February 24, 2017
When I was a kid, there were two Saturday afternoon television shows that used to draw my attention because of the variety of topics they would cover: The CBS Sports Spectacular and ABC’s Wide World of Sports. I wonder if today’s kids and millennials know of the guy spiraling off the ski jump in the Wide World of Sports opener just as Jim McKay says, “The thrill of victory … and the agony of defeat.” Classic stuff.
9 a.m. – Beach Volleyball Purple-White Scrimmage (bring your jacket)
1 p.m. – Men’s Tennis hosts the University of Central Florida
1 p.m. – Men’s Basketball hosts No. 12 West Virginia in the biggest game of the year. (Win and they’re in the NCAA Tournament – my opinion.)
4 p.m. – TCU Baseball goes after win number five vs. a historic Arizona State program. Freshman Nick Lodolo with pitch.
7 p.m. – You can finish your TCU Athletics pentathlon with dessert at Schollmaier Arena as TCU Women’s Basketball hosts Oklahoma.
Because I usually focus on the sport at its most critical point of the season, I’ll focus on Men’s Basketball.
Jamie Dixon and the Frogs need you at Schollmaier Arena tomorrow. A win over No. 12 WVU would be the signature win the Frogs need — a boulder falling into the NCAA pond that would ripple across the projections and land TCU on the tournament shore.
Bring your loud voice, slick back your hair like Coach Dixon and be there for the team that has broken through barriers all year – some of them 30 years old. The Frogs are looking for conference win number seven tomorrow. Help them get that lucky number. Then they face Kansas State at home and Oklahoma on the road a week from tomorrow; both are winnable. Then it’s off to Kansas City for the Big 12 Tournament.
Twenty wins is within reach, but it starts with everyone all in for the 18th win tomorrow.
No scouting report for you on Press Virginia – this one is about you and the Frogs. Fans, all 6,700 of you, and Jamie’s five on the floor.
See you there at noon. For the thrill of victory.
Kick Em High!
December 24, 2016
Merry Christmas, Frog Fans! Here’s my gift to you as we count our blessings at Christmas and turn our attention to the Liberty Bowl. Make the trip, if you can. The Frogs need your support! See you on the radio in Memphis!
For your listening pleasure:
Twas the night before Memphis, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The Frogs’ jerseys were hung in each locker with care,
In hopes that a Liberty Bowl win soon would happen there.
The Horned Frogs were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of bowl rings danced in their heads.
And Coach P in his visor, and the rest of the staff
Had just settled in for a long pregame nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the water of the Mighty Mississip’
Gave the luster of midday, I was glad I made the trip.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a big Cadillac, and Rock ‘n Roll I could hear.
With a drive-up so cool, and a shake of his pelvis
I knew in a moment it had to be Elvis!
He was a Frog fan, this singer of fame
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
“Now, Turpin! Now, Schlottman! Now, Summers and Austin!
On, Howard! On, Hill! On, Hicks and Johnson!
To the top of the scoreboard! To the snap of the ball!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
He was dressed all in white, a jumpsuit quite bold,
And his clothes sparkled with sequins and a necklace of gold .
A bundle of game plans he had flung on his back,
And he looked around the team room and opened his pack.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the lockers, then turned with a jerk.
And trying on a jersey, he didn’t know what to do
Pointed skyward and yelled…. “Riff Ram Bah Zoo!!!!”
He sprang to his Caddy, to his entourage gave a whistle,
And away they all ran like the down of a thistle.
And Elvis exclaimed, as he drove out of view,
“Happy Memphis you Frogs, Give ‘em Hell, TCU!”
Kick ’em High!!
December 16, 2016
Here’s part two of our tour through the bowls:
Part one is here.
Thursday, December 29
South Florida vs. South Carolina
Gamecocks rock Legion Field.
Arkansas vs. Virginia Tech
Hokies head coach Justin Fuente has answers.
Colorado vs. Oklahoma State
Cowboys eek out a close one.
Friday, December 30
TCU vs. Georgia
Frogs get another bowl win over a SEC team.
