Big 12 College Football Picks: #5 TCU Horned Frogs at Texas Longhorns

#5 Texas Christian Horned Frogs at Texas Longhorns
Royal Texas Memorial Stadium – Austin, Texas

Thursday, November 27, 2014, 7:30 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports 1
Opening Line: TCU -6 1/2
Current Line: TCU -6 1/2 (-115)
Opening Total: 58
Current Total: 56 1/2
Opening Money Line: TCU -250 / Texas +210
Current money Line: TCU -265 / Texas +225

TCU looks to remain in contention for a playoff spot as they travel to Texas Thanksgiving.  night
TCU looks to remain in contention for a playoff spot as they travel to Texas Thanksgiving. night

The 9-1 TCU Horned Frogs are 6-1 in the Big 12. TCU is tied with Baylor and Kansas State for first in the conference. TCU and Baylor have bigger goals in mind as they are still alive for one of the four college football playoff spots. The Horned Frogs have a game Thanksgiving night at Texas. Even though Texas is 6-5 and 5-3 in conference, the Longhorns have been much better recently after a 2-4 start with 3 straight wins all by double digits.

Texas leads the series 62-21-1 against TCU, including 34-12-1 in Austin. This series dates back to 1897 and both were long time members of the Southwest Conference before the conference was dissolved in the mid 90’s. Texas won last year in Ft. Worth 30-7. TCU won the last meeting in Austin in 2012 also on Thanksgiving. Before that 2012 game, TCU had lost 15 straight games in Austin dating back to 1969.

TCU is coached by Gary Patterson. The only loss for TCU came at Baylor 61-58. The Horned Frogs had a 21 point lead in the fourth quarter of that game. TCU has won 5 straight games since then. The Horned Frogs have home wins over Samford 48-14, Minnesota 30-7, Oklahoma 37-33, Oklahoma State 42-9, Texas Tech 82-27, and Kansas State 41-20. TCU has road wins at SMU 56-0, West Virginia 31-30 and two weeks ago at Kansas 34-30. The Horned Frogs are 8-2 ATS and the total is 7-3 this season. TCU was a 28 point favorite at Kansas and the total was 55.

Texas is coached by Charlie Strong. The Longhorns have home wins over North Texas 38-7, Iowa State 48-45, and West Virginia 33-16, plus road wins at Kansas 23-0, Texas Tech 34-13, and two weeks ago at Oklahoma State 28-7. Texas has home losses to BYU 41-7 and Baylor 28-7, a road loss at Kansas State 23-0, and neutral site losses to UCLA 20-17 in Arlington, Texas and Oklahoma 31-26 in Dallas. The Longhorns are 7-4 ATS and the total is 3-8 this season. Texas was a 1.5 point favorite at Oklahoma State and the total was 46.5.

TCU is outscoring teams 46-23 this season. The Horned Frogs are #2 in scoring and #35 in points allowed nationally. TCU is averaging 542 yards per game on offense including 324 passing and 218 rushing. The Horned Frogs are #6 in total offense, #8 in passing and #29 in rushing nationally. On defense, TCU Is allowing 379 yards per game including 256 passing and 123 rushing yards. The Horned Frogs are #22 in rush defense and #101 in pass defense.  TCU is +14 in turnovers with 28 takeaways. The Horned Frogs average 60 penalty yards per game and opponents average 57.  TCU is 72/166 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 62/187. The Horned Frogs have forced 29 sacks and allowed 17 this season. TCU is 44/51 scoring in the red zone with 31 touchdowns and opponents are 25/29 with 13 touchdowns. The Horned Frogs have 4 defensive and special teams touchdowns and have allowed 2 this season.

TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is a Heisman contender. He has completed 59.3% of his passes for 3,021 yards with 24 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, along with 122 carries for 548 yards and 7 interceptions. Back-up quarterback Matt Joeckel is out indefinitely with a leg injury. Running back Aaron Green has 82 carries for 677 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 9 catches. B.J. Catalon  has 98 carries for 493 yards and 10 touchdowns, along with 14 catches for 163 yards and a touchdown. He also has a kick return for a touchdown. He is questionable with an upper body injury. Trevorris Johnson has 39 carries for 222 yards and 4 touchdowns. Little used running back Shaun Nixon is also out indefinitely.


Receiver Josh Doctson has 43 catches for 693 yards and 7 touchdowns. Kolby Listenbee has 33 catches for 606 yards and 3 touchdowns. Deante’ Gray has has 29 catches for 486 yards and a touchdown, plus 7 carries for 83 rushing yards. Ty Slanina has 28 catches for 360 yards and 2 touchdowns. David Porter has 32 catches for 356 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Texas is outscoring teams 24-21 this season. Texas is #25 in points allowed and #98 in scoring. The Longhorns are averaging 367 yards per game on offense, including 213 passing and 154 rushing yards. On defense, Texas is allowing 347 yards per game including 182 passing and  165 rushing yards. Texas is #14 in pass defense and #28 in total defense nationally. The Longhorns are +3 in turnovers with 20 takeaways. Texas is 68/186 on third and fourth down conversions, and opponents are 74/205. The Longhorns are   32/41 scoring in the red zone with 26 touchdowns and opponents are 25/34 with 18 touchdowns. Texas has forced 37 sacks and allowed 21 this season. The Longhorns are averaging 56 penalty yards per game and opponents are averaging 54 penalty yards per game. Texas has 2 defensive touchdowns and has allowed 5.

Texas quarterback David Ash ended his career after suffering another concussion. He missed most of last season with the same injury. Tyrone Swoopes took over as the starter. He has completed 58.8% of his passes for for 2,152 yards with 12  touchdowns and 6 interceptions, plus 88 carries for 233 yards and 3 touchdowns.Running back Malcolm Brown has 166 carries for 654 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 11 catches. Johnathan Gray has 129 carries for 627 yards and 7 touchdowns. Receiver John Harris has 59 catches for 976 yards and 7 touchdowns. Jaxon Shipley has 58 catches for 571 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with a leg injury. Marcus Johnson has 25 catches for 307 yards and a touchdown. Four offensive linemen and three defensive players are  questionable or out.

TCU is 5-0 ATS after gaining more than 450 yards, 7-1 against teams with winning records, 6-1 after passing for more than 280 yards, 10-2 overall, 7-2 in Big 12 games, and after a straight up win, 19-7 after a bye week, 15-7 after allowing more than 280 passing yards, 3-7 after failing to cover, and 2-5 on fieldturf.

Texas is 4-0 ATS in November, 7-2 after a bye week, 5-2 against teams with winning records, 6-13 against teams with winning road records, 4-9 after a cover, 2-5 in Thursday games and after a straight up win, 6-18 after passing for more than 280 yards, 2-6 after a straight up win of more than 20 points, and 1-4 after rushing for less than 100 yards.

Texas finally seems to be living up to their potential of the pre-season with 3 straight wins. TCU barely escaped with a win at lowly Kansas in their last game, and perhaps that will be a wake-up call. I think TCU has more firepower than Texas and the Horned Frogs win a close game on the road.

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