Saturday, August 31, 2013

LSU Game Open Thread

So, we didn't have a game preview or predictions entry, you can show us all how smart you are now in the comments below.

Follow @SpitbloodTCU on twitter. We make no guarantees on the amount of updates during the game.

Go Frogs!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Morning Dump: 08/30

TCU's Defensive End Odyssey is a Dream Come True - Star-Telegram
Football Preview: Pachall is the Big 12's Best QB - Star-Telegram
Predicting the Horned Frog's Fortunes This Season - Star-Telegram
College Confidential: Who will Win Saturday - Star-Telegram
TCU to dig into Bag of Tricks? - Associated Press
What to Watch in the Big 12: Week 1 -
Breakdown: TCU vs. LSU - TCU360
Youth is No Excuse this Season - The Daily Skiff
Breakdown Offense: TCU v. LSU - The Daily Skiff

Volleyball hopes to build on Big 12 experience - Star-Telegram

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Morning Dump: 08/29

With Opener Days Away Patterson says team needs to relax - Star-Telegram
Patterson Relishes Being Underdog - Star-Telegram Gil Lebreton
Practice Notes: You have to prepare for the moment - The Daily Skiff
Defensive Breakdown: TCU & LSU - The Daily Skiff
Most to Prove in the Big 12 -
Attack on Tigers - Frogs O' War

2013 College Football Season Bets -

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

"I'd Like to Take His Face... Off:" The Devonte Fields Conundrum & Other Assorted Issues.

Fields/McFarland.  Come on, Science!

First off, I’d like to start this post out my saying how great it is to not only have football back, but to have Spitblood rising cautiously from the ashes of the Great Texas Tech Hacker Crap of 2012.  Life changes caused me to walk away from the site last year, and while my output will never be nearly as prolific as it once was – I got mouths to feed, after all – it’s good to know I’ll still be able to drop back in from time to time and indulge my inner fan-nerd.  Truth be told, since I quit you, Spitblood, my level of obsession with TCU Football has decreased dramatically, and while some might argue that with a wife, child and mortgage payment that’s a good thing, I say nay! 

But seriously, guys – FOOTBALLBALL!  It’s Back!  Can you believe it?  That sad night in the desert when the season died?  Eight months ago.  EIGHT!  I think we all thought that with a new basketball direction and a highly ranked baseball team we might be able to bridge that gap a little more smoothly, but… well, we all know how that turned out.  I really think that, with all of the good juju TCU generated which culminated in the Big 12 invite, we might’ve flown a little too close to the sun and the universe is just attempting to reset our batteries.  With the most promising basketball  team we’ve had since the Santee Era losing 2 starters just last week, apparently God is still a little furious at the crimes against sport TCU Basketball has committed over the past couple of decades, so, yeah.  But I think after taking their lumps in B12 year 1, the football team is ready to take a big step towards challenging for the B12 title, if not beyond. 

However, as with any season opener there are questions, questions that will be answered pretty harshly Saturday night against LSU.  Let’s a take look:

Who Starts at QB?  Despite GP’s apparent averseness to naming a starter prior to game time, I think he’s maybe attempting to outsmart everyone here when it’s wholly unnecessary.  Casey Pachall is going to play the majority of the reps, and you can bet LSU has wholly prepared for him.  However, I think Boykin could be a factor; in fact – HSO alert – I think he should start.  You may, and probably should, disagree with me, but hear me out.  Throughout the spring, at least externally, GP has made it known that the QB competition is ongoing.  No matter what the team knows behind closed doors, we have to take that at face value.  Pachall, for all of his immense talents and despite the fact that he’s the clear future of the 2013 season for this team, screwed up.  He screwed up big time and, despite what our revisionist history tells us, Boykin came in and was a lot better than we all want to admit.  He deserves to be the guy to lead TCU onto the field.  Tyler Matthews may be the first backup-backup QB with no reps in history to possibly be more popular than the two guys in front of him, but Boykin is the future of the position and you hate to risk alienating him and driving him away from the program for a guy who MIGHT play in all 12 of your games this season.  GP has already said both guys will be captains, which is a fantastic gesture on his part.  Assuming he earned it, give Pachall the majority of the reps, but let Boykin takes the first snap.

