Baylor vs. TCU Preview / Prediction / Poll Thread

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thanksgiving once again, everybody! While you're tucking in to turkey and all the deviled eggs in the world, let's preview Baylor vs. TCU!

vs.
9/8/9 BAYLOR (9-1, 6-1) vs. NR/NR/NR TCU (4-7, 2-6)
Nov. 30, 2013 | 2:30 p.m. CT
Fort Worth, Texas | Amon G. Carter Stadium (45,000)

TV: ESPN2
Listen | GametrackerGametracker | Game Notes Notes | Tickets | In-Game BlogSportStream | Gameday Central

ODB Game Hub: Baylor vs. TCU 2013
Stats Preview: How FEI and S&P+ View Baylor vs. TCU
First Look: TCU Horned Frogs
TCU SB Nation Blog: Frogs O' War
SPREAD: Baylor -12
TV COVERAGE: ESPN2
WEATHER FORECAST: High of 61, overcast

SB NATION TCU PREVIEW: Survive, Then Thrive
BAYLORBEARS.COM PREVIEW: Last Road Game in Big 12 Play

UNIFORMS: Don't know yet. Still predicting Stormtroooper+.

Is it just me or has this game really come up out of nowhere? I attribute part of it to the holiday week, part to the letdown that was the OSU game.

INJURY NEWS:

Baylor -- Tevin Reese (OUT), Spencer Drango (OUT), Bryce Hager (OUT), Lache Seastrunk (day-to-day, practicing, bet he PLAYS), Glasco Martin(day-to-day, practicing, bet he's OUT).

Baylor still has to replace Bryce Hager at MLB and after a week that saw Eddie Lackey move to MLB, Sam Holl to OLB, and Ahmad Dixon to NB, it sounds like we're going to go with a more traditional alignment and just replace Hager direction with Aiavion Edwards. At least, that's what I'd like for them to do.

TCU -- I honestly have no idea. Their latest depth chart shows no changes from their last game, though I know they've had significant injuries this season.

I'd appreciate any help offered on the injury front for TCU.

STATMILK INFOGRAPHIC:

I know you guys love your Statmilk!

Thoughts on the Game:

I don't have many, to be honest with you. Probably another manifestation of the overall apathy our fanbase seems to have toward the game. TCU is going to be a tough nut to crack, no doubt about it, and this game will be their Super Bowl.

TCU in the Patterson Era has become known for their defense, and this year is no different. Jason Verrett is the best player they have on that side, and I expect him to match up with Antwan Goodley. Up front they have a pair of players we saw a year ago in Chucky Hunter and Davion Pierson. They both have excellent size and are very good at occupying linemen, freeing up TCU's linebackers to make plays in the backfield. TCU trails only Baylor in that category (tackles for loss) in the Big 12 and is fifth in the entire country. Of course I'll take Cyril Richardson against either of them without thinking much about it, but that battle will be huge in determining the outcome of this game. It should be noted, in case you haven't thought much about TCU this year, that preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Devonte Fields has missed basically this entire season due to injury and will not play tomorrow. In his stead at DE will be senior Jon Koontz and one of a pair of sophomores, Terrell Lathan or Mike Tuaua. Tuaua is the smaller of the two and is more of a speed rusher. He's started each of the last two games and will face off against Spencer Drango's replacement in pat Colbert.

The key to this game defensively for TCU is stopping the run, period. The saw how poorly we played offensively when faced with long third downs against Oklahoma State, and there is nothing worse for our offense, as we've seen, than not having flexibility on that down. Baylor will look to establish the run, particularly if Lache Seastrunk plays as we expect, and may be able to take advantage of TCU's extreme aggressiveness with their linebackers. Bryce Petty has to make himself a viable running threat to open things up off the edge.

On the other side, every indication is that Casey Pachall will start for the Horned Frogs with Trevone Boykin getting time at WR. That's what they've done each of the past few games, and it's probably their best offensive look. Pachall is not a running threat and has had significant trouble with turnovers in his short time this season. For whatever reason, he's been a shadow of himself. Despite that, Pachall has 33 or more attempts in each of the last 4 games (high of 58!! against West Virginia). You'll see a lot of short passes because TCU's offensive line is pretty terrible. They can't afford to leave him standing in the pocket like a statue to get killed.

TCU fans on the whole seem to be approaching this game with what I'd call extreme negativity. They know their defense is capable of stopping Baylor for a time, but they have no confidence in their offense. Without attempting to troll or demean, they're probably right. With the early injury to Pachall pushing Boykin back into service, followed by Boykin's general ineffectiveness and Pachall's subsequent return, the Frogs have failed to develop a consistent offensive identity. The two QBs are just too different in what they do well, and neither have done what they do well, well. Both could have benefited tremendously from a strong running game. Neither got it.

Key Matchups:

I've only got a couple this week.

Jason Verrett vs. Antwan Goodley -- Goodley is our best receiver and one of the best in the conference. Verrett is their best corner and one of the best in the conference. Goodley put up decent yardage last week but had his huge touchdown catch taken away because he stepped out of bounds. He never got "going" like we've come to expect from him. We also used him a few times in the running game, something that wasn't entirely expected, but it wasn't a tremendous weapon. We might see that again.

Cyril Richardson vs. Chucky Hunter -- I described why this one matters above, and I really mean our entire interior OL versus their DTs. Last week, OSU managed to stop our running game with just their DL, freeing up the LBs to camp out in passing lanes. The read said run because of who was in the box, and Baylor couldn't get the numbers matched up the way they wanted. That's a problem.

Things I Want to See:

Bullet point-style:

  • Demetri Goodson bounce back from his performance against OSU.
  • Some semblance of a pass rush against TCU's OL.
  • Lache Seastrunk.
  • Tight coverage on the outside. Watch a bunch of TCU games and you'll see Pachall making a lot of short throws. Their offensive line forces them to do that.
  • LEVI NORWOOD DOIN' THINGS.

My Prediction:

We as a community have to come to terms with the fact that we blew the OSU game pretty hard in our prediction thread. I know I did. I'll own that. But this is a new week, and nobody is keeping score here. I will note that with over 1600 votes, last week's poll was the biggest in ODB history.

I'm taking the Bears to win and cover again, but I don't think it will be a "pretty" game. We're not going to score 70 points. We're not going to up a boatload of yards. If we cover the spread, it will be something like 34-17, not 55-30. In fact, I'm going to make that my prediction. Bryce will go over 300 passing yards again but nobody will mention it nationally, despite the fact that TCU has a great defense. If Lache plays, he'll lead the team in rushing and look like an animal that has been uncaged.

FINAL SCORE: Baylor 34, TCU 17. The Bears win one for the Gipper, I mean Briles.

There it is. Give me your predictions in the comments and vote in the poll!

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