Friday, November 30, 2012

New Varsity Swag for OU Game.



There are a lot of negative things about preparing yourself for an 11AM kickoff, perhaps the biggest of which is casting aside your demons from the evening before and cracking a beer before Corso begins stuttering for 2 solid hours because ESPN won't put him out of his misery and seriously ESPN the man had a stroke and his crew mates can barely tolerate him anymore and it's making Herbstreit visibly age by the week and seriously what are you going to do when your goldenboy is solid grey with crows feet?  Fortunately, our friends at the Varsity have branded koozies specific to tomorrow's game that, while they may not make that hooch slide down your gullet and stay there, will at least cause you to chuckle at the apex of each 12 oz curl.  Go get your very own today before its too late!

Daily Discussion Question: El Retorno De La Manga.



Gary Patterson has said all along that, should he get his act together, Casey Pachall would be welcome back in the spring and given every opportunity to reclaim his role as QB1.  Patterson's intentions were unquestionably honorable:  If you truly care about Casey Pachall beyond his role on the team, you have to give him hope and a reason to correct his myriad issues.  Straight up turning your back on him, while the popular opinion of the Mac Engel's of the world, would solve the issue of removing him as your own problem but would do very little towards putting him on the path to a better life. Making your problem someone else's problem does not eliminate said problem, kind of like how shaving your head doesn't make you a better sportswriter.

But still... did anyone 100% think we'd ever see CP4 suit up in purple again once he hit the trail back in October?  I know I was by no means sure.  But, according to the latest message board chatter, it seems that Casey has completed rehab, gotten rid of the poor influences he used to surround himself with, and fully intends to re-enroll this spring.

The question is, as a fan, do you even WANT him back?  The problem with Casey is that answering that question isn't as simple as yes or no.

I can see both sides.  On the one hand, GP promised the guy he could come back and what good is he as a Coach if he can't be trusted?  On the other, what guarantee do we have that he's on the straight and narrow?    With all of his receivers returning, an older, presumably better offensive line and a healthy Waymon James, ifPachall returns to form, you absolutely have a better shot at winning a Big 12 Title and beyond with him under center.  Trevone Boykin has performed admirably this season and has actually been a better QB option for this team considering our offensive line, or lack thereof, but Pachall is in a different stratosphere when it comes to throwing the ball.  True, Andy Dalton wasn't exactly a passer that put fear into defenses when he first came to TCU, but Boykin's combination of height and delivery will make it tough for him to ever be a dominate gunslinger.  Just ask Vince Young, and he's got 6 inches on TB.

However Boykin, until Tyler Matthews or some newcomer says otherwise, is the future of TCU Football at the position.  TCU has lost 4 games this year, but outside of Iowa State - a game in which Boykin was drastically underprepared - can you blame him for any of the losses?  Oklahoma State was a major defensive fail, Kansas State beat us into submission and I'm not sure where the blame should be placed for Tech, but it certainly isn't at Trevone's fleet feet.  All things equal, no way Casey scrambles to make the play TB did to hit Boyce against West Virginia, nor does he keep UT's defense off balance with his scrambling ability.  Considering what Baylor just did to Kansas State, the fact that TB put 49 on them certainly holds more merit than it did at the time as well.  All I'm saying is, since that Iowa State game, Boykin has come along much faster than just about anyone could've hoped and gotten a team that everyone gave up on to 7 wins.  Do you stunt that development in hopes that Casey really has cleaned up his act?  I think we can all agree that the team seems to be playing harder for Boykin than they did for Casey, probably because they know they can trust him to be around.  With all the second chances given to Casey by this coaching staff, will he ever be able to earn back the trust of his team, and will they even want to give it to him?  I'm not so sure.

Of course, Boykin could render this conversation moot by beating out Pachall in the spring, but I suppose the fact that he should even have to is the real issue here.

What do you guys think?

OU Preview



First off, I'd like to apologize for my absence this week from the Spitblood.  Sometimes grown up stuff takes precedent.  Second of all, I'd like everyone to please take note of the greatest fan of all time in the photo above.  I tried for a while to come up with a clever caption for that picture, but sometimes actions speak louder than words.  This guy's actions consist of tube socks, mesh shorts, a sleeveless T-shirt, and what appears to be some sort of old school helmet, although judging by the rest of his attire he might be legally required to wear that.  Thank you sir for going out in public.  This has to be the kind of guy that makes other OU fans cringe.  Let's hope for the sake of humanity that this creature has never procreated.  This guy deserved an entire paragraph to himself.  Now I'll try to regain focus and actually draft up some sort of preview.

As hard as it may be to take Superfan up there seriously, the same can't be said about their football team.  I'd gladly argue anyone that wants to that the OU team we will play tomorrow will be the best team we play to date.  Yes, K State was ranked #2 and beat OU, but that was not the same K State team that took down the Sooners a couple months ago, and this is far from the same OU team.  Not to mention Klein was hurt, and I don't care what you think.  OU is firing on all cylinders right now...offensively.  Defensively, not so much.  However, is it their defense that has really struggled or is it that they went against the best offenses in the Big 12 and don't deal well with the up tempo play that most of our conference foes employ?  I guess we will have to wait and see bright and early on Saturday.

There's plenty of reason for everyone to get off their asses and head over to the stadium (and stay in there) Saturday morning, so please no more empty seats.  We don't have a ton of seniors, but this will be the last time many of us get to see the likes of Matthew Tucker, Kenny Cain, and yes, Skye Dawson, in person.  Consider what they and all the other Seniors have accomplished at TCU, it behooves you to show them the respect and support they've earned over the years.  So get to your seats early and cheer these guys on when they are announced one by one and take the field at The Carter for the final time.

Also, we haven't won a home Big 12 game yet this year, and I'll say a good part of the reason why is because the home-field advantage has been abysmal.  Do you really want our team to not win a single conference game at home in their inaugural season?  Think of how great this season could have been if we had made our brand new, state of the art stadium a semi-tough venue to play in.  Let's at least try to make it happen once this year.  I'm tired of wasting my breath pleading to the fans to show much needed and deserved support, so I'll get off my high horse now and try to break down a little football instead.

Offense

We've seen some great QB play this year in the Big 12 (Klein, Smith, Doege, Florence), and we've seen some miserable QB play as well (The University of Texas).  Landry Jones is playing better right now than any we have seen.  The addition of Fresno State transfer Jalen Saunders has provided quite a security blanket in the slot for Jones, and he's the main reason I think the OU offense is on fire right now.  Even in the loss to Notre Dame, Saunders hauled in 15 catches for 181 yards.  Not too shabby for a guy who was playing in his 2nd game ever in an OU uniform.  Since that Notre Dame loss, OU has put up 35 points or more in their last 4 games, including topping 50 in the last 2.  The fear in Norman all offseason was that they had no receivers other than Kenny Stills, but the emergence of transfers Saunders and Justin Brown from Penn State, as well as the emergence of Sterling Shephard have really eased the tension and made life easier for Landry Jones.  While Stills is the big name in the receiving corps, he likes to cross-dress and Jason Verrett has gone on record saying he will cover him all day, so I don't fear Stills much on Saturday.  The same can't be said about Saunders.

