Tech Weird Al will just never be not funny.
Since the events of the past few days have CLEARLY established that Tech folk are unable to take a little (mostly) good natured hate, I suppose I'll stick to the X's and O's in this here preview. After all, it's not like Tech site RaiderPower.com doesn't have a post titled I HATE PURPLE FROG BECAUSE... making headway right this very second or anything. (My favorite is the poster who said TCU is like the girl you hooked up with once who won't stay away... because we invited ourselves into the Big 12, I guess? Was it really always THAT easy? Good try, though. We're not SMU, at least give us that.) And who could forget about the great pooping incident of yore between aggy and Tech? Or Tech fans railing us for the Pachall situation despite their own team allowing a player back on the team after kicking him off for committing a crime? Or, you know, the fact that their HC's wife had an incident pretty similar to Casey's. Glass houses, and such.
For all the folks saying that they used to like TCU until they read Spitblood, get over yourselves. If we're going to hate each other, shouldn't it be because we're former in-state rivals now reunited and not because of blog trollin'? I don't like a lot of Tech people, but it has nothing to do with education, STDs, makeup wearing lineman or a fan site-I don't like a lot of Tech people because I've personally come across a lot of assholes who support that team, and I expect that number to increase tomorrow. But, you know what? I don't like a lot of UT, aggy, Baylor, SMU and, yes, even TCU fans for the exact same reason. I'm already in a pretty sour mood anticipating the inevitable parking lot brawl(s) that will be incited by certain members of our own fanbase, so don't think I'm excluding our own. College football fans are, as a general rule, kind of assholes; Once you get into the larger state schools like Tech or UT, that number extrapolates due to the higher risk of running into those fans who are in no way affiliated with the school and amp up their enthusiasm to overcompensate.
All of this mud-slinging about who has worse fans is really pretty irrelevant because EVERY school has terrible fans. Seriously, I guarantee that there is a fan from Kilgore College who is just as bad or worse than the worst fan we know of from one of our rival schools. That's just the nature of the beast. It's the price you pay for being a football fan, but it doesn't make it any more enjoyable But arguing about academics? Please. TCU isn't Harvard - truthfully, it's pretty far from it - but HOLY HELL neither is Tech. You know who argues over which school has better academics? Schools that are bad at sports like Harvard and Princeton and SMU. Spitblood can give as much as it can take, and we welcome at least semi-rational rebuttals for anything we put out there. But threatening to out someone to their employer in order to damage their career all over a blog post? That's a BIT far, Tech. As a result, SB has had to temporarily moderate comments site-wide until every cools off a little. Thanks for spoiling all the fun. Welcome to the Big 12, indeed. We're better than this. Let's talk some football.
A few quick notes on tomorrow's game:
- The last time TCU and Tech played in 2005, both teams were ranked as they are this week. In that game, the 20th ranked Frogs beat 24th ranked Tech 12-3. Let's hope that ranking trend doesn't hold serve.
- This is TCU's first appearance on ABC since the great OU takedown of 2005. It is also TCU's first home game on ABC since 1994 against these same Red Raiders. That game ended with a 24-17 TCU victory and a share of the SWC Title. Let's hope those trends DO hold serve.
- TCU is 43-3 in day games over the past 8 seasons, and 73-6 overall on Saturdays.
- TCU and Tech first met in 1926, a 28-16 Frog victory. Tech holds the overall series edge 28-23-3, once again reminding us how strange it was that the NCAA used to allow ties.
- TCU is 18-11 against Tech in FW.
- Frogs are tied for having played the most freshmen in the country this season at 15. With Josh Carraway rumoredly having his shirt pulled to create depth behind the injured Maponga, expect that number to hit 16. Not exactly the record you want to be setting, but 5-1 is still 5-1.
