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The Countdown

A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.

The Countdown

No. 22: T.C.U.

T.C.U. has won 47 games since 2008, the third-most in college football: Boise State has 50 wins, Alabama 48. T.C.U. has won 50 of its last 55 game overall, with losses to Oklahoma, Utah, Boise State, S.M.U. and Baylor joining wins over… I’m not writing out that list. T.C.U. ended its affiliation with the Mountain West with 24 straight league wins, the longest current conference winning streak in the F.B.S., and with three straight M.W.C. titles — the first team in the league’s history to have done so. T.C.U. has won at least 10 games in each of the last four years, matching the program’s previous tally of double-digit win seasons from its inception through 1997, the year before Gary Patterson’s arrival. Having hit the glass ceiling, having achieved all there is to achieve on the non-B.C.S. conference level, T.C.U. is about to hit the big time. The Horned Frogs are going from AAA to the majors, the Mountain West to the Big 12 — via the Big East — and it’s about time.

Conference
Big 12

Location
Fort Worth, Tex.

Nickname
Horned Frogs

Returning starters
11 (5 offense, 6 defense)

Last year’s ranking
No. 19

2011 record
(11-2, 7-0)

Last year’s
re-ranking

No. 12

2012 schedule

  • Sept. 8
    Grambling St.
  • Sept. 15
    at Kansas
  • Sept. 22
    Virginia
  • Sept. 29
    at S.M.U.
  • Oct. 6
    Iowa St.
  • Oct. 13
    at Baylor
  • Oct. 20
    Texas Tech
  • Oct. 27
    at Oklahoma St.
  • Nov. 3
    at West Virginia
  • Nov. 10
    Kansas St.
  • Nov. 24
    at Texas
  • Dec. 1
    Oklahoma

Last year’s prediction

Yeah, Pachall is young, green and untested. Yes, he might struggle early. But his early struggles will yield dividends down the stretch. You can say that for the entire team, offense and defense: the T.C.U. you see in September won’t be the same T.C.U. you see in November and December. The Horned Frogs will get better and better each week, you can bet the farm on that. So what’s the bottom line? I’m more likely to wager 9-3, with perhaps a 1-1 start but terrific play in October, November and December. In the small picture, this may look like a one-year lull. In the big picture, T.C.U. will get its slight growing pains out of the way before heading to the [Big 12] in 2012. But in 2011, the combination of youth and a tough schedule will lead to a few stumbles.

2011 recap

In a nutshell If this is rebuilding, then sign me up. It’s rebuilding, T.C.U. edition: new quarterback, new offensive line, new receiver corps, new secondary, double-digit wins. Of that group, only the secondary suffered any wide-ranging growing pains. Baylor ripped the defense to shreds in the season opener and S.M.U. did the same a month later, and even in defeat Kellen Moore had his way through the air. The team’s only losses came by a combined nine points, in overtime to the Mustangs and thanks to Robert Griffin III’s late-game brilliance. T.C.U.’s rebuilding season would have been a banner season for the overwhelming majority of the F.B.S.

High point A 36-35 win at Boise State on Nov. 12, which put an end to the Broncos’ long home winning streak and gave T.C.U. the Mountain West crown. In all, the Horned Frogs had six wins against bowl teams: Boise, Air Force, San Diego State, B.Y.U., Wyoming and Louisiana Tech.

Low point Baylor hurt worse, but S.M.U. was the worse loss. Make sense? In each loss, T.C.U. needed a furious fourth quarter surge to draw within striking distance: 25 consecutive points against the Bears, 16 unanswered points against the Mustangs.

Tidbit T.C.U. is 7-3 against ranked opposition since the start of the 2008 season. The seven wins include three victories over teams then ranked in the top 10: No. 8 B.Y.U. and No. 9 Boise State in 2008, No. 5 Utah and No. 5 Wisconsin in 2010 and No. 5 Boise State in 2011. In all, T.C.U. is 12-7 against ranked teams since Patterson’s promotion to head coach late in the 2000 season. Quite simply, there aren’t many teams that fare better against the nation’s elite.