·       Will Our O-Line Work?  Another year, another bundle of headaches for O Line Coach Eddie Williamson.  Here are your current starters:  Aviante Collins (a year of experience under his belt, but he’s gonna have to clean up all of those yellow flags at his feet from last year), James Dunbar (Academically suspended last season and learning a new position), Joey Hunt (0 starts, but has been garnering tons of praise), Eric Tausch (Moving from the left side to the right, but lots of experience) and Vaitai (Played last year as a freshman, but was second on the 2-deep until Scientology McScientologist went back to Provo despite escaping 2 years ago).  Who there, outside of Tausch and maybe Hunt, inspires genuine confidence?  I’m not saying it’s impossible – in fact, I’m sure that, with at least SOME experience for all 5 starters, they’ll be fine- but what terrifies me is depth.  If we get 70 starts out of those guys, it will be a season to remember.  If not?  Curtains for ole Treebeard wearing #4. 

·      Will Devonte play?  Aaaah, the big question on everyone’s mind, and one the staff has been notoriously tight lipped about in recent days.  We all know the deal – suspended the first two games for an undisclosed violation of school policy.  But who did the suspending?  Was it GP?  Was it the school?  Did he win his appeal?  If he had lain with a 14 year old girl and sucker punched a fellow student, would he be starting?  Les, you can answer that one.  The latest is that he will be suiting up and be on the sidelines, but not playing… or will he?  Much like the QB situation, this seems like it’ll be one that won’t be answered until 8:00PM Saturday evening.  There were rumors circulating earlier this week that Fields had won his appeal with the school – rumors that were squashed by GP, from what I understand – but it could just be a mind game from one of the most enthusiastically secretive men in all of college football.  And, like Vince Gilligan with Breaking Bad, I have no clue what GP is going to do from here, I think there’s a question that needs to be raised…
o   Why Can’t Devonte Just Wear a Different Uniform on Saturday?  Devonte Fields stands 6’4”, 240 pounds and is a sophomore defensive end for the TCU Horned Frogs.  James McFarland stands 6’3”, 248 pounds and is a sophomore defensive end for the TCU Horned Frogs.  Since they’re both suiting up, why can’t Fields wear #40, McFarland toss on the #95 and both wear dark visors?  Who would know?  The officials don’t know faces, and they couldn’t see them anyway!  It’s PERFECT!  Before you go point, “RAYCESS!!” fingers at me, of course I’m saying this all in jest.  But seriously – has this ever been tried?  A quick google search came up empty, and I’m sure the punishment of having to at the very least forfeit every game said player played in is enough to deter a coach from trying the old switcheroo, but surely some desperate coach has tried it.  Yours in the comments. 
      How Good is Ty Slanina?  Obviously with GP closing practices to the media, the old crack cocaine practice reports from Horned Frog Blitz are gone, now entirely dependent on milquetoast commentary from the head man himself.  However, one of the depth chart surprises that could have been surmised is the ascension of East Bernard HS’s finest, Ty Slanina, who is listed as one of four starting WRs.  Heading into the Spring it was pretty much assumed that DooDoo Story and/or Josh Doctson would nab a starting spot, if not two, yet Story is currently listened behind Cam White and Doctson is listed at third.  Heck, Slanina wasn’t even the frosh WR hype beast as that honor went Cam Echols-Luper, who is behind Bran-don-Car-Ter.  That is by no means a knock on any of those guys as they are all legit and they will all see time; it just shows you how uber legit Slanina apparently is.  Whereas last year, what with our 16 freshman starters, having a guy like Slaning starting would’ve just been seen as the cost of doing business, it’s clear he earned the role this year.  Keep your eyes pinned on #13 Saturday night. 
·         Will Jonathan Anderson Realize His Potential as a LB?  For whatever reason when he came in, Jonathan Anderson struck me as a guy who was going to be REAL good.  After the BYU game of yesterday when he made all of the tackles, I thought that was the coming out party for the next TCU Gator.  Unfortunately, he’s fallen off a bit since then, and hardly made an impact last year, totaling 28 tackles (He had 18 against BYU the year before).  Once Joel Hasley bailed on the team, it was widely presumed that Paul Dawson and Marcus Mallet would be the guys to step in and fill that void, so it was obviously a bit of a surprise to see JA getting moved to the middle of the field.  We all know he’s capable of making the big hit and getting stops, but will he have what it takes to play GP’s favorite position?  I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll all be pleasantly surprised and, on the bright side, dude played pretty well last time he suited up in Jerrahworld…

