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Monday, September 03, 2007

Texas Football: The TCU Game 

Week Two: No. 7 Texas (1-0) vs. No. 19 TCU (1-0)
Last Season: Did not play
Last Meeting: Texas 27, TCU 19 -- 1995
All-Time Series: Texas leads 60-20-1

There's a great little "dive" -- Adair's -- located on the fringe of Dallas' Deep Ellum bar district. It sells canned beer, has a great shuffleboard table, and as I recall, a pretty solid jukebox. If you've ever been there and sat along the back wall, just around the corner from the bar, you may have noticed the following, scrawled among all the other graffiti covering the red and pink brick:

Nov. 7, 1992 TCU 23, Texas 14.

Texas fans became accustomed to John Mackovic's ability to take a ranked Texas team on the road and lose to an unranked conference foe, and that disturbing trend began with TCU in 1992. In the fifteen years since, Texas and TCU have faced each other just three times -- all Texas wins -- and John Mackovic's presence on the Forty Acres has long since vanished. So why do I mention this game?

I do so because a TCU upset would damage Texas' 2007 season just as much as it did that of the 1992 Horns, whose losses in two of three post-TCU games ended any hopes of a bowl berth. A Horned Frog win won't likely cause the Horns to miss the 2007 postseason, but after a less-than-impressive debut against Arkansas State, losing to TCU would represent a huge step back for this program.

Texas and TCU aren't the same teams they were in 1992. But Texas obviously isn't the same team it was in 2005 either. The Longhorns cannot show up Saturday night, put forth another lackadaisacal effort against TCU, and walk off of the field still undefeated. It's not time to espouse doom and gloom in Austin, but it is time to step out of the funk that has marked Texas' past four games, dating back to Kansas State in 2006.

TCU wants to show they can play with the elite in college football. TCU wants do to Texas what they've done to Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Baylor in recent years. TCU wants to make a trip to the BCS. If Texas doesn't want to stop them from doing all of those things on Saturday, and if they don't display the level of passion and focus necessary to do so, then the back wall at Adair's may just find some fresh graffiti come Saturday night.

This Week's Game in a Nutshell

See comment from Lokey, Derek, a few sections below.

According to NCAA 2008...

Ladies and gentlemen, EA Sports has the Greg Davis offense down pat. With about three minutes to go and his team leading 20-7, Davis' offense runs a delayed draw to Jamaal Charles on 2nd and 7 from the TCU 32, and then sends Colt McCoy on a QB Draw on 3rd and 6, which loses three yards, pushing them out of field goal range.

The Texas defense finishes strong this time, though, avoiding any late unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Texas holds on for the 20-7 victory despite getting only 53 yards from JC on 19 carries. The Horns rack up just 248 yards in total offense, which still almost doubles the anemic 131 yards TCU amasses.

Matt gives us reminiscing, rappers, and rants in his Week Two TWTWB

What we learned last week: We learned that the Sylvester Croom Era will likely not go down in the annals of SEC Football lore, unless you want to mention coaches that have failed to recruit a single athlete that can play D-1 football…We learned that 3 quarterbacks later, Notre Dame won’t have to worry about scheduling practice around Christmas break…We learned that Tennessee and Phil Fulmer “need to get back to basics” for about the 12th time in the last 3 years…We learned that no matter how talented they are, or how much money T. Boone Pickens gives them, Oklahoma State is still Oklahoma State and they are what they are, a mid-tier BCS conference team that can’t play with the big boys…We learned that Todd Dodge is sentimental, and wanted to give up 79 points in respect to Southlake Carroll’s 79-1 record in Texas Class 5A, or perhaps he might want to install an actual collegiate defensive scheme…We learned that when you take a team’s mascot away, they get really pissed.


It was November 18th, 1995 the last time that TCU came into Memorial Stadium (the DKR part hadn’t even been added yet).They were led by quarterback Max Knake on a 64 degree day, which was probably pretty warm by the end of the day on the Astro-Turf field. The Horned Frogs left that day with a 27-19 loss to the #10 Longhorns, as a freshman fullback by the name of Ricky Williams had 73 of an eventual 6279 yards in his career. The Longhorns celebrated their victory on the track surrounding the stadium, but TCU didn’t hang their head. It was a closer game than many thought it would be, and Frog fans stayed until the end. They saw I-35 very clearly, seeing as how the east side of the stadium only had one deck, and knew they had a long way home, but didn’t think it would be this long until they saw Austin again.