Tidbit (Big 12 edition) The Horned Frogs are 128-168-17 all-time against those programs that make up the Big 12, though that number is misleading: T.C.U. played the vast majority of those games as a member of the SWC, and the program went through several downturns as part of that league during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. A more useful record is 6-4 – T.C.U.’s mark under Patterson against teams currently in the Big 12. T.C.U. is 3-1 against Baylor, 1-0 against Iowa State, 1-1 against Oklahoma, 0-1 against Texas and 1-1 against Texas Tech.

Tidbit (B.C.S. competition edition) One more: T.C.U. is 16-4 against B.C.S. conference competition since the start of the 2002 season. Each of those losses have come against Big 12 foes, however – the Red Raiders in 2004, Texas in 2007, Oklahoma in 2008 and Baylor last fall.

Tidbit (magic number edition) T.C.U.’s magic number: 99. That’s in terms of rushing yards allowed per game, a fairly common achievement for this program. Since 2007, T.C.U. is 36-3 when allowing 99 or fewer rushing yards per game – 14-0 over the last two seasons. The outliers: a 17-10 loss to Boise State in 2010 Fiesta Bowl (77 yards allowed), a 35-10 loss to Oklahoma in 2008 (25 yards) and a 13-10 loss to Utah in 2008 (45 yards). Since the start of the 2007 season, T.C.U. has allowed an average of 90.9 rushing yards per game.

Former players in the N.F.L.

21 TE Logan Brock (Houston), DE Braylon Broughton (New Orleans), RB Aaron Brown (Cincinnati), OT Marcus Cannon (New England), LB Tank Carder (Buffalo), CB Drew Coleman (Detroit), QB Andy Dalton (Cincinnati), LS Clint Gresham (Seattle), LB David Hawthorne (New Orleans), DE Jerry Hughes (Indianapolis), S Colin Jones (San Francisco), WR Jeremy Kerley (New York Jets), CB Greg McCoy (Chicago), OT Marshall Newhouse (Green Bay), LB Jason Phillips (Carolina), OT Herb Taylor (Green Bay), OT Michael Toudouze (San Diego), LB Daryl Washington (Arizona), RB Ed Wesley (Dallas), CB Malcolm Williams (New England), WR Jimmy Young (Pittsburgh).

Arbitrary top five list

T.C.U.’s wins as non-B.C.S. program (under Patterson)
1. 2010: T.C.U. 21, Wisconsin 19.
2. 2005: T.C.U. 17, Oklahoma 10.
3. 2008: T.C.U. 17, Boise State 16.
4. 2011: T.C.U. 36, Boise State 35.
5. 2009: T.C.U. 14, Clemson 10.

Coaching

Gary Patterson (Kansas State ’83), 109-30 after 11 full seasons with the Horned Frogs. He is the first coach in the program’s history to post more than two 10-win seasons (2002-3, 2005-6, 2008-11), and his 78.4 career winning percentage through 139 games is the program’s best mark of the modern era. Minus an unexpected 5-6 season in 2004, the Horned Frogs have been consistently strong each season since 2002. Patterson’s forte is defense, and his attention to that side of the ball has manifested itself in the top units T.C.U. has put together over much of his tenure. That makes sense: Patterson spent three years as the T.C.U. defensive coordinator (1998-2000) before being promoted following Dennis Franchione’s departure for Alabama. It is altogether fitting that Patterson was hired to replace Franchione, given how important Texas State’s head coach was to his career. Patterson’s professional fortunes mirrored those of his professional mentor; he followed his predecessor up the coaching ladder, from Pittsburg State to New Mexico up to T.C.U., before taking the Horned Frogs to new heights over the last decade-plus. Patterson has built upon Franchione’s success — the Frogs went 10-2 in 2000, his final season — pushing T.C.U. into the top stratosphere of non-B.C.S. conference programs en route to this season’s arrival in the Big 12. T.C.U.’s 103-24 mark from 2002-11 trailed only Boise State’s for the best record among non-B.C.S. conference programs. Already a major figure, Patterson’s stature will grow immensely once T.C.U. heads to the Big 12 and goes toe-to-toe with some of the nation’s most elite programs. T.C.U. has realized a dream; Patterson got it there. Few head coaches in football mean more to their respective program.

