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Mailbag Response: Talking Downing, Expansion, and Relevancy

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We took questions from around the web to help get ready for Game Day.

West Virginia v TCU Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Well, it’s finally here, y’all. We have football happening in Fort Worth, at AGCS, with TCU tomorrow. The Horned Frogs, who have had something like five different openers scheduled, will take the field Saturday afternoon to face off with the Iowa State Cyclones, and for the first time in a long time, it will feel like a semi-normal weekend.

There are plenty of questions to be answered when it comes to the Frogs this fall, and, well, apparently about this here site covering them. So, in this week’s mailbag, we will talk football AND Frogs O’ War.

Here are the best questions from the site, facebook, twitter, and beyond.

Question:

Better first starting performance for a QB against Iowa State?

2012 Trevon Boykin, (23-40, 270yds, 1 TD, 3 INT) Loss, 23-37

2020 Matthew Downing (???)

Well, this isn’t very nice, lol. I vividly remember that 2012 game and how terrible it was. Those of you around eight years ago probably know — Casey Pachall was arrested shortly before game day, so a young Trevone Boykin was moved from running back (where he had been practicing all week) to quarterback — on Thursday.

The results were to be expected.

Of course, over the next several seasons, Boykin would go from scapegoat to superstar, breaking records and leading the Frogs to back to back double-digit win seasons (and an eyelash away from the College Football Playoffs). Of course, the end of his story was not a happy one, but for a blip in time, he was as celebrated as much as any TCU Athlete in history.

Question:

If you were to expand the Big 12, how many teams would you add and who would they be?

This question was from Mason’s mailbag a couple weeks ago, but life happened and we didn’t get to it — so I will take it.

I am not a fan of adding teams just to grow the conference size, especially when you factor in that TV deals expire soon and it’s likely everything is going to get blown up anyway. I also don’t really want to add more Texas schools, because that does nothing to help TCU. If Arizona and Arizona State really did defect from the Pac-12, I would scoop them up in a heartbeat. Same thing if Nebraska and Colorado ever saw the error of their ways. But I enjoy the round-robin schedule, and if the conference decided to hang tight until the TV rights are renegotiated, I wouldn’t complain.

Question:

How many drives do you think downing has before duggan takes the reins back?

I am hoping it’s two, unless Downing comes in and lights it up. Maybe he gets a quarter, but if Duggan truly is a full go, I think we will see him before halftime.

Question:

Will they be using previously recorded crowd noise?

Do you need a bunch of us with megaphones to stand outside the stadium and roar?

Will it rain that day?

Gary Patterson was coy in Tuesday’s media availability when it comes to crowd noise, but did seem aware of the decibel limits imposed by the conference, so expect that to be a yes. Though I do prefer your second question/idea.

As far as the weather, it looks like it’s going to be a beautiful late summer/early fall day in Funky Town, so expect a little heat.

Question/Comment:

I do not appreciate my comments being presented in a sexist light on twitter. I frankly do not agree with it in the least bit.

I’ve had issue with this website’s content and it’s subjective tone by all authors not just yourself. I stated this website is dying, because this used to be my major source of tcu frog athletics a few years ago. It has slowly deteriorated to the point of being unrecognizable.

I provide criticism on the site and I am met with a ban that says “I am trash” and now I am apparently a sexist? Let’s make this very clear, I did not attack you as a person in any manner, let alone for being a woman.

I’ll leave this comment with an objective fact. FOW has 10.3k unique visitors a month, burnt orange nation 190k, and the daily bear 45k. If anything I believe it is an indictment against the content to have 35k less visitors than baylor. Thank you, now officially back to the forums.

Question/Comment:

This site and the word “relevant” don’t belong in the same sentence.

That doesn’t mean with some work that things couldn’t be improved, but as we stand right now, this site is far from relevant.