Similar to TCU, OU doesn't lean heavily on 1 or 2 backs, but they have an abundance of guys who will carry the ball.  Damien Williams leads the way with 790 yards, but carries will also go to Brennan Clay, Roy Finch and Trey Millard.  However, everyone knows that when it's a short yardage or red zone situation that OU will call on Blake Bell a/k/a The Belldozer.  Bell, the 6'6, 255 lb. backup QB, has scored 11 rushing TD's this year and is the only person in the nation who can claim a rushing TD against the vaunted Notre Dame defense.  Spoiler alert:  he's not going to throw it, and he's still hard as shit to stop.  At 6'6 254, he's basically bigger than anyone we play on defense that isn't a DT, so that's not gonna be fun.  Hit him low and pray I guess.

I won't spend too much time addressing the TCU offense, since after reading about 5 of these from me now and seeing every game we've played, you guys know what our offense has to offer.  If Boykin is healthy enough to throw and keep the OU defense off balance then we have a chance.  We may not have thrown much at all last week against Texas, but the first play was about a 40 yard play-action that kept Texas's secondary honest the whole game.  Hopefully the additional rest has given TB and the others some time to get healthy, because the game plan from UT won't beat OU.  Matthew Tucker appears to be back to full strength which is a huge plus in the run game, because now we have the thunder to Catalon's lightning that I was hoping for in last week's preview.  Last week, Josh Boyce and Brandon Carter combined for 2 offensive touches, and one of those was an incomplete pass.  That will not get it done this week.  Those are probably our 2 biggest playmakers, so let's figure out a way to get them the ball more.  I've said it once and I'll say it again- screen passes please, especially if TB is too banged up to throw downfield.

Edge:  Oklahoma by a wide margin.

Defense

Remember when OU's defense was destroying David Ash and UT to the tune of 36-2 in the first half of the Red River Rivalry and everyone thought the Sooner defense was amazing?  Well, what they didn't take into consideration was the horrendous offensive product that UT puts on the field.  In the last 3 games, OU has surrendered almost 1,700 yards of offense while allowing Baylor to score 34, WVU to score 49 (and completely gash them on the ground with Tavon Austin, a WR), and 48 to Oklahoma State (and their 3rd string QB).  I know the Big 12 has some phenomenal offenses and those are 3 of the best I just mentioned, but OU has shown the ability to stop nobody in about a month.  The good thing for OU is that we clearly don't possess a high powered offense like that and we are far from up-tempo like the previous 3 opponents are.  The bad news for OU is that their weakness over the course of the season (especially recently) has been their inability to stop the run, which is obviously our strength.  Baylor and WVU are air raid offenses that put up 252 and 458 yards rushing  on them respectively.  Not a great matchup defensively for the Sooners.

For TCU, you know what we get defensively.  When we are good TCU, we are getting constant pressure with our DL and not having to dial up many blitzes.  Jason Verrett and Kevin White lock down the outside receivers while our talented safeties and LB's cover the slots and backs.  We create turnovers based on pressure and ball hawking defensive backs.  When we are bad TCU, we can get any push, are forced to bring pressure from elsewhere which creates matchup problems with our LB's and teams are able to find WR's running free in space.  Tech would be the best example of this.  Lots of open targets for Doege.  Fortunately for TCU, we haven't seen that defense in quite a while.  Unfortunately as I mentioned earlier, Landry Jones is pretty damn good and he's on an incredible hot streak right now.  Defensively I see two keys for us:  1) Get pressure with the front 4.  the new found health of Maponga to bookend Fields has been a godsend, but so has the ability of Chucky Hunter to get push up the middle and get right in the face of QB's.  It's a bitch to throw when a 300 pounder is shoving your own lineman into your face.  2) Find someone to lock down Jalen Saunders in the slot.  I'd suggest Olabode, but I love him having the ability to roam the middle and make instinctual plays.  Sam Carter or Derrick Kindred are going to have to be that guy.  If we see a LB covering him at any time, consider us fucked on that play.

Edge:  TCU, by a pretty good margin.

Special Teams

OU has had both Jalen Saunders and Justin Brown take a punt return back for a touchdown.  Roy Finch has taken a kickoff return back for a TD as well.  Frankly, their 27.5 ypr on kickoffs and 16.5 ypr on punts is downright frightening, so they've got us there.  Also, we tend to have the shakiest hands ever on punts no matter who returns them.  I am loving the duo of Boyce and Carter on kickoff returns now, and we almost had Boyce house one for an early dagger against UT.  We are more than capable of making something happen in the return game, but OU has already done so a few times.  OU's kicker, Mike Hunnicutt, is 14-17 on the year with a long of 45, so he's consistent but not necessarily a bomber.  Jaden Oberkrom is 18-25 with a long of 50, but is a much better kicker at home than he is on the road.  Tres Way averages 42.6 per punt with 17 of his 41 punts going inside of the 20, however he has had 1 blocked.  Ethan Perry averages 44.5 per punt with 14 of his 48 going inside of the 20.  I'll quit boring everyone with special teams stats now.

Edge:  OU, barely.

Coaching

Big Game Bob isn't exactly Big Game Bob anymore, but he's still one of the best coaches in the country.  Gary Patterson is the greatest coach in the history of sports.  Ghosts of Vince Lombardi, Bear Bryant and John Wooden would probably all attend a coaching clinic put on by GMFP.

Edge:  TCU, barely. 

The Pick:  On paper, it looks to me like OU is an overwhelming favorite.  Vegas thinks they are a 6 point favorite.  I have a hard time seeing this Senior class going out without a single home conference win in the Big 12, and we all know what GP can do with a few extra days to prepare.  I think he's able to neutralize the potent Oklahoma offensive attack, and I think the extra rest gave our offensive players some much needed time to heal.  Not to mention the confidence gained by winning on the road in Austin.  We finish the regular season with a W.  TCU 27 - Oklahoma 23.


Morning Dump: 11/30


Football:
Sooners must contain TCU's backs to keep Big 12 title within reach - The Oklahoma Daily
Humbling start leads TCU's Verrett into spotlight - San Antonio Express-News
TCU Neighborhoods grapple over parking cars in yards during football games - Star-Telegram
Writers break down TCU-OU game - Star-Telegram
TCU won't surprise OU this time - Star-Telegram Gil Lebreton
Keys to the game - Frogs O' War
Did TCU's Johnny Crouch really give back a touchdown in 1954? - Daily Oklahoman
Leach vs. Anti-Leach on the line - College Confidential

Men's Basketball:
Short-handed frogs step up against southern utah - Star-Telegram

Swimming:
TCU's Rasch shines on first day of swimming - Star-Telegram

Volleyball:
Young Girls flock to TCU games to admire players - TCU360.com

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Keep GP Normal.


