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.

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