Week 4 - Virginia at TCU

Posted Sep 19, 2012

Week 4 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – Virginia at TCU

Virginia (2-1) at TCU (2-0) Sept. 22, 12:00, ESPN2

Here's The Deal: Just how good is TCU in the team's maiden voyage into Big 12 waters? No one knows for sure after a blowout of Grambling State and a flat effort at Kansas last Saturday. What is known is that the Horned Frogs slid one spot to No. 17 in the AP poll, own the nation's longest current winning streak at 10 games and has been virtually unbeatable under Gary Patterson at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Virginia's 2-1 mark doesn't really tell an accurate story about Mike London's third season on campus. In the Cavaliers two games with FBS opponents, they were fortunate to escape Penn State at home, and were trashed in Atlanta, 56-20, last Saturday. If the program is unable to reverse course soon, it'll be climbing uphill in November to become eligible for the postseason.

Why Virginia Might Win: Challenging as it may be, the Cavaliers may have to win this game with defense. The unit was awful a week ago, but Paul Johnson's triple-option can have that effect on opposing defenses. TCU figures to be a lot less daunting, especially after it managed just 20 points and a lot of failed conversions against a porous Kansas D. Virginia will be looking for a yeoman effort from its linebackers, especially senior leader Steve Greer. Greer has 24 tackles, and leads the squad in stops for loss, a potential roadblock for the Horned Frogs rushing attack. Prior to Week 3, UVA had shown some bite versus Richmond and Penn State.

Why TCU Might Win: Virginia's struggles on defense are trumped only by their offensive woes. The unit has gone AWOL in the last two weeks, and there might be a budding quarterback controversy involving incumbent Michael Rocco and Alabama transfer Phillip Sims. Life won't get easier in Fort Worth against the always-stout Horned Frogs defense. The names may change, but the results rarely do at TCU, which has yet to allow a touchdown in 2012. LB Joel Hasley has been one of the early statistical stars, but DE Stansly Maponga aside, TCU is largely a no-name unit that gives up little room, and consistently plays sound fundamental D.

What To Watch Out For: The Horned Frogs feature some quality weapons on offense, such as QB Casey Pachall, backs Waymon James and Matthew Tucker and receivers Josh Boyce and Brandon Carter. However, they have to come together collectively and do a better job of finishing drives. The 20 points TCU scored on Kansas last week was a bit deceptive since the attack piled up more than 500 yards. Pachall, in particular was razor-sharp, but the third-down and red-zone offense has to get better in the upcoming weeks.

What Will Happen: Playing poorly in Lawrence last Saturday was just the wake-up call that TCU needed as the schedule begins to get tougher. The Horned Frogs defense will remain as stout as ever this week, keeping Virginia from getting on track offensively. Pachall and the offense will showcase better execution than they did in Week 3, trading a few more Jaden Oberkrom field goal attempts for touchdowns to build a comfortable cushion.

CFN Prediction: TCU 30 … Virginia 13
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) TCU -17.5; O/U: 54.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Ray Lewis: A Football Life, 1 – Frankenweenie): 2.5