YOU GET THAT LONGHORN NETWORK PAID VIXEN AWAY FROM OUR MAN!!

Told you I'd be back.

While this doesn't necessarily signify a regular return to posting for SWW, in the wake of the Frogs straight up ass beating of the University of Texas, I felt there were some things that needed to be addressed. First off, in terms of the "most satisfying" wins of the GP Era, this has to be #1 with a bullet, right?  Now, don't take that to mean that I believe this is the "biggest" win because, until GP is hoisting that little Waterford football over his enormous brain, the Rose Bowl is going to be Exhibit A in that department.  But that victory, no matter how great it felt and how many tears it brought to the eyes of our fanbase the world over, still lacks a little in the satisfaction department because we weren't able to reach the ultimate prize.  It's going to become even more of a "what if" scenario once the NCAA vacates Auburn's purchasing of said prize.

(Ok, I'll go ahead and call bullshit on myself because not being able to compete for the title was the furthest thing from my mind that chilly evening in Pasadena, but just go with me for the sake of the post...)

But beating UT?  In Austin?  In year one of the Big 12?  With a bunch of freshmen?  On Thanksgiving night the week that the Big 12 basically awarded UT a home game on Thanksgiving night from here to eternity?  Like a 15 year old scotch after a long day at the office, that's pretty damned satisfying.  Not to say that beating UT should be the stick by which all future Big 12 seasons should be measured because, based on what's going on down in College Station it sure looks like there could be a new top dog in the state of Texas, at least on paper.  But given all the shit we've had to go through since the SWC disbanded between getting left out of the Big 12 and belittled by the Fighting Deloss' and their ilk at every turn, 20-13 is a pretty swell cherry on top of what has otherwise been a roller coaster of a season.

The real story, though, is the WAY the game was won - with a power running game, which TCU hasn't had all season, and a shutdown defense, which we have.  Despite some of the UT faithful crying foul on the Frogs for "playing dirty," any unbiased observer with half a brain knew what they were seeing was just a methodical beating by a superior team.  No trick plays, no momentum shifting special teams breakthroughs, just 11 guys lining up on offense another 11 lining up on defense knocking the hell out of the team in Orange for 60 minutes.  It was TCU playing "old man SEC Football," which is pretty ironic when you consider that, post-Colt, Texas has been building their team to do EXACTLY that and come up short each time.  To put it in perspective, including Thursday, TCU averages 161 rushing yards per game; On Thursday evening, the Frogs rushed for 217.  Johnathan Gray - you might remember him? - was out-gained by Trevone Boykin, BJ Catalon AND Matthew Tucker and his one working leg.  We won't be able to judge whether or not he made the correct college decision for another few years, but at least for one evening it appears he might have sold himself short by going to Austin.

But, as Newton's Laws of Motion have taught us, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, thus it went in Austin.  There was the usual - UT fans discrediting the win and saying UT lost the game more than TCU won it - the unusual - a UT player reportedly telling Jason Verrett, he of the 6 INTs and guaranteed spot on the All Big 12 team if not All America, that he "didn't belong in the Big 12" and then, of course, there was the maddening.   Now, if you're a TCU fan and you haven't developed a thick skin by this point, then you clearly have not been paying attention to how outsiders feel about our success.  It's not just envy, it's oftentimes outright disdain, and underlying it all is the sentiment that we don't deserve it and, more directly, we don't deserve our coach.  So when lyle told me as he was walking out of the stadium he heard someone say, "Patterson is going to look GREAT in Burnt Orange next season," I know I shouldn't have let it bother me, but by god it does.  It really does, and for a couple of reasons.  For one, it's because, honestly, a job opening in Austin is the only one that scares the absolute hell out of me.  Not that GP is an automatic goner should Mack be ushered out to pasture this year or the next, but it goes without saying he'd be their top candidate and, as it is with most things, the Horns typically don't stop until they get what they want.

Which brings me to the other reason why that particular fan reaction bothered me so much: It's the arrogance of UT and their mentality that the world is theirs.  They've been getting their way for so long, they think its their right to pillage an athletic department that does things the right way - placing equal importance on wins, integrity and money -  and has been doing so for a long time in order to further their success.  As suggested above, you'd be crazy to say there's zero chance GP would look at UT should they come calling.  Again, I'm not saying he'd leave, but he'd be nuts to not at least listen to the most valuable athletic program in the nation, especially as they seemingly have a bottomless printing press for money despite doing nothing to earn it on the field in recent years.  But for UT to just assume that if they say "jump" Patterson will say, "how high?" rubs me wrong in a severe way.

But is UT's mindset - and, for that matter, the mindsets of Arkansas, Auburn, Tennessee and Kentucky - a product of arrogance or ignorance?  It's a lot of one and a little of the other, of course, but while pondering this question, I couldn't help but come back to one thought regarding why everyone just assumes Patterson is dying to get out of Fort Worth:  Due to the overwhelming amount of Conference realignment over the past year and it's continuation just this past week, I'm not so sure other athletic program realize we are in the Big 12.  I say that without a trace of sarcasm.  I genuinely believe there are self-proclaimed smart and plugged in people that, if not ignorant of our affiliation, still view TCU as a "mid major" program.  That no coach in his right mind would view TCU as a permanent career solution instead of a stepping stone to something "bigger."  And that's what makes me angry.

Taking UT out of the equation for a minute, let's focus on the here and now.  By all accounts, Auburn, Arkansas and Tennessee believe that, because they are SEC, they can have any Coach in the country.  Tennessee is 100% sold that Jon Gruden, despite no affiliation with the school, will be the head man in Knoxville come spring camp, Arkansas sites have been offering up names like Chip Kelly and Mike Gundy with Patterson as a SAFE choice, and Auburn... well, I haven't done much investigating, but after purchasing a title, I think it's safe to assume they're pretty high on themselves and would view Patterson as an easy hire.  However, the fact that Saban's shadow is getting more and more pronounced leads me to believe they'll be in the delusional, "LET'S HIRE BILL BELLICHICK!!" camp and would view Patterson as a safe hire at best.  And Kentucky, God Bless 'em, at least they have basketball because that football program is worse than Baylor. Seriously, Baylor's last coach, Guy Morriss, left Kentucky for Waco once upon a time.  That really happened.  Unless he's the clear cut #1 choice, there's no chance Patterson even entertains overtures from another school.  And if he decides to join forces with one of the two schools finishing at the bottom of the SEC West, otherwise known as the best division in college football?  Well then I guess we weren't mean to be.

