Game Time: In Defense Of TCU, An Open Letter To The Chron's Richard Justice

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Dear Richard,

I'm not sure if you are aware of this but your Monday column entitled "10-0 TCU Not Equal of 10-0 Texas" has caused quite an uproar among the Horned Frog faithful. I am going to assume you are aware of this because the only logical explanation for your outlandish premise and its subsequent flimsy support would be that you were solely writing this column to see how many Horned Frog fans/alum you could piss off.

While I can appreciate first-hand someone in your position having to come up with content several times a week, I also share a radio show with you for two hours each week. So when you introduce elements like higher TV ratings and better ticket/merchandise sales into an argument having to do with playing for the national championship, it tugs at the fiber of the credibility of our show, and that's not good for either of us.

So now you've painted me into a corner and are forcing me to do something I don't normally do. Anyone who listens to our show knows that I am no apologist for the "little guy". As you know, I went to Notre Dame, a school that itself knows a little something about the role TV ratings and ticket/merchandise sales play in a school's bowl plight. My world was perfectly in order ten years ago when the Top 10 was not regularly infiltrated by these outsiders like TCU and Boise State; I openly long for years when the Top 10 reads like a college football history book. A perfect season to me has a Top 10 that includes Notre Dame, Michigan, USC, Oklahoma, Ohio State, and what the hell...Texas.

I like tradition. A world order like the one outlined above pleases me. To me, that is the appropriate alignment of the stars in the college football universe. However, unlike you, I do not let my preferences cloud my judgment and assessment of the truth -- and the truth is that top-shelf football in 2009 is being played in, among other places, Fort Worth.

And the problem is I don't know what is more unsettling -- your argument or the points you use to support it.

Like any good writer, you state what I assume is your premise right out of the gate:

"Are we really supposed to get all worked up about TCU not getting a chance to play for the national championship? I mean, really. For one thing, TCU is NOT more deserving than Texas."
So from this introductory excerpt, your argument seems clear -- TCU does not deserve to play for the national championship more than Texas. Got it. (Let the record reflect that yours is an argument that is also embraced by practically every AP, coaches-poll, and Harris-poll voter, so you're not exactly breaking new ground here. All the more reason your column appears to be a thinly veiled attempt to jump start Horned Frog message board activity.)

"Just because TCU is a sweet little story doesn't mean TCU has accomplished more than Texas."
Nothing like dropping the patronizing "sweet little story" on the Horned Frogs, that will get 'em good and lathered up. Why not just muss up their hair, give them a quarter, and tell them to go buy a gumball while you're at it? Indeed, the Horned Frogs are a sweet story...not as sweet as Jordan serenading Colt with his special rendition of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" from the bottom bunk, but sweet nonetheless.

"Let's also be honest about the ways of the world. Texas is Texas. Texas gets television ratings, sells tickets, moves merchandise. TCU does none of those things."

Strike One. Your argument is that Texas deserves to play for the national championship more than TCU. You support this argument by saying that more people want to watch the Longhorns (in person and on television), and more people want to wear burnt orange gear. The only problem here (and it's kind of a big one) is that the BCS title game is the one bowl game where NONE of the points you raise in support of Texas matter. Sure, every OTHER bowl game in existence is an exhibition, a figurative financial organism that requires the nourishment of eyeballs and wallets to survive. We all know and accept this.

But the BCS title game has the two BEST teams with the BEST bodies of work, as decided by voters and computers. The computers know nothing about Nielsen ratings or t-shirt sales; the voters aren't ranking teams based on TV ratings and merchandise sold (we hope, although honestly who the hell knows). If voters have Texas ahead of TCU, it's because presumably they think Texas is a better team, which is fine. But introducing ticket sales and TV ratings into an argument over which team is better is illogical and careless.

Next..... "Here's where it gets silly. You say tomato, I say potato. TCU has beaten Clemson, BYU, Air Force and Utah. Texas has beaten Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Missouri."
Strike Two...err, I mean "tomato". Whatever. I'm trying to figure out what's so "silly" about the opponents you just listed for TCU and Texas because I swear the only silly thing about this portion of your column is that you actually bring forth evidence that better supports TCU than it does Texas. Your tone in these three sentences is like you've cracked the secret code and you're about to scream "CHECKMATE." Richie, I know you've watched football games not involving the Big XII this year, right? Please tell me you have because your presumptuous dismissal of TCU in this argument because Texas has played "Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, and Missouri" smacks of blind Big XII elitism in a season where the Big XII's out of conference resume looks like this:

Oklahoma has lost to BYU and Miami
Oklahoma State has lost to Houston
Texas Tech has lost to Houston
Nebraska has lost to Virginia Tech
Kansas State has lost to UCLA and Louisiana-Monroe

And before you chastise me for including Kansas State in an argument of relevant teams, keep in mind that until last week they were LEADING the North division of the Big XII, which last I checked contains teams on Texas' schedule. Point being, 2009 is not a year where you can just walk into an argument and announce that you played OU, Okie State, Tech and Mizzou and expect the other side to roll over. The Big XII's cocoon of out-of-conference invincibility took a major hit this year.

Getting back to the specific opponents for TCU and UT that you yourself introduced into the argument, I contend if you ranked the four teams from each of those lists and then played them against each other (1 vs 1, 2 vs 2, etc), the Big XII would be lucky -- LUCKY -- to split. Observe...
BYU vs OKLAHOMA -- Since we have the convenience of these two actually having played each other, let's include that. BYU 14, Oklahoma 13. Next.
UTAH vs OKLAHOMA STATE -- With no Dez Bryant, I think Oklahoma State would have a tough time scoring against Utah. This would be a fun matchup.
CLEMSON vs TEXAS TECH -- Richie, I'm not sure if you watch any ACC football but Clemson has been one of the better teams in the country the last month or so, has one of the best players in the nation in C.J. Spiller, and they control their own destiny in the ACC. They've lost three games by a total of 10 points. Texas Tech lost by 22 to A&M at home. Next.
AIR FORCE vs MISSOURI -- I'll take a consistently decent service academy team over a middling Big XII North team every day of the week, and twice on Saturdays.

Silly, Richie? I feel bad, it's almost like you didn't research Clemson or Air Force before you typed that paragraph. You're better than this.


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