Much like last week, Crazy Gundy will just never be not funny.
In light of Tech trying to kill spitblood last week, clearly things have been toned down a bit here this week. Congrats Red Raiders. Not so much on the game, but more on your ability to kill a little bit of internet fun. You win this round, although I survived the weekend so maybe you didn't get EXACTLY what you wanted out of it. Now quit calling. Also, don't worry spitblood faithful- I promise, I will never die. I've noticed we still have some Tech hangers-on which is fun. Stick around guys, and I hope you continue to enjoy the site because clearly if you didn't like it, you wouldn't still be here. Hell, we even have an SMU fan who still hangs around and comments occasionally, although I'm pretty certain he's got Stockholm Syndrome and is now a Frog fan. Maybe the same will happen to all of the Raiders who can't stop checkin' us out. As for now, it's officially time to put the Tech thing to bed and move forward with what's left on our schedule. Might I suggest y'all do the same. Big game with K State this weekend, so go bug that awesome K State mask guy. As for TCU, we've got what I believe is our most winnable remaining game on the schedule. Don't get me wrong though, because I don't think one more win is all we have in us. I just think given the current situation that this is our game for the taking and we need to make it happen. Let's take a look at a few factors that could make all the difference on Saturday afternoon.
Something's gotta give: Oklahoma State RB Joseph Randle averages 127.5 yards per game on the ground, which tops the Big 12 and ranks 8th nationally. TCU has the #7 rushing defense in the country, allowing just 92 yards per game. Yes, Tech scored on us, but with the exception of one run where every defender within arms reach was trying to strip the ball, they didn't muster up much on the ground at all, totaling just 71 yards. Admittedly TCU hasn't faced a back like Randle all year (no, Zach Line in a monsoon doesn't count), so the task will be much tougher than it has been all season. Randle went for 151 against the only decent defense he's played this season in Iowa State, but it should be tough sledding against a stout front 6 (7?) for TCU. I think we hold him well under his season average, but I don't expect it to be as easy as it has been for the Frog's D.
Who plays QB for OSU?: It appeared as if J.W. Walsh had stolen the job he lost in the offseason from true freshman Wes Lunt, who went down early in the season with a knee injury, but Walsh was lost for the season last week. Now the biggest question in Stillwater this week is whether or not Wes Lunt is healthy and ready to go again with Walsh no longer in the picture. If Lunt can't go or is limited, the duties fall into the hands of Junior Clint Chelf who began the season as the 3rd stringer for the Cowboys. You never root for injury, but honestly it's a bit refreshing to see we aren't the only team dealing with major personnel issues. I feel for ya, Okie State. That being said, if Chelf does have to play I really, REALLY like the Frogs chances, because his mobility is questionable at best. Many of you have seen him before and just didn't know it. He's usually eating pancakes, cereal, driving hot rods, or riding around with Uncle Hank trying to catch bad guys...
See? Dead ringer.
Will the defenses show up?: TCU and OSU are numbers 1 and 2 in the nation respectively in consecutive games scoring over 20 points. TCU has done it 33 straight times to Okie State's 32. In today's college football world though, scoring 20 points is hardly a feat. If either one of these teams winds up with anywhere from 21-24 points then I think you're looking at a loss. Clearly both of these teams can score, but will personnel issues on the offensive side of the ball be able to derail either one of these well oiled machines? I don't think we're looking at 56-53 again, but I don't expect to see 23-17 either. Both teams have an abundance of playmakers which is why they've both been consistently getting the job done on offense. The Cowboys have barely missed a beat offensively despite losing The Geriatric and The Drunk to the NFL draft. TCU has been doing it despite losing players left and right in such obscure ways that even the writer of the 1993 classic The Program thinks what's been happening in Fort Worth is unbelievable. To answer the question though, I think the defenses show up, but as has been the case in most Big 12 games, offenses will still shine.