Admittedly, had these particular off-season openings been in play after the Rose Bowl year, I would've been terrified considering back then we had no hope of ever gaining entry into the Big 12; Back then we were still excited to have accepted a Big East invite a few months earlier.  But we've weathered Tennessee, Auburn and Arkansas before so I expect we'll do it again.  Of course, maybe I'm wrong and GP, to quote The Austin Statesman's Cedric Golden,"has career aspirations that extend outside of Fort Worth," but to those teams who think GP is just chomping at the bit to join their clubs, here are 8 foodstuffs for thought:


  1. GP just spearheaded a campaign to renovate a stadium that will one day bear his name in some capacity, possibly whether he leaves or not.  You can give Chris Del Conte all the credit in the world, but let's be honest, without GP we'd be asking Allen High School to share the field next time we wanted to play in a state of the art stadium.  After putting so much time in effort into the biggest fundraising campaign our fair school has ever seen, would he just walk away?  
  2. GP is about to complete his first season in the Big 12 and go 7-5 at worst, this despite losing over 20 players he expected to have when the calendar turned 2012.  Said players included two starting running backs and a potential All-Conference Quarterback.  TCU has played 16 true freshmen this season and still beaten presumptive Conference favorites Texas and West Virginia, both on the road.  Presuming an off-season at least relatively quiet compared to this past one, TCU probably enters the 2013 as a Top 20 team and Big 12 favorite alongside Oklahoma State and, yes, Texas.  He's going to walk away from that to take over a team that just completed the biggest negative turnaround for a national champion in NCAA history? Or to live in Knoxville, Tennessee?  Child please.
  3. GP just built a "modest" home in the vicinity of the stadium.  This isn't a deal breaker, but you have to feel like he at least wants to put his feet up in the place a time or two before skipping town, no?
  4. GP may not have iPhone money, but he's not a poor man by any stretch (tongue firmly in cheek).  Being a private school, TCU does not publicize what they pay the face of the University, but by all accounts his total compensation package is over $3 million annually, and probably in the $3.5 million range, making him one of the top ten paid Coaches in the game.  On top of that, many presume that one of the reasons it has been so hard to money whip Patterson out of Fort Worth is his "behind the scenes" compensation in the form of investments and other opportunities through some of our plugged in boosters, compensation that would have to be made up should he take another gig.  Presuming these speculations are accurate, that would keep all but the most highly funded athletic departments out of the running.
  5. GP is never getting fired.  Seriously, think of what he's weathered just this past year with the drug bust and the Pachall Fiasco.  Lots of stones were flung at the program during that time, but at no point was the prospect of GP losing his job raised.  Keep in mind that Jim Tressel was fired because his players were getting tatted up using nefarious payment methods.  TCU  players were selling drugs out of their homes.  I'm by no means saying GP should've been put on the chopping block for this, but the fact is that coaches have been fired for far more menial reasons.  Short of taking the Frogs decided advantage of being the only Metroplex area NCAA program not to have received the Death Penalty away, he's not going anywhere unless he says so.  Few other major programs would give their Coach that much leeway.  
  6. GP has been at TCU for over fifteen years.  Much like the the house situation, I doubt this is a deal breaker... but it kind of is, isn't it?  Since coming to town as a relative unknown Defensive Coordinator in 1997, GP has all but become the face of Fort Worth.  It used to be said that if Mack Brown ever wanted to run for Governor, he'd be a shoo-in.  I'm not so sure about that now, but if Patterson ever set his sights on running for Mayor, god help whoever challenges him.  He's become as much ingrained in the landscape of the FW Community as barbeque and cowboy boots.  In an era where football stalwarts such as Michigan, Notre Dame and USC have turned over multiple coaches in the past decade, GP has stayed true to TCU and TCU has rewarded his commitment.  You really can't put a price on that kind of reciprocity, can you?
  7. GP believes he can win a national title at TCU.  And why shouldn't he?  TCU has the money, has the facilities, has the cachet and is in a recruiting hotbed.  The Big 12 is bar none one of the top 2 Conferences on a yearly basis, thus providing enough leeway for one loss to not completely doom your season.  The only knock on the Big 12 is the lack of a Conference title game - the only of the 5 majors to not have one - but you have to imagine that this will be rectified in the near future as the Conference tectonic plates continue to shift.  On the flipside, though, had Kansas State just beaten Baylor - BAYLOR! - they're playing Texas this weekend for a guaranteed slot in the title game without having to play a Championship.  Would you rather be at TCU knowing that if you handle your 9 Conference games you're probably in, or Tennessee where you get to play Florida, Georgia and South Carolina in your division, Alabama as a cross division rival, and either aggy, LSU or Bama again in a Championship game to punch your ticket?  I'm taking the former.  
  8. GP cares too much about football to Coach at UT.  And this is where I think the decision gets made, should it need to be, because I honestly think UT is the only job that should truly give us reason for panic.  As the Head Coach at TCU, Patterson has been able to live in at least relative obscurity.  He doesn't go unnoticed, but he can pretty comfortably have his weekly dinners at Del Frisco's without getting bombarded by fans and non-fans alike.  But being the head coach at UT?  That's like being the most under the microscope Politician in existence.  At TCU, GP can be football football football and then, time permitting, do the glad handing and baby kissing, but at UT the job is 1A Football and 1B letting the athletic department stick their hand up your ass so you can be their puppet. Think about Mack Brown, the PERFECT Coach for the UT mold.  No one would ever mistake him for a brilliant tactician, which is why UT consistently gave him carte blanche to hire the top coordinators in the country to run the football side of things so he could continue to go out, woo the crowds to generate money and woo the mothers to generate top ranked recruiting classes.  Patterson is pretty much the exact opposite.  Despite having a solid defensive coordinator in Dick Bumpas, GP is ankle deep in that play calling each and every game.  This isn't a knock on Bump, but you have to ask yourself, if he's running the show, why hasn't he ever had UT-type money thrown at him from another program to come run their defense?  Again, Bumpas is a great Coach and has the accolades to back it up, but the defense is the GP show, no matter who else is on board.  As far as the glad handing thing goes,  this isn't to say that GP can't be the Mack Brown type politician.  After all, when he first became the head man, he was surly to the media and geared 100% towards football whereas now, as mentioned, he's still 100% football, but he also just helped spearhead a $160 million stadium renovation, a process which required LOTS of backslapping and baby kissing.  But do you honestly see him taking time away from his stringent planning to give bullshit interviews to the Longhorn Network?  Or, and this is a big one, do you think the most secretive man in the Big 12 is going to allow CAMERAS into his practices?  It's worn Mack thin in year 2 and he lives for that stuff, just imagine what that would do to Patterson.  All the money in the world wouldn't cause him to alter the strategy he's gone to war with year in, year out or, if it did, you wouldn't be getting the same Coach you paid for.  Call me crazy, but unless the Longhorns are willing to COMPLETELY overhaul the culture they've so carefully cultivated all of these years, they may not want to order too many burnt orange mock turtles, size double X.    


