Photo from GoFrogs.com
By Kat Barclay
TCU's playoff dreams ended last weekend in Norman against Oklahoma, but there is no time to dwell on the past. TCU heads to Lubbock on Saturday for an early 11 a.m. kickoff against Texas Tech. And though the Frogs fell six spots to No. 12 in the College Football Playoff rankings, there is still much at stake.
Here are five things to watch out for.
1. Well, the Frogs are a bit banged up, for one thing.
Top running back Darius Anderson is out for the season, and with quarterback Kenny Hill out Saturday, backup quarterback and redshirt freshman Shawn Robinson will start for the Frogs. He was highly regarded as a recruit last year, being ranked second-best dual-threat quarterback in Texas and seventh in the nation. He did see a few snaps last week, in an odd drive that led to the Frogs taking a delay of game to punt the ball away.
The Frogs may have to rely heavily on the other side of the ball, though the defense isn’t in its best shape either — safety Niko Small is also out with injury, while linebackers Travin Howard and Montrel Wilson are questionable.
2. The Red Raider offense.
Though not the most prolific defense in the Big 12, or in all of the FBS really, Texas Tech is moreso known for its offense. The Raiders have the fourth-best pass offense in the Big 12, with 30 touchdowns on the season and averaging 343.6 passing yards per game, which will be a challenge for TCU as it did give up over 300 yards passing last Saturday against Oklahoma.
3. Lubbock is a tough place to play.
Most teams would probably agree, things can get a little wild out in West Texas, and winning there isn’t always an easy task. That’s certainly the case for the Horned Frogs, whose record against the Red Raiders while playing in Lubbock is currently 6-18-3. The Frogs had a four-game losing streak in Lubbock going, until two years ago when then-quarterback Trevone Boykin threw a pass that tipped off wide receiver Josh Doctson’s fingers into the hands running back Aaron Green with 23 seconds left for the game-winning touchdown.
4. Then again, Tech hasn’t been playing its best lately.
Tech opened the season 4-1 but went on a four-game losing streak until it won against second-to-the-bottom-ranked Baylor last Saturday at AT&T Stadium. The Raiders also haven’t been so hot against ranked opponents lately, with 14 straight losses against AP-ranked teams.
5. What’s at stake?
For Tech, it’s bowl eligibility. The Raiders haven’t had a bowl appearance since 2015, and right now they are within one win of going bowling. There are only two shots left to get that sixth win, this weekend or next Friday at Texas.
TCU reached bowl eligibility a while ago, but they still have a lot at stake. Playing in a decent bowl rides on the Horned Frogs winning big in these next two games. TCU will also need to take care of business if it wants a shot at a rematch against Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship game, which in the case that should happen, the odds of Oklahoma beating TCU twice falls in favor of the Frogs.
And don’t forget, the coveted Saddle Trophy. After a 46-year hiatus, the Saddle Trophy — which was created in the 1960s and given to the winner of the rivalry — is coming back and upping the ante for both teams.