Week 14 - Oklahoma at TCU

Posted Nov 30, 2012

Week 14 Fearless Prediction & Game Preview - Oklahoma at TCU

Oklahoma (9-2) at TCU (7-4) Dec. 1, 12:00, ESPN

Here's The Deal: It's the opening act on the Big 12's final day. There might not be a Big 12 championship game anymore, but serves as a sort of playoff with Oklahoma needing to beat TCU to stay alive. Thanks to Kansas State's gag against Baylor, the Sooners will be off to the Fiesta Bowl as the outright Big 12 champions if they win and the Wildcats lose to Texas later on Saturday evening. If OU loses, then Kansas State is the champion and the Texas game is irrelevant.

The Sooners haven't exactly been special since the loss to Notre Dame, but the offense has become unstoppable right around the same time the defense has taken some well-needed time off – playing a slew of teams with high-octane attacks and no defenses has been a big part of that. Whether or not Kansas State beats Texas, Oklahoma might be fighting for an at-large spot with the MAC champion and Clemson both in the running. A loss would open up the door for someone to jump into the at-large spot – there will be plenty of TCU fans in the ACC on Saturday afternoon.

TCU all of a sudden made a good first season a solid one with an effective and convincing win over Texas on Thanksgiving night. The defense leads the Big 12 and the offense is just effective enough to get by, and now it's time to go get another big win. With a 2005 Opening Day win in Norman, the Horned Frogs held the distinction of being the last team to beat Oklahoma at home until Texas Tech pulled off the shocker last season. This is a relatively young and inexperienced team that went through the ringer this offseason and managed to get bowl eligible.

Why Oklahoma Might Win: Does TCU have the firepower to keep up? TCU has been able to hang around with the high-octane teams, but the success has been hit or miss. There wasn't much of a problem against Baylor, but the Horned Frogs lost in three overtimes to Texas Tech, got blown away by Oklahoma State and needed two overtimes to get by West Virginia. Despite appearances over the last few weeks, Oklahoma has the best combination of a great offense and solid defense that TCU has faced. The offense doesn't have the ability to blow up the Sooners like Oklahoma State did; 82 passing yards aren't going to get it done like last week against Texas.

Why TCU Might Win: Defensively, the Horned Frogs have been terrific at forcing turnovers with 30 takeaways on the year with at least two in every game but Grambling, Iowa State and Texas Tech. Oklahoma might not be too bad overall at turnover margin, but the interceptions have been steady with six in the last five games to go along with three of the eight lost fumbles on the year. TCU has to come up with big plays and has to live with the bend-but-don't-break philosophy, needing to halt drives with takeaways and third down stops. The D leads the Big 12 and is fourth in the nation in third down defense, allowing teams to convert a mere 28% of the time. Meanwhile, OU's defense has had problems at getting off the field, allowing teams to convert 43% of its chances.

What To Watch Out For: Is there a hotter player in America than Landry Jones? The Oklahoma senior is closing out his career with a bang bombing the Sooners into potentially an at-large BCS bid. Solid all year, he started out well, but he didn't hit the 300-yard mark in any of his first four games. Since the Texas game he has gone on a tear with six 300-yard games in the last seven with two straight 500-yard games. Two weeks ago he rolled for 554 yards and six touchdowns in the win over West Virginia, and last week he threw 71 times for 500 yards and three scores in the overtime win over Oklahoma State. The greatest statistical passer in school history is setting the bar high, with 16,124 career yards and 120 touchdown passes.

What Will Happen: The Sooners will be in for a bit of a fight, but they'll do their part to close strong to at least get into the BCS at-large discussion. Jones won't throw for 500 yards, but he'll close out his Big 12 career with a decent, effective day as the offense sets the bar a bit too high for a TCU attack that won't be able to keep up.

CFN Prediction: Oklahoma 34 … TCU 27
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Oklahoma -6.5 O/U: 60.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Crossfire Hurricane, 1 – Comic Book Men: 4