I could be wrong about all this and GP could be out of FW as soon as next Monday; Arkansas has reportedly agreed to terms with a current HC, and the only argument between their fans is if his name starts with a Pat or a Pet. But I just don't think this is the year.  If there even is a year.  The only reason he ever leaves Fort Worth is if he truly believes he's done all that he can do and it's time for a new challenge.  Gary's getting on the other side of 50 now, so if he were to make a move I suppose it better happen soon, but he's had plenty of logical chances to do so in the past and hasn't taken them.  Why would he decide to leave now when he has every advantage he's ever wanted right there in Fort Worth?LONG LIVE GP!

**UPDATE** So I typed this up and had it scheduled to post well before last night's rumors started circulating, so there may be some discrepancies.  For those who missed it, rumor is that Arkansas offered Patterson the same 5 year/$27.5 million deal they are currently pitching to Les Miles, only to have GP tell them, "Nah, I'm going to stay in Fort Worth, instead."  Naturally, our fans are going to fall into 2 camps on this.  The half full camp is going to say, "Wow, he must really be committed to TCU, and apparently they're committed to him."  According to Stefan Stephenson, he was informed that TCU was willing to match any offer tossed out Patterson's way, no matter how ridiculous, so perhaps there's something to that theory.  However, we're naturally going to have the half empty camp saying that he only turned it down because he has his eye on a bigger prize, say Texas or maybe even LSU.  Given, there's no concrete evidence that Arkansas actually made this offer, and no one outside of a tight knit group of folks will likely ever know, but usually where there's smoke there's fire so, at least for now, it looks like our man is sticking around.  Stay tuned.

Morning Dump: 11/28



Football:
Does the Sooner defense catch a break this week? - Crimson and Cream Machine
TCU has chance to take another step against OU - Fox Sports SW
Patterson could change tradition to help TCU at home - Star-Telegram
TCU's defense has improved steadily to finish strong - Star-Telegram
GMFP still listening, but TCU has a lot to offer - Star-Telegram Gil Lebreton
K-State's Snyder still favors a Big 12 championship game - SI.com
How TCU gashed Texas on a simple zone read - Burnt Orange Nation
How GP keeps building elite defenses: Recruiting Perspective - SBNation

Sillyness:
Auburn list expands to include GMFP - al.com

Women's Basketball:
Women to face SMU tonight - gofrogs.com
Basketball faces SMU Wednesday - TCU360.com

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Frogs in the NFL - Week 12


Andy Dalton - QB Bengals - Defeated the Raiders 34-10 - Dalton had an outstanding game Sunday as the Bengals crushed Oakland in Cincinnati. The Bengals, who benefitted from a very questionable/terrible call on a special teams fumble, still controlled the game from the opening drive as Andy threw for 210 yards and three TDs.

Jeremy Kerley - WR Jets - Lost to NE 49-19 - The Jets season has disintegrated into QB controversies and locker room drama. Kerley had a solid game though, catching seven balls for 86 yards, but did fumble once.

David Hawthorne - LB Saints - lost to 49ers 31-21 - Hawthorne had six tackles for NO in the loss.

Jerry Hughes - LB Colts - Defeated the Bills 20-13 - Jerry had three tackles in the win and continues to be a feel good story on the feel good team of the year.

Marcus Cannon - OT Patriots - Defeated the Bills 37-31. I didn't watch this game, so I'm not sure if Cannon played much, but Brady was 22-38 and was only sacked once. They also produced 117 yards on the ground. 

Colin Jones - S Panthers- Beat the Eagles 30-22 - Jones had two tackles in the win over the dumpster fire that is the Iggles. 

Jason Phillips - LB Panthers - Beat the Eagles 30-22 - Phillips had 1 tackle.

Clint Gresham - LS Seahawks - lost to the Dolphins 24-21- I can't figure out this Seahawks team at all. 

Malcolm Williams - DB Patriots - Defeated the Jets 49-19 - Williams is no longer on the Pats roster - back to the practice squad maybe?


Tank Carder - LB Browns - beat Pittsburgh 20-14 - unfortunately, Tank made the wrong kind of news this week, as he was all over the blogs for some questionable tweets. He did record two tackles in the game, and apologized for his remarks online after OutSports forced the issue.

Daryl Washington - LB Cardinals - lost to the Rams 31-17 - Hawthorne had nine tackles and a sack in the loss, but at this point, unless he can play QB, it's not going to matter much.

Marshall Newhouse - OT Packers - lost to the Giants 38-10 - I looked up at this game from the airport restaurant and they were highlighting Marshall as he got owned by Osi on a strip sack of Aaron Rodgers. You don't generally want to see your o-linemen highlighted during a broadcast. Rodgers was sacked five times in the game, and the inconsistent line play has contributed to the Pack's struggles.

Morning Dump: 11/27

Monday, November 26, 2012

Morning Dump: 11/26



TCU 20 Texas 13:
Texas v. TCU post-mortem: Offense - Barking Carnival
TCU 20 Texas 13: Black Friday Indeed - Barking Carnival
Notes from TCU's win over texas - Dallas Morning News
TCU's Big 12 splash enticing top recruits to test the water in FW - Star-Telegram
Rushing mindset pays off for TCU against Texas - Star-Telegram
TCU's Patterson takes victory in stride - Star-Telegram Gil Lebreton
A lot has changed between TCU victories in Austin - Star-Telegram
TCU tries to stay on even keel after beating Texas - Star-Telgram
TCU Notes: Secondary credits defensive line - Star-Telgram
TCU delivers Thanksgiving stuffing to #15 Texas - USA Today
TCU spoils UT's holiday tradition - Houston Chronicle
Horns' five pre-game questions, answered - Austin American-Statesman
Rivalry void gone; so are BCS, Big 12 title hopes - Austin American-Statesman Kirk Bohls
Instant Analysis: TCU 20 Texas 13 - espn.com

Football:
David King's status for TCU unclear - Daily Oklahoman
DMN Best in Texas Poll - Dallas Morning News
TCU vs. OU kickoff at 11am - TCU360.com
Arkansas says football coach won't be back - Star-Telegram

Bowl Game:
Where is TCU Bowling - Star-Telegram Blog
Bowl Projections - espn.com

Women's Basketball:
TCU Women can't keep up with Texas State in 91-80 loss - Star-Telegram
Women need more veteran offense - Star-Telegram

Men's Basketball:
Swopshire, Northwestern rout TCU 55-31 - Star-Telegram
Anderson scores 35, TCU beats UAB 76-73 - Star-Telegram

Volleyball:
TCU Sweeps West Virginia on Senior Day - gofrogs.com

Friday, November 23, 2012

THE THANKSGIVING SOUR GRAPES
The Death Of Darth Brown &
The Evil Empire In Ash(es)
Edition


