People are saying this is a "bad" TCU team. But I'd say it's an inconsistent TCU team - just like I'd say it's an inconsistent Texas team.
There is a ton riding on this game, including the job status of Charlie Strong and the Longhorns' bowl hopes. I think this Texas team is emotionally and physically exhausted.
In particular, QB Shane Buechele looks physically exhausted. He had a rib injury against Cal, and got knocked around a bunch in the Kansas game. I think the kid is gutting it out and deserves a ton of credit for that. But he's not the same QB physically that he was to start the season.He's had 5 INTs in the last four games (including 3 vs KU) after having 5 INTs through the first seven games.
That leads me to the matchup in this game that worries me the most: Sterlin Gilbert vs Gary Patterson
Kliff Kingsbury told me - hands down - Patterson is the hardest coach to game plan against from a defensive standpoint, because he always has new wrinkles.
We saw what Patterson's defense did to Baylor (which runs the same offense as Texas), holding BU to 133 yards rushing and just 5 of 20 third-down conversions while also scoring a defensive TD (28-yard pick-six).
And Texas' offense is limping into the finish line. After averaging 41 points through the first five games, UT has averaged 28.2 ppg the last six games.
So, it seems, for the third game in a row, the Texas defense is going to have to try to win this game - possibly even score to help the Horns win it.
TCU QB Kenny Hill has a thrown an INT in all but two games this season (15 TDs, 12 INTs), including 2 INTs in last week's 31-6 loss to Oklahoma State. So the Horns have to hope Hill is in a giving mood.
But Patterson has had Strong's number - beating Texas by a combined 98-17 the last two years. ... I've gone back and forth on this one 100 times. Hope I'm wrong ...
TCU 24 ... TEXAS 23
I feel like Friday's game will probably go in one of two directions: Either Texas will continue to allow the outside noise impact the team's performance on the field, leading to loss No. 7 and likely the end of the Charlie Strong era in Austin; or the Longhorns will play with nothing to else, resulting in a win, bowl eligibility and the players hoisting their embattled head coach in the air at the end of the game.
The Longhorns know Strong is on the chopping block and a loss to TCU will almost certainly be the final straw. But this team was in the same boat heading into Kansas, and we all know how that ended.
Tim Cole said Monday he felt guys were trying to do too much against Kansas because of the pressure on Strong, and it clearly backfired.
But I don't think the Longhorns will allow the same to happen against TCU, especially after witnessing the scene at Strong's Monday press conference earlier this week. It would be very odd to see this team make such a public showing of support for Strong earlier in the week and follow it up by laying an egg on the field four days later.
I could very likely be wrong, but for some strange, illogical reason, I have a feeling Texas is going to win this game.
Texas 31 ... TCU 24
ALLEN PERKINS - HD Contributor
A week ago, I would have picked Texas without hesitation. This team has fallen well short of their abilities. If the players were so galvanized by their coach, it should have already come out on the field. This roster has great potential. Just not this year.
D’Onta Foreman has 1,863 yards rushing. He’ll need 137 yards against TCU Friday to reach 2,000. He deserves it.
The TCU defense is tough against the run (No. 2 in the Big 12) and brings a lot of pressure in obvious passing situations from different angles. The place the TCU D has struggled is in the red zone, where opponents are scoring 93 percent of the time.
TCU players to watch on defense: LB Travin Howard (32) leads the Big 12 in tackles with 108 (fifth in FBS).
Hopefully the Longhorns don’t allow DE Josh Caraway (94), who has seven sacks, to get carried away. S Nick Orr (18) has four interceptions.
TCU has three losses by a combined 12 points (ARK, OU, and TT). UT has lost five games by a combined 22 points.
When Kenny Hill makes your jaw drop, will it be due to an impeccable or inexcusable throw? The steadily improving Texas defense will look to pounce, having already forced 19 turnovers on the year (third-best in the Big 12).
TCU relies on RB Kyle Hicks (21) on the ground and through the air. He's No. 5 in the Big 12 for all-purpose yards (122 ypg).
WR KaVontae Turpin (25) tortured Texas last year with 4 TDs in a 50-7 TCU win. He’s battled injury this season, but he’s always a threat with the ball in his hands, especially on punt returns (17.8 yard avg, 1 TD) and kick returns (28.8 yard avg).
If Buechele is himself, Texas wins. If the head/neck injury affects his play against TCU, it will be too much to overcome.
TEXAS 27 ... TCU 24
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