Tidbit (coaching edition) There are two new names on Patterson’s coaching staff, though only one is entering his first season with the program – if you know what I mean. After a disastrous one-year stint as Texas Tech’s defensive coordinator, Chad Glasgow returns as T.C.U.’s safeties coach; while ill-suited for a coordinator role, Glasgow proved himself as one of the nation’s best position coaches over his previous incarnation as a member of Patterson’s staff. You can make a similar statement about new linebackers coach Randy Shannon, who replaces Tony Tademy: Shannon didn’t fit the bill as Miami’s head coach, but as anyone close to the program will tell you, he did wonderful work as the Hurricanes’ linebackers coach and defensive coordinator.

The Frogs also lost co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Justin Fuente, the new head coach at Memphis. As expected, Patterson shuffled duties among his returning assistants. For one, former safeties coach Trey Haverty moves over to the wide receivers. Former wide receivers coach Rusty Burns replaces Fuente, and brings with him more than a decade of coordinator experience – at S.M.U., Cincinnati, Wyoming and Memphis. Everything else remains the same: Dick Bumpas is still leading the defense and the defensive line, most of all.

Players to watch

While T.C.U.’s former starting quarterback was leading the Cincinnati Bengals to the playoffs – the Bengals, of all teams – his replacement, junior Casey Pachall, was breaking all of his short-lived school records. You could understand the slight concerns heading into September: Pachall was replacing Andy Dalton, one of the most under-recognized quarterbacks in college football history, and was entering his debut season as the starter with all of nine career attempts. Thirteen games later, Pachall’s name is littered throughout T.C.U.’s record book; thirteen games later, Pachall is a Heisman contender.

And it only took one game for the junior to lessen any concerns surrounding the position. He went toe-to-toe with the eventual Heisman winner, Robert Griffin III, in a seesaw, back-and-forth loss in the season opener. While Baylor won the battle and the war, Pachall came out smelling like a rose: 25 of 39 for 251 yards and 4 touchdowns, another 24 yards and a score on the ground. So long, worries – hello, Pachall. When the dust cleared, Pachall held new school records for completions (228), completion percentage (66.5) and passing yards (2,921), and was within a whisker of breaking Dalton’s mark for touchdowns (25 to 27).

His national coming-out party came later, when Pachall threw for 473 yards and 5 scores in the one-point win over Boise State. But he was terrific nearly throughout, outside of a down performance in the bowl win over Louisiana Tech, and Pachall’s evenness as a first-year starter makes him one of the up-and-coming players in college football – not just at quarterback, but across the board. So what does he do for an encore? He’ll be even more polished as a passer; his numbers should increase in the more pass-heavy Big 12, even if the Frogs will want to retain the offense’s recent balance.

Pachall will be more comfortable in the pocket, perhaps giving T.C.U. more explosiveness downfield. And while he’s not a true dual-threat quarterback, Pachall has shown an ability to move the sticks with his feet – against Baylor and Air Force early, and again in the postseason against the Bulldogs. What you’re looking at here is a junior just scratching the surface, a player that will eventually set every passing record at a school not short on superb quarterback play. All Pachall needs to do is get his head straight, ridding himself of the off-field distractions, before joining the nation’s elite class of players at his position. Pachall’s one of the new guys, but I’d put him no lower than fourth on the totem pole of Big 12 quarterbacks.

While T.C.U.’s offensive line is a concern – more pessimistically, it’s a major, major concern – but the worries don’t extend to the skill positions. Not by a long shot: T.C.U. is young, proven and explosive both in the backfield and at wide receiver. While running back depth took a hit when would-be senior Ed Wesley left the program in May, the Frogs still return a pair of 700-yard rushers, an experienced senior and a true freshman who ranked among the best backs in Texas during the most recent recruiting cycle. Don’t look for any drop off in the running game.

