Saturday, December 8, 2012

My Views of Frog's First Big 12 Season

Well... it's been a week since the final regular season football game of 2012 for TCU.  I am really proud of this group of guys, their spunk and no quit attitude.  That final pass to Josh Boyce almost got hauled in despite him having two OU defensive backs basically mugging him.  I wondered if GP would have immediately pulled out his "go for the kill" two point conversion from those over-hitched khaki's if Josh could have made that catch... I bet so.

Ever since I was a kid, I have compared things, noticing contrasts, similarities, what I like and what I don't like.  Guess I was destined to become a real estate appraiser.  I can say this, the overall new TCU product that is being now viewed on TV has a lot of solid positives.  College football season means I go into total overload of TCU, watching as many college football games as I can, stadiums, etc.  My appraiser mind automatically compares what I now see on TCU broadcasts with what all the data I've been registering from watching other big time schools.  Winning set aside, the total TCU product has come such a long way.  I'm really proud of the efforts the entire program has made.  But... just like any appraisal, there are some adjustments to be made.  I believe some of my following comments can help finish the deal for our Frogs.

New stadium - final product.
I used to be a season ticket holder, then life, kids, owning a business and living 130 miles from Cowtown has regulated me to TV duty for Frog games for now, but I will be back in the stands soon.  I did attend the open house back in August while working in Fort Worth.  Man, was I impressed.  Being a TV only viewer of games this year probably gives me a perspective like most everyone else in the country about the updated TCU product.  The stadium looks really great on TV.  Of course, there are three significant questionable observations to note: (1) All of the empty seats in the really good section, middle level of the home side.  I understand this is a sore spot with many of us, GP included.  I don't know how you change this, so I'm not spending much time on it.  (2) The big empty space in the TCU student section near the visiting band area.  During the OU game this giant gap looked like a white hole in the stadium from aerial views.  I'm sure everyone watching that game wondered about who was missing from these prime seats.  I wasn't sure if this was simply more of the tailgating/late comers issue from the past or has TCU just allocated too many seats for the students at home games.  I would think this can be changed, and it is understandable to believe the athletic department will look back at this first season and make adjustments.  (3)  Wasted parking is extremely evident on televised games.  That lot situated to the northeast of the stadium is rarely 50% used.  It looks questionable during the second quarter when TV gives an aerial shot of this great new stadium and that parking lot is so bare.  Heck, if the "important people" aren't going to be there by a respectable time, then let others park there.

Since superstition has now entered into the conversation with TCU losing all of their Big 12 home games this season, I want to place my vote for adding a new tradition, wearing the road white uniforms for specified home games.  Heck, the Frogs wear all kinds of new uniforms now anyway.  Why can't Nike look at old photos and get a really good throwback uniform based on what TCU wore in the old days... white shirt, purple numbers, purple helmet, khaki pants with big black strip down the backside of the leg.  With the current black and gray secondary color scheme, khaki could be replaced with gray or white.  I must say I do like the new purple chrome helmets, but the big black stripe on the other new helmet doesn't work for me.  The strip is too big and looks like an afterthought.  Also, man... I do not like ANY of the gray or white-fade-to-gray helmets.  On TV these just look like dirty helmets (please read a previous blog referring to SDSU's fade to black helmets).

From 1974 until 1997 I'm pretty sure I was one of very few TCU fans in East Texas.  In those days I caught a ton of ridicule and persecution for claiming to be a Horned Frog fan (East Texas has it's share of Longhorn and Baylor fans, but ET seems to be dominated by Aggies), especially considering I am not an alumni.  I've got to say my perception of our TCU fan brethren is extremely high these days.  It is so great to watch TCU play on TV and hear that "T-C-U FROGS!" (loud and audible) on every kick-off.  The TCU fan base of course includes alumni, but it is dependent on those of us who either because we had a family member go to TCU or for some other reason picked these guys in purple to follow.  For the past three years I have noticed an exponential increase in our fan base.  Of course winning in football has been the bell cow of this surge, but we must give credit to TCU for getting their brand out there.  The DFW area has boomed to about 7 million people and TCU has done a great job in doing what they can to bring in new followers.  Keep up the great work!

Finally, I am going to address one aspect of the TCU product that the school has no control over.  Call me old fashioned, controlling, small minded, a big time homer or intolerant, but I get so sick of reading some of the crap that comes from local media.  I realize TCU is located in DFW and media here is as critical as it can be about any sports related issues.  Read the Austin American Statesman, Waco Tribune or Bryan-College Station papers and you get a slant toward the local guys that for the most part is supportive and positive.  For the most part the Star-Telegram is still a hometown paper for TCU, but I wish TCU and the ST would ship Mac Engel to Dallas where his kind of writing belongs.  While your helping Mac (aka Skip Bayless, Jr.) load his stuff up with a one way ticket on the Trinity Express, let's send TCU360 with him.  Maybe I watch too much Sons of Anarchy, but one thing that really gets under my skin is a guy with a TCU degree and teaching at the school leading the charge against GP or the football program when something goes wrong, (then both conveniently re-writing about the same issue six months later just before football season).  I also get sick of hearing some other TCU journalism folks defending that product in the name of "free press" or a long held scorn between the athletics department and regular students from years ago.  Hogwash!  There... I've shared my feelings about this.