There are obviously more questions to be answered – will Ranthony Texada and his 160 lb frame survive as a returnman?  With his injury history, is it worth playing Waymon James at the same position?  Remember when Travoskey Garrett was supposed to be what Jason Verrett has become?  When he plays in a turf stadjium, does less bring his own supply of fresh fescue?  LSU lost a gaggle of starters to the NFL and, although LSU, Bama and the like are basically just an assembly line of starting NFL defensive talent, shouldn’t there at least be SOMEWHAT of a breaking in period in game 1 against a quality opponent?  Right?  RIIIIGHT?  Oh god I’m so scared.   How on earth do you get “Avion” out of “Aviante?”- but my time here is limited.  Besides, I’m trying to break myself back in.  Cut me some slack!  I’m not sure how the innerworkings of Spitblood are comprised at present, so I presume there will be a more specific preview for the game Saturday.  But, seeing as how we have temporarily reverted to, hopefully this will generate a little discussion.  Godspeed.

Morning Dump: 08/28

ESPN "Experts" Pick the TCU-LSU game - (Video)
Fields to Dress for LSU game -
TCU, old-school Gary Patterson not afraid to evolve - USA Today
TCU 66-1 to win BCS, 15-4 to win Big 12 title - Dallas Morning News
5 Takeaways from the Tuesday presser - Dallas Morning News
Press Conference Breakdown - The Daily Skiff
Special Teams Breakdown: TCU & LSU - The Daily Skiff

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Morning Dump: 08/27

Devonte Fields to suit up for LSU game, but will he play? - Star-Telegram
Fields listed as Alternate Starter on Depth Chart - Frogs O' War
TCU releases depth chart for LSU game - Dallas Morning News
Big 12 Preseason Power Rankings -
LSU's Miles vague on Hill's status against TCU - Associated Press
How TCU Can Beat LSU -
Admiring the TCU program - And the Valley Shook
LSU Players Want to Make a Statement, Les Miles not so Much - New Orleans Times-Picayune
GMFP News Conference live at 12:20 CDT -

Monday, August 26, 2013

Morning Dump: 08/26



Friday, August 23, 2013

Morning Dump: 08/23

Safety gives TCU speedy option at linebacker - Star-Telegram
Both QBs to see playing time - The Daily Skiff
Top 25 Players in the Big 12: Number 3 - Fields -
Sherrington: Don't count out TCU against LSU -
Coaches hold Poker face on QB competition -
TCU Football game-by-game predictions - Athlon Sports
We need to hate Baylor, we need your help - Frogs O' War fanpost

TCU Soccer enters season with near-big 12 title swagger for new year - Star-Telegram

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Morning Dump: 08/22

Predicting the Big 12 Season: Week 14 -
New TCU Uniforms get ready for the red -

The Three Frogs on Team USA Baseball -

Notes on a scorecard -

Know the Enemy:
SMU Football 10 things to know - Football Study Hall

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Morning Dump: 08/21

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Morning Dump: 08/20

Breaking down the Big 12 and the AP Poll -
Check out the new GMFP @TCUCoachP - The Daily Skiff
Chat: TCU Opener -
Expectations remain high despite personnel issues on either side of the ball - Star-Telegram
TCU Smart to keep starting QB a secret - Bleacher Report
The New TCU Uniforms are the Worst - Frogs O' War
Simulated BCS Rankings - SB Nation
Football Study Hall Preview: TCU -

Things Breaking Bad should never be compared with:

Monday, August 19, 2013

Frogs in the League

Gary Patterson’s uncanny ability to get the most production possible out of his players has resulted not only in 8 straight winning seasons but also a very respectable number of ex-Frogs in the NFL (16). Here’s an overview of our boys in the NFL and what they’re up to, enjoy.

