Way back on September 2nd (only in football does three months a few days seem way back
) the Wimple offered, as a public service, five reasons to curb our collective enthusiasm
for the newborn football season. Relax
, was the message: 2009 rocked, and there’re a lot of good reasons to expect 2010, while good, not to exceed ’09. Injuries might raise their ugly heads,
and this year’s weakest link is backup quarterback.
“So pray for Andy Dalton’s durability, if you want the Frogs to top 2009 this year. An inexperienced Pachall… isn’t going to best the Utes in Salt Lake City, or manhandle SDSU’s much-improved six-man secondary… in his first year. So let’s hope he doesn’t have to.”
TCU’s ginger-headed gunslinger was one of the Frogs’ constants in 2010.
And, perhaps remarkably, the redshirt freshmen never had to take a snap with the outcome of the game in doubt. Neither did the Frogs cave under the pressure to be perfect (another potential landmine noted in September), nor were the Frogs’ efforts in vain because Boise was more perfect than TCU. In fact, speaking of Boise, perhaps it was a gift that this sentiment was true in September:
“Remember, Boise State put that monkey named You’re Still Not All That right back onto the Horned Frogs’ back in Glendale, and if history, including 2009, proves anything about TCU, it’s that the Frogs never—ever—get the monkey off their collective back.”
And since 1938, that had been true, with exactly zero exceptions. Andy Dalton and other Frogs said, over and over, how focused they were on returning to the BCS in 2010 and playing well; on purging the taste of the F-Bowl from their mouths. It was Boise that, by besting the Frogs in Glendale, gave TCU the necessary motivation for success in Pasadena.
That success was a culmination of factors that were visible in September. Two days following the article quoted above, your humble Wimple offered these five reasons to expect 2010 to exceed the heights of ’09. (1) Andy Dalton and his receivers were all back; (2) Jake Kirkpatrick and his brethren in the trenches would dictate, not react; (3) the “ohmygawd backfield;” (4) a favorable schedule in which all the good teams came to Fort Worth (or Arlington), except Utah, and for that game Dalton’s greater experience than Utah’s Wynn’s would be the difference; and (5) with such a high starting ranking, TCU wouldn’t be passed by one-loss cartel teams.
Rimington winner Jake Kirkpatrick anchored the Frogs’ offensive line.
The story of TCU’s tremendous 2010 season is no less than the coming-true of every one of those good predictions, and (somehow!) the coming-false of every one of the bad predictions. It is hard to fathom a more perfect season. Dalton and his receivers indeed had a stellar year; Jake Kirkpatrick won the Rimington, and led a line that generally paved over opponents; the d-line was nearly as dominant; the backfield was outstanding; only one team registered a threat at Amon Carter Stadium, and the Utes’ poor quarterback was so thunderingly confused by TCU’s defense while Dalton had one of the best games of his career; and to top it off, the one-loss cartel teams in fact did not outrank TCU. (more…)