Stanford vs. North Carolina
UNC always plays well in El Paso.
Music City Bowl:
Nebraska vs. Tennessee
Huskers strum a tune on the Vols.
South Alabama vs. Air Force
Falcons back on target.
Michigan vs. Florida State
Coach Harbaugh is still mad. His Wolverines are too.
Saturday, December 31
LSU vs. Louisville
Mike the Tiger doesn’t care who won the Heisman.
Georgia Tech vs. Kentucky
Ramblin’ Wreck’s option game too taxing for Wildcats.
PLAYOFF SEMI-FINAL GAMES:
Washington vs. Alabama
Tide still too strong, no matter how husky Washington tries to get.
Ohio State vs. Clemson
Football gods right a wrong and Clemson gets another shot at Bama.
Monday, January 2
Florida vs. Iowa
Hawkeyes excited, Gators bored.
Wisconsin vs. Western Michigan
Badgers love MAC & cheese.
USC vs. Penn State
Nittany Lions are an angry bunch. (See TCU in the 2014 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl).
Oklahoma vs. Auburn
Sooners’ Boom rattles the Tigers, er … Eagles … that still confuses me.
Monday, January 9
College Football Playoff National Championship Game in Tampa Bay:
Alabama vs. Clemson
Tigers’ hunger, plus a few ill-timed turnovers do ‘Bama in.
Thanks for reading Extra Points throughout 2016. I hope you get something out of the entries, and I’m looking forward to a great 2017. Until then….
Merry Christmas to All.
And to All,
Kick ‘Em High!
December 15, 2016
There are 40 bowl games in all, not counting the National Championship game. Let’s take a look at the first half today and pick winners. Tomorrow, we’ll look at the other half.
Winners are in BOLD.
Saturday, December 17:
New Mexico Bowl
New Mexico vs. UTSA
New Mexico is tough at home. Bob Davie has done a nice job.
Las Vegas Bowl
Houston vs. San Diego State
Tough draw for Houston, especially after Tom Herman’s exit.
Central Florida vs Arkansas State
Red Wolves are for real, especially on offense.
Toledo vs. Appalachian State
Watch out for Yosef! (look it up)
Grambling vs. North Carolina Central
New Orleans Bowl
Southern Mississippi vs. Louisiana-Lafayette
Golden Eagles roll.
Monday, December 19:
Miami Beach Bowl:
Tulsa vs. Central Michigan
As Gordon Lightfoot says, “The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down ….” Not today.
Tuesday, December 20
Boca Raton Bowl:
Western Kentucky vs. Memphis
Tigers make the Hilltoppers blue.
Wednesday, December 21
BYU vs. Wyoming
Cowboy Joe parties in San Diego! Powder River!!
Thursday, December 22
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl:
Idaho vs. Colorado State
Rams over the Vandals.
Friday, December 23
Armed Forces Bowl:
Louisiana Tech vs. Navy
Navy rights the ship. They’re good.
Eastern Michigan vs. Old Dominion
Dollar General Bowl:
Ohio vs. Troy
Still wondering why Nebraska ran off Frank Solich. He’s really good.
Saturday, Demeber 24
Hawaii vs. Middle Tennessee
Great place to visit, tough place to play.
Monday, December 26
St. Petersburg Bowl:
Mississippi State vs. Miami (OH)
Bulldogs slip by a well-coached Redhawks team.
Quick Lane Bowl:
Maryland vs. Boston College
N. C. State vs. Vanderbilt
Tuesday, December 27
Heart of Dallas Bowl:
Army vs. North Texas
Army green outshines the Mean Green.
Temple vs. Wake Forest
Owls have the plan.
Washington State vs. Minnesota
Cougs and Mike Leach have a day at the beach.
Boise State vs. Baylor
Broncos are sneaky good.
Wednesday, December 28
Pittsburgh vs. Northwestern
Pat Fitzgerald does a great job.
Russell Athletic Bowl:
Miami vs. West Virginia
Mountaineers are really good.