Not having Wesley means more carries for senior Matthew Tucker (702 yards, 12 touchdowns) and junior Waymon James (875 yards), the remaining two parts of last year’s devastatingly effective ground attack. Wesley’s 120 carries will go somewhere: Tucker and James will get more touches, but so should senior Aundre Dean (130), a former U.C.L.A. transfer who has been squeezed out of the rotation by the team’s top trio. A fourth option is true freshman B.J. Catalon, a shiftier, more all-purpose back who could find a role as a rookie. The Frogs have another very valuable piece in sophomore quarterback Matt Brown, who scored six times – tied for second on the team – running the ball out of shotgun.

The headliners remain the same: senior Skye Dawson (45 catches for 500 yards), junior Josh Boyce (61 for 998, 9 scores) and sophomore Brandon Carter (23 for 352). It’s a different story from this time a year ago, when Boyce was the only returning receiver of consequence and T.C.U. wondered about the effectiveness of its passing game – it’s even hard to remember when this was a concern. With Boyce one of the top four or five receivers in the Big 12, Carter and Dawson far more seasoned and a group of sophomores and freshmen hungry to join the rotation, West Virginia’s the only team in the Big 12 that brings more to the table at receiver.

Boyce is on a path towards national recognition; he followed up a very strong freshman season with an all-conference performance last fall, and it’s clear that he’s Pachall’s favorite target on must-have downs. One sophomore, Cam White, will move into a starting role – replacing Antoine Hicks, who had a nice bounce-back year as a senior – while several more fill out the two-deep. The youngsters angling for attention include sophomore David Porter, redshirt freshmen LaDarius Brown and David Bush and true freshman Kolby Listenbee. Keep an eye on Brown, who will be special.

Last year’s defense was uncharacteristically bad: T.C.U. ranked 32nd nationally in total defense and 28th in scoring, and yes, that’s bad by the program’s recent standard – quite bad, in fact. But while most of the attention focused on an underachieving secondary, last year’s defense highlighted one disturbing trend: a decline in production against the run. While T.C.U. set the bar extremely high in 2008, when it formed one of the best run defenses in college football history, last year’s group allowed nine teams to crack the 100-yard mark. While not a huge issue against Mountain West teams, T.C.U. must get back to its dominating ways up front to help this secondary combat the Big 12’s offensive potency in the passing game.

This defensive front is still very young. There’s only one senior on the two-deep: Ross Forrest (32 tackles, 6.0 for loss) gives T.C.U. very steady play at one end spot. He’s joined on the other side by junior Stansly Maponga (55 tackles, 13.5 for loss, 9.0 sacks), a two-time all-M.W.C. pick who remains largely unknown outside of his own conference – though that’s about to change, in my opinion, and soon. The Horned Frogs are looking great at end, and not just when it comes to the two starters: T.C.U. is also a year wiser along the second level, where Jon Koontz and Cliff Murphy provide depth. Bumpas has enough weapons at his disposal – counting two freshmen, led by Devonte Fields – to allow T.C.U. to move sophomore Cliff Murphy to tight end, where he could be useful in the running game.

But it’s not solely on the ends to get stops in the running game, even if that’s part of what Maponga, Forrest and company bring to the table. An improved effort against the run will hinge entirely on the Frogs’ ability to stand tall along the interior, something this defense will attempt to do with would-be senior D.J. Yendrey, who was one of three potential starters on defense dismissed from the team in February. Losing Yendrey, an honorable mention all-conference pick last fall, leaves T.C.U. searching for the right combination along the middle of the line.

What we know: David Johnson (28 tackles, 7.0 for loss) and Ray Burns return at nose tackle after sharing time in the starting lineup a year ago. What else we know: Johnson will start, as he did over the final two months of 2011, and play at an all-conference level – from my viewpoint, Johnson was the most impressive youngster on this team over the second half of last season. What remains unknown is whether sophomores Jon Lewis (16 tackles, 3.0 for loss) and Chuck Hunter (17 tackles) can match Yendrey’s ability to disrupt plays in the backfield – though Yendrey wasn’t an all-American, I should add. Based on youth and potential, this line has the pieces to eventually lead T.C.U. back to its high standard; I just wonder how long it will take, and whether T.C.U. will, at some point this season, regain its place among the best run-stopping teams in the country.

