Week 7 - TCU at Baylor

Posted Oct 11, 2012

Week 7 Fearless Predictions & Game Preview - TCU at Baylor

TCU (4-1) at Baylor (3-1) Oct. 13, 7:00, FOX Sports Net

Here's The Deal:Is there any way this can be as much fun as last year's season opener? It set the tone for Robert Griffin III's Heisman run with a brilliant 359-yard, five touchdown day, but the Bears had to hang on for dear life as TCU ripped off 25 fourth quarter points and almost pulled it out in a 50-48 loss. This year it's a Big 12 game, but it probably won't be quite as entertaining.

TCU had a rocky offseason filled with scandal and controversy, and just when it seemed like everything was settling down, starting quarterback Casey Pachall was arrested for a DUI and ended up taking a leave of absence from the team. Throw in some injuries in the backfield – losing running back Waymon James to a knee problem and with Matthew Tucker hurting with an ankle injury – and the Horned Frogs are limping into the meat of the Big 12 schedule.

After losing to Iowa State last week, the Horned Frogs have to come up with a win in what appears to be the light portion of the schedule. The big boys are in the back half, and while winning the Big 12 title is probably off the table, winning now might be a must to ensure to all but ensure a bowl appearance.

Baylor still gets Kansas and has four of the last five games at home, but with road games at Texas and Iowa State up next, and a loss to West Virginia to kick off Big 12 play a few weeks ago, there can't be a slip up at home against the weakened Horned Frogs.

With just 90 miles between the two schools, this is the 100th matchup since 1903 – a 5-0 Baylor win.

Why TCU Might Win: The stats are going to be a bit askew after playing West Virginia, but Baylor came into that game dead last among all BCS conference teams in pass defense. The secondary wasn't even close, the pass rush non-existent, and the run defense spotty, but other than that the nation's worst defense and pass defense have been just fine. TCU might not have Pachall, but the running game should be solid enough to take advantage of a BU defensive front that gets moved around way too easily. Controlling the ball and the clock have been a big part of the early season success, and it shouldn't be a problem this week with TCU ranking seventh in the nation in time of possession, having it for 33:30 a game, and Baylor 121st, keeping the ball for just 24:49.

Why Baylor Might Win: Not having Pachall was a problem for the normally tight TCU offense against Iowa State. The Horned Frogs turned it over five times in the blowout loss and couldn't seem to ever find anything that consistently worked. Baylor might be having too many problems defensively, but other than the West Virginia game it's been able to make up for the issues with some big plays taking the ball away ten times in the first three games. Baylor will get its passing yards to press a TCU secondary that gave up over 300 yards to Kansas and four scoring passes to Iowa State. The more TCU has to press and take chances with young starting quarterback Trevone Boykin, the more mistakes will come.

What To Watch Out For: TCU has to try to slow down the nation's No. 1 passing attack with a pass rush that gets to Nick Florence on a consistent basis. That starts with freshman sensation, Devonte Fields, a speedster off the edge, he stepped up when starter Ross Forrest suffered a knee injury and has been one of the team's biggest surprises cranking out 5.5 sacks with 2.5 against SMU and at least a half a sack in every game this season. Like a big linebacker, he still has room to add more weight on his 6-4 frame, and the sky is the limit once he actually figures out what he's doing.

What Will Happen: TCU won't have the same problems with turnovers again. Boykin will be far more careful with the ball and the running game and defense will step up after failing against the Cyclones. Baylor will be Baylor with the passing game, and while there will be some quick strikes, the Horned Frogs will come up with enough stops to right the ship.

CFN Prediction: TCU 28 … Baylor 24
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Baylor -8.5 O/U: 68
Must Watch Rating (5 – Argo, 1 – Pitch Perfect): 3