Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Maybe Dallas Isn't So Bad After All?

The Dallas Morning News has taken its lumps over the years, from this site and others, and deservedly so. Besides being the only local newspaper to charge for their content, they still hang their hat glorified hockey columnist Tim Cowlishaw's insight and employed Jean Jacques Taylor for many, many years before ESPNDallas was stupid enough to pluck him away. They're also RAVENOUS sack riders of UT and the Big 12 and, until recently, you'd never have known that a perennial Top 25 program resided within their readership. So when I saw that they had published their BOLD predictions for TCU's 2012 season, I got ready to do some serious eye-rollin'. However, perhaps due to our newly minted status into the Big 12 boys club, I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw.

You can flip through the full thing HERE, but so we aren't foolish enough to give them the pageviews, here is the list:

  • TCU will beat OU next season. I like this prediction, although I think it depends strongly on where in the schedule that game happens to fall. Having it at Amon G guarantees a rollicking crowd, but I like our chances if it falls in late October/early November rather than September-early October. The Sooners will be returning QB Landry Jones, as well bring Mike Stoops back into the fold at DC to shore up those issues, and will likely be the pre-season favorite to win the league. I think we should all temper our Conference Champions in Year One aspirations a bit, but if that is to happen, this game will be uber important in that fight.
  • Gary Patterson will be the Big 12 Coach of the Year. If Patterson can come in and have a double digit win year the award is his to lose simply because the Big 12 elitists don't think he can keep the train rolling in year one. His main competition will likely be WVU Coach Dana Holgerson, as the Mountaineers expect to have a breakout year, as well as Kansas State Coach Bill Snyder who returns QB/Superflous letter enthusiast Collin Klein. OSU Coach Mike Gundy won the award this year.
  • Casey Pachall will rewrite the TCU record book. Well, he almost did it this year, so that's not exactly a CrAzY prediction or anything. Plus, having Josh Boyce, Brandon Carter, David Porter, Cam White and the still unseen LaDarius Brown to run under his passes, Pachall is surely due more than a few "BOMBS AWAY!" type days. Say what you will about the defenses he faced in the MWC, but have you watched Big 12 football lately? Pachall piled up the numbers he did despite more or less being a game manager post-Boise as the OC shifted the focus to our ground game. He won't have many of those types of games next year.
  • TCU will set a single season attendance record. Well, duh.
  • Stansly Maponga will lead the Big 12 in sacks. The least generic prediction of all, this one could very well happen. Last year, Sean Porter of aggy led the Conference with 9.5; Maponga had 9. Of the top 3 sack leaders in the Conference last year, two played for aggy and will therefore be out of the running, and the third was a Senior from Oklahoma. It would appear the closest competition will come from fellow Junior Jackson Jeffcoat from UT who had 8. This will certainly be a fun race to follow along with.
  • TCU will win a share of the Big 12 title. See? They really aren't so bad, are they?
So has the DMN really trimmed the fat - or had the fat trimmed for them by ESPNDallas - to the point that they actually have good, level headed writers? Or is it just that the sports guys are so relieved they have a Big 12 program in their own backyard, and therefore can stop pretending that SMU is in any way relevant, they feel the need to over compensate? I don't know, but at least I won't have to cringe every single time I see Cowlishaw's face on Around the Horn.

Meet the Future Frogs: Griffin Gilbert

The first weekend of March 2011 was pretty eventful for TCU. While the baseball team was busy sweeping past Texas Tech out in Lubbock, the football team was busy adding future offensive firepower with commitments from running back LaDarius Anthony, quarterback Austin Aune and finally wide receiver/tight end Griffin Gilbert.

Casual fans might recognize Gilbert, the massive 6'5" target out of the Austin area, as the younger brother of Garrett Gilbert, former UT and soon-to-be SMU quarterback. But other than the fact that they both wore jersey #7 (Griffin switched to that number for his senior year) while contributing to Lake Travis' unprecedented five consecutive state championships and that both were named to the Dave Campbell's Texas Football Super Team in their respective senior seasons, they really don't have a whole lot more in common as far as football is concerned.

Griffin has been a pass-catcher since the beginning of his varsity career, hauling in more than 160 passes for over 2,600 yards and totaling 35 touchdowns over three years. As he's gotten older, he's learned how to use his 6'5" frame and his elite ability to adapt to the ball while it's in the air to become a living head ache for opposing defensive coordinators. As dangerous of a threat as he was as a pass-catching option, he was equally (if not more) dangerous because of the attention heaped on him that allowed teammates to get open.

Rivals has Gilbert scored as a four-star tight end, and lists him as 10th-best at that position in the country and the 36th-best overall recruit coming out of the Lone Star State. Despite a scholarship offer from the Longhorns (as well as one from Clemson, where former LT head coach Chad Morris is the offensive coordinator), Gilbert stuck to his initial commitment to TCU. He was recruited by Trey Haverty, who will now be the wide receivers coach- leading to more speculation that he may end up lining up out wide. Watch his highlights and judge for yourself:

Daily Discussion: Daniel-Meyer Coliseum

Stefan Stevenson of the Star-Telegram had an article this morning that drew attention to the disparity between Daniel-Meyer Coliseum and the basketball facilities of the Big 12. You can read the whole thing by clicking here. There's nothing earth-shattering in the article: if you've been inside the DMC any time in the last couple of decades, you already knew it was below par for the MWC...much less our new conference home.

With the renovations to Amon G. Carter within months of completion and already entirely paid for, the next massive project has to be Daniel-Meyer. But (at least to my knowledge) plans for an upgrade of the 50 year-old facility have not taken shape as of yet, which leads us to today's daily discussion questions.

If you were in charge of bringing TCU's basketball home into the 21st century, what would those plans look like? Would you renovate the facility and add seats and luxury suites? Would you tear it down and build a completely new arena in its place? Or would you look for another site?

PS- if you're wondering what that baseball diamond is doing in the picture above where the football and basketball practice facilities are now, that is actually the old TCU Baseball Diamond- which predated Lupton Stadium. And I use the term "old" loosely, because believe or not our baseball program used that as their home field until 2001.

Morning Dump

Daniel-Meyer puts TCU at a disadvantage in Big 12 Star-Telegram