Texas A&M vs. Kansas State
Bill Snyder says, “Come in, Houston ….”
Foster Farms Bowl:
Utah vs. Indiana
Utes are too much for wounded Indiana.
I’ll pick the other 16 games plus the National Championship tomorrow.
December 2, 2016
Here we are, suddenly at the last weekend of the 2016 regular season in college football. Championship Saturday, they call it. The hopes and dreams of a lot of teams ride on tomorrow’s outcomes. Then the College Football Playoff committee will sort it out. Here are my picks:
Frog fans, your job is to get your rain gear out, bundle up and be at “The Carter” early to show your support for this senior class and a team that fought through a lot this year.
Meanwhile in Fort Worth, it’s senior day for the Frogs, featuring a game with all kinds of story lines. The weather, for one, may shorten the game as the ground attack may take center stage for both teams. TCU and Kansas State are playing to figure out who goes where in the bowl scenario. Rumor has it that the winner goes to the Texas Bowl in Houston. Loser goes Walkin’ in Memphis (I love that song). Regardless of location, the Southeastern Conference will provide the opposition.
Kansas State comes in at 7-4 on the season. The difference between the Power Cats and the Frogs is that KSU beat Texas Tech. Their four losses are by a total of 41 points, most of them coming from a 21-point loss to OU, the only game they’ve been out of.
Kansas State’s offense spotlights the running game and a big running quarterback in #16 Jesse Ertz. He’s taken a beating this year but refuses to come out of games. He has a sore shoulder, among other ailments. Ertz hands it off to #24 Charles Jones, who has 2,154 all-purpose yards in his career, and Justin Silmon, a former walk-on tough guy. Watch out, too, for redshirt freshman #34 Alex Barnes, who has five rushing touchdowns in the last two games, including a big day in Waco, where he wiped his cleats on Baylor for four touchdowns.
When the cat paw rears back and puts it in the air, watch out for deep threat #9 Byron Pringle, the receiving weapon that KSU has been missing for a couple of years. K State runs an old fashioned offense, utilizing a fullback and tight end on EVERY play. I love that. They’ll sprinkle in some spread looks and four wide receiver sets to modernize things, but it’s mostly to create space for the running game. Remember, Bill Snyder is calling the plays, so there will be magic in the huddle.
The Frogs will line up across the neutral zone from a KSU defense that is No. 1 in the Big 12 in rushing defense, allowing just 110 yards per game. They are also No. 1 in total defense, yielding 391.5 yards per game. They play a 4-2-5, and they love to blitz and bring pressure. Their best player on defense is #22 Dante Barnett, the free safety. TCU will have to work hard to get the running game going like it did last week in Austin (wasn’t that great?), and they’ll have to utilize the short-passing game if the weather’s as nasty as predicted.
Frog fans, your job is to get your rain gear out, bundle up and be at “The Carter” early to show your support for this senior class and a team that fought through a lot this year. They’ve gotten to a bowl. Now, let’s see them put the cherry on top with a seventh win.
Speaking of a seventh win, did you know that in 1991, Jim Wacker’s last year as head coach at TCU, the Frogs beat Houston, 49-45, with a last-minute touchdown pass to Stephen Shipley? It was an exciting game, but in the aftermath, the 7-4 Frogs did not receive a bowl bid. Imagine that.
Times have changed.
See you Saturday morning.
Kick ‘Em High
November 30, 2016
What a week it’s been for the Horned Frogs!
Since we last visited, TCU went to Austin and gained bowl eligibility with a road win over Texas. It appears to me that offenses are going back to the run game these days. Six Big 12 teams are averaging more than 200 yards per game on the ground.
Men’s hoops traveled west to Las Vegas and won two tough games en route to winning the Global Sports Classic. The win over UNLV — on the Rebels’ home floor — was impressive, and the win over Washington on Saturday night showed the depth that Jamie Dixon is developing with this team. So far, the impact of Alex Robinson and Vladimir Brodziansky has raised my eyebrows. Robinson helped finish off Washington with 24 points on Saturday. Vlad and Karviar Shepherd are turning into defensive forces.
