September 8, 2017
Hello, Horned Frogs fans…..It’s FRIDAY! That’s what the great Paul Harvey used to sign on with every Friday – I sure miss him.
Head for the Hills seems to be the theme for the week. Folks in Florida are heading for higher ground as Hurricane Irma approaches and the Frogs are headed to the Ozarks to take on the Razorbacks of Arkansas.
The Frogs haven’t played in Fayetteville since 1988 and TCU’s last win at Razorback Stadium came in 1984. The 32-31 upset by the ’84 Frogs set TCU on its way to that “UN-BELEEEVABLE” year and an 8-3 record. It was my senior year at TCU and many of us on the team hadn’t experienced a lot of road wins; Two, count ‘em, in four plus seasons up to that day. The win at Arkansas was one for the ages. Current TCU defensive line coach Dan Sharp caught a touchdown pass. Down 31-17, the Frogs drove into the wind for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to draw within 31-30 with 11 seconds left in the game. Coach Jim Wacker decided to go for the win. Frogs quarterback Anthony Gulley took the snap, avoided a sack and rolled to his right on the 2-point conversion. He found wide receiver James Maness in the back right corner of the south end zone to make it 32-31 TCU. And the whiskey bottles began flying. The Frogs had made a statement.
I’m looking for another great day in Fayetteville on Saturday. Razorback Stadium will be rocking and the environment will be full-on college football. The players will have no problem getting motivated for this one. It’s a big-time atmosphere and a perfect stage for the Frogs to impress a national audience on CBS.
Arkansas is still the same as you remember. They’re still big and they like to line up on offense and run it right at you. You’ll never see the Hogs without a tight end in the formation. They like to utilize a fullback and run a lot of lead draws and straight-ahead running plays. The offensive line averages 309 and quarterback Austin Allen has a command of the offense. He should – he’s a coach’s kid and he’s the best passer in the Southeast Conference. Tailback #2 Chase Hayden is the best of the running backs and he’s a big play weapon, both running and catching the ball. (WATCH ALERT: Arkansas loves to run old-fashioned screens to the running backs – look for that). The receivers are solid with no standouts but watch out for #6 T.J. Hammonds, he’s Arkansas’s Shawn Nixon – very versatile.
On Defense, the Hogs have a new coordinator in Paul Rhoads. You’ll remember him as the former head coach at Iowa State from 2009-2015. He has changed the Hogs from a 4-3 scheme to a new 3-4 scheme designed to put pressure on the quarterback and defend against spread attacks. This scheme is a “Bend, Don’t Break” scheme that will blitz when threatened. They’re big up front, averaging 309 pounds. Missing from the lineup will be the Hogs’ best corner, Ryan Pulley, who is out for the season with a shoulder injury suffered last week in the 49-7 win over Florida A&M.
Razorback Stadium has changed from natural grass to an artificial surface so it will be a fast track. The stadium, which opened in 1938, has been enlarged since Southwest Conference days when it held 44,000. It now seats over 70,000 and features 134 suites. And it’s loud.
The temperature should be around 80 at kickoff with clear skies.
If you’re going to Fayetteville, make sure to stop at Herman’s Ribhouse on College Street. There’s no sign – they don’t need one. Just look for the crowds.
See you there!
More in: football
September 6, 2017
The Frogs are over the first big hill on the college football roller coaster with their win over Jackson State. Now things get rolling really fast. Hold on tight!
And just like that – Arkansas and a trip to Fayetteville are three days away. I love Fayetteville – it’s a good town and the stadium along Razorback Road is a great setting. Much like at TCU, the stadium still sits on the same site. The main difference is it now seats 70,000+ instead of the 44,000 it used to seat back in the old Southwest Conference days.
Last weekend was a wild one around the state of Texas with the season in full bloom. Interesting outcomes in Austin and Waco and a heart-breaking loss by West Virginia mean that Big 12 teams need to get going in the win column, especially against early season non-conference foes.
