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First Look: TCU Horned Frogs

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So ... this game is still happening, apparently.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 30 TCU at Kansas State Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

MATCHUP: #12 Baylor Bears (7-1, 5-1) vs. TCU Horned Frogs (3-5, 1-4)
LOCATION: Fort Worth, Texas
ODB GAME HUB: Baylor Bears vs. TCU Horned Frogs 2021
OPPONENT’S SB NATION BLOG: Frogs ‘O War (FOW)
COLLEGEFOOTBALLDATA.COM TEAM PAGES: Baylor | TCU
WEEKLY PRESS CONFERENCE: TCU
GAME NOTES (INCLUDING DEPTH CHART): Here.
BAYLORBEARS.COM PREVIEW: NOT POSTED YET, CHECK BACK.
SPREAD: Baylor -6.5, O/U 58
TV COVERAGE: FOX, 2:30 PM Saturday
UNIFORM: No idea yet, but I’m going to assume some kind of white.

WEATHER (Fort Worth): From Wunderground—High of 69 degrees (nice), with a game-time temperature of 67, light winds from the SSE, and no chance of rain.

The Elephant Off the Sideline:

TCU v Texas Tech Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

If you were too busy on Sunday night with Halloween, you could be forgiven for not hearing about Gary Patterson’s sudden and ignominious ouster from TCU. Supposedly, he was given the chance/asked to coach the rest of the season a la Coach O but declined, which I actually respect under these circumstances. The outcome here wasn’t really surprising—TCU has finished 7-6, 5-7, and 6-4 in the last three years and is currently 3-5 and coming off an embarrassing loss at Kansas State. I don’t think many expected Patterson to survive this season no matter his history or what he has meant to that program; I just don’t think many expected it this early. But the reality is that once Texas Tech made their move with Wells and started working to find his replacement, the clock was ticking on this move. Tech and TCU, while not exactly equivalent situations, are probably looking at the same pool of potential coaches for their next move. It was possible that they could start working on that move while keeping Patterson in place, but if the news about that breaks you create a situation even less tenable than you already had.

I’m not going to dance on Patterson’s grave here for getting fired, although you should feel free. No matter how much I believe he outright fabricated several supposed “incidents” with players on the field, how much like an ass he acted toward us, or how much he obviously negatively recruited against us, particularly after the scandal with Briles, the fact is that he’s gone after having given TCU 21+ years as a head coach, taken them to higher heights than they could have ever dreamed otherwise, and almost single-handedly revived the rivalry between Baylor and TCU when they joined the Big 12. It had to end sometime, but it probably shouldn’t have ended this way. Remember when Patterson’s name would come up every time the Texas job opened up post-Mack Brown? Or in other potential searches because he could do no wrong? And now he’s fired by the program he built going into the game against their biggest rival. Crazy times.

How Did We Get Here?

Baylor 2021

G Date Time Day School @ Opponent Conf Pts Opp W L Streak
G Date Time Day School @ Opponent Conf Pts Opp W L Streak
1 4-Sep-21 7:00 PM Sat Baylor @ Texas State Sun Belt 29 20 1 0 W 1
2 11-Sep-21 7:00 PM Sat Baylor Texas Southern Non-Major 66 7 2 0 W 2
3 18-Sep-21 3:30 PM Sat Baylor @ Kansas Big 12 45 7 3 0 W 3
4 25-Sep-21 3:30 PM Sat Baylor (14) Iowa State Big 12 31 29 4 0 W 4
5 2-Oct-21 7:00 PM Sat (21) Baylor @ (19) Oklahoma State Big 12 14 24 4 1 L 1
6 9-Oct-21 12:00 PM Sat Baylor West Virginia Big 12 45 20 5 1 W 1
7 16-Oct-21 3:30 PM Sat Baylor (19) BYU Ind 38 24 6 1 W 2
8 30-Oct-21 12:00 PM Sat (16) Baylor Texas Big 12 31 24 7 1 W 3

