It's the beginning of a new era. No longer will Texas battle Texas A&M on Thanksgiving day. Now, the Longhorns will face off with Big 12 newcomers TCU on the day of thanks.
The contest may not be Texas-Texas A&M, but the game, slotted in primetime on ESPN, has huge implications for the Longhorns, who fight to keep their Big 12 and BCS hopes alive. Texas sits at No. 15 in the BCS standings and the Horned Frogs would like nothing less to start this newly formed rivalry with a win.
So, let your turkey settle and sit down with the family to watch this game. It sets up to be a good one.
When: Thursday, Nov. 22 at 7:30 ET
Where: Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, Texas
Live Stream: WATCH ESPN
Radio: Free Football Radio
Betting Line (via The Spread)
TCU +8 at Texas
TCU is a solid football team. The Horned Frogs are already bowl eligible, and freshman quarterback Trevone Boykin has been outstanding filling in for suspended starter Casey Pachall.
The Longhorns, while highly ranked, have been inconstant this season. Expect a close game the entire way and for TCU to cover the eight-point spread.
Injury Report (via USA Today)
Jackson Jeffcoat, DE, Out for season
Jordan Hicks, LB, Out for season
Kennedy Estelle, OT, Out for Thursday's game
Trevone Boykin, QB, Probable
David Johnson, DT, Out indefinitely
Michael Thompson, C, Out for season
Casey Pachall, QB, Suspended for season
Waymon James, RB, Out for season
Danny Heiss, LB, Out for Season
Ross Forest, DE, Out for season
TCU and Texas are both bowl eligible. But thanks to the upheaval in the college football landscape last week, the Longhorns are now fighting to reach a BCS bowl and even capture the Big 12 crown.
With two more victories—over TCU and No. 6 Kansas State—the Longhorns would make a strong case for an at-large BCS bid. And one Oklahoma loss, over the Sooners last two games, would open up a possibility for Texas to earn a share of the Big 12 title.
TCU would love to play spoiler to those lofty plans, though. The Horned Frogs will be traveling to Austin for the pair’s biggest matchup since their Southwest conference days, and would like nothing more than to ruin Texas' BCS and Thanksgiving fun in one swoop.
Texas Player to Watch: LB, Steve Edmond
Edmond has taken on a much larger role since Jordan Hicks went down with a hip injury the third week of the season, improving leaps and bounds each week.
He's had to grow by fire, and his emergence up the middle has been coupled with the Longhorns resurgence defensively the past three games. But, he will not face a tougher test to his discipline and technical ability than TCU's speedy attack.
The Horned Frogs feature a balanced ground game and a quarterback, Boykin, who is capable of reaching the second level with ease if the front seven doesn't contain him.
As the leader up the middle the task of calling out assignments and containing Boykin will fall heavily upon him. If he can help the front seven contain TCU's rushing attack and force the freshman to throw, the Longhorns should come away with the win.
TCU Player to Watch: QB, Trevone Boykin
When Pachall exited, many counted TCU out in its first Big 12 go-round. But Boykin, a redshirt freshman who was taking snaps at running back in practice, has looked great replacing Pachall.
He's thrown for 1,466 yards and 13 touchdowns in the six games he's started, not to mention his 267 yards of contribution with his feet.
Boykin is a dual-threat QB who forces opposing defense to account for everything, from his strong arm to track-level speed.
TCU's defense is good enough to slow down a potent Texas attack, and with solid play out of Boykin, the Horned Frogs could pull the upset.
Prediction: Texas 31, TCU 24
TCU will present a tough test for the favored Longhorns, but on Senior Night Texas will combine a high level of passion with the more talented roster to move past the Horned Frogs.
The Longhorns previously porous defense continues to improve, while David Ash and the Texas offense have been steady, not to mention explosive, all season.
The Horned Frogs will play well, but in the end, a freshman quarterback coupled with a sputtering offense—TCU has put up 14 points or less in two out of its last three games—will not be enough to upset Texas at DKR.