What was once thought to be the one of two assured victories on our schedule along with Iowa State, is now a nationally televised slugfest for control of second place in the Big 12 and a shot at the title. However, TECHnically the Raiders do not control their own destiny after losing to OU, so you could argue a TCU win here holds more weight in the long run, but either way the loser is probably out of the running altogether. No pressure or anything. Tech has surprised a ton of folks. The season started with the folks in Lubbock calling for Tuberville's job after a lackluster finish to the 2011 year, but now Tubbs has the Raiders one win away from bowl eligibility and with great positioning in the Big 12. Apparently there's a lot more going on between those 2 huge ears than meets the eye. If you read EDSBS.com - and if you don't, you should - the guys over there are always joking about the Auburn Mississippi State game of , a 3-2 Auburn win, and how Tuberville's ultimate goal is to have a game end 2-0. Based on Tech's stunning resurgence on defense this year, they might not be that far off. True, before last weekend they had not faced an impressive offensive opponent, but last weekend's demolition of WVU turned aLOT of heads nationally as to that point it was presumed that any team hoping to beat WVU would have to put up 50+ and pray for a couple of stops. Just like TCU did with Baylor, Tech proved that a great defense can oftentimes trump a great offense, although it certainly helped that Baylor and WVU feature two of the worst defenses in the country. Even if you don't have a dog in the fight, Saturday should be a pretty appealing matchup for even casual football fans.
How TCU can beat Tech: There are really two things that have to happen if TCU wants to beat Tech Saturday. One of those is that Trevone Boykin must follow up last week's performance with an even better one. The other is that the Frogs D must continue to force turnovers and improve upon their NCAA leading 14 picks. You've all probably heard by now that presumed All-Conference Defensive End Stansly Maponga is going to be out this weekend with a foot injury suffered last weekend at Baylor. Not to negate the impact that Maponga has had, but his injury is really only a major deal if you believe that Devonte Fields' success is directly derived from his presence. True, it probably was at the beginning of the year, but that's insulting to Devonte to suggest that he's only been good because someone else is better. Mid-Season awards handed out by SI.com are arbitrary, but it's worth mentioning that he was the only Freshman making the entire list, and you have to believe he's one of the most impacting freshmen in the country. Jon Koontz and McFarland filled in admirably last weekend after Maponga's exit and, truth be told, I think our defense actually played better as the game went on. That's not meant as a knock on Maponga, just a suggestion that we may not be as bad off as you picture it in your mind.
So now that I've completely buried the lede, let's get into it. What should we expect from Trevone Boykin this weekend? Clearly it's going to be a different situation than last weekend, so don't expect a turnover free, 49-point explosion like last week, but don't expect him to fall flat on his face, either. Tech fans are going to run their mouths about their fourth ranked defense, and that's their right because technically it's true. However, they have one genuinely impressive defensive performance on the year and have built that reputation mostly on the backs of Texas State, New Mexico and Northwestern. Remember that on Saturday when they're discrediting our Rose Bowl season due to an inferior schedule. OU put a major hurt on the Raiders in that 41-20 win - a game that wasn't as close as the score indicated - and showed what you have to do to beat them, namely forcing turnovers and balancing your offense while making Tech one dimensional. Easy, right? I said it last week, and I stand by it - as presently composed, Trevone Boykin is a better QB for TCU than Casey Pachall was. With a strong O-line and a 3+ deep backfield, Casey wins in a landslide. But due to a lack of O Line experience and backup RBs, Boykin has been the spark we needed to ignite the offense. You can also bring leadership issues into the mix and you wouldn't be incorrect in doing so. I genuinely think our guys play harder for Boykin, a guy they know has his head on straight, than they did for Casey. I wish Pachall all the best and would welcome him back, I'm just not so sure his job will be waiting for him. I'm that confident in Boykin. It's true he could come out this weekend and lay an egg against a Tech defense living up to the hype, but I just don't think he will. Adding Cam White and Ladarius Brown to a mix that under Pachall only included Josh Boyce and Brandon Carter will give you that kind of confidence. I think he can hit 200 yards and a couple of TDs, but I would imagine Tech's gameplan will be to keep him in the pocket as much as possible, so don't expect a breakout running day. However, we can't put it on Boykin's shoulders to have to convert 14 third downs as he did last week, most of those 5 yards plus.
