In my not-so-humble opinion there are two folks whose pre-season previews are worth reading every word, every time. The first is Bill Connelly, who says to buy TCU; buy, buy, buy.
The other is Paul Myerberg (formerly Pre-Snap Read) who published his $0.02 today. And his assessment couldn't be more different: sell, sell, sell (but keep your options for purchase next year). But he sure lets Frogs O' War down easy; allow me to quote: "Frogs O' War: an absolutely indispensable, top-notch leader among the Horned Frogs' blog ranks. (Frogs O' War is just terrific.)"
Hear that? He loves us; he really loves us.
But he doesn't really love our offensive line. After giving a few possible combinations of Hunt-Tausch-Dunbar as center, guard, or tackle, Myerberg concludes:
This is still a work in progress, this line, and one that remains at the forefront of any discussion surrounding TCU's ability to win the Big 12. I have incalculable respect for all that TCU has achieved under Patterson; nevertheless, I'm a little skeptical as to how a team with this sort of offensive line plans on leapfrogging to the top of this conference.
I can't disagree; I'm just a little more optimistic. Last year's line, which performed below average in front of below average quarterback and runningback play, still got the Frogs to third place in the conference. I think there's no way the line doesn't improve to about average this year, and gets to play in front of superior quarterback and runningback play. How doesn't that add up to a pretty dang good year? Barring mass arrests, suspensions, etc. (which we are now quite used to barring, sadly) I think the Frogs improve the win total to nine.
But Myerberg's not sold.
He's correctly wary of the situation at linebacker, which he calls, "a questionable group dinged further by would-be starter Joel Hasley's decision to forego his final season of eligibility." No argument there; I'd go further, and say the O-line, while not ideal, is probably going to be OK. I'm more worried about the linebackers than the o-linemen. Smart teams will watch what SMU did to TCU in 2010, and target the linebackers with plays like the one SMU ran with Zach Line for eleven hundred yards (or however much it was) that night.
Add it all up, and if the chips fall the way they shouldn't, Myerberg things TCU could go 6-6. He calls that TCU's "nightmare" season. Which, while it would be, fails, I think, to remember that TCU already had its nightmare season. That was 2012, in which the Frogs eked out seven wins (with a little help from the replay referee in Morgantown).
No, the nightmare is over. Not that I'm betting that the Frogs take another trip to Glendale to play another F-Bowl this January; but neither do I think the Frogs will be the 29th best team in the country.
No; it'll be somewhere inbetween.
And the Paul Myerberg tells us why.
For starters, he loves TCU's quarterbacks.
Pachall's accuracy, decision-making ability, careful control of the ball, agility, next-level toolbox and overall grasp of all that TCU wants to achieve makes him not only the Frogs' best option but also one of the top quarterbacks in the country – once he works his way back into form, that is. Basically, this is Pachall's job. But what of Boykin? I just love all that he could provide this offense even in a secondary role, perhaps filling a huge spot as a quarterback-playing specialist in certain packages.
I think that's underplaying Boykin, although hopefully it's a year before we know it. If Patterson is saying it like it is (and I've never heard him say otherwise) then Boykin has really narrowed the distance between him and Pachall as a passer. No, Boykin's not going to throw himself into the first round, which Pachall could do. But if the sophomore can run the whole offense this year, then he's more valuable than a specialist in certain packages.
Myerberg loves TCU's runningbacks.
I'm extremely intrigued by what Green can achieve if given the lion's share of touches out of the backfield. TCU will divvy things up, as it always does, but watch Green: Nebraska lost a great one – through no fault of its own; TCU will make him an offensive centerpiece.
That's slightly (but forgivably) underinformed. Word out of drills all off-season has been that Catalon is the real deal. It's going to be the Waymon-BJ show this fall, and Aaron Green is going to have to turn it up a notch to make it a three-piece suit. That's not a 29th best backfield, friends; you and I each have more fingers than better backfields than that in the country.
The receivers? I'm inclined to say "meh" and see who fills the Boyce's shoes. Myerberg thinks it'll be Carter.
The defensive line? Myerberg nearly slobbers over Devonte Fields-- and so do the rest of us. But I don't think Myerberg has gotten the memo that James McFarland is really good. The ends are going to be a two- or three-man show this year, although certainly Fields will be the lead.
Neither has Myerberg heard that Terrell Lathan (whom he calls "Latham") is dynamite. And third string. That's no knock on the sophomore; the Frogs' rotation inside on the d-line might be reason enough by itself to rank the Frogs in the top 25. These guys are going to be so disruptive.
Which leads to the secondary, about which Myerberg is properly ecstatic.
TCU's secondary will be the best in the Big 12. . . The secondary is awesome.
Myerberg is not prone to the word "awesome," but his use here is appropriate. Necessary, I think.
He thinks the kicking game will be good, but better next year.
My beef with Myerberg's analysis is not that any particular unit is deficiently described; but rather with the arithmetic. How does one add up a top-notch d-line, secondary, backfield, quarterbacks, and get to 29th best team in the country? I may not be the only one wondering. TCU has been ranked in every pre-season poll I've seen. But Myerberg's the contrarion this year.
I guess TCU can chalk this one up to another mind that will wait on wins before being made up.
But we'll forgive him; he loves us, after all.