Turnover battle: For TCU and most teams it's pretty simple: win the turnover battle, win the game. TCU is 2-2 in Big 12 play and has won the turnover battle in just one of those games. Care to guess which one? You got it- Baylor. They lost the turnover battle against Kansas, but all you need to do to beat Kansas is show up. The Baylor game has been the most dominant performance on our schedule and not giving the ball up was a major reason why. The other major reason was that Nick Florence really loved to give the ball to us as well. Hopefully Lunt or Chelf/Walter White Jr./Flynn does the same and we create some turnovers. Win the turnover battle, win the game. Plain and simple.
Can Fields keep it up?: If I were a betting man, which I am, I'd bet against Maponga playing Saturday again. So with the attention starting to shift towards freshMan-Child Devonte Fields, can he continue at his torrid sack/TFL pace? He added another 1 1/2 sacks last weekend against Tech, but outside of him there wasn't much pressure applied all game. In order to force the turnovers mentioned above, pressure is key. Florence was intercepted 4 times, and most of that had to do with the fact that we had a defender breathing down his neck every time he dropped back to throw. That wasn't the case last week, as for the most part Seth Doege had time to drop back, knit a sweater, and then connect with an open receiver. So if Fields starts drawing all the attention like he should, somebody else has to step up and get pressure. It's hard to cover receivers. It's even harder to cover receivers when the QB has all day.
Will Boykin continue to progress?: Although his numbers were his best against Baylor, I'd say Boykin played his best game last week all things considered. Baylor's defense is about the equivalent of the defense played at The Pro Bowl except with much less talent, and Tech actually has a formidable squad. Oklahoma State's defense is not as terrible as Baylor's. Literally nobody in FBS has a defense as bad as Baylor's, but it's not anywhere near as good as Tech's D. One key for Boykin and the offense will be his health and his ability to run the zone read. If he is hobbled and isn't a threat in the running game then that severely limits the offense (see Pachall, Casey). If he's able to keep the defensive line honest and freeze linebackers/safeties on the zone read and/or play action, then that opens up the field entirely for us. As for the missed deep balls last week- I expect those to improve every week from here on out since he'll be working with the 1's every day and getting used to their speed and route running. Let's not forget he was throwing to White/Listenbee/Porter/Bush for weeks in practice, so he's still getting acclimated to Boyce/Brown/Carter/Dawson. I expect to see a lot more that look like the bomb to LaDarius Brown down the stretch last game in the future and a lot less to look like the missed seem routes to Skye Dawson.
What will happen: For some reason I think this team plays better on the road and has for the past several years. Oh wait, I know the reason. They're in front of a full stadium actively engaged in the game for 4 quarters. Weird concept, right? We should try it out here too! I seriously believe there's something to that. Yes, the goal on the road is to rattle your opponents and make them uncomfortable, but part of me is starting to believe when our guys (and our coaches) see a stadium full of people they get more focused. Sure, some aspects of the road will be tougher and there will be hiccups in every road game, but we haven't come out flat for a big time road game in years. I don't think we do it here either. Randle and Okie State will have their successes running the ball, but I think whichever QB plays will be forced to make throws to beat us. Does a gimpy Wes Lunt or an incredibly inexperienced 3rd string junior who moonlights as a disabled actor on Breaking Bad have enough firepower to beat our defense? Can the Okie State defense force a still very young, inexperienced Trevone Boykin into enough bad decisions and mistakes to rattle his cage? I say the answer to both questions is no. Our offensive and defensive balance are enough to keep the Frogs in this game late, and we all know what the hidden key is in most close games...SPECIAL TEAMS! A long Skye Dawson punt return sets up a Jaden Oberkrom (get this kid a nickname already) game winning field goal as time expires.
The Pick: TCU 34 - OSU 31.
We all will miss Sir Wesley in his usual role of the preview and recap guy, but bear with me as I try to take this thing over Trevone Boykin style while Sir Wesley tries to find himself in blogger-rehab. There will be growing pains and lumps, and I'm pretty sure my vocabulary, reading level, and nerdy Sci-Fi references cannot match that of Sir Wesley's, but I'll give it my best. Constructive criticism accepted, and please let me know if there's anything else you'd like to see written about and one of us will try to make time. Now that hate has been taken out my life, I've got some time on my hands. All work and no hate makes SNK a dull boy.