It will be difficult to beat TCU twice

by Dan M | Posted on Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

usa_today_10424651.0TCU (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (11-1)
Time / TV: 11:30 a.m FOX
Venue: AT&T Stadium, Arlington
Line: Sooners -7 / 63.5
Oklahoma would’ve been in.
With the way the 2017 college football season has shaped up,
Oklahoma would’ve absolutely been in the College Football Playoff if
last year’s rules applied.
11-1, Big 12 Champs, done and done.
But now, because it was determined that the conference might
have a better shot of getting in with a Big 12 Championship game, TCU
has a chance to possible screw it all up with a win.
Or, the Horned Frogs might be able to make their case to get
into the CFP if it dominates.
The last time we did this conference championship thing,
Oklahoma beat Nebraska 23-20 in 2010, closing out a run of four Big 12
titles in five years. And now it’s going for its third Big 12
championship in a row, but it has to first deal with putting down TCU
for a second time this season.
The first go-round was an interesting show of Oklahoma offensive
firepower, but it was the defense that rose up and rocked.
Baker Mayfield threw for 333 yards and three scores, and Rodney
Anderson ran for 151 yards and two touchdowns in the 38-20 win. The
Horned Frogs were held to just a fourth quarter touchdown after
getting down 38-14 at halftime.
However, since then, TCU did what it needed to do with wins over
Texas Tech and Baylor, to go along with the earlier win over Oklahoma
State, to get into the title game.
Win this, and the Horned Frogs have a case to get into the playoff.
Oklahoma has more than answered every challenge since the loss
to Iowa State, ripping off seven wins in a row, getting better as the
season has gone on.
Baker Mayfield will win the Heisman, at absolute worst, the team
is in a New Year’s Six bowl, and it’s been a successful season.
But now it’s all on the table for the Sooners. TCU has to win and
get some help. Oklahoma just has to win to get into the College
Football Playoff for the second time in three seasons.
And this time, if it can get by the Horned Frogs, it just might
have the talent to win it all.
How did the Sooners get it done the first time around? The same
way it’s gotten it done throughout the season – the offense has been
amazing.
The TCU defense might be No. 2 in the nation in rushing defense
and No. 1 in the Big 12 in total D, but it struggled against the
killer offenses on the schedule.
It did a nice job against Texas Tech, but West Virginia hit the
Horned Frogs with over 500 yards of total offense. Oklahoma State came
close with 499, and Oklahoma roared, cranking up 200 yards on the
ground – the most allowed all year by the TCU D – with the offense
averaging close to eight yards per play.
Of course, Mayfield is the star, but the running game has turned
the offense into something at another level over the second half of
the season.
OU has scored two rushing touchdowns in every game but two – the
loss to Iowa State and the win over Ohio State. The Big 12-leading
rushing attack, it’s averaging 216 yards per game, and again, that’s
before Mayfield goes Mayfield.
No matter what happens in this game, it’s Mayfield’s Heisman
after throwing 37 touchdown passes and just five picks averaging close
to 12 yards per throw.
A marked man with words, late hits, and trolls on and off the
field, he might have had a few bad moments, but he’s been beyond
brilliant. And now …
The Horned Frog defensive front has to turn it loose into the backfield.
The Big 12 leader in sacks – and fourth in the nation – the
pressure just keeps on coming. But the D line had problems a few weeks
ago in Norman, coming up with just three tackles for loss and just one
sack.
Oklahoma is fantastic at keeping the offense moving quickly, and
getting the ball out of Mayfield’s hands in a big hurry, but the
defense has to sell out to get to No. 6 and pressure him – he can’t
have time to relax and find the second and third targets.
Or, TCU has to gear it up and start bombing away.
Kenny Hill came back from missing the Texas Tech game hurt to
hit Baylor with 325 yards and three scores, hitting 72% of his passes.
Fantastic all year, he was a fringe Heisman candidate before the
Iowa State and Oklahoma games, failing to hit half of his passes in
either game. For this to work, TCU has to keep the Oklahoma offense on
the sidelines, and that means Hill has to keep the chains moving.
TCU leads the Big 12 in time of possession and third down
conversions. Against Oklahoma, the Horned Frogs were hammered in clock
control – only having the ball for just under 26 minutes – and
converted just 4-of-13 tries.
That has to change in a big way.
This will be a totally different TCU team than the one that
showed up in Norman on November 11th.
The defense will be more aggressive, it’ll take more chances, and
it’ll rely on its secondary to hope to win just enough battles to get
by.
But mostly, the TCU D will go after Rodney Anderson and the
Oklahoma running game.
The Horned Frogs will get up early and take control of the game
with a halftime lead, and then Mayfield will show everyone why he’s
going to be the 2017 Heisman winner.
Mayfield will rally the Sooners in a brilliant early fourth
quarter scoring run to get back in the game, and he’ll lead the way to
a final scoring drive and a walk-off field goal.
It’ll be a brilliant moment for the Oklahoma run of championships,
and a brutal heartbreaker for the Horned Frogs.
Pick: Oklahoma 31, TCU 30

Big 12 Championship
Overall Results

1996   3 Nebraska Cornhuskers 27 Texas Longhorns 37
1997   2 Nebraska Cornhuskers 54 14 Texas A&M Aggies 15
1998   2 Kansas State Wildcats 33 10 Texas A&M Aggies 36

1999   3Nebraska Cornhuskers 22 12 Texas Longhorns 6

2000  8 Kansas State Wildcats 24 1 Oklahoma Sooners 27

2001   9 Colorado Buffaloes 39 3 Texas Longhorns 37

2002 12 Colorado Buffaloes 7  8 Oklahoma Sooners 29

2003   13 Kansas State Wildcats 35 1  Oklahoma Sooners 7
2004 Colorado Buffaloes 3 2 Oklahoma Sooners 42
2005 Colorado Buffaloes 3 2 Texas Longhorns 70
2006 19 Nebraska Cornhuskers 7 8 Oklahoma Sooners 21
2007 1 Missouri Tigers 17 9 Oklahoma Sooners 38
2008 19 Missouri Tigers 21 4 Oklahoma Sooners 62
2009 21 Nebraska Cornhuskers 12 3 Texas Longhorns 13

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