The game in Fort Worth could have huge implications on how the Big 12 shakes out at the end of the season — especially if there are two or three one-loss teams all tied at the top.
The Texas Tech Pessimist
Left for dead after being dismantled by Oklahoma two weeks ago, the fan base jumped right back on the Texas Tech and Tommy Tuberville band wagon, if only for another week.
The concern for the Tech coaching staff this week is to avoid a letdown after the blow-out win last week against West Virginia. In the minds of people across the nation, it was more of what West Virginia didn’t do more than what Tech did to break the game open. West Virginia had a game against undefeated Kansas State on the horizon and overlooked Texas Tech; that’s the perception.
The question on the minds of fans: As teams focus better on Tech, as Oklahoma did, will it result in more losses? The defense was congratulated for the “masterful” performance against the Mountaineers, yet gave up 416 total yards. The Tech offense played really well, but will not and cannot be expected to put up over 600 yards of offense on a regular basis.
Final thought: The coaches put the focus on this week trying to forget last week’s result. “Week-to-week” has to be the mentality. And, the defense must play better as the Tech offense will face a much better defense this week.
Prediction: Texas Tech 28, TCU 27
The TCU Pessimist
Although half the fan base will see last week’s win over Baylor with quarterback Trevone Boykin (22-30, 261 yds, 4 TD) as a step in the right direction, the other half worries about the lackluster performance (23-40, 270 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT) Boykin had two weeks ago in a loss against Iowa State’s better defense.
Texas Tech brings the fourth-best (about 244 yds/gm) defense in the nation into the contest against the Horned Frogs. The concern is not so much that TCU doesn’t have the talent to match up against Texas Tech, it’s the experience. Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege is a senior and is very much in control of the Red Raider offense. TCU’s 15th-ranked defense will be tested time and again, especially through the air.
Final thought: If the TCU defense finds a way to slow down Tech (see the OU/TTU game) and takes care of the ball on offense (like Boykin did last week), the Frogs have a good chance of getting a win. However, if Tech controls the game like it did against West Virginia, and Boykin has another three-interception game, it could be a long day in Fort Worth.
Prediction: Texas Tech 31, TCU 24
The Texas Tech Optimist
Tech come into the game after its best performance of the season — a drubbing of then Top 5-ranked West Virginia. Doege had a fantastic game with 504 yards passing and 6 touchdowns, a bounce back from his performance against the Sooners. Although TCU plays a defense similar to the Sooners, Tech will use its experience from a couple of weeks ago to attack the Horned Frogs. The Red Raiders bring the ninth-best offense (537 yds/gm) into the game along with one of the best yardage defenses in the country. These ranks suggest Tech is for real, especially this far into the season. Although the total defensive yardage may increase against some of the better offenses in the Big 12, the Red Raiders clearly showed they can handle spread attacks by giving up 14 points to the Mountaineers in Lubbock.
Final thought: Coming off one of the program’s biggest wins in recent history, Tech will effectively use that momentum in Fort Worth.
Prediction: Texas Tech 37, TCU 21
The TCU Optimist
From week-to-week in his first two games of major playing time, Trevone Boykin showed great improvement. Boykin also brings that added ability to run the football that keeps defenses honest. He has run for at least 50 yards in three of TCU’s six games in 2012.
The Frogs are expecting Boykin to continue to improve against Tech. TCU brings a strong rushing attack into the game with three players (including Boykin) that have over 200 yards rushing on the season to help keep the offense balanced. As Boykin gets more comfortable, his role in shaping the attack will continue to grow, especially since there is no timetable for Casey Pachall’s return.
The defense had one hiccup, allowing 37 points to Iowa State in TCU’s lone loss. In five wins this season, the defense is averaging giving up only 10 points a game. While that’s very noteworthy considering the amount of new, young players on defense this year, tough-nosed defense has been a trademark of Horned Frog football since Gary Patterson was named coach. It could be one of those cases of where teams that played TCU earlier in the year were much more fortunate than those who have to face the Frogs in the back half of their slates.
Final thought: At 2-1 in the Big 12, TCU has a chance to stay near the top of the conference standings, along with avenging its loss at home.
Prediction: TCU 34, Texas Tech 21
The Texas Tech Realist
Stat-wise, Texas Tech comes into this game as the better team. But, as most everyone understands, games are not played on paper. This game likely comes down to the match up of the Texas Tech offense against the Horned Frog defense.
Texas Tech has an explosive passing attack, but it does average a surprising 168 yds/gm on the ground. The strength of the TCU defense is stopping the run (9th in rush defense, 95.5 yds/gm), but is somewhat susceptible to the pass (31st in pass defense 205 yds/gm), which is Tech’s strength. If Tech can run enough to keep TCU honest, it should be able to exploit TCU in the passing game.
Tech’s defensive transformation in a year has been the story for the Red Raiders. Once a liability, Tech fans no longer cringe when needing a stop, and they shouldn’t as the unit is proving itself worthy.
Final thought: Tech has played one true road game this season against Iowa St. The game was tied at the half and ended with Tech winning 24-13. Tech would like to get the game into the 30s, which is closer to the shootout style it wants to play.
Prediction: Texas Tech 35, TCU 24
The TCU Realist
This game could go a long way in how the first season in the Big 12 ends up for the Horned Frogs. Will TCU prove the national doubters wrong and be near the top? Or, does it lose a second home game — this one to a team picked near the bottom of the Big 12 in the preseason?
TCU will look to control the ball on offense, take what the defense gives, and play in-your-face-defense. But, if the TCU defense can’t get off the field and allows Tech to control the game, it could get out of hand much like the ISU game did.
TCU wants to keep the score in the 20s or lower. When TCU is at its best, it’s making the opposing team play catch up in the second half and making the opposing offense one dimensional.
Final thought: If TCU can settle in defensively early, and make it difficult for the Tech offense to gain momentum, the Frogs have a great chance to win this game.
Prediction: TCU 20, Texas Tech 16