Overall... my congratulations to everybody TCU for this hard-fought season.  As Skip Bayless, Jr. would say, "... you're not playing New Mexico every game anymore" (as if TCU did).  These Frogs proved they belong in the Big 12.  This program stepped onto the big stage on an every week basis and proved they belong.  Way to go, Frogs!

Now let's go kick Michigan State's butt.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

TCU Should Just Circle the Wagons

Okay... if you were surprised to hear that Casey Pachall admitted to using drugs while living under the same roof with former Frog linebacker Tanner Brock, then I have some ocean front property for sale for you in Jack County.  This comment is not meant to slam Casey, but to acknowledge that birds of a feather typically fly together.  You want to know what your teenagers are like, just check-out their group of friends.  The same goes for college students.
Above football, even TCU football is the well being of Casey Pachall.  I sincerely hope he has seen the ills of his drug exploration days and has put his life in a place that does not include such substances.  The best way for Casey to do this is embrace his strength, which is playing football for TCU.  Sure... I know those outside the TCU fold will laugh and be critical about that last comment, but it is true.
In 1985 after SMU received much notice about their pay for play scandal, Jim Wacker put it out there that he would kick any players receiving illegal pay off the team.  Little did Jim realize that by the second game of the season TCU would be rocked with several of his best players admitting to getting pay for play money.  Wacker proceeded to kick All-American running back Kenneth Davis and other key players off the team.  I believe Wacker and TCU officials thought that action would help the consideration of their penalties from the NCAA, but it didn't.  The NCAA still brought the hammer down on TCU with what was then referred to as a "Walking Death Penalty" of severe scholarship limitations for the next three seasons.  Once the dust settled and Wacker experienced what happened, he let it be known he wished he had kept the players on the team.
Now that TCU is big time and Big 12, Horned Frog Athletics must act like the other teams that are big time programs.  That means TCU Administration, Athletics, followers, fans and Alumni circle the wagons and take care of our own.  I'm not saying to allow wrong doing, but I am saying that in 1985 TCU sought public approval of their attempts to right a wrong, but you can't do that.
TCU must do what it can to internally right all wrongs and just choose to endure all criticism and calls for transparency from the media, even is the media exists on it's own campus.
Just my opinion, but that is how big time programs move forward.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Legend of the Hog Caller - Beginnings of book about Amon Carter Stadium (Old and New)

If you are a fan of Amon Carter Stadium, the first two chapters of a book I began last year are available to read in my other blog, Legend of the Hogcaller .  This blog can also be accessed via my Blogger profile page.

Story blends the origin of Amon Carter Stadium with its demolition, while weaving a story throughout.  The first 17 pages are available in this blog.  I hope to get back to this project and eventually get it published someday. 

Characters and most of the old stories about Hog Caller Myers, Slim Kinsey, Dutch Meyer and Francis Schmidt are stories shared with me by my late uncle, Wallace "Hog Caller" Myers.  Hog ( as he was known back at TCU in the early 30's) is a memeber of the TCU Letterman's Hall of Fame and a 1934 All-American in basketball.

Let me know your thoughts about this project.  I appreciate your input.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mascot Appraisal 101... SDSU

This is the first of a regular bit I plan to explore on this blog.  There are some great and really original mascots in college sports... our Horned Frog, Longhorn, Sooner, Jayhawk, Volunteers, etc.  Some mascots just don't do it for me.  San Diego State University's Aztec is one of the worst mascots going (not to mention those stupid fade to black helmets the football team wore a couple of years ago - but that's another bit I'll address later).

It really appears that SDSU chose this character as kind of an Oak Lawn version of the USC Trojan.  What kind of warrior would wear his feathers bunched-up on top of his head like that?  Looks like something Paul Abdul would do with her hair. As far as Mascot Appraisal goes, the SDSU Aztec is definitely in the 110 to 120 range of Division I-A schools.  No top 25 here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Spit Blood... Big 12... Bigger Stadium?

First... let me send out a special "Thank You" to our friends at Spit Blood for their well wishes on the new Horned Frogs, Hangovers and Hackers Blog.  I've been a loyal reader of Spit Blood for years.  It's the best place to realize your true feelings as a Horned Frog for Baylor, SMU, etc.  Great Blog!!!

