Week 14: TCU at Texas

    TCU (9-1) at Texas (6-5) Nov. 27, 7:30, FOX Sports 1 Here’s The Deal: Usually, the shoe – or the importance of the win – is on the other foot. It’s the

    November 26, 2014

    TCU (9-1) at Texas (6-5) Nov. 27, 7:30, FOX Sports 1 

    Here’s The Deal: Usually, the shoe – or the importance of the win – is on the other foot. It’s the 82nd meeting between the two schools – with Texas taking five of the last six going back to the Southwest Conference days – and with a win in the first meeting in 1904 – and now it’s all about TCU and its push to try getting into the playoff. 

    Of course this is big for Texas, too. The Longhorns have somewhat quietly gone on a three game winning streak, and have won four of their last five to start to charge up the Charlie Strong era. Bowl eligibility is already secured, but no post-season game this season would mean more than knocking off TCU and ruining the playoff dream. Helped by a terrific defense, and an offense that’s doing just enough, this has been a confident team improving by the week. 

    But the eyes of Texas will be on the Horned Frogs, needing to win on Thanksgiving and beat Iowa State to take at least a share of the Big 12 title. Two impressive performances in a row might get them achingly close, but it’s going to take some help to secure a spot in the big four. After a really, really shaky win over Kansas two weeks ago, style points count now more than ever. With everyone watching after filling up on turkey, it’s statement time for the nation’s No. 2 scoring offense. This is the game TCU has to show that it has to be in a playoff, but it’s going to be a fight. 

    Why TCU Might Win: Does Texas have the ability in any way to keep up the pace? Hanging 48 on Iowa State in a shootout is one thing, but cranking up big numbers isn’t an issue for the Horned Frogs, who average 46 points per game. The Longhorns have to keep the TCU offense off the field, and that’s going to be a huge problem for an attack that can’t seem to convert on third downs, connecting just 36% of the time. TCU’s defense has been consistently outstanding on third downs, allowing teams to convert fewer than 30% of the time on the year and not letting anyone get over 40. However, Kansas came close two weeks ago, connecting on 7-of-18 chances. Texas was great against Oklahoma State – converting 11-of-19 times – but hasn’t been consistent throughout the year. 

    Why Texas Might Win: All the pressure is 100% completely and totally on TCU. This is a good, sound, effective team that shouldn’t be fazed too much by the pressure, but Texas can just turn it loose and go for the upset. The Longhorn defense was in a pass rushing lull for a while, but it cranked it back up in a big way over the last two games, getting to West Virginia’s Clint Trickett three times, and not letting the Oklahoma State passing game breathe with seven sacks two weeks ago. Part of TCU’s success has been keeping the backfield relatively, clean, allowing just 17 sacks on the season, but that’s about to change with the aggressiveness about to come. 

    Who To Watch Out For: Trevone Boykin made a big splash in 2012 when he took charge of the TCU offense and ran ten times for 77 yards and completed 7-of-9 passes for 82 yards and a pick in the 20-13 win. Last year he played a bigger role as a receiver in the 30-7 loss, but this year this is his TCU offense to run from under center. He might have ducked out of the Heisman race with a mediocre performance against West Virginia, but he was strong against Kansas State – especially running the ball, carrying it 17 times for 123 yards and three scores – and great in the surprisingly tight game with Kansas, completing 72% of his throws for 330 yards and a touchdown with a pick. This is his game and his chance to take over, needing to come up with something brilliant to get back into Heisman consideration, but more importantly, to carry TCU to within a game of a Big 12 title and keeping the national title hope alive. 

    What’s Going To Happen: TCU really is that good, but with two weeks to prepare for a huge home game, Texas is going to come up with something special. The Longhorn running game will be fine, but QB Tyrone Swoopes will be good enough to get by. It’ll be the defense that comes up with the big day, pushing TCU for the first time all year to under 30 points. 

    Prediction: Texas 31 … TCU 27 
    Line: TCU -7 o/u: 56.5 
    Must Watch Factor: 5: Birdman – 1: Horrible Bosses 2 … 4 

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