After the Frogs defeated Jackson State, I was on my way to the Rose Bowl to see the Aggies take on UCLA in the most talked-about game of the week. And, yes, I was cheering for the Aggies – they’re from Texas. You should pull for them, too. Remember, their move to the Southeast Conference opened up a seat at the Big 12 table. Without the Aggies’ move and Chris Del Conte’s swiftness, where might TCU be today?
The game reminded me of the Alamo Bowl as the Aggies controlled the game for 35 minutes, then it started to rain and the Bruins had new life and all the luck. Leaving the Rose Bowl, I still wasn’t sure what just happened. My advice for the Aggies: RUN the football. They have three talented backs who can take over games and help keep the A&M defense off the field.
Of course, no visit to the Rose Bowl would be complete without a visit to the Rose Bowl’s Court of Champions which features the winners of every Rose Bowl. It’s special to see all that history and even more moving to see TCU’s plaque on the wall. Believe me, I showed all my Aggie friends!
Ironically, the same two head coaches from that 2011 Rose Bowl square off Saturday in Fayetteville. Friday, I’ll preview the Frogs & Hogs.
September 1, 2017
Before we kickoff this year of Extra Points, let me send out encouragement to all along the Gulf Coast who are trying to make it in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Our prayers are with all of you for strength. Let me also say that LaDainian Tomlinson’s suggestion of all of us becoming “Team America” in his NFL Hall of Fame Induction speech has indeed been on display. And it’s a powerful thing to see. Makes one proud to be an American and a Texan. Too bad it takes a disaster to get us all on the same page.
The long wait is almost over! TCU Football is a mere handful of hours away. Last December 3o, the date of the Liberty Bowl, seems like year ago, doesn’t it?
It’s all new, and as I begin my 38th year around Horned Frog Football, the anticipation of a new season of big plays and elevated heart rates begs a few questions for which we will soon have answers:
The Jackson State Tigers come in off of a 3-8 record last year. The Tigers lost five games that were decided by one possession.
Defense is the calling card for the Tigers, with two great defensive linemen leading the way. Jackson State runs a 4-3 set, and there’s speed aplenty. Look for defensive end #14 Keontre Anderson, who led the FCS with 26 tackles for loss. His line mate is recent Mississippi State transfer, #55 Deion Pope. Linebacker #9 Andre Lloyd is a playmaker.
The Tigers run a multiple offense that relies on lots of formations and a stable of running backs led by #17 Jordan Johnson. He averaged 6.4 yards-per-carry last year as a freshman.
Quarterback is still a bit of a question for Jackson State, and the Frogs will see two quarterbacks tomorrow. Sophomore Brent Lyles will start, but Jackson State coach Tony Hughes is waiting to discover a long-term answer at the position.
Hughes told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger Wednesday that the game plan is for junior college transfer Jarrad Hayes to see some playing time as well.
Did You Know?
Jackson State is home to three NFL Hall of Famers? Walter Payton of the Chicago Bears, Jackie Slater of the Los Angeles Rams and Lem Barney (Detroit Lions) all honed their skills at JSU.
It’s the season opener. Feels like Christmas Eve, doesn’t it! Get there early and be loud as Coach P goes for win number 150.
Kick ‘Em High!
March 30, 2017
Today is March 30, and I wake up in Manhattan on a historic day for TCU Basketball. It’s also the latest date that TCU Basketball has ever played a game. Heck, the Masters is next week!!
Tonight’s NIT Championship final vs. Georgia Tech is the last game in a “Season of Firsts” under new head coach Jamie Dixon.
Consider these tidbits, submitted for your perusal:
And tonight the Frogs can win a post-season tournament for the first time in school history … Not to mention ending a season with a win for the first time in the “tournament era” (45 years).
Brian Estridge and I will be there for Game No. 39, just as we have been all year. It’s been quite a ride. You can find us on KTCU and on ESPN 103.3 FM at 6:30 CT.
More in: basketball
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,
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:
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.