No. 11 Oklahoma (8-2) at TCU (7-4)
Dec. 1, 11 a.m.
Amon G. Carter Stadium (Fort Worth, Texas)
Line: OU -6.5
Oklahoma is a game away and some help from ending the season at 10-2 and a BCS bowl berth. After the negativity and bad ending of last year, that would be an excellent rebound for the Sooners.
While OU is probably playing a less explosive offense this week than in the past couples of games, OU is playing a much better defense as well. TCU is sky high off its humiliation of Texas in Austin, and it's not a stretch to wonder what OU has left in the tank after back-to-back battles for 60 minutes.
Watch out for:
1. TCU selling out
In 2008, TCU had a great squad that came to Norman and lost 35-7, as the Sooners hit on big passing plays while the Horned Frogs were blitzing and trying to stop the run. Will Gary Patterson sell out on the run and attack, hoping to get OU off the field and force Landry Jones to make the big-play throws? Or, will he try to keep everything in front and force OU to execute drives of 10-plus plays.
Can OU run enough to keep TCU honest? In 2008, OU struggled to run the ball, and the Sooners OU stubbornly kept trying when Sam Bradford could have lit up the Frogs for 60.
2. Helping out against the run
OU's defense has been trashed the last three weeks on the ground. Now, TCU does not represent the passing threat of OSU and West Virginia. Will Mike Stoops go with more run-game defensive sets and personnel? TCU does have good deep threats, but this is not the kind of offense that wants to throw the ball 50 times a game.
3. Zone reading
TCU's backup quarterback Trevone Boykin has done a good job replacing Casey Pachall. He's not on Pachall's level as a passer, but he's mobile and can extend plays. TCU could try to spread OU out and use the QB zone read game that has been giving OU so many problems. In addition, TCU could move Brandon Carter to running back, similar to what WVU did with Tavon Austin.
4. Protecting off the edge
OU's offensive tackles have contained pretty much every pass-rushing defensive end unit that they have faced. TCU presents a tricky final exam and may have the best pure pass-rushing duo. Tyrus Thompson and Lane Johnson will play a big role in keeping the passing game going.
5. The Fearsome Foursome
Can OU's stellar group of wide receivers (Sterling Shepard, Kenny Stills, Jalen Saunders and Justin Brown) continue their level of production against a defense with an actual pulse? TCU has actual CBs who can cover, but no team has handled OU's four-wide look since Notre Dame.