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Baylor vs. TCU—Preview/Prediction Thread

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Yes, it’s true that TCU is going to play this game even without Patterson on the sidelines.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 30 Texas at Baylor Photo by John Rivera/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)
FIRST LOOK: TCU Horned Frogs
PODCASTS*: OurDailyPodcast | Between Two Bears | X’s and Osos (Travis and Jeff) | SourGrapesPod | Please Bear With Me | Bear Den | SicEm365’s Bear Cast
QUICK LOOK: Baylor Bears (from FOW)
COLLEGEFOOTBALLDATA.COM TEAM PAGES: Baylor | TCU
WEEKLY PRESS CONFERENCE: TCU
GAME NOTES (INCLUDING DEPTH CHART): Here.
BAYLORBEARS.COM PREVIEW: Here.
SPREAD: Baylor -7, O/U 58
TV COVERAGE: FOX, 2:30 PM Saturday
UNIFORM: Green, white, white. According to this new uniform tracking account, we are 3-2 in this particular combination since the rebrand. I don’t know if that’s accurate or not, but I’m not checking, either.

*Note: credit to Peter for putting together this list today on Twitter. This obviously includes non-ODB podcasts, but we do what we can to let people know about other Baylor stuff out there.

WEATHER (Fort Worth): From Wunderground—High of 70 degrees (boooo), with a game-time temperature of 66, light winds from the SSE, and no chance of rain.

Quick Thoughts:

Coaching Stuff—I still don’t know what to think about Gary Patterson’s ouster or how it might affect the game. You would assume that the offensive and defensive game plans would already be installed, generally, and not subject to that much change. TCU isn’t suddenly going to start running a triple-option offense, for example. The coordinators are still there, as are the position coaches, and the chances that TCU would have just started looking at how to play us on Sunday (the day Patterson got fired) are remote. All that means is that in terms of scheme and approach, I doubt Patterson not being there means much. And it definitely doesn’t mean anything with respect to matchups or player availability. That’s probably why the spread barely reacted (if at all) to the news Sunday night. It doesn’t change much that is predictable.

But what about the things that aren’t predictable like player morale or approach? Stated differently, does the TCU team come out and try to “win one for GP” or fall apart completely now that the only TCU head coach most of them have ever known about in the lives is gone? Does it even matter at all, or would they already have been “up” for Baylor because it’s a rivalry game, anyway? These things are unpredictable because they are unknowable, but it still matters. For my part, I’m going to guess we would get their best shot regardless of whether GP is hitching his pants up and toweling himself off on the sideline or not. It’s just how this particular game goes.

Injuries—In case you weren’t aware, Max Duggan, TCU’s starting QB, has apparently been playing with a bone fracture in his foot since the Texas Tech game, and it has hampered his mobility. He eventually came out of last week’s game against Kansas State in favor of Chandler Morris, although whether that was because of the injury, poor play in that game, or some combination of both, we can’t be sure. But the question of whether he plays tomorrow is still a question, and Kill is doing everything he can to avoid answering it for obvious reasons. Duggan was listed as the starter on this week’s depth chart, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

Missing Players—Another major TCU player, RB Zach Evans, has also missed time recently, and there are a lot of theories why that have nothing to do with injury. I’m not going to speculate on those theories since I have no idea, but his availability tomorrow is also an open question, particularly after he did not play against Kansas State last week. If he does play, TCU’s offense gets a big boost. If he again sits out, that’s big news, too. We don’t know yet.