TTU QB Seth Doege is very talented, leading the 4th ranked passing offense in the country. However, Doege is also prone to mistakes, tossing 7 picks on the season. This may not sound like a lot, but keep in mind that Nick Florence entered last week's game with 5 and technically doubled that number by the end of the evening. Tech folk will suggest that Iowa State has a better defense than TCU, but I'm not so sure our guys aren't for real. The Jason Verrett of this year is unrecognizable from last, Chris Hackett has firmly stolen Jonathan Anderson's job at safety and is not going to give it back, Elisha Olabode is a stud and even Sam Carter has been impressive. Kevin White does and will continue to make us all nervous any time he's put on an island, but he showed last week that maybe we should give him another chance, picking one pass and having another one go through his hands. At present, TTU will be missing two receivers and possibly their starting TE. Leading receiver Jace Amaro is questionable as well. Much like TCU, I don't expect Tech to fall flat on their faces despite the injuries, but I wouldn't expect them to put up their own 49 point output, either. This one could come down to who moves the ball better on the ground, otherwise known as "Cripple Fight" as both of our teams are pretty middle of the pack doing that - 168 yards for Tech, 171 for TCU. TCU's best case scenario is to get the ground game going just enough to grind out a few long drives and keep the Tech offense on the sidelines. Could be ugly, will be low scoring.
How Tech can Beat TCU: If Tech wants to win, they should watch tape of the Baylor game and then do the exact opposite. TCU held Baylor to their lowest output of the season due to getting pressure on Nick Florence and forcing him to make poor decisions. During the game I kept asking myself why Baylor wasn't just running 4-verts for entire series, but then I saw the deadness in Florence's eyes and knew: He was scared. Tech has only given up 8 sacks on the year, so don't expect Fields to have a FIELD DAY. If that happens, our chances take a major hit because, given time to throw, Doege will make things happen. I said above that the key wildcard in this game could be the ability of either team to get their ground game going. The Frogs have been solid enough up front to keep opposing running backs in check, and while Kenny Williams shouldn't exactly scare you, neither should Aundre Dean and BJ Catalon if you're Tech. Again, this one could be quite low scoring.
On defense, clearly the key for Tech is going to be to get in Trevone Boykin's head. He played a phenomenal game last weekend, but it was Baylor, and Baylor is about to turn back into old Baylor after their one year flirtation with moderate success. He's clearly not afraid to take a few hits, but if things start going against him and he turns the ball over a couple of times, you have to worry about inexperience coming into play and him trying to force things. Tech's defense has been very good at defending the pass, only allowing 143 yards per game. They haven't had much luck picking off passes - 5 on the year - but they clearly play opposing receivers hard and make life difficult. If Tech holds serve as they did last weekend against WVU, Boykin and the ground game are going to have to win this game. It's a lot to ask.
What Will Happen: It's going to be low scoring and close - the line has moved from 2.5 in favor of Tech to 1.0, which is probably about right. It won't be as ugly as 12-3, but it sure won't turn into 70-35. I'm buying this TCU defense and I'm buying Boykin. I think a major factor in this game will be who read more into their press clippings after standout performances last week, Tech or TCU? We both have have a history of falling off after a big win, TCU in 2005 against SMU and Tech last year against Iowa State, ironically both following at that point the last two opposing team wins in Norman. However, Tech has more of a history, going 0-5 following the beating of a Top 5 team. I think last week's wins for both teams said more about their opponents than either of us, though, as I KNOW Baylor isn't that good and I'm not so sure WVU hits 10 wins for the season. We did find out that both teams can shut down a talented passer, though, and that's why I think this one will not get out of hand either way. It's gonna be ugly. There won't be as many Tech fans as there were last go around, but there will be quite a few. Might come down to rushing, TOP and field goal units coming through on stalled drives. I really think this score could go either way, but come on, I'm not going to pick against TCU, am I?
The Pick - TCU 21, Tech 20.
Melissa will be along later with the predictions section, but before I go I just wanted to mention that this is going to be SWW's last regular post for quite some time. I'll be moving next week and with increased job responsibilities, a 6 month old and a commute, my time to Spit Blood will be fairly limited. (Note to Tech fans - my boss, wife and family are aware of my affiliation with this here site and are regular readers, so you won't be able to ruin my life the way you tried to ruin SnKs. I'm death proof.) It's been a lot of fun these past 5 years or so and, while there have been a couple of notably ugly incidents, I've enjoyed the hell out of the ride. We started this site as a forum for the initial 10 or so writers to have a non-email chain way to talk about the Frogs and we've grown into quite the site by comparison. I don't plan on going completely cold turkey like lyle, but I will be scaling things back pretty significantly. Don't worry though, much like a Superhero, when darkness infects our world and our fanbase needs to be lambasted, Baylor needs to be ridiculed or SMU needs to be hated, there I will be. See you guys around.