The next year was the first for the newly-formed Big 12 conference, as Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor split off from the Southwest Conference and joined the members of the old Big 8, who also split off. Texas ended up winning the inaugural Big 12 Championship Game in a miraculous upset, while TCU was sent off packing to the Western Athletic Conference, where the first two years there saw them post a 5-17 record.

Texas had its own problems in 1997, which led to the firing of John Mackovic and the the hiring of Mack Brown from North Carolina. TCU fired head coach Pat Sullivan after the ’97 season as well, and hired Dennis Franchione away from New Mexico. The Horned Frogs went 7-5 in 1998 and beat USC in the Sun Bowl. Although TCU shined with Franchione’s coaching and Ladainian Tomlinson at running back, ol’ Fran was looking at greener pastures after the 2000 season, left for Alabama, and TCU promoted defensive coordinator Gary Patterson to the job.

Two more conferences for TCU later, here we are.

Although Texas holds the all-time advantage in the series 60-20-1, TCU always seemed to play it even with the Longhorns, including a 23-14 win in Fort Worth in 1992 (TCU hasn’t won in Austin since 1967).

While decades have passed since the formation of the Southwest Conference, and a little more than a decade has passed since the dissolution of the Southwest Conference, here we are, with #7, established Texas playing underdog, #19 TCU, with the Frogs searching for respect against Goliath.

The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same.

So, in honor of Kanye West releasing his new album, Graduation and 50 Cent releasing his new album, Curtis, on the same day next week, let’s see if we can’t compare that heavyweight battle to this one.

Kanye West songs include:

Gold Digger – TCU probably has this view of Texas due to the Longhorns jumping ship to the Big 12 conference, while TCU co-eds get this name due to a lot of them going to school to get their MRS degrees.

Jesus Walks – As in Vince Young walks into the corner of the endzone with 19 seconds left in the game to give Texas a national title.

All Falls Down – TCU fans tore down the goalposts with their 1997 victory against SMU…their only victory that season.

Diamonds From Sierra Leone – Aren’t those rings beautiful?

Through The Wire -- While Texas didn’t play through the wire last year, TCU has cost themselves a chance at BCS games with losses to Utah and Southern Mississippi in recent years.

50 Cent songs include:

In da Club – TCU is trying to show they belong in the club of college football’s higher tier, while the Longhorns are in the VIP suite sipping Christal (although probably too much judging by last week, and please, I implore you, don’t drive after you do). And I hate Spencer Pratt for overusing this term.

21 Questions – It’s about how many questions the average fan had for Mack Brown last Saturday night, while TCU didn’t have that many people in the stands last week to ask questions.

Ayo Technology – This new song by 50 Cent was supposed to be called “Ayo Pornography” before that was shelved in this post-Janet Jackson world. In other words, a sad reality of what you think is true and what is actually true, or an average TCU fan’s mindset.

Get Rich or Die Tryin’ – Since we have passed the line of where Rhett Bomar jokes are still funny, let’s just say that TCU will do anything to get to the top of the football world.

Wanksta – Wanksta = fake. Do I need to explain this one?

Just poking a little fun, TCU fans. Welcome back to Austin. Is Michael Reeder still your kicker?
They Said It...

IT WAS OVER WHEN... Colt McCoy found Antwan Cobb in the end zone with 2:49 remaining in the first quarter. That score was all the lead Texas would need.

ESPN's College Football Overview

The boys in Bristol may have been too wrapped up in the post-Michigan fallout to notice that a recovered onside kick proved to be the actual game-clincher.

"We do have one of the few fan bases that goes on suicide watch after a win... Our fans need to understand that every year it gets tougher. Every team gives us its best shot."

Mack Brown.
True, true and true... but none of those statements make what happened last week acceptable. Except for Michigan and Virginia Tech, no one else in the Top 10 saw an unranked team come to town and play them as close to the vest as Arkansas State played Texas. It's not unreasonable for fans to expect a team rated as highly as Texas to dominate inferior competition.

"We've got to go out and hit them in the mouth. If we don't do it first, they'll do it to us."

Texas DT Derek Lokey

Somebody gets it.

In the Huddle with "Sir Rod"... and Friends

"Sir Rod" Walker says:

November 7, 1992. I remember that game!! I remember it all too well. We as a team were sooo pissed at coach 'Wackovich' that when TCU started tryin' to tear down their goal post....(I wanted to get up there and help'em!) There are other memories about the Horned Frogs... Whether we play at home or on the road... whenever we got inside the locker rooms, we'd sit down on our chairs with our headphones on and read the game program. Well, on the cover of TCU's program was a big picture of a Horned Frog and a Longhorn w/ captions. It had the Horned Frog drinkin' a beer and askin' the Longhorn, "do you want a brewsky!?" They had the Longhorn sitting in a chair with its legs crossed replying, "no thank you. I'm a tea sipper," as he holds the tea cup w/ two fingers and the rest stickin' out! We thought that was rather hilarious.

