Game Preview: TCU vs Texas Tech
Who: The TCU Horned Frogs and The Texas Tech Red Raiders
Where: Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, Texas
How to watch: FOX Sports 1
When: Saturday, November 18th, 11 a.m.
Broadcaster Team: Brian Custer and Ben Leber
What pregame show to listen to: 1340 The Fan’s Countdown to Kickoff, 9 to 11 a.m. on Saturday, November 18th.
TCU was 7-0 three weeks ago and looked to be in control of their own destiny. Since then, they've gone 1-2, sitting at 8-2 and now in need of some help to get into the Big 12 Championship. The Red Raiders were 4-1 and looked to be outpacing all of their predicted finishes before going 1-4 in the last five games and settling back into the back of the Big 12 pack. The Red Raiders now need one win to be bowl eligible.
If TCU wins this game, they'll be in the Big 12 Championship against Oklahoma since they hold the tie-breaker against Oklahoma State after beating them 44-31 early in the season. TCU isn't the same team they were back in week four, and after some news during the Gary Patterson press conference, they might not even be in the same team they were last week against Oklahoma.
TCU might be out a quarterback, with Kenny Hill questionable, and three starters along the defense, including Travin Howard, Montrel Wilson and Niko Small. Also out is running back Darius Anderson, who is definitely going to be out after a season-ending injury last week.
These aren't just role players out for TCU. Kenny Hill has started every game at quarterback. Travin Howard is TCU's leading tackler. Niko Small is an integral part of the Big 12's number one ranked pass defense.
As far as the quarterback position goes, the back-up is true freshman Shawn Robinson, who is 7-10 with 99 yards and two touchdowns in limited action this season. In four plays against OU, Robinson was 1-1 for -1 and had a 6-yard rush. While he's the future of the TCU program, Robinson getting the start would be a plus for a Texas Tech defense that likes turnovers.
And let's face it: freshman quarterbacks are definitely prone to turnovers. Just ask Charlie Brewer.
Even if all of these starters, besides Anderson, are healthy on Saturday, I still think Texas Tech has an opportunity for success against a TCU team that doesn't look as dominant as they did 3 or 4 weeks ago. The TCU defense will be arguably the best the Red Raiders have played, but the TCU offense ranks in the bottom half of the Big 12.
To be fair, the Texas Tech defense will be among the worst that TCU has faced, though it does match up well with what the TCU offense wants to do, which is play clean and run the ball. And those are the two best aspects of the Texas Tech defense.
The Red Raiders open at home as a seven-point underdog, with the O/U set at 57 -- really low for a Texas Tech game. It only makes it easier for me to take the over and pick Texas Tech to cover. I'm not only picking the Red Raiders to cover; I'm taking the Red Raiders to win outright.
The Red Raiders are 1-1 against the Horned Frogs at home in the Kliff Kingsbury Era. The last time they played in Lubbock, TCU was the heavy favorite and barely escaped Lubbock with a win after a last-second touchdown. At some point, the Red Raiders have to catch a break this season. That 2015 game really was a great one, probably the best game in Lubbock in the past five years -- yes, even though it was a loss.
Just as a reminder:
In my opinion, with this game being at home, it's the Red Raiders' last best chance to be bowl eligible. This match up against TCU is way better than the road game in Austin to close the season next week.
The Red Raiders win a close one, 34-31.
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