A Big 12 clash between the TCU Horned Frogs and Kansas State Wildcats serves as one of the more intriguing matchups in college football this week.
The Wildcats are undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings but could be on upset alert facing a dangerous TCU squad coming off of a big win in West Virginia.
To make things a little more interesting, the game will mark the first time that TCU coach Gary Patterson will coach against his Alma Mater. Patterson played safety and linebacker at K-State in 1980 and 1981.
With the pressure of remaining undefeated on the Wildcats, this game has huge implications for their national championship hopes and quarterback Collin Klein's Heisman chances.
Here's everything you need to know about this pivotal Big 12 game.
Where: Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas
When: Saturday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. ET
Live Stream: K-StateHD.TV
Spread: TCU +7 (via Covers.com)
It took oddsmakers a while to put a line out because of Collin Klein's injury status, but the Wildcats are currently a touchdown favorite on the road against the Frogs. Considering the Wildcats' undefeated record, it's no surprise they are giving points on the road.
While K-State has been blowing opponents out recently, this one could be close and the line reflects that. This is a TCU team that has gone through a lot of adversity and played most teams on its schedule really close. Bettors who go big on K-State may be sweating it out in the fourth quarter.
Over/Under: 60 (via Covers.com)
Kansas State's last three games have all gone well over 60 total points. Three out of the last four TCU games have gone over this total, but there's still the distinct possibility that this winds up being a somewhat defensive battle.
K-State has been playing great defense all season. The Wildcats are holding opponents to 18.6 points per game and have held the likes of Oklahoma and West Virginia to fewer than 20 points.
TCU boasts an underrated defense that could slow down K-State on a good day. Freshman Devonte Fields and junior Stansly Maponga make up one of the best defensive end tandems in the country. Gary Patterson is one of the best defensive coaches in the country and should have a good game plan to at least slow down Klein.
The under could be a sneaky good play here.
Injury Report (via USA Today)
QB Collin Klein, Arm, Probable
LB Tre Walker, Knee, OUT indefinitely
Speculation all week has been centered around whether or not Heisman front-runner Collin Klein will be available for the Wildcats against TCU after leaving last week's game against Oklahoma State with an undisclosed injury.
According to Joe Schad of ESPN, Klein's mom has said that Klein is 100 percent fine and will play this week:
Collin Klein's Mom says: "I think he is going to be 100 percent this week. As far as I know..."— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) November 5, 2012
LB Danny Heiss, Undisclosed, OUT indefinitely
DT David Johnson, Undisclosed, OUT indefinitely
There's a lot riding on the line for K-State. Another win, and it extends its record to 10-0 with a legitimate shot at the National Championship Game. Right now, the Wildcats are one of four teams with a real opportunity to run the table and get in (Alabama, Oregon and Notre Dame are the others).
TCU is currently sixth in the Big 12, so there's virtually no chance that it will be going to a BCS game. The Frogs locked up bowl eligibility last week, but with three losses, they are officially out of the picture.
Keys for Kansas State Victory
The biggest key for Kansas State will be to force TCU to turn the ball over.
The Frogs are a young team and freshman quarterback Trevone Boykin has shown a tendency to throw interceptions under duress. According to Mark Cohen, TCU's assistant athletics director for media relations, the Frogs have been the best team at winning when they win the turnover battle:
Since 2005, TCU has the best record in the nation (47-1) when +1 or better in turnover margin.— Mark Cohen (@tcusid) November 8, 2012
K-State has been nearly flawless up to his point, and that will need to continue to ensure that it wins the turnover battle. If Klein can't go (although it's looking more and more like he will), backup quarterback Daniel Sams will need to continue to take care of the ball like Klein has.
Keys for TCU Victory
Aside from the obvious counterpoint that TCU needs to win the turnover battle, containing Klein will be key for TCU.
Devonte Fields has been an electric talent as a freshman at defensive end. His eight sacks have him ranked 14th nationally in the category, and he should find ways to pressure. Cornerback Jason Verrett has become one of the premier cover corners in the conference and is second in the country in interceptions on the season with five.
It won't be easy, but the Frogs defense has the playmakers to make this an interesting game for Klein and the Wildcats.
On offense, Boykin must have a better game than he did last week. He stepped up in the clutch with a successful two-point conversion toss in triple overtime against West Virginia, but he still completed less than half of his passes and threw more interceptions than touchdowns.
Against Kansas State, both units will have to play to their best potential. No time for the lapses that have killed the Frogs in each of their losses.
The ingredients for an upset are here. The Wildcats haven't been tested in a while and have been rolling over the competition.
As good as Kansas State has been this season, it only has three road games on its resume. The latest one was a 55-14 drubbing of West Virginia, and that's a possibility this weekend. However, the other two were a five-point win over Oklahoma and a really close call against Iowa State (27-21).
The Frogs are coming off of a huge win on the road against West Virginia and should go into this game with plenty of confidence. Stopping Klein is no easy task, but TCU has the talent to make this game close and even pull off the upset.
Predicted Score: TCU 28, Kansas State 24