With all the changes going on inside the TCU program, it can be easy to lose sight of the actual game that is set to take place this Saturday. Beyond Gary Patterson’s departure, the Horned Frogs have also dealt with some of their star players being out or injured the past couple of games. It’s hard to know what exactly to predict in games like this.
TCU is Still Talented
We do not yet know if Zach Evans and Max Duggan will be playing on Saturday, but regardless there is still plenty of talent in Fort Worth. Although Evans understandably receives a lot of hype, backup running-back Kendre Miller is also impressive. He’s gone for over 100 yds twice this season and is averaging over 7 yds per carry. And then there is WR Quentin Johnston who had a 3-TD game against Oklahoma. Keep in mind that this TCU offense has gone for over 500-yds of offense a few times already this season. On the defensive side of the ball, the Horned Frogs have arguably the DB in the conference with Tre’vious Hodges-Tomlinson, and all conference type players in Corey Bethley and Ochaun Mathis. The season has been a disappointment so far, but there is a reason why a lot of people had them picked to challenge for a Big 12 title in 2021.
Nothing to Lose
Teams that have nothing to lose can be dangerous. To keep the players engaged, I except the interim coaching staff to be as aggressive as possible on Saturday—-trick plays, multiple 4th-down attempts, and overall quirky play-calling are all to be expected. They will try anything to give their team a lift. There is nothing to gain by playing it conservative if you are Jerry Kill. The Bears have done a great job on special teams so far with onside kicks and preparing for fake-punts, and hopefully that will continue.
This isn’t the first time where it appeared that Baylor had the upper-hand going into a game against TCU, only for the Bears to struggle. In 2013 & 2019 Baylor was the better team throughout the year and still had to fight hard to get a win. In 2018 the Horned Frogs won the game with a backup QB. In short, there is no such thing as an easy win in this game. I chalk it up to the rivalry as a whole. A lot of the players on both teams were recruited by both schools and played against each other in high school. At this point there is probably nothing that the TCU players would want more than to spoil a possible Big 12 Championship appearance for Baylor.
Put simply, TCU is a talented team in a rivalry game with nothing to lose. That combination can make for a tough opponent. The Sooners are off this week and will come into Waco as a top-10 team next week. Now it’s up to the Bears to make sure that game will be as special as possible.