Week 7: TCU at Baylor

    TCU (4-0) at Baylor (5-0) Oct. 11, 3:30, ESPN2 Here’s The Deal: Everyone. Raise your hand if you thought that TCU vs. Baylor would turn out to be the

    October 8, 2014

    TCU (4-0) at Baylor (5-0) Oct. 11, 3:30, ESPN2

    Here’s The Deal: Everyone. Raise your hand if you thought that TCU vs. Baylor would turn out to be the biggest game of the Big 12 season. It might not be that – at least not yet – but after TCU beat Oklahoma, now it’s Prove It time. Yeah, that was great, but do it again. The Horned Frogs really might be that good, with a much-improved offense to go along with it’s fantastic D, and now, this becomes Step Two in what could be an amazing October. If they can pull this off, and if they can handle Oklahoma State in Fort Worth next week, then the final road games to deal with are West Virginia, Kansas and Texas – that’s not that bad.

    Even with Baylor’s ascension, TCU has still had the upper hand lately, giving the Bears a hard time in a 41-38 loss last year and winning four of the last six going back to the Southwest Conference days. But Baylor won 5-0 in 1903.

    The Bears need a Prove It moment of its own, despite beating Texas on the road by 21 and winning three straight games away from Waco, Buffalo, Iowa State, and yeah, the 2014 Longhorns, isn’t like navigating through the SEC West. But there will be plenty of chances to come up with big statements, and it all starts here. Considering the only two true road games left are at West Virginia and Oklahoma, and with Oklahoma State and Kansas State at home, this could be a big chance to show that this really is a team worth watching down the stretch. It’s time to beat a real opponent, and this year, that’s TCU.

    Why TCU Might Win: The 2014 Baylor offense feels like a good movie sequel – it’s kind of like the previous versions, and it’s solid and entertaining, but it’s not quite the same. Yeah, the offense is second in the nation, and yeah, the team leads all of college football averaging 51 points per game, and yeah, the receiving corps is getting healthier and the running backs are great. However, if Texas had any semblance of an offense whatsoever, the game in Austin probably would’ve been far different. Bryce Petty was awful, completing 7-of-22 passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns, but it was good enough to beat a struggling team. TCU didn’t stuff Oklahoma by any stretch, but if gave Trevor Knight a rough day – tons of yards aside – and held up well when it had to. Yes, the secondary got torched by Sterling Shepard, but it’s still fourth in the nation in pass efficiency defense.

    Why Baylor Might Win: TCU did just about everything right against Oklahoma and it still took a pick six to pull off the win. The defense held the OU ground game in relative check – three Samaje Perine touchdowns aside – and Trevor Knight completed 14-of-35 passes. Shock Linwood ran well against Texas, but Baylor’s passing game was about as bad as it can be, and it won in Austin by three touchdowns. Lost in the talk about Petty’s day was a Baylor defense that clamped down on the Texas offense allowing a few big running plays, but not letting Tyrone Swoopes do much of anything when he wasn’t taking off. Baylor’s defensive front has been absolutely phenomenal at making plays in the backfield with a whopping 41 tackles for loss so far. It should be able to get to the TCU offense before it gets started.

    Who To Watch Out For: It’s not like Shock Linwood is an unsung part of the Baylor offense, but last week he showed his worth running for 148 yards and a score as a workhorse on a day when the passing game was off. It was his first 100-yard game since tearing off 187 on Texas Tech back in mid-November of last year, and now, with the TCU defense about to bear down on Petty, the ground game might have to do the heavy lifting again.

    What’s Going To Happen: TCU is going to give Petty another bad day. The Baylor offense might be great, but it’s about to deal with a team that can do a little bit of everything. TCU can keep up the pace with its own attack, and it should be able to bother the Bear passing game even more than Texas did.

    Prediction: TCU 45 … Baylor 42
    Line: Baylor -8 o/u: 66
    Must Watch Factor: 5: Last Week Tonight – 1: Bad Judge … 5


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