Week 13 – TCU at Texas

Posted Nov 22, 2012

Week 13 Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – TCU at Texas

TCU (6-4) at Texas (8-2) Nov. 22, 7:30, ESPN

Here's The Deal: Can this possibly be the new Texas vs. Texas A&M? No, but it's still an interesting nod back to the old Southwest Conference days with an eye on potentially being an interesting tradition going forward. For Texas, the game actually matters, hoping for an Oklahoma State win over Oklahoma to set up a showdown next week with Kansas State for a tie for the Big 12 title. There's also the hope of finishing 10-2 and getting an at-large BCS bid with a chance at an 11-win season – both of which seemed unthinkable a few weeks ago when West Virginia and Oklahoma were ripping up the Longhorn defense.

TCU has had a few weeks off to lick its wounds after a loss to Kansas State, and with three losses in the last four weeks, and with Oklahoma coming up next, beating Texas would do wonders for bowl positioning and state bragging rights. Every little bit helps in recruiting, and TCU can make a big splash with a huge game.

This is the 80th meeting between the two with Texas winning 28 of the last 29 games going back to 1967. The two first met in 1904 with Texas winning 40-0 – TCU provided less resistance than UT's 1903 opener, the Texas Deaf School, which lost 17-0.

Why TCU Might Win: Finally, Texas has to face someone with a run defense. The Big 12 isn't exactly loaded with killer defensive fronts, and the Longhorns have been terrific in pass protection, but TCU is about to bring more pressure than David Ash has seen in several weeks. The Horned Frogs might not destroy teams from the end, but they're able to disrupt things on a regular basis with three sacks against Kansas State and 23 on the year. The Wildcats were able to run for two scores and Oklahoma State came up with two, but no one has been able to establish much of a ground game giving up fewer than 100 yards in five games. The 164 allowed in the win over Virginia was the best day anyone has had on the ground – Texas isn't going to run wild.

Why Texas Might Win: Turnovers continue to be a problem for TCU. The Horned Frogs have lost five fumbles and gave away six picks in the last four games, losing three of the four with the lone win coming in overtime against West Virginia. Meanwhile, Texas has been nearly flawless, giving up two picks against Kansas, but that's been it in the resurgence with no lost fumbles in the last four games and with the mistakes against the Jayhawks the only interceptions during the span. Considering TCU has given up 11 turnovers over the last month, Texas has given it away just eight times on the year and should take advantage if it's able to be +2. The Horned Frogs have to be nearly flawless, and they're not going to be.

What To Watch Out For: It was erroneously reported that David Ash was going to miss time after getting hurt against Oklahoma but he came back to roll for a 274-yard passing day in the win over Baylor. Just when it seemed all was fine, he stunk it up against Kansas forcing Case McCoy to come in and save the day. So how did Ash respond? 36-of-50 for 628 yards and five touchdowns with no picks in wins over Texas Tech and Iowa State. The sophomore is proving he can fight through adversity, and he's showing that he really and truly might be the star the program can work around for the next few years. However, the wind shifts quickly in Texas, and perceptions could change in a hurry if he struggles this week or against Kansas State.

What Will Happen: The home finale hasn't meant much for Texas over the last two seasons with losses, but this year's team appears to be able to handle itself a bit better. With two weeks off, the Longhorns will come out with a solid day with good offensive balance, but the key will be the takeaways. TCU will make the big errors, Texas won't.

CFN Prediction: Texas 34 … TCU 23
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Texas -7 O/U: 58
Must Watch Rating (5 – Beware of Mr. Baker, 1 – Life of Pi): 3