Andy Dalton (QB, Cincinnati Bengals)
No introduction needed, if you’re not familiar with Andy Dalton then you’re probably not reading this. Since entering the league as the 35th overall pick in 2011, AD has led the Bengals to consecutive playoff appearances and appeared as a Pro Bowler in 2011. While Dalton has had less than spectacular performances in the postseason (consecutive losses to Houston), taking a young team to the playoffs your first two years in the league is impressive in itself, not to mention the AFC North (Cincy’s division) is one of the stingiest in the league. With the Dalton—AJ Green connection quickly becoming one of the best QB/WR hookups in the league, look for another productive year and possible playoff appearance from the Red Rifle.

Daryl Washington (LB, Arizona Cardinals)

Washington was selected in the 2nd round of the 2010 draft by Arizona and has appeared in all but 1 game since entering the league. He has recorded 319 tackles, 15 sacks, 4 interceptions and 3 forced fumbles in Arizona and has quietly become one of the league’s best young linebackers. He will be forced to miss the first 4 games of the season for violating the league’s substance policy and could potentially miss additional games as a result of a domestic violence arrest this past May. Although the past couple months have been pretty rocky, overall the NFL has treated D Lou well and if he can stay
out of trouble he should be a staple of the Arizona defense for years to come.

Jeremy Kerley (WR, New York Jets)

For those of you having trouble remembering Jeremy Kerley, here's a quick refresher.

 Kerley was a WR/return specialist for the Frogs and was named MWC Special Teams Player of the Year in 2009 and 2010. Due primarily to his lack of size, Kerley dropped to the 5th round of the 2011 NFL draft where he was selected by the NY Jets. Kerley is still coming into form as an NFL receiver, due in large part to the inconsistency of the Sanchize at QB but his first 2 years have been solid and he has been one of few bright spots for the lowly J-E-T-S.

Marshall Newhouse (OT, Green Bay Packers)

Newhouse was a 3-year starter and anchor of the O-Line during his time at TCU and was selected by Green Bay in the 5th round of the 2010 NFL draft. He missed his entire rookie season with injuries but has since started at left tackle protecting Aaron Rodger’s blind side in 13 games in 2011 and all regular season and post season games in 2012. The offensive line has not been GB’s strong suit over the past few years but Newhouse has added some consistency to the unit and is another Frog starting for a SB contender.

Jerry Hughes (LB, Buffalo Bills)

Jerry Hughes was an absolute monster on the TCU D-line where he racked up 28.5 sacks, 40.5 TFL, 3 INTs, 8 forced fumbles, the 2009 MWC Defensive Player of the Year Award and 2 consecutive All-American Awards. Hughes was taken by the Colts late in the 1st round of the 2010 draft (first TCU defensive player selected in the 1st round since 1961) where he spent 2 seasons before being traded to Buffalo last April in an effort to find a OLB to play opposite Mario Williams. Hughes was drafted for his pass rushing skills and as an undersized DE has spent most of his time in the NFL rushing the passer as an OLB in Indy’s 3-4 scheme. Look for Jerry to play a significant role on the Bills defense this year as a rotational pass-rusher.

Josh Boyce (WR, New England Patriots)

An all-time TCU great and fan favorite, JB left TCU as the all-time leader in receiving TDs (22), 2nd in all-time receiving yards (2,535) and 3rd in all-time receptions (161). Boyce was drafted 104th overall in last year's draft by New England and is in an exciting spot as a rookie for a couple of reasons. Namely he’ll be playing for one of the greatest offensive minds in NFL history in Bill Belichick and catching passes from Tom Brady. New England has been notorious for being a consistent offensive juggernaut with mid-tier receivers and a sub-par running game. The reason for this is the system that Belichick  has designed and Brady’s ability to run it to perfection. Let’s recap what has happened to the Patriots receiving core since they were eliminated by Baltimore last postseason:

-          Wes Welker left NE to play for Peyton Manning and the Broncos.

