TCU HORNED FROGS (2-2)
at OKLAHOMA SOONERS (4-0)
Kickoff: Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET
Line: Oklahoma -10, Total: 47
No. 11 Oklahoma looks to continue its impressive start to the season hosting a TCU team that was supposed to be one of the best teams in the Big 12.
After losing the starting job, Sooners QB Blake Bell has gained it back and taken complete control of the position with back-to-back terrific performances against Tulsa and Notre Dame. In those games, Bell has thrown for 683 yards and six touchdowns. Last season, he was given the nickname “The Belldozer,” for his role as the Wildcat quarterback. While he is still a dangerous running threat, it is his improvement in the passing game that has the Sooners entering the national title talk. Oklahoma is 3-1 ATS this season, as it was two points shy of covering in a 16-7 victory over West Virginia. Like its opponent, TCU has had a quarterback shuffle as well this season. Despite a great performance last season, QB Trevone Boykin was expected to resume his backup role as Casey Pachall was back from his suspension. However, Pachall got hurt (forearm) early this season, putting Boykin back under center for the Horned Frogs. Boykin gives TCU a big-time playmaker at the quarterback position. Despite being just 2-2, there is still a ton of talent on this team. One of their losses was to LSU, a game in which they were down by only three points late in the fourth quarter. The Horned Frogs have had a problem playing to their potential, as they are only 1-3 ATS this season. They have the talent on both sides of the ball to get the job done, they just have to go out and do that. Oklahoma defeated TCU 24-17 in Fort Worth last season, marking the fifth time in six meetings that the road team prevailed in this series.
Can Oklahoma win comfortably over TCU here? For the answer, connect to College Football Best Bets for all the StatFox Experts picks throughout the 2013 regular season and bowl season. The experts continued their hot streak in college football Best Bets with an astounding 82% ATS record (14-3-2) this past week. The four experts are now a combined 61% ATS (53-34-3) for the season. StatFox Gary is a perfect 8-0-1 ATS in college football Best Bets over the past three weeks and 75% ATS (9-3) this year. StatFox Scott is 78% ATS (7-2-1) on Best Bets in the past two weeks and 63% ATS (15-9-1) for the season. StatFox Brian is 59% ATS (10-7-1) in Best Bets this season while StatFox Dave went 6-1 ATS in Best Bets last week to improve to 56% ATS (19-15) for the year.
Besides Boykin on offense, TCU has talent at both the running back and wide receiver positions. RBs Waymon James and B.J. Catalon are both averaging over five yards per carry this season, forcing defenses to load the box. This allows WR Josh Carter to have single coverage on the outside, where he has the speed to run away from the secondary. If the rushing duo is able to establish the line of scrimmage early, then there may be some openings for Boykin to attack downfield early in the game. Boykin had a decent game versus Oklahoma last year, completing 17-of-31 passes for 231 yards (7.5 YPA), 1 TD (80 yards to Carter) and 0 INT. While there are playmakers on the offense, the Horned Frogs defense (22.8 PPG allowed, 60th in FBS) needs to raise their level of play. Head coach Gary Patterson has had some great defenses during his time at TCU, and this unit has as much talent as any of those defenses. The status for sophomore DE Devonte Fields (foot) is unknown against the Sooners, but he is the type of guy that can change a game. The defending Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year has been hampered this season by injuries and suspensions. If he is unable to go Saturday, that will make things much tougher for TCU. The secondary is one of the very best in the Big 12 with CBs Jason Verrett and Kevin White. Both of them are able to be put on an island and blanket a wide receiver in man coverage for extended periods of times. However, they will be put to the test against an explosive Oklahoma wide receiver group.
Sooners WRs Sterling Shepard and Jalen Saunders have the ability to take it to the house on any given moment. Both of them are very solid route runners that know what to do with the ball after they catch it. The Horned Frogs had no answer for Saunders last year, as he caught seven passes for 108 yards and a touchdown. RBs Brennan Clay and Damien Williams have given the Sooners the rushing attack that QB Blake Bell and the passing game need in order to keep defenses from playing two-safety-deep defenses. Williams, who totaled 154 yards and 2 TD in last year's win at TCU, may be counted upon to carry more of the load, as Clay is currently doubtful for the game after experiencing a head injury in the third quarter of last week’s game. When head coach Bob Stoops was most successful, his Sooners defense was one of the top units in all of the country, and they appear to be back to an elite level on that side of the ball this year. Entering Week 6, the Sooners have given up just 12.0 points per game, ranking sixth in the country. While TCU’s secondary may have better players, Oklahoma CB Aaron Colvin is hands down the best secondary player on either team. He has great range, and is a factor in both stopping the run as well as the pass. While a lot of Big 12 games come down to which offense scores the most, look for this game to be more of a defensive struggle.