T.C.U. gave up 23 touchdowns through the air last fall – five fewer than the Frogs did from 2008-10 combined. So there was a decline, not only in the down-by-down yardage this secondary allowed but also in terms of big plays; the Frogs gave up 43 passing plays of 20 or more yards, 22 of 30 or more yards and 11 of 40 or more yards. If this secondary does improve it won’t be due to returning experience: T.C.U. lost four starters, including all three starting safeties in this defense’s 4-2-5 base set. Now watch the pass defense improve.

It’s a simple idea: T.C.U.’s replacements are better than last year’s starters. While I hesitate to make that leap before seeing this group in action, it’s clear that last year’s secondary was never on the same page, and that in this case, the Frogs’ experience was for naught. One factor to consider is the fact that this new group can’t be any worse; in fact, there’s enough talent to see T.C.U. take a nice step forward despite the stouter schedule. It all comes down to cornerback play, where T.C.U. returns junior Jason Verrett (58 tackles), who grew as the starter over the course of last season, but is looking for a youngster to fill Greg McCoy’s shoes on the other side.

The leading contender is sophomore Kevin White (18 tackles), who made three midseason starts as a redshirt freshmen. But he’ll have his hands full with redshirt freshman Travoskey Garrett, who would have played last fall had he not been injured, and JUCO transfer Keivon Gamble, who was on campus for spring ball. The three new safeties will be sophomore Jonathan Anderson (49 tackles), junior Elisha Olabode and sophomore Sam Carter – probably Carter, though special teams ace Antonio Graves, also a sophomore, gives T.C.U. another option. One of that pair will line up at strong safety, replacing Devin Johnson, a second would-be starter dismissed in February. There’s no doubt that returning Glagow will help these safeties reach their full potential — especially Anderson, who has a bright future.

The third lost defensive starter was Tanner Brock, the former all-American linebacker who missed all of last season due to an ankle injury. And there was everyday attrition: would-be sophomore Deryck Gildon, who looked like a star in limited action last fall, left the program in May. That leaves senior Kenny Cain (72 tackles), who will earn all-Big 12 honors, as the lone man standing. He’ll continue to make things happen on the strong side, as he did a year ago, but T.C.U. needs help from sophomores Joel Hasley and Paul Dawson in the middle. While Hasley topped the depth chart heading into fall camp, Dawson, who was a very late addition to this year’s recruiting class, could make a run at the top job once he learns the system.

So, in order of concern: cornerback, defensive tackle, middle linebacker. Based on the recent past, this group has more question marks than you typically find on a Bumpas-led defense. The good news is that T.C.U. can’t get much worse than it was a year ago, even if the class of competition is due to take a huge step forward. But you see the youth throughout this defense – and as a result, I wonder whether the Frogs are ready at this point to slow down the rest of the Big 12 with consistency. Again, there are standards in place here, and these standards have set an awfully high bar. The young linemen, linebackers and defensive backs really need to come together before October.

Few teams are as consistently superb on special teams – a sign of good coaching. The Horned Frogs lost a few contributors in the return game, but having Carter back for punts and James and Dawson handling kickoffs should prevent any decline whatsoever. T.C.U. will break in a new kicker and punter, however: Ryan DeNucci replaces Ross Evans after serving as the kickoff specialist for the latter stages of last season, and senior Cale Patterson is the favorite to step in for Anson Kelton at punter. I’m not worried. Come rain, shine, Mountain West or Big 12, T.C.U. will have an edge on special teams.