-          Rob Gronkowski has had multiple back and forearm surgeries and will miss the start of the season.
-          Aaron Hernandez murdered a guy or 3 and is currently starting at TE for the San Quentin Jailbirds.

This leaves New England with Danny Amendola, Kenbrell Thompkins, Julian Edelman, Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce as legitimate passing options for Brady (who the fuck is Kenbrell Thompkins?) a seemingly perfect opportunity for JB to come in and immediately compete for a significant role on a title contender. He has had a solid offseason as he continues to piece together the puzzle that is New England’s offense, look for JB to find the endzone a couple times this year and have a productive year for the Pats.  

Marcus Cannon (OG, New England Patriots)

Cannon was drafted by NE in the 5th round of the 2011 draft and is currently battling with incumbent starter Dan Connolly for the starting RG spot. Surrounded by veteran lineman Cannon will be in an exciting spot if he is able to win the job as keeping Tom Brady upright is the real key to the NE offense.

That’s it for TCU alums with significant roles on NFL rosters but there are a number of others that are either incoming rookies or guys who have yet to see significant time:

-          Tank Carder (LB, Cleveland Browns)

-          Skye Dawson (WR, Washington Redskins)

-          Clint Gresham (LS, Seattle Seahawks)

-          David Hawthorne (LB, New Orleans Saints)

-          Colin Jones (S, Carolina Panthers)

-          Stansly Maponga (DE, Atlanta Falcons)

-          Greg McCoy (CB, Green Bay Packers)

-          Jason Phillips (LB, Philadelphia Eagles)

-          Matthew Tucker (RB, Philadelphia Eagles)

Morning Dump: 08/19

Is this the new TCU helmet set to be reveiled on Friday? - Frogs O' War
AP Poll: TCU #20 - Star-Telegram
Two of TCU's Three biggest questions starting to get answers - Star-Telegram
A Friendly Reminder Before Kick-off - John Denton
Sirius/XM College Sports Nation to broadcast at TCU at 11-2 -
Like Most other Big 12 Coaches, Patterson plays QB Close to Vest - Star-Telegram
No Starting QB to be named - The Daily Skiff

First World Problems:
When TCU Sorority Rush Goes Wrong - Frogs O' War

Meet Katarina, the Cheerleader of the Week (50 tasteful photographs) - Sports Illustrated

Friday, August 16, 2013

Morning Dump: 08/16

Brandon Carter has hand surgery, should be good for LSU - NBC Sports
2013 Preview: Versitility on the O-Line -
Projecting the 2013 Season: Week 12 -
Kirk Herbstreet predicts the Big 12 - Daily Oklahoman
Players to Watch: TCU -
Big 12 Breakout Players -
Breaking down the QB race and more - Purple Menace Podcast
Big 12 Preview Podcast - The Solid Verbal
Everything you need to know about TCU -

Two former TCU Baseball players face-off in Chicago Friday - Star-Telegram


First World Problems:
Students weigh-in on large gaudy parking sticker -
Of course, Breaking Bad this Sunday at 8pm CDT

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Morning Dump: 08/15

TCU Defense strikes back during practice, but Brandon Carter hurts his hand - Star-Telegram
Patterson warns against overlooking Mettenberger -
OT Fabuluje transfers back to BYU - CBS Sports
Big 12 ultimate road trip -
College Football's 25 most interesting teams (TCU #8) - Spencer Hall
2013 Preview: LB -

Notes on a Scorecard -

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Morning Dump: 08/14

College football countdown: #29 TCU - USA Today
Why the USA Today Article is wrong - Frogs O' War
2013 Preview: QB -
Position Preview: Comparing Casey Pachall to each QB on the schedule -
Meet the new guy: Eason Fromayan - Frogs O' War
First Look: Lines going down at ACS -
O-Line is key if TCU wants to win -

TCU goes 1-3 on tour -

Cheerleader news:
Just an excuse to show a picture of a hot former showgirl - Fox Sports

