on the depth chart with the loss of starter Waymon James, and everyone is anxious to see what he can do with a heavier work load. He enrolled early so he's familiar with the offense, and we all hope he can be the lightning to Matthew Tucker's thunder. Defensively, watch for DE Stansly Maponga to be a playmaker. He's definitely the best player on our defense but was held in check last week against Kansas due to a ton of double teams. Even if he's not making plays, the double teams and extra attention he receives should provide more opportunities for the rest of the D-Line to make plays. Well
KW: We'd ask you how to game plan for Virginia's offense, but the offensive line has struggled so much so far that seems pretty pointless. What does TCU do well on defense that keeps the program at the top of the defensive rankings every year? Is your quarterback as accurate as he seems in the stats?
SnK: Last year we didn't do much of anything well which is why we took a step back defensively, but this year we seem to be back on the right track (knock on wood). For quite a few years in a row now we've had an elite pass rusher and put at least 1 LB in the NFL for about 5 years straight, so it all starts in up front. With all of that being said, I think the majority of the credit has to go to Coach Patterson and his 4-2-5 scheme which he's perfected over the years in Fort Worth. I'm no defensive guru, but I can tell you that we've always thrived off of speed on defense, not so much size but we are by no means undersized. It will be interesting to see how that philosophy holds up with the grind of a Big 12 schedule.
Casey Pachall is incredibly accurate and has been since he took over for Andy Dalton last year. I wouldn't put too much stock into his flawless passing performance against Grambling though, since that was probably about like playing against our scout team. His numbers against Kansas are more reasonable and even those were pretty gaudy with just 6 incompletions. He has an NFL caliber arm for sure, and he can and will fit some throws into really tight windows. If only we could get him to stop trying to keep it on the zone read...
KW: We told you what a Hoo is, so why in the world did TCU pick a Horned Frog as a mascot?
SnK: Apparently it won a student vote in 1897 when the campus was still in Waco (gross). It beat the Cactus. The Horned Frog is the state reptile of Texas as well. I'm learning all of this on the Internet as I type this, by the way. Maybe I should have paid more attention during Orientation instead of eyeballing all of the beautiful tail that I'd be spending the next few years of my life drunkenly chasing around local bars. I miss college. Anyways, did you know a Horned Frog is actually a lizard? Okay, enough with the fun Horned Frog facts, but you have to admit that it's pretty bad ass that they spit blood out of their eyes to deter predators, hence the name spitbloodtcu.com.