<
>

Kansas State at TCU primer

Back in the summer, most people in Big 12 land had Nov. 8 circled on the calendar. This was going to be the big week that Baylor visited Oklahoma with a Big 12 title and possibly a College Football Playoff spot on the line.

Surprise! All eyes instead will be on No. 6 TCU vs. No. 7 Kansas State in what's setting up to be perhaps the Big 12 game of the year. Two one-loss teams face off in Fort Worth, Texas, with a lot on the line. Jake Trotter and Max Olson break down the matchup.

How K-State can control the game: TCU’s success has been driven by forcing the most turnovers in the country. This season, TCU has scored a stunning 101 points off turnovers. Only Louisiana Tech has more. The Horned Frogs boast one of the most explosive offenses in the country, but if K-State can prevent giving quarterback Trevone Boykin any short fields, the Wildcats can hang around. There’s reason to believe they can accomplish that, too: K-State ranks seventh in the country in fewest turnovers committed. -- Trotter

How TCU can control the game: After surviving the most physical game of its season, a 31-30 win over West Virginia, how beat-up is this TCU team and how much gas is still in the tank? The Horned Frogs have shown resilience throughout this Big 12 slate and are capable of enduring whatever the Wildcats have to offer early on. Gary Patterson's gang can't get anxious and dig themselves into a hole early. Winning this week will require patience and smart, tough play in all three phases of the game. -- Olson

K-State’s X factor: TCU is sure to zero in on receiver Tyler Lockett with cornerback Kevin White, who blanketed West Virginia’s Kevin White last weekend. With bracket coverage sure to be focused on Lockett, slot man Curry Sexton should have plenty of chances to inflict damage underneath the coverage. Sexton has been fabulous as Lockett’s wingman, ranking eighth in the Big 12 in receiving. The Wildcats need him to have another big game to keep the chains moving. -- Trotter

TCU's X factor: Points off turnovers. What Jake didn't mention is the Horned Frogs were gifted five turnovers at West Virginia and still almost lost. They turned the first three of those five takeaways into a combined zero points. An inability to capitalize on those extra chances is something you won't get away with often, particularly against K-State. Even if TCU notches only one or two takeaways this weekend, they must be turned into points. -- Olson

What a win would do for K-State: The Wildcats have quietly been one of the hottest teams in the country since the Sept. 18 loss to Auburn. They can take a serious leap into the playoff conversation with a win at TCU. As the only team without a conference loss, the Wildcats also can take command of the Big 12 race. -- Trotter

What a win would do for TCU: Potentially a spot in next week's College Football Playoff top four and probably at least a share of a Big 12 title. The Frogs finish out the year with games against three of the Big 12's worst teams and would have a clear path to a crown so long as they take care of business and Baylor loses one more game. This isn't the finish line for TCU, but it's getting closer. -- Olson