TCU 2021

G Date Time Day School @ Opponent Conf Pts Opp W L Streak
G Date Time Day School @ Opponent Conf Pts Opp W L Streak
1 4-Sep-21 8:00 PM Sat Texas Christian Duquesne Non-Major 45 3 1 0 W 1
2 11-Sep-21 3:30 PM Sat Texas Christian California Pac-12 34 32 2 0 W 2
3 25-Sep-21 12:00 PM Sat Texas Christian SMU American 34 42 2 1 L 1
4 2-Oct-21 12:00 PM Sat Texas Christian Texas Big 12 27 32 2 2 L 2
5 9-Oct-21 7:00 PM Sat Texas Christian @ Texas Tech Big 12 52 31 3 2 W 1
6 16-Oct-21 7:30 PM Sat Texas Christian @ (4) Oklahoma Big 12 31 52 3 3 L 1
7 23-Oct-21 7:30 PM Sat Texas Christian West Virginia Big 12 17 29 3 4 L 2
8 30-Oct-21 3:30 PM Sat Texas Christian @ Kansas State Big 12 12 31 3 5 L 3

I watched a lot of that KSU game on the way back from the Baylor game Saturday, and that score does not do it justice. TCU did not score a TD in that game until just a few minutes remained, Duggan was either injured or benched, and their star RB continued to sit out. Kansas State claimed another HC (they got Matt Wells at TT earlier) and imposed their will on TCU.

Advanced Stats Overview

Baylor vs. TCU (F+)

Rk Team F+ OF+ Rk DF+ Rk FEI Rk SP+ Rk
Rk Team F+ OF+ Rk DF+ Rk FEI Rk SP+ Rk
18 Baylor 1.07 0.74 29 1.12 14 0.59 18 14.8 19
64 TCU 0.22 0.57 41 -0.33 88 0.1 66 5.4 60

This ... does not look like a game with a 6-point spread based off these numbers. Baylor has the edge in all three phases of the game by both major metrics, and if you add in SharpFootball’s rankings, it only gets worse. There, Baylor is ranked number 10 in the country, while TCU is ranked #75. According to SharpFootball, Baylor’s strength match up well with TCU’s weaknesses—we are #2 in offensive explosiveness; they are number 110 in defensive explosiveness. We are #13 in offensive effective rushing; they are #63 in the defensive side. Finally, in effective passing on offense we are #49; on defense, they are #122. All of this lines up with what I was looking at earlier in Line Yards on Twitter:

The Baylor O vs. the TCU D is a terrible matchup for TCU. Absolutely terrible.

Baylor vs. TCU (FEI)

Rk Team FEI OFEI Rk DFEI Rk NDE Rk NPD Rk NAY Rk NPP Rk ELS Rk GLS Rk ALS Rk
Rk Team FEI OFEI Rk DFEI Rk NDE Rk NPD Rk NAY Rk NPP Rk ELS Rk GLS Rk ALS Rk
18 Baylor 0.59 0.69 26 0.62 16 1.11 13 1.07 15 0.126 21 1.33 16 0.93 48 2.19 55 3.82 63
66 TCU 0.1 0.43 41 -0.37 92 -0.75 97 -0.72 99 -0.09 97 -1 100 1.04 38 2.62 29 4.54 26

Which is all borne out right right here in FEI.

Bill C’s projections have this game as Baylor winning with a margin of about 6.9, and a predicted score of 31-24. That would be the second game in a row that finished with that score, and I gotta be honest, I think it’s a little low. But we will see.

QUESTIONS:

  1. Do you think TCU firing Patterson this week will turn out to be a net positive or a net negative for their performance in this game?
  2. Does RB Zach Evans ever play for TCU again?
  3. What is your biggest fear going into this game?
  4. TCU is tremendously awful up front on defense. It would seem like their best chance is to stack the box and make Gerry beat them, but it also opens them up to a ton of big plays. Do you think they take that approach?
  5. Would you have rather they not have fired Patterson this week and waited until after losing to Baylor?