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Morning Dump 8/13

TCU not surprised by start in Big 12 - AP
TCU Season Preview -
Big 12 Wide Receiver Ranks -
Frogs O' War Podcast: "We talking about practice?" - Frogs O' War
Wide Receivers look to step up -

TCU suffers heartbreaker to Montreal All-Stars -
Women's Basketball schedule released -

Monday, August 12, 2013

Morning Dump: 8/12

Gary Patterson Living the Tweet Life - Star-Telegram
Patterson says comments weren't shot at Miles - SB Nation
TCU Football Notes: Offense maintains edge over Defense - Star-Telegram
Best opening week games - CBS Sports
Meet the New Guy: Mike Tuaua - Frogs O' War
2013 Preview: Tight Ends -
2013 Preview: Cornerbacks -

Links to every 2013 online Div I-A football media guide - Football Study Hall

TCU Men fall to 1-2 on Canadian tour - Star-Telegram

Friday, August 9, 2013

Morning Dump: 08/09

Patterson doesn't want to poke the tiger - Star-Telegram Gil Lebreton
Patterson sets the record straight by sending coach a transcript - Star-Telegram
Predicting the 2013 season: Week 11 -
LSU lineman gets concussion -
Jake Trotter reacts to Patterson criticizing Miles -
Defensive Line preview -

TCU Basketball gets head start with a trip to Canada - Star-Telegram
Men's Basketball schedule released -

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Morning Dump: 8/8

GMFP Takes Jab at LSU over Hill vote -
Patterson is criticle of Hill reinstatement -
Patterson not impressed - CBS Sports
TCU Preview: The Running Backs - Frogs O' War

Notes on a scorecard -

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Lunch Dump: 8/7

TCU loses third player just six days into camp - Star-Telegram
My mind is already at midfield - Extra Points with John Denton
TCU Football Preview: The Safeties - Frogs O' War Preview: The Safeties -
Fields on Hendricks watchlist - Star-Telegram
Ranking Big 12 Nonconference games -
2013 College Football Preview - Dennis Dodd CBS Sports

Big XII Preseason Primer

    Big XII Preseason Odds*

·         Texas: +200

·         Oklahoma: +250

·         Oklahoma State: +250

·         TCU: +500

·         Baylor: +1200

·         Iowa State: +1200

·         Texas Tech: +1200

·         Kansas State: +1500

·         West Virginia: +2000

·         Kansas: +2500

o   *

With our second season in the Big 12 starting in just over a month, we are going to take a look at how Vegas has handicapped each schools chances of winning the conference this year. Let’s start from the bottom of the barrel and make our way up, finishing with the 4 schools that are pretty unanimously recognized as the real contenders in the conference.

Kansas: +2500—you’ve gotta give everybody a fighters chance to bring home the hardware each year…well everybody except Kansas. KU has gone (2-39) in their last 41 conference games…yes you read that correctly, (2-39) with both wins coming over Colorado. So if you’re looking for a good way to burn through some money this fall, throw some jack on the Jayhawks to be the last man standing in the Big 12, just cause you can. But then again you CAN stick your dick in a blender but just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should…next.

West Virginia: +2000—West Virginia finished with the same 4-5 conference record as the Frogs last year and showed signs of greatness, especially early on. Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, they lost the battery of their team (Geno Smith/Tavon Austin) along with standout WR Stedman Bailey to the draft and while they have some viable replacements and Dana Holgerson is sure to cook up a pretty potent spread attack on offense, their lack of anything that even somewhat resembles a collegiate defense (109th in the nation last year) could prove problematic, so while I put them well ahead of KU, they’re still irrelevant…and a little salt on the wound for a unit that got beat like a stepchild last year came to the WVU defense in the form of Korey Harris (sophomore DE) who was dismissed from the team last week after being arrested for the armed robbery of a residence in Morgantown (side note: the dude was wearing his team issued sweatpants with his #96 plastered on the side of them as he held the homeowner at gunpoint, I mean there’s stupid and then there’s just flat out brain dead, but then again I guess it is West Virginia…I’ll leave it at that)

