Week 10 – TCU at West Virginia

Posted Nov 1, 2012

Week 10 Fearless Predictions - TCU at West Virginia


TCU (5-3) at West Virginia (5-2) Nov. 3, 3:00, FOX

Here's The Deal: The Big 12 new guys get to go against each other with the momentum of the season on the line. West Virginia's dream year crashed with a resounding thud, and it has been a long, LONG two weeks since losing to Texas Tech and Kansas State by a combined score of 104 to 28. Throw in the weather fun the state has gone through, and it's time for something positive from Geno Smith and the high-octane offense. TCU is fighting through problems of its own, and after losing two straight to Texas Tech in overtime and Oklahoma State, a sixth win and a bowl bid aren't givens. With Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma left to play, there isn't a sure thing on the lot; this might be the easiest game the Horned Frogs have left to play. West Virginia still has winnable games against Iowa State and Kansas to get its sixth win, if it doesn't happen this week.

It's the start of a long term relationship. The two programs have only played once – 31-14 West Virginia win in the 1984 Bluebonnet Bowl – and now they're going to be regulars in their new conference.

Why TCU Might Win: Can TCU do the same things that Texas Tech and Kansas State did? The West Virginia defense has been miserable, especially against the pass, getting destroyed for a nation-worst 360 yards and getting picked clean short, deep and everywhere in between. But that was sort of expected coming into the season, and now the offense is the issue. All the big plays that came against awful Baylor and Texas defenses have stopped. Geno Smith has been under more pressure, and the O hasn't been able to keep the chains moving. TCU might have had problems with Seth Doege and the Texas Tech offense, but the stats look bad partly because the game went to three overtimes. TCU is leading the Big 12 in rush defense and has the pass rush to give Smith problems.

Why West Virginia Might Win: Here come the takeaways. TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is a terrific talent with a world of upside, but he's fighting through a knee injury and he's battling more through young mistakes with the offense giving away six turnovers over the last two weeks. Flawless against Baylor, the O turned it over five times in the loss to Iowa State. For all of West Virginia's problems, turnover margin hasn't been an issue with a mere five turnovers on the year and the only two lost fumbles coming in the win over Texas.

What To Watch Out For: The last thing the West Virginia offense needs right now is to lose a key cog, but receiver Stedmain Bailey continues to fight through an ankle injury. He played against Kansas State, but he was ineffective with just four catches for 34 yards. The loss to the Wildcats marked the first time all year that Tavon Austin didn't catch at least ten passes - making six grabs for 34 yards and a score – and now he needs to break out again and be a chain-mover and, with Bailey not expected to 100%, be even more of a go-to target for Smith.

What Will Happen: West Virginia won't go back to its mid-September self, but it'll be more efficient and more effective. It's supposed to be cold and possibly a bit sloppy, but the air attack will start to work again just enough to get by. Being +2 in turnover margin will help bail out the struggling defense.

CFN Prediction: West Virginia 38 … TCU 30
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) West Virginia -6.5 O/U: 68
Must Watch Rating (5 – The Man With The Iron Fists, 1 – Election coverage until Tuesday morning): 3.5