Make Room for TCU

Tomorrow will be the day TCU takes it's place among our new Big 12 breatheren.  This is an opportunity TCU can't refuse.  The Big East gig was looking good until Syracuse and Pitt bolted for the ACC.  And if you'd asked me before they left about taking a Big 12 offer over the  Big East, I'd probably said "No".  Not anymore.  We need this Big 12 opportunity for survival with the bigger athletic programs.  The extra TV $$ will also be a welcomed addition to the TCU bank account.  Think about this... these past 13 years of success have been done with severely limited TV revenue.  Sheesh... our MWC TV income was something like $1.5 million yearly.  Come next June, TCU can expect something like $20 million deposited in their account from the new Big 12 participation.  It will be nice operating with the same kind of TV money that Baylor and TTech receive.  Let's see what TCU can do with all that new revenue.

Does joining the Big 12 change current stadium plans?

One of my first vivid memories of TCU as a kid was seeing that old upper deck of Amon Carter Stadium with the old "cTu" embroidered in the armchair seats.  It was during the early 1970's and I was hooked on TCU, stadiums and especially ACS from that time on.  TCU added that upper deck during the mid-50's when my mom was attending college (and ogling Jim Swink in her math class).  The 50's were also a great time for Horned Frog Football, and TCU realized the need for a larger venue to host their football games.  That old upper deck really made a statement back in those days.

I've really been inpressed with the architect's renderings of the new stadium..The new east side plans were released a couple of months ago.  But now... I am wondering if 50,000 capacity is enough to accommodate hosting half of UT, OU, OSU, TTech, BU, KU, Mizzou (maybe),etc.?  In the past couple of years, I have finally seen TCU fill the stadium with mostly our own fans.  Will the new east side be altered to accommodate more fans because of the Big 12 announcement?

I realize cost would come into play about this matter.  There is also the idea that limiting the size also limits the number of visiting fans that can attend the games.  Ensuring a TCU based crowd would be a pretty cool thing to think about, especially when I've got to believe that UT and Tech will still be thinking about invading the new ACS in the same fashion they did back in the SWC days.  It ain't gonna happen!!! 

Why Gary Patterson's Blood Pressure Spiked

GP:  "June... that's a terrible looking shirt.  What's next... coveralls?  Do you even own a belt?"

The Dallas Traveling Luau just cruised through Cowtown.  Range Rovers, Lexus and Mercedes dominated the visitor's portion of the parking lot.  June Jones shows up wearing a shirt that looks like he inherited it from his uncle.  The SMU coaching staff was sporting their new relaxed look with shirts untucked.  I didn't notice, but was the band wearing grass skirts?  What ever happened to the SMU preppy rich kid look?  Crank up the Don Ho.

Losing to SMOO is just as bad as losing to Baylor.  Not sure which is worse. 

Baylor's congregation washes away their sinful football past and believes one win over TCU equalizes their football program to the Horned Frogs acheivments over the past decade.  This is the same mentality that believes that Baylor is the... um... cough... gag... "Duke of the Big 12" when it comes to basketball.  Come on... really?  Just as one decent NCAA Tournament showing does not equal Duke's numerous national championships and final fours... (barely) beating TCU in football (in a rebuilding year) doesn't mean your football team is a top 10 program.

Now the Frogs lose to SMU.  Nobody can act superior to you like the Ponies.  June Jones can act like he is completely unaware of his little backhanded compliment of TCU.  But with an ego almost as grand as former TTech Coach Mike Leach, he has his own way of smugging himself into an attitude much like Baylor folks.  "Uh... gosh... did I say something wrong?  I didn't mean to.  I was complimenting you.  Good (cough) job, Gary (cough... cough)."

We've all been there.  At school or at the office.  There's that guy.  The one what betters you one time, then acts like he's owned you his entire life in front of the boss, in the conference room and at the water cooler.  June Jones is that guy, just like Mike Leach is that guy. 

However... this is not the basis of GP's frustration.

Gary Patterson is going into the red zone with his anger because he gets no respect.  GP knows that even though he has built TCU to a good solid football program, Horned Frog football roots are always suspect to anyone who will diss the program.  Gary Patterson realizes just how easy it is for all of this to go away and be forgotten and discounted.  It's just as easily discounted as all those plush, new purple prime seats behind his shoulder going unused for the first three home games.  If your own people (the rich ones) won't show up, who will?  If you ask me... that is was the first spark in Gary Patterson's purple inferno.  Hey folks... yeah... you rich ones with the good seats.  If you're not going to go to the game, please make sure someone else uses your seats.

Frankly, I'm glad Gary Patterson has such a passion for TCU.  I've been a TCU fan since the early '70's and I believe TCU needs more Gary Pattersons.  I like having a football coach that gets up when he's been knocked down and smashes somebody back in the teeth, and doesn't apologize for it.

This temper tantrum is not as much about losing to Baylor and SMU in a rebuilding year as it is getting support and respect from some of your own fan base.  GP sees what is going on behind him and he doesn't like it.

Some of you soutwest side big cigars and socialites might want to take note before you make him really mad and he takes one of these offers from larger colleges that come around ever other season.

I'm proud Gary Patterson is my coach and I like the idea that he is mad.