Kansas State: +1500—Some credit has to be given to the Wildcats simply based on the fact that they are the defending co-champions (shared the 2012 title with Oklahoma), but like West Virginia, K-state lost their captain Colin Klein as well as 6 of their top 7 tacklers from last year. They have a strong pipeline of JUCO players and although they only return 10 starters, they have a number of upperclassmen that will be playing real minutes for the first time in their careers at K-state. They open their conference schedule with back-to-back road games against Texas and Okie St. and have 5 of their final 7 games at home so if they are able to win those first two road conference games they are certainly a contender, so at +1500 there’s some value there but going on the road and winning in Austin and Stillwater back-to-back weekends against teams with superior talent is obviously no guarantee.

Texas Tech: +1200—While I do think Texas Tech is headed in the right direction after their big offseason of bringing in Kingsbury to be the HC and in turn drawing a much strong recruiting class that usual, for now I still see them as more of a scary spoiler team than a true title contender. With sophomore QB Michael Brewer taking the reins from 2-year starter Seth Doege there will be some growing pains and the Red Raiders will be relying on their defense this year more than ever. So while the Raiders are sure to knock off at least one of the conference’s top teams this year, I think it will be a couple of years before we can really start talking about Big 12 championships out in LBK.

Iowa State: +1200—although Iowa State has had some big wins against ranked teams over the past few seasons (namely knocking off #2 Oklahoma State in 2011), and has seemingly embraced the unofficial title of the Big 12’s yearly Cinderella squad, there is one area in which the Cyclones will be lacking in 2013: talent. So because spoiler teams win big games, not conference championships, keep your money in your pocket with Iowa State.

Baylor: +1200—I’m not going to spend too much time here for one simple reason: the Big 12 scheduling committee buried Baylor’s Big 12 champion chances the day they released the conference schedules. To say the Bears’ schedule is back loaded is a gross understatement, they start off the year against the likes of Wofford, Buffalo and La-Monroe to give their fans a false sense of confidence moving into conference play because once November rolls around Baylor’s schedule looks like this: vs. Oklahoma, vs. Texas Tech, @Oklahoma State, @TCU, vs. Texas. I understand that you’re gonna have some tough stretches in any BCS conference schedule but holy shit, it almost makes me feel bad for them. But of course I don’t actually feel badly for them because, well because it’s Baylor.

Ah finally we have gotten out of the muck of the conference and have arrived at the teams that might actually win this thing.

TCU: +500—I’m going to start by quickly highlighting a few of the reasons why I, along with most others, consider the Frogs a legitimate contender this year:

·         Returning 9 starter’s from our 2012 top 25 defense; including Big 12 preseason Defensive Player of the Year Devonte Fields

·         Casey Pachall and his band of WRs (Brandon Carter, Ladarius Brown, Ja’juan Story and Cam White)