Tonight is your chance to see the Frogs in person when they face Washington again at 6 p.m. at Schollmaier Arena. Last Saturday’s game was part of the Global Sports Classic tournament; tonight’s game is the second installment of a two-game contract the Frogs inked with Washington. Last year, TCU traveled to Seattle and got blown out by Washington, 92-67. This Frog team is good and getting better.
Speaking of hoops, congratulations to head coach Raegan Pebley and the Lady Frogs on their hard-earned win today over Butler, 73-47. Their record now stands at 5-1. The local school kids in attendance today were making noise and “Shakin’ The Scholl.”
Back to football: It’s hard to believe we’re closing in on the end of the season Saturday against Kansas State. It’s Senior Day, which is always bittersweet. It’s also a chance for the Frogs to get to win number seven and enter bowl season with momentum. They’ll have to do it against KSU and its great head coach Bill Snyder, or “The Wizard,” as I like to call him. He’s in his second term as the head coach at K-State (known for years as Kansas State College of Agriculture and Applied Science), and he’s revived the program again. The Wildcats play an old-fashioned brand of ball-control offense and tough defense, all while controlling the clock. They actually use a tight end and a fullback as constants in the offense! This should be fun. More on Kansas State on Friday.
In the meantime, ponder these staggering factoids of the day:
November 23, 2016
I hope you all will take a few minutes and relax from the track meet that has been the last several months. Seems like I was just in California on vacation or in Omaha for the College World Series … and BAM! Here we are at the kickoff to the holiday season. Football season seems to do that; it pulls you at warp speed through the fall. One day I’m driving home from a muggy, hot morning scrimmage at Amon G. Carter Stadium, and the next thing I know, it’s the day before Thanksgiving … and time to give thanks. A lot of thanks.
I’m thankful for my memory and the ability to recall Thanksgivings past with family and those on the road with friends, maybe working a football game on radio. Making a road trip. Picking up my dad at the airport. Driving down I-35 on Wednesday night, gazing at the clear Texas sky, anticipating a weekend with my cousins. The aroma of my grandmother’s house in Austin at 3904 Cherrywood Road – it was a cornucopia of appetite-tantalizing splendor. Hit you like a wall as you walked in the door. I can still see the scene there: Adults around the big round table in the dining room, kids at the four-top in the kitchen. Loud conversations bouncing off the plaster walls of the house my grandfather built. Trying to stifle a giggle during the prayer. EVERYONE was there. I’ll be in Austin on Thursday. I think I’ll take a drive down Cherrywood Road.
I’m writing these as they come to me over a cup of coffee. What are your Thanksgiving memories? Take time to let them and the things you’re thankful for come to you. And give thanks. It’s the day to do it.
Once you’re done and the tryptophan coma has worn off, there’s work to do on Friday in Austin. The Frogs and the Longhorns both have their sights set on a bowl, and a win punches the ticket for both. The difference is the Frogs have two games to get it done. For the Horns, this is it.
Texas will be running on a lot of emotion as they play for head coach Charlie Strong amid a difficult week in Austin. No matter the outcome or the decision by UT, it’s the players that it’s toughest on in this situation. I remember playing the last week of the season in 1982 at Texas A&M with our fired head coach F. A. Dry, who was let go the weekend before after a loss to Texas. It was a strange, emotional week, and the trip to A&M was just weird. We tried to play for our coach and send him out in style, but the truth was that the emotional and psychological toll of the week affected our play, and we just plain ran out of gas in the second half.
That being said, the Frogs have to be ready for anything Friday in Austin. Texas will come to play, and they’ll pull out the stops. Why not?
Aside from a few gadget plays, the Frogs’ biggest concern will be running back D’Onta Foreman, the Heisman Trophy candidate who has run for 1,863 yards and has 250-plus in three of his last four games. Texas has the offensive line to give him the room he needs. The Frogs will need the run-stopping effort they had three weeks ago at Baylor. That means better tackling. Coach P said yesterday in his press conference that the Frogs missed 20 tackles in the fourth quarter against Oklahoma State.