Texas will have to get their act together, though, if they want to win this game. TCU has truly been a powerhouse during and since Ladanian Tomlinson... very competative and great coaches... a LOT of trick plays, too! It's gonna be interesting.

(Drew: Although he's far too modest to mention it, "Sir Rod" ran for more than 100 yards -- not once, but twice! -- against the Frogs, in 1991 and 1994. By comparison, Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams never ran for 100 yards against TCU*.)

*Ricky did only face them once, in 1995

Stoney Clark says:

Texas Christian University. I feel like they, along with the Universtiy of Houston, benefitted greatly from the creation of the Big 12 and their placement in their respective conferences. I was a freshman getting my first playing time in 1992 and only saw mop up duty against TCU. Their starting quarterback was a good friend of mine from Gladewater, Leon Clay, and I had mixed emotions about the loss. I was upset the team I was representing lost, but was happy to see Leon do well in his senior year campaign.

My next three years we beat TCU convincingly. They had good players, but not the caliber of players that are recruited to play at Texas.

I am ashamed to say, I wasn't in attendance for the season opener against Arkansas State and didn't listen to but a few plays on the radio. I hope Texas is ready to play, as I'm sure this is the game that TCU's head coach has instructed his players, could be something they'll remember the rest of their lives. Hook 'em!

(Drew: Stoney Clark terrorized opposing offensive linemen from 1992-95, and is best remembered for hitting OU's James Allen in the closing seconds of the 94 Red River Shootout with a flying body block that probably made The Ultimate Warrior proud (and Allen's future chiropractor rich). I'm looking forward to his weekly contributions to the previews).

Tailgate Talk

On the menu this week... frog legs. I've never eaten frog legs. Supposedly they taste like chicken, right? Much like with the actual game, I'm approaching the situation with reservations, but also keeping a positive outlook. For the record, opposing mascot-themed fare has met with both positive (Buffalo burgers before Colorado in '05) and negative (various pork items before Arkansas in '03) results.

A few other College Football-related Thoughts

  • Congrats and thanks to Michigan for replacing the 1997 Longhorns as the highest-ranked team to ever fall completely out of the Top 25.

  • Based on scores alone there's no way Virginia Tech marches into Death Valley and upends LSU, right? Maybe so, but the Tigers put up one of the least impressive 45-point wins ever.

  • ESPN's Tuesday episode of College Football Live called this is a big week for the Big 12. Does that mean that they're not going to qualify any potential OU victory against Miami as one that came against a sub-par Canes squad?

  • Am I the only one that thinks Colorado's Dan Hawkins bears a slight resemblance to former Bengals head coach Bruce Coslett. Go Play intramurals, brotha...

  • The worst thing about week one of the season is by far the knee-jerk reactions based on small sample sizes. "Oklahoma's running game is unstoppable right now," "this looks like the Miami defense of old," and "Colt McCoy isn't playing like the quarterback that replaced Vince Young," are all bold statements to make after a single week's worth of games

  • OU Still Sucks...

  • Fifteen Years Ago this Week

    (note: 2007 marks the 15-year anniversary of the Temple Wildcats' 1992 5A Div. II Texas State Championship, which came during my sophomore year of high school. I'll re-cap that season throughout the fall.)

    In recent years high school football has seen its share of national exposure. And had ESPN2 existed in 1992, I have no doubts that the worldwide leader in sports would have have made the trip to Temple, Texas, for a showdown between Odessa Permian and Temple. The teams ranked No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, in the weekly Associated Press schoolboy poll, and USA Today also listed both in their top 25 national rankings. The overflow crowd of 11,000-plus witnessed a jewel of a game, which featured long drives, big plays, and even bigger stops. The deciding moment came when Temple DB Tony Lott forced a Permian fumble deep in Temple territory to preserve a six-point lead and a 20-14 Wildcat victory, vaulting Temple to the top of the state rankings. It marked the first of many big victories on Temple's way to their second state championship.

    Personal Anecdote Involving This Week's Opponent

    I have a grand total of two UT-TCU memories: (1) Grady Cavness knocking the ball through the back of the endzone for a safety in the '92 loss, and (2) James Brown limping his way to a win over the Frogs in '95.

