ESPN's "College GameDay" will be in Morgantown, West Virginia, this weekend to take in this showdown between the Big 12's newest members.
Max Olson and Jake Trotter break down this key Big 12 matchup between the Horned Frogs, who hope to keep their playoff hopes alive, and the Mountaineers, who are looking to take command of the Big 12 title race:
How TCU can control the game: Texas Tech wanted a track meet last week but stood no chance of keeping up. You'd think West Virginia might prefer the opposite approach -- ball control, run game, limit possessions -- because it worked against Baylor. TCU needs to set the tone and pace early offensively. Red-zone scoring will be at a premium. And the Frogs' pass defense needs to be sharp after getting burned in the first quarter against TTU. – Olson
How West Virginia can pull off the upset: Big plays in the passing game. The Mountaineers have forged an identity as a big-play offense, and they’ll need to pull off some big plays to topple the Horned Frogs. That means getting Mario Alford the ball in space underneath and Kevin White in single coverage down field. The Mountaineers rank fifth nationally in passing plays of 20 yards or more. If they can get Alford and White involved early and often they’ll have a chance. – Trotter
TCU's X factor: The health of Boykin. TCU backup quarterback Matt Joeckel suffered an injury against Texas Tech that Gary Patterson hinted could be serious. If the Frogs don't have Joeckel as insurance going forward, they're one play away from having to go with redshirt freshman Zach Allen or juco transfer Bram Kohlhausen. Keeping Boykin well-protected and making sure he doesn't take unnecessary hits on runs needs to be a priority this week. – Olson
West Virginia’s X factor: Rushel Shell. The West Virginia starting running back missed last week’s game at Oklahoma State with a foot injury. But coach Dana Holgorsen said Tuesday that he expects to get Shell in the lineup. Shell is the kind of player who can pound out first downs between the tackles and keep the chains moving. – Trotter
What a win would mean for TCU: One significant step closer to a Big 12 title. TCU would finish 4-1 against the league's six best teams with a win over WVU and against Kansas State next week. They don't control their destiny -- they do need another Baylor loss -- but the Horned Frogs can send a message to both the conference and the College Football Playoff committee this weekend. – Olson
What a win would mean for West Virginia: A win would put West Virginia in the driver’s seat for the Big 12 title, and a chance to clinch the championship on Nov. 20 against Kansas State. West Virginia fell to Oklahoma, but the Sooners have two Big 12 losses. The Mountaineers, meanwhile, would have the head-to-head tiebreaker edge over TCU and Baylor. Who knows, with a little outside help, the Mountaineers could emerge into the playoff picture, too. – Trotter