The headline on Orangebloods.com on the Day After The Day of Days - "Searching For Answers"- pretty much said it all for the entire season the Evil Empire down in Austin has had. Of course, I am not sure that Darth Mack Brown is even quite sure what the hell the questions are yet. Or what happened. Or who did it. Or whose father he is. He may not even remember the wrecking crew in purple that swept through his stadium on Thanksgiving evening and set fire to his coaching seat, David Ash's arm, Bevo, the rest of the stadium and most of the rest of Horns Nation, or as we call it, "The Outer Evil Empire". Those present in Darrell K "Cockroaches" Royal Memorial Stadium could smell the smoke and sulfur of the fire the Frogs wrought. The Purple Swarm Of Goodness and Light that devalued the t-shirt stocks of every Wal-Mart and Target store in the Republic of Texas sent The Evil Empire, its leading minions, and the college football world in general the most definitive message ever from the former Little Sisters Of The Poor (Now Known As The Large, Mean, Nasty Amazon Butt Kickers): "Here is your butt. Please allow me hand it to you. Screw you and the horse you rode in on. Blessings upon you and the little that is left of your house". Of course, GMFP did so with class and character. That quote is what I would have said. If ever a college football coach did a wonderful deer in the headlights impression, it was Darth Mack Brown standing on his hallowed sidelines with about a minute left in the first half realizing that the Death Star was about to explode. In his face. Big time.
One thing that I have learned since Thanksgiving night is that the fans of the Evil Empire are THE. BEST. EXCUSE. MAKERS. ANYWHERE.
EVER.  
They are better at making excuses than Marie Antoinette in front of the guillotine trying to convince Robespierre that she never got the memo about people being hungry ("What is this about eating cake? I never said that!"). Better than Lou Holtz always trying to explain why Notre Dame should be in its deserved number one spot in the nation even though they were usually like 3-10 or something (OK, this year that one is passe' for a change). Better than that time in high school that I snuck my Dad's car out late at night and had to break the side window to get to the keys after I locked them in the car. I then blamed it all on the partying neighbors and their friends (who were no doubt fans of the Evil Empire - actually, that one worked).   
According to the mindcontrolled automatons of the Evil Empire TCU and GMFP didn't win - couldn't win. That would defy physics (their grasp of science is another reason one should not actually study at UT under any circumstances). Instead the Evil Empire 1) gave it away, 2) is INCREDIBLY overrated since they lost to a Mountain West team (and yes, I had to seek medical help for my blood pressure after I read that one), 3) lost because Darth Mack Brown couldn't coach a little Miss's sewing bee (probably true), 4) lost because someone poisoned David Ash's turkey, 5) "we screwed up the hex - never hex a Frog. Maybe we should have used purple candles?", 6) UT sucks, 7) blah, blah, blah, blah. None of them could admit that TCU simply dominated from start to finish, controlled both sides of the ball and made UT play their game. TCU did not embarrass them on national television in the only college game played all day. They must have embarassed themselves, because "the little sisters of the poor don't belong in the BIg 12 - this was the ultimate fluke" (I already have Guido, Luca Brasi and Paulie Walnuts out looking for that particular idiot). 
And then, after all of this, tiny Chaminade University of Hawaii kicked their basketball team's overrated butts right off the court the same night in Honolulu. It must hurt to be a Longhorn and have sold your essence to the Evil Empire, huh?
Some of the excuses have to be read to be believed. Some of my favorites included the guy whose excuse was pretty existential, saying that "Texas has been a joke of a program since colt went down in the Bama game. How many more season do we have to suffer before Mack is finally kicked to the curb. This team has not fight and just doesn't seem to give a damn. Case and Ash are horrible", the inevitably arrogant "Y'all just need to get over your envy of the Horns popularity. They represent the best state school for football in Texas" (where is this vacant guy when I need to borrow large sums of cash?), and my personal favorite excuse, which blames the one group everyone tends to hate - "the damn refs must be getting paid by TCU. The refs gave TCU this game. We all know that TCU is a glorified high school team" (editorial note: get bent sideways pal, eat dirt and howl at the moon). 
The only college football fans that might have enjoyed this dismantling of the Evil Empire even more than Horned Frog Nation (other than the guys in Vegas that took TCU and the points, although the over/under was fantastically blown) were the myriad of Aggies coming on to all of the Evil Empire fan sites to rub it in with true gusto. Incidentally, the next person that uses the phrase "Johnny Football" and then types "whooop" is likely to wind up with my football in an anatomically impossible place and position, but I digress. Aggie Nation may have enjoyed this win even more than we did - and that is really saying something.
Darth Mack Brown and his numberless minions should stop making excuses and start, you know, coaching. Texas did not play well, but even if they had played well TCU would have taken this one. Period. N'est plus 'le débat. No amount of Evil Empire excuses, tricks, hexes, cross dressing, hiring Craig James to organize fundraising hookers during Formula One weekend and then letting him kill 5 of them or anything else would have saved the Evil Empire from its fate at the hands of what will become the best team in all the land next year and the year after that. GMFP is playing a combined 28 true and redshirt freshman, much of the second and third string, and is still 7-4 and very likely to finish the season 8-4 since, if TCU plays as they did on Thanksgiving, Oklahoma is in big trouble.
The Frogs are adjusting to the new conference, just as they did coming into the Mountain West. And just like that journey, this one will end up with us on top, and hopefully playing for the National Championship. When this group of kids jell into a mature football team, going to the Rose Bowl as a consolation won't be enough. In 2013 or 14 or (or maybe and) 15 I am starting to believe that we will see "TCU - National Champions". If GMFP can do this well with a team this decimated by suspensions and youth, imagine what will be when the suspensions end, the transfers play and the youth mature. Monster Frogs are coming. Last night was a small preview. If you don't believe me, just ask a guy down in Austin named Darth Mack Brown, head Minion of the Evil Empire. After Thanksgiving night he is a true believer. And he will say so right before he grabs the Evil Emperor Deloss Dodds and throws them both down the nuclear reactor shaft of the Death Star and ends the evil empire once and for all.
This was yet another "biggest win in the history of the program". We have had a lot of those since 2005, and they will keep coming. All I can say about this win is 
Riff, Ram, Bah Zoo 
Lickety, Lickety, Zoo, Zoo 
Who, Wah, Wah, Who 
Give 'em Hell, TCU 
What else needs to be said after Thanksgiving night?

Next week the Oklahoma Sooners will attempt to ride their covered wagons to Fort Worth and beat the Frogs. We will burn those as well and send the Sooners (and the Laters) home on a rail. 
 TCU 21, OU 17.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

TCU Beats Texas 20-13 Gloatfest

Here's a sample of my TCU Twitter feed right after the game was over. Put all of your trash talk in the comments.























http://30fps.mocksession.com/2012/11/22/thats-one-sad-texas-turkey/
k

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

TCU at Texas - Predictions


Ok, so I know we aren’t technically rivals, and I am firmly in the camp of those who would have rather have beat K-State than Texas if I only got to secure one (especially because Baylor ended up being the one to do so) but now that we are down to Texas and OU as our final two conference games, I want this one bad. I have said from the beginning that I thought we would upset OU in the final week, but that’s not the focus for today.