    One of Matt's high school buddies attended TCU, and he apparently belonged to the same fraternity as Chris Klein (aka "Oz" from the American Pie movies). As the story goes, the term "MILF" was popular among the brothers, and Klein's influence got it into the script, meaning that a TCU fraternity is indirectly responsible for "MILF" finding its way into the American pop culture lexicon. I don't really buy it either.

    Semi-Relevant Song Lyric from a British band that has probably never seen a Texas Football game

    "And how can we win when fools can be kings? Don't waste your time or time will waste you."

    - Muse, "Knights of Cydonia"
    There's a Greg Davis joke in there somewhere.

    Double Semi-Relevant Song Lyric from a rapper that's so arrogant he'd fit in well in the Texas fanbase

    "My life's like Grand Theft Auto PSP; I'm in the Volvo puffing on the la-la, ducking from the po-po."

    - Jay-Z, "Oh My God
    There's a Robert Joseph joke in there somewhere.

    Triple Semi-Relevant Song Lyric from the same song by the same rapper

    They gunning for me, Wanna see me fall; You know my story, I been through it all. Nights I felt like dying, But I ain't crying; What didn't kill me, Made me strong as iron"

    - Jay-Z, "Oh My God"
    Mack Brown is right; everyone is gunning for Texas. It's time to get that swagger back, boys. Derek Lokey is going to hit somebody in the mouth. Who's going to follow him?

    Deluded/Rational Thoughts from an Opposing Message Board

    You've got to love a site called KillerFrogs.Com.

    Coach offers a pre-game pep talk, "Gather 'round men...":

    Time to strap in on. Four to go 'til "the day." The day you've been waiting for your whole life--the day that we're gonna go into DKR-Memorial Stadium and put everything we've got on the line. The day that all your hard work's gonna pay off and we're gonna show the nation that the Horned Frogs of TCU are for real.

    Now you'v heard a lot of nice things about TCU comin' out of Austin this week, and I wanna warn ya--these Texas folks are smoothe. They mutter platitudes about our program--they talk about the nice little program up 35 from Austin, pat us on the head--and then expect us to bow and scrape on our knees before 'em. They sit on their imaginary thrones and toss out complimentary bs and think we're gonna come into DKR and return the favor. Don't you buy it for one second--they don't respect you. They think you're suckers who will buy the crap they're sellin' and then roll over when you get to Austin. KNOW THIS--They kicked us to the curb and left us for dead over a decade ago--and they intend to do it again.

    Oh, they're gonna be ready, make no mistake. They've heard the rumblin'--the talk that TCU is for real and can challenge anybody in Texas--and they're gonna bust their asses to squash any more of that speculation. But no matter how ready they are--they're not superhuman. They're a bunch of blue-chippers who can play good football when they want to, but they're not the football gods they or their fans would like you to believe they are. They sweat, bleed, and hurt just the same as you or I-- whether there are 10 Longhorn fans in the stands or 100,000. You forget about all the trappin's of DKR--it's all meant to intimidate and make you feel small. You put it out of your heads--come out and smash 'em in the mouth, keep smashin' 'em in the mouth, and don't let up to the final gun and I'll promise you--you'll have the respect and admiration of all of Texas and the nation.
    It's like someone mixed Henry V with Knute Rockne and threw in a pinch of Jim Wacker... I'm even fired up reading that, and I'm hoping they get their ass kicked. Nice job, Coach! (Much better than this blather from someone named Gunner, who, as my buddy Robert might say, is developing prepackaged excuses -- "prepared in advance like Democratic Party talking points":

    They do that stuff in Austin. I expect it to happen to us Saturday. Remember, they have no shame. And you thought Bill Clinton was bad. The BCS doesn't embarass them, stepping on TCU, SMU, and Rice, didn't bother 'em, and Arkansas State doesn't bother 'em either. And if it happens again this Saturday, who will it hurt???? Not the Welfares.

    Ohh, did we figure this into our negotiations with UT? Not!

    We got Big 12 refs for a road game??? What????
    Do people still say "not"?

    The Greg Brown Memorial Pregame Premonition

    Jamaal Charles take a delayed handoff from Colt McCoy, jukes three TCU defenders, and darts to the outside of tackle Tony Hills... where he's buried for a one-yard loss.

    Oh, and Derek Lokey is going to hit someone in the mouth.

    Random highlight that has absolutely nothing to do with Texas-TCU, but was accurate nonetheless

    Prediction: Frog legs don't taste like chicken.



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