Position battle(s) to watch

Offensive line This is an area of concern, and nowhere more so than at tackle, where T.C.U. moves forward not only without both of last year’s starters but also junior James Dunbar, whose eligibility remains up in the air due to academic concerns. Dunbar’s questionable availability is only the latest blow to the Frogs’ tackle depth; remember that would-be junior Ty Horn, last year’s backup on the strong side, was one of the four players dismissed from the team in February. With Horn and Dunbar gone, offensive line coach Eddie Williamson is down to junior Bobby Thompson and redshirt freshman Eric Tausch at right tackle – unless Dunbar gets his schoolwork in order, one of the two will be taking on a huge role for this offense.

By comparison, T.C.U.’s situation at left tackle is outstanding. The Frogs will replace Jeff Olson with sophomore Tayo Fabuluje, a former B.Y.U. transfer with the size, length and athleticism to be an all-conference pass protector. But for all his gifts, Fabuluje is as raw as they come: he took a redshirt in Provo in 2010 and sat out last season as a transfer, so he’s not only stepping onto the field for the first time but also not a traditional sophomore, in a sense – typically, a sophomore at T.C.U. would have two years of experience in this system, not merely one. While sophomore Michael Thompson is listed as Fabuluje’s backup at left tackle, his size and strength point towards an eventual move over to the right side, perhaps as early as this coming season.

The line’s saving grace is a strong interior. T.C.U. returns a pair of seniors in the middle, with James Fry at center and Blaize Foltz at right guard; Foltz was a first-team all-M.W.C. pick last fall, not to mention one of the most physical gifted interior linemen in the country, and Fry is due to take another step forward after a nice first season as the Frogs’ starting center. Another Foltz might join this pair at left guard: Brady, a redshirt freshman, is battling junior John Woolridge for the starting role. This interior is more than strong enough to dictate the tempo in the running game, but I can’t help but worry about T.C.U.’s ability to protect Pachall with its issues at tackle. All should be fine if Fabuluje matches his potential and Dunbar is reinstated in time for the season opener – but it’s far too early to say if both of those scenarios come to pass, let alone one of them.

Game(s) to watch

T.C.U. breaks into the Big 12 with Kansas, Iowa State, Baylor and Texas Tech – that’s nice. But the Frogs end their debut with Oklahoma State, West Virginia, Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma – that’s not so nice. This is life in the Big 12: T.C.U. won’t find much smooth sailing, but the team must take advantage when it does. Making matters a touch more difficult are non-conference games against Virginia and S.M.U., two definite bowl teams and two teams with conference title potential. As noted, the Frogs played 20 B.C.S. conference teams from 2002-11; they’ll take on 10 B.C.S. conference teams this fall. The step up has its drawbacks – though T.C.U. would have it no other way, of course.

Season breakdown & prediction

In a nutshell There are two non-B.C.S. conference programs who could step right into this Big 12 – the deepest league in the country, in my opinion – and immediately challenge for a conference title. Boise State is one; T.C.U. is the other. Why the Horned Frogs are up for this challenge has everything to do with the system Patterson and his staff have installed over the last decade-plus. It’s not so much a blueprint for beating specific teams as a blueprint for beating every team: T.C.U. wins at the point of attack, controls the line of scrimmage, runs the ball effectively, limits its turnovers, forces its own turnovers and dominates on special teams. No matter what league you’re in, whether the Mountain West or the Big 12, Sun Belt or SEC, this is a winning formula.

In other words, my issues with these specific team involve T.C.U.’s personnel – and in no way, shape or form the program’s ability to win games in the Big 12. If you think that Patterson and T.C.U. can’t win in this league, and eventually win big, then you haven’t been watching the Horned Frogs take flight over the last five years. In terms of personnel, however, T.C.U. is dealing with some question marks on both sides of the ball. The first is the offensive line, which is patchwork at tackle; as a result, I worry that T.C.U. won’ be able to keep Pachall clean against some of the Big 12’s ferocious defensive fronts. On defense, there’s too much youth throughout, especially in the secondary, to call for a marked improvement over last year’s weaker numbers. These issues are survivable in the Mountain West but not in the Big 12, as T.C.U. will soon find out. But I like the fact that T.C.U.’s tough conference slate comes late in the year; by that point, the Frogs may be on the same page.