So how do we match up with the Horns and what are the chances of us getting the win in Austin? I think this is a 50/50 proposition, especially because Texas has been as inconsistent as any team in the country, on both sides of the ball. This is a team that was supposed to have the best defense in the Big 12, but the combination of injuries and coaching had made that not the case, at least until the last couple of weeks when they seem to have gotten their act together.  And after the stinker of a game TCU’s offense played against K-State, it’s hard to have a ton of faith that the O will put up big numbers against the revived UT D.

Boykin, who has looked somewhat average until the last quarter of games the last couple weeks, will benefit from the extra time between games and show some improved accuracy. But the O-Line, which has struggled to protect him, needs to give him time against a formidable Texas front line that is more than capable of putting pressure on a QB, even a mobile one. I would imagine the focus will be on keeping Boykin in the pocket, keeping our deep threats in front of them, and forcing Boykin to make short, accurate throws. I see him going something like 14/29 for 205 and two TDs, and breaking free for a couple of nice runs to the tune of 60 yards rushing.

The receivers are going to have to continue to make big plays, and there seemed to be some definite frustration against the Wildcats as balls sailed well over them or bounced a few yards in front of wide-open receivers. These are the growing pains that come with a young QB against a good team, but credit goes to Boyce and Carter and company for staying engaged and focused and continuing to come up big when the Frogs are against the ropes. Carter, who has been almost the forgotten man for the past month, will carry the momentum from his ridiculous TD late in the last game and score another impressive one in ATX. Boyce, who is back to being the lead guy, will go over 100 yards. And LaDarius Brown, who is starting to look like the player we all thought he could be, will score on a long TD as well.

The running game has looked much improved, as BJ Catalon has become stronger ad more consistent. Tucker, while still not 100%, has looked better each week, and I think this is the kind of game where he is needed to come up big. Between the two of them, they’ll go over 100 yards and score once.

Defensively, I thought the K-State game was one of the more impressive performances of the season. Time and time again, they had their backs against the wall against a (at the time) Heisman Trophy favorite, and they just kept making plays and held a potent offense down for the most part. The defense is holding up their end of the bargain, and should be considered one of, if not the best, in the Big 12. Maponga and Fields are back to terrorizing backfields together, and will combine for three sacks tomorrow night. Bumpas and GP have turned the guys loose lately, blitzing a little more and taking more chances, and it seems to have worked. Fields pick in coverage against Klein was a pretty gutsy call and worked well (how crazy is it that our true freshman DE made that play?) and mixing up coverages is one way to pull an upset. Verrett is the best DB in the conference, and he will come up with at least one forced turnover. Kenny Cain needs to be a beast against a stellar UT ground game, and the safeties are going to have to help in run support as well. This means our corners will be on an island often, and could spell trouble if Ash, who has played better recently, has time. Keying on WR “Magic” Mike Davis, and not letting that guy beat us, is crucial. Bend, but don’t break will be the key tomorrow, and holding the Horns under 30 is our best chance to beat them. I do think Texas will run the ball down our throats, but again, if the Frogs can hold them to three instead of seven in the red zone, TCU will have a chance.

So, can TCU roll into Royal and ruin a bunch of Texas Exes and T-Shirt fans Turkey Day? It’s definitely not out of the realm of possibility. Will they though? This is probably the toughest pick I have made this season, because I really want to go with TCU, but I very concerned about the offense’s ability to score enough to take the heat off of the D. But, I don’t at all believe in Texas, recent success non-withstanding. Plus, I really hate Texas. And, mostly because I refuse to give all those fake fans the satisfaction, I’m going with TCU. And, despite his recent struggles, I’m picking Oberkrom as the hero, as he kicks a FG as time expires for the 31-30 Horned Frog win.

So what say you? Let’s hear you all on the final score, total number of sacks, and Mack Brown face palms.  Let’s ruin a couple hundred thousand Thanksgivings for Horn fans!

Texas Preview


Can the football team have a Bryan Holaday moment?

This whole playing on a Thursday/Thanksgiving night is really throwing a wrench in my typical Spitblood routine, but I figured y'all would rather have a preview to read on Wednesday than the normal Big 12 weekend preview.  That can wait, if I even get to it at all.  It really depends on my mood Friday.  Besides, does anyone really even care what happens this weekend after our Thanksgiving game?  So for now, let's just focus on Thursday and the Longhorns.

A few weeks back, it sure looked as if we were going to catch a Texas team that was on the ropes.  They lost 2 in a row, one a nailbiter to West Virginia that now looks like a horrible loss.  I'm pretty sure that's WVU's last win this season.  The other was to OU in blowout fashion and there were rumblings about Mack Brown's job security and whether or not his team had quit on him already.  A 6 point win at home against Baylor didn't do anything to calm the masses in Austin, and a last minute TD drive to beat conference-winless Kansas only stoked the fire further.  It was really starting to appear as if the wheels were coming off down in Austin and the Mack Brown era might be coming to an end, but something has inspired a change in them.

I don't know if that come from behind dramatic win over lowly Kansas behind the noodle arm of Case McCoy inspired this team, but since that drive they've played their best football of the season without a doubt.  They carried that momentum into Lubbock where they were underdogs for the first time in ages, and they came out winners.  Not only did they win, but their defense looked better than it had all year, holding a high powered Tech team to just 22 points.  The following week they returned home to completely bludgeon an outmatched Iowa State team 33-7.  Texas, to say the least, is firing on all cylinders at this point.

So what happened in Austin that has made them play so much better?  Are they playing for their coach who they don't want to see ride off into the sunset (I thought he would for a while, now I think he stays)?  That could be part of it.  The main factors though have been the emergence of the defense who was supposed to be among the conference's best, and now they are finally playing up to par.  Perhaps former ESPN production assistant turned defensive coordinator Manny Diaz has decided that life in Austin is a little better than being in a video room in Bristol, CT and he doesn't want to go back there, or Starkville, MS where his previous stint was.  Another factor that has given the Horns a huge boost is that their young players seem to be progressing greatly as the year has gone on.  They are almost as youthful as us, and it's clearly starting to click for some of their young talent.  For example, look no further than blue chip RB Johnathan Gray.  He has emerged as the focal point in the UT backfield and has been hot of late.  Sophomore QB David Ash is playing much better as well, amassing over 2300 yards passing with 17 TD',s and seems to have quite good chemistry with the previously enigmatic Junior WR Mike Davis.  Davis seems to finally be putting it all together which is a scary thing for opposing defenses.  Jason Verrett- lock him down please.

