Longtime rivals meet once again on Saturday in what is a key game for TCU and Baylor, with both schools finding themselves on the outside of the Top 25 in the latest AP poll (h/t ESPN).
Both schools are coming off disappointing losses the last time they took to the field.
TCU lost a turnover-filled contest at home to Iowa State, 37-23, while Baylor lost a 70-63 thriller to Heisman Trophy favorite Geno Smith and West Virginia two weeks ago.
Of greater concern for the Horned Frogs is the health of suspended QB Casey Pachall, their former starter, who has left school and enrolled at an in-patient rehab facility in the wake of his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving last Thursday, per the Associated Press (h/t Waco Tribune-Herald).
With the all-time series tied at 50 wins each with seven ties, emotions on both sides will be running high when they take the field in Waco.
Where: Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco, Texas
When: Saturday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. ET
Baylor is a nine-point favorite according to OddsShark, a line that has moved from earlier in the week, when it was favored by only 6.5 over the Horned Frogs.
The movement, of course, is largely due to the fact that Pachall will not be under center for TCU, leaving the team's offense in the hands of redshirt freshman Trevone Boykin.
OddsShark has the over/under at 68, a score that Baylor is capable of reaching without any contribution from TCU.
While TCU's defense has been stout, allowing only 13.20 points per game, 10th best in the country, it has yet to face an offense as prolific as Baylor's.
Baylor's defense has been awful this season, allowing 39.75 points per game, 113th in the country.
Not only will these teams reach a combined 68 points, but there's also a good chance that it gets surpassed in this game.
- QB Casey Pachall (suspension) is out for the season
- RB Matthew Tucker (ankle) is questionable for Saturday
- RB Waymon James (knee) is out for the season
- LB Danny Heiss (undisclosed) is out for the season
- DE Ross Forrest (knee) is out for the season
- DB Ahmad Dixon (concussion) is probable for Saturday
- S Mike Hicks (knee) is probable for Saturday
- OL Jake Jackson (knee) is probable for Saturday
- WR Jay Lee (knee) is probable for Saturday
- DB Demetri Goodson (arm) is out indefinitely
- DT Kaeron Johnson (back) is out for the season
The winner could be propelled into the bottom of the AP Top 25, depending on what happens to the ranked teams in front of them, so a win is key to their chances of getting into a respected bowl game.
Entering the game, ESPN projects Baylor to either take on Northwestern in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl or Arizona State in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl.
TCU's bowl picture doesn't look any better, as ESPN projects them to either face Stanford in the Bridgeport or Northwestern in the Meineke Car Care of Texas Bowl.
Keys for TCU
In his first game under center as Pachall's replacement, Trevone Boykin completed 23-of-40 passes for 270 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions against Iowa State. Boykin didn't look out of place running the offense, and he is a threat to run, giving the offense an element it didn't have with Pachall.
Boykin is going to make mistakes as it's only his second career start, but he needs to minimize them, because Baylor will convert those turnovers to points, just as Iowa State did last week.
Defensively, the Horned Frogs need to get to Baylor QB Nick Florence and get him off his game. They've not been able to put together any semblance of a sustained pass rush this season, and a continued lack of one will result in Florence picking their defense apart.
Keys for Baylor
Offensively, Baylor will continue to do what it does best, and that's put points on the board, even against a tough Horned Frogs defense.
The Bears passing attack has averaged 416.5 yards per game, more than the 181.2 yards per game that the Horned Frogs give up through the air, so something's got to give. It's going to be the Horned Frogs defense, as Baylor's ability to protect Florence will allow him to find the open man.
Defensively, Baylor needs to disguise what it wants to do in an attempt to confuse the inexperienced Boykin and force him to turn the ball over so that Florence can get back on the field.
This is going to be a high-intensity game, one that could see the lead change hands a number of times.
But when the final whistle sounds, the Bears potent offense will prove to be too much for TCU to handle, with the Bears winning by a score of 45-37.
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