In all, T.C.U. is one of five teams I can see winning the Big 12. To do so, the Frogs would need to put forth a vintage defensive effort to go with this potentially explosive offense – and the offense needs it own line to gel. Bringing in coaches like Glasgow and Shannon will help the defense, but that won’t be enough: T.C.U. is very good, potentially 10-win good, but not yet ready to move past Oklahoma, Texas and rest of the league’s top group and earn a B.C.S. bowl bid. And if you don’t think it can get there, well, you don’t know T.C.U.

Dream season New league, same story. T.C.U. goes 12-0, 9-0 in Big 12 play, to earn not only a B.C.S. bid but a berth in the national title game.

Nightmare season A strong start quickly turns to dust in October. The Horned Frogs drop five of seven to end the year, including all four games in November, and finish in the bottom half of the Big 12.

In case you were wondering

Where do T.C.U. fans congregate? The top choices are Killer Frogs, the largest and most fervent T.C.U. fan site, and Frogs O’ War, a more recent addition to the Horned Frogs’ blog ranks. Recruiting coverage can be found at Horned Frogs BlitzPurple Menace and Big Purple Nation. For more T.C.U. blogs, check out Horned Frogs Sports.

T.C.U.’s all-name nominee OT Halapoulivaati Vaitai.

Word Count

Through 103 teams 418,511.

Up Next

Who is No. 21? In all, the head coaches in the history of tomorrow’s school have compiled a 59-27-4 mark in their final seasons as a head coach just prior to taking over at the program.

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Comments

  1. Patrick says:

    No TCU fan would put the Clemson win ahead of the 2009/10 wins against Utah. Not after the manner in which Utah beat TCU in 2008.

  2. bayzing says:

    “No TCU fan would put the Clemson win ahead of the 2009/10 wins against Utah. Not after the manner in which Utah beat TCU in 2008.”

    COULDN’T AGREE MORE!!!!

    TCU will do just fine in the BIG 12… and probably compete for the conference title right away… because they actually play DEFENSE… a lost art in the BIG 12.

    BTW… I disagree that TCU and Boise State are the only two non-BCS teams that could walk right into the BIG 12 and compete. BYU could fit nicely into the BIG 12… and there are others as well. The lower half of the BIG 12 can be really pathetic.

  3. Misthaufen says:

    Patrick is very right.

    Beating Clemson at Death Valley in monsoon was nice. Curb-stomping Utah in 2009 & 2010 was much more important and significant. For that matter, the 2008 & 2009 wins over top ten ranked BYU figure out as bigger wins than Clemson.

    And don’t worry about the O-line; TCU has had few problems rebuilding the O-line even with losing major players for the last few years.

  4. Patrick says:

    Future Kansas State coaches went 59-42-5. I spent too much time on one school to come this close and not get it right. I’m done. And Paul, did you ever explain the hint behind the Clemson clue? I wasted a lot of time trying to figure that one out, too.

    Paul: Haven’t explained it. Probably should. Here goes: Clemson’s leading returning tackler was Rashard Hall, who went to St. Augustine High School in St. Augustine, Fla. Television producer Steven Sears also attended St. Augustine. In 1992, Sears produced an hour-long series, “Raven,” for CBS. The star of that show was Jeffrey Meek, who was once the lead singer of a band called Crime. The drummer for the band was former Doors’ drummer John Densmore. In August of 1968, The Doors had a No. 1 single in “Hello, I Love You.”

  5. jjncaa says:

    Patterson-Bumpas-Shannon-Glasgow, can you imagine a better (defensive) coaching staff?

  6. Machavelli says:

    TCU’s schedule is extremely favorable for breaking into the Big 12. While this preview only briefly touched on the Frogs 2012 slate, TCU could be looking at a 7-0 start. Virginia at home will be their toughest non-con and at Baylor / homecoming vs Texas Tech are their opening league contests- these are challenging but winnable and by then TCUs youth issue should be solved.

  7. Scott Wallace says:

    17 days until game day.