Now that I'm done slurping them for how well they've played of late, might I remind you that they are still Texas- a team that has struggled each of the past 2 years in Big 12 play and really doesn't have any skins on the wall this year that jump out at me.  Yes, winning at Oklahoma State is impressive, but what's more impressive is how the replay official neglected to call the Joe Bergeron fumble on the goal line that would've cost them the win.  Tech doesn't seem to be the same team they were earlier in the year, and perhaps they are a bit gassed after that 3 OT battle in Fort Worth, so that win in Lubbock is nice but not intimidating.  So I guess what I'm saying is don't let the record and the recent hot streak fool you- Texas is VERY beatable.

Offense  

Not surprisingly, the keys to winning this game offensively for TCU are the same as they have been since Boykin took the helm.  Don't turn it over, run a balanced offense, and protect the QB.  When we fail to do those three things, we fail to win football games.  I could keep going down this road about how we need to keep Boykin off his back and get the ball to our playmakers in space, but I'm tired of beating that dead horse.  This is probably the best defensive line we've faced this season, so it really is imperative that we keep Boykin upright in order to keep him intact.  Tomorrow wouldn't be a bad time to reintroduce the screen pass into our offensive repertoire.  Texas can be run on fairly easily.  In their last 6 games they've given up well over 100 yards rushing in all of them, including 343 by OU, 255 by pass happy Baylor, and 234 from lowly Kansas.  If Matthew Tucker and Trevone Boykin are healthy enough to run, the zone read should wear them out like it did Baylor.  Keep it between the tackles, though, because we won't beat Texas going sideline to sideline in footraces.

Also, I cannot stress enough how the vanilla play calling that we've fallen into since the 2nd half of the Tech game will get us beat this week.  I'm not asking for reverse passes and flea flickers (although I wouldn't mind), but if you get stuffed on the run and it's 2nd and 9, please don't empty the backfield and make it obvious to the world that we will be passing.  That's how we've had so many 3rd and 16's, because the defenses pin their ears back and tee off on Boykin and the young O-Line.  You have to keep the defense honest, and the empty sets will not do that.  Anderson and Burns need to be reminded about every drive that our best weapons are at WR, but that doesn't mean you can send 5 of them out on every play and play into the Texas defenses strengths which are pass rushing and secondary.  Run the ball, chip away at them, and then throw over their heads when they're thinking run.  Creativity here is key.  Also, I'll repeat, it wouldn't kill us to throw some screens to Boyce and Carter.  Those are our best offensive playmakers and getting them the ball in space could be the difference in this game.  The screen can be used pretty much as a running play anyways, so why not get it in the hands of the biggest difference makers we have?

Defense

I don't worry much about us on the defensive side of the ball because we've proven week after week this year that our defense can keep us in games, and Texas's offense is nowhere near the level of many we've seen so far this year.  Also, Brian Harsin, the Texas offensive coordinator, has faced TCU twice before in his career while he ran the Boise State offense with Kellen Moore under center.  Once was the 17-16 loss in the Poinsettia Bowl and the other was Boise's 17-10 victory in the Fiesta Bowl.  Two games, 33 points.  Granted there is probably more talent around Ash and the Texas offense and I'm not expecting them to be held to 17, but I don't think we will be unfamiliar with the gadget plays and offensive scheme that he brings to the table.  Also, Moore>>>>>Ash.

Texas can run the ball better than most teams we've faced, but we haven't been run on at all this season.  Even Collin Klein and the Wildcats struggled to do so against our defense, and I don't foresee it being a problem here.  Our defensive tackles have arguably been our most underrated unit all year long, and it's tough to run up the gut on them.  They will try to get wide on our defense with fly sweeps to players like track star Marquise Goodwin and former TCU commit/back stabbing punk Daje Johnson, but again, I think our defense is fast enough to not get beat to the edges.  If we are able to stuff the run on first down like we should, that plays right into our strength, allowing Fields, Maponga and Co. to focus on rushing David Ash and making him uncomfortable in the pocket.  The last time Ash saw a front as potent as TCU's it was at the Cotton Bowl against OU, and I'm pretty sure Texas had 2 points at halftime and it was far and away Ash's worst game of the season.  Put them in obvious passing situations and players like Fields, Verrett, or Olabode will create turnovers and we can win this game.

Intangibles

This is where I think the key matchup of the entire game lies.  Both teams have some things working in their favor here.  Texas is still playing for an outside shot at splitting the Big 12 title and a BCS game.  TCU plays much, much better on the road and is trying to assure another winning season under GP.  Are the folks in Austin really that into a Thanksgiving matchup against not-Aggy though?  It sure doesn't seem like it.  There's been more talk this week about how this should be Aggy here this weekend, why are they doing a Hex Rally for TCU, making sure they get a home game every Thanksgiving, etc, etc, etc.  Texas may come into this game thinking it's just another Big 12 game and it is, but if they come out flat they could be in a world of trouble.  We are not the Aggies, but we're clearly no slouch either.  If they play defensively like they did in Austin against Baylor or West Virginia, they will not win this game.

The last matchup I'll mention, which is the most critical one, is the coaches.  Mack Brown is a fine coach.  He gets great talent to come play for him and tries to surround himself with competent coordinators, and that has been his key to success since day one in Austin.  Look at how many DCs he's run through, and it's not because they are getting fired.  They get head coaching jobs.  However, Manny Diaz doesn't seem to fit the mold and if I were a betting man, I'd say he's out of a job after their bowl game.  They have a keeper in Brian Harsin at OC.  He's gotten more out of David Ash than most expected this year, and has proven since his days at Boise that he's a force to be reckoned with.  He'll probably be a head coach somewhere soon one day as well.  TCU right now is pretty much the opposite of Texas in the coordinator department.  They've got 2 offensive coaches who are struggling to find an identity, and they can be blamed on them or the fact that they're on QB2 and RB4 with a young OL.  Defensively, it's still The Bumpstache and Chad Glasgow, along with new addition and certified bad ass Randy Shannon.  This is probably the best coached defensive unit in the Big 12, and arguably the entire nation.  So what it really comes down to here is the head coach.  We all know GP is a brilliant motivator, a gutsy gameday decision maker, and a flat out winner.  Mack Brown is delegator, sideline clapper, and butt slapper.  I wouldn't trust him to make in game adjustments, as that most likely falls into the arms of his coordinators.  Bob Stoops has out-coached Mack Brown for about 12 years straight in the Cotton Bowl every October, and I don't see why GMFP can't do the same for years to come.  Having the better coach doesn't guarantee anyone a victory, but it'll keep you in every ball game and makes you feel a lot better about things than maybe you should.

The Pick:  TCU 31 - Texas 23.  Vegas had the 8 points right, they just had it the wrong direction.  Sorry for the long-windedness of this post.  I got a little excited.  Go Frogs!