Offensively, the Frogs will have to reestablish the run game and get physical. Texas will likely employ much the same strategy that Oklahoma State did, jamming the box and making running difficult. Creativity will be the key for TCU.
Once again, the Frogs go into their second-straight road game in which the attention is centered as much off of the field as it is on it.
The good news is that the Frogs are getting good at playing in interesting environments.
On another note: It’s time to congratulate (again!) TCU’s quarterback Sonny Gibbs and offensive end (that’s what they used to call receivers back in the day) Buddy Iles on the 55th anniversary of TCU’s version of “The Catch” in 1961. It was a “flea-flicker” that caught the Horns by surprise just before halftime when Gibbs hit Iles for 50 yards and a touchdown. TCU upset No. 1 Texas that day 6-0. It happened in Austin 55 years ago this month. If you see them, tell them thanks. Darrell Royal never got over it.
November 18, 2016
Happy Friday! It finally feels like football season! Bundle up when you head to the game tomorrow. It’s going to be a cool 48 degrees at kickoff.
No. 13 Oklahoma State comes to visit Saturday. This is just the second time at “The Carter” for Oklahoma State since TCU joined the Big 12. They’re riding a six-game winning streak, and they have lots of weapons.
OSU quarterback Mason Rudolph is the hottest QB in college football right now. He has been ablaze the last three games, and no quarterback in college football has more deep completions (34) or yards on deep throws (1,342). Last year, he lit up the Frogs for 352 yards and five touchdowns. Doing most of the damage on the receiving end was James Washington, #28. He’s a speedster from a little town north of Abilene called Stamford, Texas (check the note below for an interesting fact on this tiny town). Washington had huge games recently, including 82-yard scoring catches in each of the last two games. Last year against TCU, he was stealthy, running through the Frog secondary with five receptions and 184 yards, including scoring grabs of 48, 50 and 74 yards. Additional wideouts with large claws include Jalen Mccluskey, #1 (62 catches on the year) and Jhajuan Seales, #81. The Cowboys worked hard to improve their running game, which last year was pitiful. This year, they are averaging 148 yards per game, most of it on the legs of freshman Justice Hill, #27. One area of interest for TCU’s defense should be Oklahoma State’s offensive line. No group in the Big 12 has given up more sacks this year.
On the other side, Cowboy defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer is a crafty one. The wily veteran put together a great game plan last year, with his defense seemingly moving at the snap to exactly where the ball was going, forcing four interceptions. His scheme features lots of looks and has defenders moving all over the field. The key is to take the space that they give you. The defensive line was hit hard by graduation and has been rebuilt. Linebacker Devante Everette, #40, is very active. Free safety Jordan Sterns, #13, leads the team in tackles. The Frogs’ newly-found power running game will be a great counter to some of OSU’s antics. I like the screen game as well, with short passes short-circuiting the Cowboys’ penchant for jumping routes and playing aggressively in the secondary.
After last year’s loss to OSU, which took the Frogs out of the College Football Playoff picture, TCU should be hyped and ready for this one.
Oklahoma State is off next Saturday. They’ll finish up the season at Oklahoma on December 3. The Frogs head to Austin next Friday to take on Texas (but I bet you knew that!)
Oh yeah, I almost forgot. OSU’s James Washington hails from Stamford, Texas, which also happens to be the hometown of TCU alum and 1971 Masters Champion Charles Coody, who was a standout quarterback for Stamford High School back in the 1950s.
November 17, 2016
Thirty-two years ago today, No. 12 TCU hosted No. 10 Texas in a Southwest Conference showdown. It was a cold, gray and misty November day, and I remember the waterfall of noise in the stadium as I teed up the ball to kick off. You could feel it.
The Frogs trailed at the half, 10-9, before the Horns broke the game open in the second half, winning 44-23. Still, for the Frogs, it was a landmark day representing TCU football’s climb out of a 20-year ditch. The sellout crowd of 47,000-plus was the largest in Amon G. Carter Stadium history. Check out the photo – they even parked cars on the track! Unbeleeevable!