  8. Did the state of Utah secede? says:

    Where are the Utes and Cougars?

    Paul do you enjoy skiing? Did you get comped a ski weekend to rate those two teams as high as you did?

    Seems off.

  9. Patrick says:

    I would say anything above 20 would be too high/unreasonable for Utah. As for BYU, you think Paul would have learned his lesson last year.

  10. Ezra says:

    The Purple Wimple has morphed into Frogs O’ War. (substantive commentary about this review, which is excellent, to follow, some here, and lots at Frogs O’ War.)

    A nit-pick: TCU’s 25 points late against Baylor were consecutive, but not unanswered. Baylor answered, and won. I see this same misuse of “unanswered” over “consecutive” all the time; I’m surprised to see the error here.

    Paul: It didn’t read strangely to me, but I can see the error. While T.C.U.’s 25 points were “unanswered,” in a sense — the Frogs scored 25 straight points — you’re right in that Baylor did actually “answer” with the game-winner. Something to keep in mind for the future. Fixing it above, thanks.

  11. Ezra says:

    and the best recruiting site for TCU now is HornedFrogsBlitz.com; it’s Scout.com’s site, and it poached the Rivals writers who had built up PurpleMenace for years. Those writers have superior access and have stepped up their game at Scout’s site.

  12. Kyle says:

    BYU should be coming very soon, I would think. Utah…I think it’s probably a bit tough to evaluate them this year. Their defense is going to be very good, and their offense is a giant ball of “Who the f**k knows”.

  13. Ezra says:

    oops– HornedFrogBlitz.com (http://tcu.scout.com/)

  14. Patrick says:

    I lied when I said I was done with the current clue, but still no luck. Wisconsin and Nebraska are no-gos based on my numbers.

  15. David says:

    Patrick, good to know I’m not the only one who becomes obsessed with the clues.

    Ezra, the common misuse of “unanswered” bothers me every time I hear/read it. Of course, being picky about it just leads to questions like “If Oregon scores 63 points in the first 58 minutes and only after that does the opponent score any points, is that really ‘answering’?”

  16. Cosmo says:

    Byu is already 20 spots too high. They will not be good. No running back, a suicidal quarterback, little depth on defense.

  17. Matt Rob says:

    Remaining schools for countdown (bored at work):

    Big 12: Oklahoma, WVU, Texas, Kansas State
    Pac-12: Oregon, USC, Utah
    ACC: Florida State, Virginia Tech, NC State
    SEC: LSU, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia
    Ind.: BYU
    MWC: Boise State
    B1G: Wisconsin, Ohio State, Nebraska, Michigan State, Michigan

  18. BobJ says:

    @David – Yes, that would be “answering,” but not a very good answer.

  19. JasonS says:

    Remaining Schools for countdown. NC State was #36. South Carolina needs to be added to the SEC.

  20. Dr. Nick says:

    Cosmo -
    Where’s the BYU love? My read on BYU is that they will be about on-level with Utah, GT, Boise, and ND. Assuming they show up in the next few spots, Paul would seem to agree.

    That said, I would be very surprised to see them above about 15th. Paul would have to be predicting a very special year for BYU to hit the top 10.

  21. Ezra says:

    Here’s a very thorough read-n-comment on this TCU preview.
    http://www.frogsowar.com/2012/8/14/3242058/pre-snap-reads-take-on-tcu

    The Cliff’s Notes version: TCU is going to use its tight ends a lot more in 2012; maybe this is because the Frogs’ coaches know the tackle situation ain’t good. Also it has to do with Fuente leaving.

    In any case, the tackle situation is … not good. Bobby Thompson is a redshirt freshmen (not a junior) and the truth is TCU’s o-line is going to be excellent in 2013. But too young in 2012.

    And the linebackers are unproven, all but one. One! Yikes. So look for improvement from Pachall and the skill players (if the line can keep him upright) and the d-line and secondary; but the o-line and linebackers are big, big question marks.

  22. Matt Rob says:

    JasonS, oops.

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