Week 8 - TCU at Oklahoma State

Posted Oct 16, 2013

Week 8 Fearless Prediction & Preview - TCU at Oklahoma State

- TCU at Oklahoma State | Texas Tech at West Virginia
- Oklahoma at Kansas | Iowa State at Baylor

TCU (3-3) at Oklahoma State (4-1) Oct. 19 12:00, FOX

Why You Should Give A Hoot: The Big 12 title chase is wide open, but it could be slammed shut for the loser.

Any time these two are ready to start playing like they're supposed to, it would be just fine. Neither team has been bad, but they haven't been very interesting and neither one looks ready to take the conference by the horns.

TCU needs some pop. The Horned Frogs have been uneven, alternating each loss with a win over the first six games, and now it's due for a loss again after beating Kansas without having to work too hard. A dogfight loss to Oklahoma and a rough loss to Texas Tech means the Horned Frogs have to get hot. Fast.

Oklahoma State has been strange, with the controversy and distractions from the Sports Illustrated report likely having something to do with it. Picked by many to win the Big 12, it still might, but first there has to be some semblance of consistency. The Cowboys came up with a puzzling, somewhat lifeless loss to West Virginia, and followed it up with a battle against a mediocre Kansas State. The offense hasn't looked like the juggernaut everyone expected, but 4-1 is still 4-1. Fortunately for them, the defense has been terrific at times, and now the time off over the last two weeks should help.

Why TCU Might Win: The Horned Frogs have to shorten the game with long, slow, work-the-clock, methodical drives. This isn't the home run hitting attack of previous years without a dangerous running game to worry about and not enough of a deep passing game to throw any sort of a scare into a secondary that doesn't give up the long ball on a regular basis. The Horned Frogs have been excellent in terms of time of possession, while Oklahoma State is dead last in the Big 12 and second-to-last in the nation holding the ball for just over 25 minutes per game. TCU could have control if it can get the ground game to work.

Why Oklahoma State Might Win: The Cowboy offensive line has been fantastic at holding its own against the good pass rushers. The Cowboys are always terrific at keeping the quarterback upright, and it's doing a phenomenal job once again, allowing just four sacks on the year. TCU's defense lives on the pass rush and being disruptive, but the Cowboys don't turn the ball over and they don't get forced into major mistakes. There were a few key giveaways in the loss to West Virginia, but for the most part, the turnovers have been few and far between. OSU doesn't have to be explosive; it just has to be steady. TCU's offense isn't going to explode.

Who To Watch Out For: J.W. Walsh has been fine, but the Oklahoma State starting quarterback hasn't been sensational. Off in the loss to West Virginia, despite the 322 yards, he came back to throw for 245 yards and a score with an effective day against Kansas State, but he hasn't done anything too special since running for 122 yards against Mississippi State. Against TCU, merely keeping the turnovers to a minimum should be good enough. Steady will trump spectacular.

- TCU is going to need a few sparks and good field position, and it could come from the kickoff return game. B.J. Catalon is averaging 29 yards per try, with the averaged helped with a score against LSU, but he has been dangerous whenever he's had the ball in his hands. He returned a kick 31 yards against Kansas State and ran for 91 yards and a score on just 12 carries. He's turning into one of the team's more explosive weapons.

- The last time TCU had a losing record around mid-October? 1997, when the Horned Frogs were in the WAC and started the year 0-11.

- The two schools are only four hours and 265 miles apart, but they've only met 23 times with Oklahoma State ahead 12-9-2. The Cowboys won 36-14 in the first meeting Big 12 brothers, but the previous matchup was in 1993, another OSU win. The two first met in 1915 – OSU won 13-0.

What Will Happen: The time off will do the Cowboys good. They're not going to rip up a strong, solid TCU defense, but it'll come up with just enough decent plays early to take control. The Horned Frogs will have to press a bit, and they won't be able to get over the hump.

Prediction: Oklahoma State 27 … TCU 24
Line: Oklahoma State -7 o/u: 52
Must See Rating: (5 Bad Grandpa – 1 Vanilla Ice Goes Amish) … 3
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