I knew it was a big game when I saw legendary writer and TCU alumnus Dan Jenkins walk by the locker room on his way to Friday’s practice. Dan didn’t live in Fort Worth back then and was usually off somewhere covering some world championship.
We’re about to get into the thick of basketball season. The Frogs play six games in the next 16 days. Your next chance to see Jamie Dixon’s group is Friday night at 6 p.m. when Jacksonville State comes to visit Schollmaier Arena. Trivia question for you: What is the Jacksonville State mascot?
Lady Frogs are off to a hot start. They’re 2-0 after a win over Sam Houston State, 81-37. Stat for you: The Lady Frogs led by six at the half, then outscored SHSU 38-5 in the third quarter! Hello, defense! Next up is SMU on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Schollmaier Arena.
More congrats to the TCU Women’s Soccer team and head coach Eric Bell on the program’s first NCAA tournament berth. Great job by TCU Athletics in hosting the first-round game as well.
Just a reminder for you that Thanksgiving Day is a week from today. Better get shopping.
TCU football student-athlete Caylin Moore has been named a 2016 Rhodes Scholar finalist. The Rhodes Scholarship is one of the oldest and most prestigious scholarships in the world. Only 32 students from the United States are selected each year. Moore, a senior safety, is an economics major with a 3.9 grade-point average.
Frog Football takes on No. 11 Oklahoma State on Saturday morning. OSU’s Mason Rudolph (no relation to the PGA Tour golfer from the 1960s & ’70s) is the hottest quarterback in college football right now, and he’s more accurate with deep throws than short ones. Maybe the cool weather will cool him off. The temperature at kickoff is going to be in the 40s.
More on the Cowboys tomorrow.
More in: football
November 11, 2016
This is a holiday that gets buried in the headlines and bustle of everyday life. That’s a shame. Reach out to a veteran you know and say thanks today. They lay it all on the line. My dad, Joe D. Denton, is a veteran of World War II. He was a member of the U.S. Army Air Corps, the forerunner of today’s Air Force. Here he is back in the day. He’s my hero.
When I was growing up in Dallas, the Dallas Morning News always badged their masthead on holidays with an alert: “Fly Your Flag.” For some reason, that practice stopped. Fly your American Flag this weekend to honor all of our veterans.
Good luck to the history-making TCU women’s soccer team. The squad will open action in the program’s first NCAA Tournament tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at Garvey-Rosenthal Stadium. The Aggies are coming to visit, and that always makes for a lively atmosphere. Get there early! Hosting a NCAA tournament game is a special thing.
And it’s time for hoops! Basketball season is here – a long, interesting journey that begins now and ends on Monday of Masters Week. In between, there are always a lot of thrilling games, upsets and nail-biters. Trips to faraway places and cold venues, such as Ames, Iowa, in the dead of winter. Or Manhattan, Kan., where the howling wind and near-zero temperatures lashing you on a tarmac while waiting to board a plane will keep you honest. I’m looking forward to all of it, and I’m wishing both the women’s and men’s teams good luck and, most importantly, good health throughout the season. Winning teams are healthy teams.
Lots of big basketball news on campus. The Jamie Dixon era begins tonight at 6 p.m. against St. Thomas. Raegan Pebley (in her third season at TCU – doesn’t seem possible) and the Lady Frogs tip it off against Incarnate Word right after the men finish. It’s a rare double-header at Schollmaier Arena … take it all in. And don’t forget to claim your Jamie Dixon bobblehead.
Enjoy your historic TCU Athletics weekend.
John Denton has been the color analyst for the TCU Sports Network from IMG since 1988. A former standout for the Horned Frog football team, Denton went from walk-on to a four-year lettermen as a kicker and punter for the Purple and White from 1981-84 and completed his career at the 1984 Bluebonnet Bowl. Shown here with his former coach, the late Jim Wacker, Denton currently serves as the Director of Major Gifts for TCU Athletics.