Okay, let’s talk about this website and its subjective tone. Well, this is a site by the fans, for the fans. The SB Nation tag is “Come fan with us”. We are not “SERIOUS JOURNALISTS”, we are TCU fans who do this as a way to stay close to the university we love (and most of us attend(ed)), to be a part of a community, and because we enjoy writing. If you want “real journalism”, subscribe to the Star Telegram, where Drew Davison does an exceptional job. If you want insider scoops and breaking news, Jeremy Clark and Billy Wessells are your men at 247 Sports and Rivals, respectively. And if you want the deep dives and analysis, no one is better anywhere than @statsowar, whose Purple Theory Newsletter is the best source for analytics in regards to TCU.

I will say, I am incredibly proud of the work we do here. We have put in a ton of time and effort to build a legitimacy both in the blog world and around TCU communications — and it’s worked! We are fully credentialed for all of TCU Athletics, we have been credentialed for many away games, and I have had incredible experiences like covering the College World Series, NCAA Tournament, and — best of all — the ILLUSTRIOUS Cheez-It Bowl. We are one of the very few SB Nation team sites to earn a credential, and trust me, we earned it.

As far as the site dying/being far from relevant, well, to paraphrase a famous quote: “reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated”. If you are going to throw numbers at us, you need to compare apples to apples. Texas has a living alumni base of nearly 500,000 people, Baylor over 180,000, while TCU clocks in with well under 100,000. Our target audience, by nature, is significantly smaller than the schools you used, and thus, our traffic is less. We really belong in the same category as schools like Vanderbilt and Wake Forest, who are closer in size — but can’t compete with us as far as followings.

Additionally, as Frog Football goes, so go the fans, and there hasn’t been much in the way of winning over the last two years. Back in 2014, 2015, and even 2017, our numbers were excellent. When basketball made it to the NCAA Tournament, or any time baseball is in the College World Series, we tend to be near the top in traffic numbers amongst Big 12 blogs not covering Texas/OU. And while it would be cool to get back to 3.5 million hits a year, that’s not what drives me. We don’t get paid by the post or by the hit, we work off of a very small budget, and as a co-managing editor, I am not exaggerating when I say that my stipend works out to around $4.50 per hour I put in monthly. That’s why we don’t focus on breaking news — when it comes down to it, are you going to put your primary focus on the job that pays you a salary and gives you health benefits or the one that costs you more to do than you make annually? (I lose money in years I travel to games — that’s the truth). So, while this is something that I love, it cannot be done at the expense of my career, which means it often can’t be done between the hours of 8-5 daily, or when I have evening obligations for work. Additionally, while we would love to have a full-time copy editor, most of the folks that work for us do so for next to nothing, and have full-time jobs/school/families/etc. There just aren’t enough hours in the day or pennies in the coffer to do more than what we do.

Oh, and one more thing in speaking of relevance — if you were to add up the social media followings of the TCU beat reporters, the 247 and Rivals guys, and KillerFrogs, they wouldn’t add up to Frogs O’ War’s. With over 14,000 followers on twitter and nearly 20,000 on facebook (not even counting our individual staff followings), we dominate the marketplace when it comes to social media ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ . We are also have a stronger social media presence than half of our Big 12 sister sites, despite being the smallest school in the conference by a large margin.

I understand that yourblitzisshowing has decided to “take up residence” on this site with the mission to improve it. Well, good for you. But you’re not improving anything by spewing hateful comments directed at people’s appearance or using vaguely sexist and demeaning language. You can say whatever you want to say, but if you want to be taken seriously, quit hiding behind a made-up screen name and dummy email address and bring actual constructive criticism. Because I can promise you this — not a single writer on this site, myself included, cares one iota about gaining your favor or approval. Feel free to stick around (unless you use hateful language, then I’ll ban you myself), but don’t expect us to pander to you or respond unless you’re willing to engage in an actual dialogue.

For the rest of you, thank you for entertaining a little rant and some justification of myself and our staff. I am thankful for those of you who read (and there are thousands of you), those that comment, and those that reach out in an appropriate manner to offer criticism. We appreciate you and hope that we can continue to grow and improve this site, and are beyond thankful to finally have fun, relevant things to write about again!