Real, True West Virginians
Warning: I'm not going to sit here and blow smoke up your asses about how well I think we match up with West Virginia and I'm not going to try and put a positive spin on the events that will occur Saturday. If that's what you're looking for, I'd go elsewhere. I've heard plenty of people saying how WVU is really similar to Baylor and how we can beat them on the road just like we beat Baylor, but let me give you a few examples of how they are NOT Baylor...
Geno Smith > Nick Florence: Quite frankly, Nick Florence isn't better than 7 out of the 10 current Big 12 starting QB's. His stats indicate otherwise, but that's because all they do is throw and he has NFL caliber receivers. We put just enough pressure on him to cause him to panic and make mistakes all game long. Another dimension that Geno Smith has is the ability to run if the pocket breaks down. Florence didn't have that. Smith doesn't run a lot, but that doesn't mean he's not capable. He also make far better decisions with the football than Nick Florence did. The guy didn't throw an interception through the first 4 or 5 games this year, and it's not because he was just throwing underneath routes. His 26-2 TD:INT ratio is downright frightening. When he has time, he's lethal.
WVU WR's > Baylor WR's: Terrence Williams for Baylor is the class of the Big 12 at WR, but I think the others (Reese, Norwood, Sampson, etc.) are just products of the system that Baylor is running. They've got inflated stats much like Florence does from the QB position. Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin, although not as big as the Baylor WR's, have the ability to hit a homerun whenever they touch it and from anywhere on the field. They're already both around 800 yards with 23 TD's combined, not to mention Andrew Buie is a viable threat to catch the ball out of the back field, amassing 231 yards through the air this year as well. On a positive note, I don't think the fade route to smaller receivers like this will be able to hurt us like it did in the Tech game.
Travel to Morgantown is a lot harder than bus trip to Waco: The team is staying in Pittsburgh and driving over the morning of the game. Stuff like that always scares me, because that's got to take some sort of toll on these players. Or maybe the 2 hour bus ride will give them time to get their heads right and focus. Either way, it's going to be a lot different in Morgantown than it is in Waco for many reasons, some of which are addressed later.
This isn't the same TCU team that played vs. Baylor: Boykin is playing but I fully expect him to be hobbled. Maponga is supposed to play a handful of plays, but I don't expect anything from him. Blaize Foltz is coming of an injury but expected to play. Brandon Carter...who the Hell knows what's going on with Brandon Carter, but I expect him to play and hopefully perform at the level he was earlier in the year. Am I missing anyone? I'm sure I am, because we haven't gotten healthy this year, just more injured. Not to mention OSU laid out a pretty good blueprint on how to stop TCU's Trevone Boykin offense when he stays in the pocket (spoiler alert: it's putting your hands up in the passing lanes). If Boykin stays in the pocket and tries to throw from there all game, we are screwed. If our OC duo can figure out a way to roll him out of the pocket on some throws and maybe even call a designed run for Boykin that isn't a QB draw, we might have some success. That all hinges on the health of Trevone Boykin's knee though, because if he can't move out of the pocket then, well, we screwed.
WVU Crowd >>>>>> Baylor Crowd: Instead of boring you with more rambling about how scared I am, I'll just compare the two fan bases via video.
West Virginia students/fans on gameday...
Sorry, it just never gets old. You get the point though. WVU fans are like deeper backwoodsier LSU fans, except replace bourbon and coke with moonshine and meth. They're just absolutely bat shit crazy. Our only hope is that they are all still coming down from their tweaker highs on Saturday afternoon and don't make it into the stadium. Winning at WVU will be a little taller of a task than beating a bunch of baptists who tarp their endzone.
So you get my drift now. It's not going to be anything like trying to beat Baylor. There are too many things that are wayyyyy different in regards to those two matchups for TCU. It's going to be a much, much different football game.
Having said that...
WVU might suck worse defensively than Baylor and if Boykin can play a clean game we can most certainly win Saturday afternoon. The weather won't be as sloppy as it could've been so there's no reason for turnovers. It won't even be windy so passes shouldn't look like ducks. There will be running lanes for Catalon (and Tucker if he's right) and Boykin. Receivers will be open. We just have to find creative ways to get the ball to them that don't involved our generously listed 6'2 QB with a sidearm throwing motion passing over linemen. We need Devonte Fields to go off more than he has all year, and for that to happen somebody on the other side (Koontz, McFarland, Maponga???) has to take some of the attention away from him. They're not going to kill us on the ground the way OSU did and wear us out, so we need to pin our ears back and go get Geno Smith. This team is finesse, not physical, so there's no reason we should be gassed in the 4th quarter like we were last week. Take the same offensive game plan we had against Baylor, albeit with a few more wrinkles, and control the clock. Don't let Geno and co. get ahead of us and keep them in 2nd and 3rd and longs like we did Baylor and we've got a shot. It won't be near as easy, but that doesn't mean it can't be done. This defense can be scored on at will, but not if we stick with the vanilla offense that we showed last week when we had the lead against OSU. To win this game it's going to take the best coaching effort we've seen from Patterson and his staff since the Boise game last year. Fortunately for us, GP has a knack for calling great games when his back is against the wall. Did anyone expect us to win in Boise last year? Did anyone think we'd slow the potent Baylor offense this year? No to both of those. Let's hope he can pull one more rabbit out of his hat this weekend and have a hopefully drunk Dana Holgerson dumbfounded by halftime and we can pull this victory out.
The pick: TCU 38 - WVU 35. Why the Hell not? If I keep picking us to pull the upset, once we finally do down the stretch this year it's going to feel a lot better than having picked the opposition. Let's go beat the 2nd most overrated team in the Big 12 on Saturday and then set our sights on Collin Klein, the QB who had never kissed a girl until marriage among other creepy things.