TCU Horned Frogs vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
Date and Time: Saturday, November 18, 2017, 12 p.m. ET
Location: Jones AT&T Stadium, Lubbock, TX
Opening College Football Odds: TCU -6
TCU vs. Texas Tech TV Coverage: FOX
TCU isn't necessarily out of the National Championship picture either. It's going to be a really long road to get back to the Top 4, but it's not totally out of the question if enough chaos breaks loose over the course of these next three weeks. The fourth spot in the College Football Playoff is going to be tough to fill, and if TCU does win these next two games and avenge that loss to Oklahoma in the Big XII title game, it would be hard to justify keeping the Sooners above the Horned Frogs.
Gary Patterson's crew, though, looks like it's running on fumes offensively. After averaging 41.6 points per game over the first seven games of the season – all TCU wins – the team has scored a total of just 51 points in its last three games, two of which have been setbacks.
It's really hard to fault Texas Tech for the five games it lost this season. The team was beaten by Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Kansas State at home and West Virginia and Oklahoma on the road. Outside of the game against the Wildcats, those are all games that should theoretically end in the loss column.
Still, there's a belief in Lubbock that the Red Raiders should be a much better team than this, and that's why Kliff Kingsbury could be in his last couple games coaching his alma mater. Texas Tech badly needs to get to a bowl game for Kingsbury to justify keeping his job, and for that to happen, the team is going to have to beat either TCU at home or Texas on the road, two tasks that seem incredibly tall at this point.
Which Kenny Hill are we going to get in this game? Are we going to get the one who threw four touchdowns against Jackson State and SMU and five against Kansas? Or are we going to get the man who has thrown a total of three touchdowns in his other seven games this season?
This really is more of an indictment against Hill than anything else. It's not totally fair to judge Hill by his passing touchdowns. He's a mobile quarterback and is the leader of a team that would certainly rather pound the ball on the ground than put it in the air.
That said, the bottom line is that quarterbacks have to make plays to beat a high-octane team like Texas Tech. It's unrealistic to think that the TCU defense, as good as it is, can keep the Red Raiders in the teens or 20s in this game. This is going to require five touchdowns or more by the TCU offense to win this game, and Hill is going to have to generate more than one of those with his arm in all likelihood.
TCU vs. Texas Tech Free Picks
Even though the Horned Frogs were beaten when these two teams played last year in Fort Worth, the fact that Patterson's defense was able to slow down the "Air Raid" was a good sign. Texas Tech has never had the utmost success against this TCU defense, and this could be a big problem again in this one.
Nic Shimonek has had a good season, but he's arguably the worst of the Texas Tech quarterbacks we've seen in a while. If Patrick Mahomes II couldn't have much in the way of success against the Horned Frogs, it's hard to see Shimonek doing so.
We'll give the points on the road at our favorite online sportsbook.
College Football ATS Pick: TCU -6 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: TCU 38, Texas Tech 20