Players to Know:

  • #15 Max Duggan—TCU’s starting QB to date, although he may not go in this game as I mentioned above. On the whole, when he’s been healthy Duggan has performed relatively well statistically with about a 65% completion percentage, 14 TDs, and just 4 interceptions on the year. The problem has been sacks; ESPN’s metrics rank him second-worst in the conference at taking sacks, which, admittedly, is not all on him. Obviously the OL has to block. If Duggan doesn’t play, then you’ll see...
  • #14 Chandler Morris—For whatever reason, TCU’s depth chart lists Morris as third at QB, but he was the one that came in for the Kansas State game and has the second-most snaps on the team, although that’s not saying much. If you’ll recall, Chandler, son of former SMU and Arkansas coach Chad Morris, was originally at OU before transferring to TCU. He is extremely slight of build and has very little playing experience.
  • #6 Zach Evans—TCU’s best offensive player by a long shot if he plays. A probable future NFL back, Evans has 648 rushing yards on 92 carries in six games this season (out of 8, for an average of 7 yards/carry) and 130 receiving yards on 10 receptions. He’s good.
  • #33 Kendra Miller—If we don’t see a lot of Evans, we should see a lot of Miller. And to be honest, his stats aren’t that far Evans’s. He has 513 rushing yards on 69 carries in 8 games (for an average of 7.4 yards/carry) and 117 receiving yards on 12 receptions.
  • #1 Quintin Johnston—TCU’s leading receiver and someone I’m not thrilled to see our corners have to cover. First of all, he’s just big at 6-4, 201. That’s going to be a problem. Second, he has a tendency to break big plays and is averaging 18.2 yards/reception. If TCU gets him on Raleigh Texada down the field, that could be a problem for us.
  • #13 Dee Winters—TCU’s leading tackler and MLB.
  • #1 Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson—One of TCU’s starting corners and their team leader in interceptions on the season.
  • #6 Jamoi Hodge—TCU’s third-leading tackler and leader in sacks (just 3, but still). Listed second on the depth chart at the sam LB spot.

Keys to the Game:

  • Take Advantage of Mismatch on the Lines—As I discussed in the First Look, the thing that jumps out to me about this game is a seemingly tremendous mismatch of our offensive line against their defensive line. Simply put, TCU’s defense has been uncharacteristically horrendous this season and particularly bad on the defensive line. They have a terrible stuff rate, bad line yard stats, and not great success rates, either. On the other side, the strength of Baylor’s team thus far has been the offensive line, particularly in preventing sacks. I’m looking hard at the correlative Opportunity Rates and seeing a huge problem for TCU here. I would expect for TCU to stack the box, especially early, and force Gerry to beat them. That may lead to early success, but eventually they should get ground down, opening holes for Smith and co.
  • Don’t Get Tricked—I know I said above that high-level schemes and strategies aren’t likely to change much just because Patterson is gone, but it’s worth remembering that all of the guys left behind are now coaching for their next jobs. And a team with nothing to lose is a team that may try some things they wouldn’t otherwise try. This may mean more trick plays, more aggression on offense and defense, etc. But I’m mostly concerned about big plays coming from gadgets or quirky things we haven’t seen on film.
  • Limit Explosive Plays—TCU’s offense this season has not been particularly efficient, but they have been explosive, particularly through the air. At the same time, I continue to be concerned about our secondary, which has been shaky if the pass rush doesn’t get home. Big plays/breakdowns are an home underdog’s best friend and can be a great equalizer if nothing else is working. We can’t let that happen.

Prediction Time:

I’m going relatively conservative with my prediction on this one because I do believe TCU will be ready to play even after all the distractions and losses this week. This Baylor Football team reminds me a lot of Mulkey’s Women’s Basketball Teams; they tend to play people relatively close early until they get a good grip on them and start leaning. The 21-point run against Texas is a good example of that, as was the 21-3 run that put away BYU. I think that happens again here eventually but the score will be closer than some may be expecting.

Baylor 35, TCU 24

Poll

Predict the outcome of tomorrow’s Baylor vs. TCU game.

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Baylor, big (17+)
    (104 votes)
  • 55%
    Baylor, comfortable (11-16)
    (239 votes)
  • 16%
    Baylor, close (4-10)
    (73 votes)
  • 1%
    Baylor, squeak (1-3)
    (7 votes)
  • 1%
    TCU, squeak
    (6 votes)
  • 0%
    TCU, close
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    TCU, comfortable
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    TCU, big
    (1 vote)
432 votes total Vote Now