Monday, April 30, 2012

Construction update

There has been a lot of nervous chatter recently about the progress, or the perceived lack there of, on the stadium.  A lot of people, most of whom I know happen to have zero experience with major construction projects, expressed worry that the stadium wouldn't be ready in time for next season.

As you can see in the photo above, which was provided by the TCU Frog Club facebook page, shows the very last row of seating being put in place this morning at 9:25am.  That gives them 131 days to put in seats, finish out the restroom and concession stands, etc. 

Big 12 Orientation, Week 2: Iowa State Football.

You see that?  That's the sight of Oklahoma State's 2011 season dying.

ISU At-A-Glance:
  • 492–584–47 Overall Record
  • 0 National Titles
  • 2 Conference Titles (Both Big 8)
  • 1 Division Title
  • 10 Bowl appearances, 3-7 record.
  • Play in Jack Trice Stadium, Capacity 55,000
School Mascot:  A weird tornado/bird/man thing.

History with TCU:  The Frogs and Cyclones have met three times on the football field, with TCU taking all three matchups.  The first two were in the latter half of the 20th century, with some mediocre TCU teams beating up on two even mediocre-er ISU squads.  The most recent meeting you may all remember a bit more clearly as it came in the 2005 Houston Bowl, a game TCU won 27-24, otherwise known as the time Peter Lococo was not known as Lochoko.  This was also the year that TCU potentially could've received a BCS at large bid, had the current non-BCS qualifications been in place.  Fuckin' SMU, man.  The most vivid memories I have of this game are Michael DePriest's COMICALLY wide open 84 yard TD reception to put the Frogs ahead, as well as Robert Merrill's fumble on the 1 yard line, negating a scoring drive that would've taken Lococo's 44 yard game winner out of the equation.  This was also my first vivid memory of attending a TCU football game where alcohol was readily available, an enlightening experience, indeed.  I highly doubt that TCU/ISU will turn into some sort of barn burning rivalry, but there is definitely some history there and a good reason for the Cyclones to be fired up to finally take out the Frogs.  

Recent History:  Iowa State is certainly one of the more polarizing teams in the Big 12 when you check their results.  Case in point:  This year's Iowa State team started the season 3-0 in non conference, but were then absolutely run out of the stadium by their first four Big 12 opponents in Texas, Baylor, Missouri and aggy.  In their next three games they would dismantle Texas Tech and Kansas and cap things off by taking out eventual Big 12 champ and presumed national title game participant Oklahoma State in a game they had no business winning.  From there?  Dominated by Oklahoma, beaten by KSU and failed to show up in their bowl game against Rutgers to finish 6-7.  It's unclear how this makes sense, but when you look back, this is simply the Iowa State way under much-loved Coach Paul Rhoads.   Seriously, check the 2009 season:  Destroyed by a bad Iowa team early, beat a good Nebraska team late.  Even in 2010 when they would finish 5-7, they beat a ranked UT team in Austin and played ranked Nebraska close.  Paul Rhoads is commonly hyped by the talking heads as the next big thing in the NCAA, but he's overall a below .500 coach with two of his three seasons ending with more losses than wins.  For his efforts?  a 10 year, $20 million deal.  Hmmm...

2012 Outlook:  Iowa State may have locked up Paul Rhoads prematurely, because with all the depth he has returning I can't imagine he would've left these Cyclones had a job offer rolled in.  He returns both of his QBs from last season, including the awesomely named Steele Jantzen, his leading rusher including Dallas' own Jared Barnett, and several of his top receivers.  Of course, the caveat here is that this same crew only managed to score 22 points per game last season, but with another year under their belts, you'd have to think the prospects are looking good.  Even still, the Cyclones aren't going to be picked by anyone to win their first Big 12 title since the league was formed.  The defense just isn't there - barely cracked the top 100 last year - and the Conference is just too good.   ISU did luck out with a 7-5 home/road split of games this season, but those home games include Oklahoma, Kansas State and West Virginia, three teams they aren't beating anywhere. 6-6 looks like a generous ceiling for this team.

Miscellania:  Iowa State's rivalry with Kansas State has perhaps my favorite of all rivalry names in Farmageddon.  That's really the only interesting thing about Iowa State Football.

Bats wake up, big week ahead

After getting by Manhattan 2-1 on Friday night in a game where the Frogs somehow created a victory out of 4 base hits in 10 innings, the offense finally came out of their season-long slumber on Saturday and Sunday- completing the sweep of the Jaspers with wins of 12-5 and 11-0.  In those two games, they collected a total of 29 base hits and raised their team batting average 9 points up to .253.  The three wins improve the Frogs' record to 26-15 on the year and got coach Jim Schlossnagle across the 450-win plateau for his career.

The sweep also gives TCU some much-needed momentum as they enter a pivotal week of games to be played at Lupton.  On Tuesday they play host to Oklahoma, a team that has absolutely had the Frogs' number recently.  The Sooners, 28-16 overall and 58th in the latest RPI rankings, have beaten TCU eight straight times dating back to 2007.  Getting that monkey off their back and an RPI-boosting win on Tuesday would be a major score for this young team.

As big as the OU game is in regard to confidence and possible NCAA seeding, this weekend's home series against New Mexico could make or break TCU's chances of winning a 7th consecutive MWC regular season title.  The Lobos, who took 2 of 3 from the Frogs in Albuquerque in late March, currently hold a one-game lead over TCU in the conference standings.  Both teams are 5-1 in games against the teams they have remaining on the conference slate after this series, so the conference crown could be decided in Fort Worth this weekend.

Coach Schlossnagle has his monthly radio show tonight on KTCU, live from Buffalo Brothers.  If you get a chance to listen, please share any newsworthy comments he makes in our comments section.  He pulled Stefan Crichton early in yesterday's game against Manhattan, so perhaps Crichton will be available to toss a few innings against the Sooners tomorrow night.

Big 12 Orientation, Week 2: Iowa State

Week 2 of our orientation course for TCU's entry to the Big 12 will focus on another of the teams that the Frogs will be conference mates with for the first time starting in 2012: the Iowa State Cyclones.  Founded in 1858, the school has been known by several different names.  It was originally the Iowa Agricultural College and Model Farm, and later Iowa State College of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts.  Today, the full name of the school is Iowa State University of Science and Technology, but most people just call it Iowa State.  It has an enrollment of 29,887 and an endowment of $612 million.  It ranks 97th on the US News & World Report list of best colleges in America.

As an athletic department, the Cyclones (so named because of a terrible tornado outbreak in 1895) ranked 60th in last year's NACDA Director's Cup standings, having finished as high as 34th and as low as 123rd over the past decade.  They are the model of consistency as far as conference alignment goes: they were members of the Big 8 from its founding in 1907 (as the Big 6) until 1996, when they became charter members of the Big 12.  Hell, TCU's been in more conferences just since 2000!

Honestly, I don't know much about Iowa State fans.  Judging from my one experience with them, at the 2005 Houston Bowl, they like to wear jean shorts a lot and call soda "pop".  Here are a few videos to get us all better acquainted with the Cyclones and their fans, and be sure to share your first impressions of ISU in the comments section:

Morning Dump


TCU takes Manhattan in three-game sweep Star-Telegram

Frogs complete sweep with 11-0 win Sunday

Other Sports:

Dramatic finish gives TCU Mountain West women's tennis title