·         Running backs Waymon James, B.J. Catalon, Aaron Green and Jordan Moore

·         Gary Patterson

Aside from the above reasons which I’m sure most of you were already aware of, there’s a laundry list of other reasons to be excited about this season and our chances of coming out on top. Most namely, last year’s top 2 teams (OU and KSU) should be taking a step back in 2013, leaving the door wide open for the rest of the conference. A healthy amount of talent and veteran leadership on both sides of the ball should prove very important, especially in the big road conference games. GP and the rest of the TCU athletic department stepped up to the plate by scheduling LSU week 1, making a pretty clear statement that they’re not scared to play anybody and for good reason. Now it’s going to be awhile (if ever) before we get the credit, especially in the preseason, that we deserve just based on our lack of history compared to the UT’s and OU’s of the world, but a week 1 win over LSU would be a big step in proving to the nation that we deserve a seat at the big boy table. Back to the matter at hand, the Big 12. Due to the parity throughout the league this year I predict 8-1 wins the conference outright so hypothetically speaking we have room to drop 1 conference game and still be named the conference champs. Although the Big 12 is void of a dominant force this year that doesn’t mean that there aren’t high-caliber teams that we’ll need to beat. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech will all be tough, but winnable games. The middle 1/3rd of our season will be the true test and will tell the story of whether or not we make a run at the conference title. Starting on October 5th @Oklahoma the Frogs have a month long stretch that includes games in Norman and Stillwater, and home games against Kansas and UT. This is the type of stretch where you find out what you’re made of and where a team can really prove itself and climb the national rankings as all of these teams (with the exception of KU) should be ranked in the top 25. Regardless of the team they put on the field, Stillwater has never been an easy place to get a win. For those of you who have never been to a game at Boone Pickens Stadium, it’s a very hostile environment which in and of itself makes it a tough place to play, throw a team out there with the ability to move the ball like the Cowboys do and it’s sure to be a shootout (if you do make it up to Stillwater for the game and have time to hang around on Sunday, I recommend playing a round of golf at Karsten Creek Golf Club. It’s certainly the highlight of Stillwater and the home course of the OSU golf team so after we get the W go play out there in your TCU game day shirt if you’re really lookin to mix it up with the Pokes). Gaylord-Memorial Stadium has more of a DKR feel to it but is equally as daunting an environment so getting out of OK 2-0 would be an impressive feat and would send us well on our way to our first Big 12 trophy. Now as for T-Tech and UT, everybody knows the stories with those two. For those of you who have never been to Lubbock, you might want to keep it that way—there aren’t any 5-star golf courses in Lubbock coming to mind so unfortunately you’re out of luck there but if you want to feel a hell of a lot better about wherever it is you call home, go spend 72 hours in the LBK. I’ll get to the Texas game in a couple of paragraphs, but in conclusion, from the most unbiased point of view I am capable of, I really do think the Frogs have as good a shot as any to take the conference and they are my preseason pick to bring home the hardware.

Oklahoma State: +250—since I’ve already touched on a couple of the reasons why the Cowboys will be a tough opponent this year I’ll make this quick. The Pokes return 15 starters and 2 experience quarterbacks along with senior RB Jeremy Smith who found the end zone 8 times last year on just 70 carries. A number of casinos have OSU as the frontrunner and the consensus is that come November, they’ll be in the picture.

Oklahoma: +250—although the Sooners aren’t the top 5 preseason powerhouse that they have been in recent years, they are still a solid team (#17 in ESPNs preseason poll). The transition of star quarterback Landry Jones to Blake ‘Belldozer’ Bell is the main storyline going into 2013 but the Sooners are returning RBs Damien Williams and Brennan Clay so along with Bell it looks as though they’ll be able to successfully pound the ball on the ground, especially near the end zone. It’s on the other side of the ball where the Sooner’s will be vulnerable. They are taking a big step backwards as far as talent and experience so the typically balanced Sooners will need the Belldozer and Co. to consistently put up big numbers to keep pace in the offense-heavy Big 12. But even with their deficiencies on D, like OSU, the Sooners plan to be in contention late in the season.

Texas: +200—best preseason odds, highest ESPN preseason rank of any Big 12 team (#13), and a group of players destined for the NFL, on paper the ‘horns are the team to beat. But as you’ve seen over the past 3 years, there’s more that goes into successful football seasons that stockpiling 4 and 5 star recruits. If you talk to any Texas fan they will all give you what they believe is at the core of their recent failures (Mack Brown, instability at QB, injuries, etc.), the facts are that since losing Colt McCoy and the national champion ship to Alabama 4 years ago the Longhorns are 22-16 (11-15 in the Big 12), a respectable record…if you’re Iowa State. So for as long as UT continues to put teams on the field, people will pick them to win games, lots of games, but it’s up to them this year to break through, win the conference, and return to their implied spot as King of the Big 12. But I know GP has October 26th circled on the schedule and the Sooners are looking to make it 4 straight against the ‘horns, so UT will have to make it through the teeth of a Big 12 schedule just like everybody else if they want to call themselves the champ.

So while there are probably 5 or 6 teams that could realistically represent the Big 12 in a BCS bowl this year, chances are that team will be coming out of Austin, Fort Worth, or Oklahoma. But as it goes with every preseason, you can’t actually know what these teams are going to do until they put on the pads, but until August 31st all we can do is speculate…and speculate we will.