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Date/Time: September 22, 12:00 pm EST
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Point Spread: TCU -17
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NCAA Football – Week 4
It’s a battle of the ACC vs. the Big 12 as Virginia takes on TCU this weekend in Texas. TCU comes into this one 2-0, while Virginia is 2-1. The Cavaliers beat Penn State two weeks ago, but they were throttled by Georgia Tech in their ACC opener last weekend. Can Virginia hang around in this one or will TCU run away with it at home?
Virginia has made quite a bit of progress in the last couple years. Mike London is trying to turn this team into a perennial contender. The Cavaliers went 8-5 last year in what was a major turnaround season. The win over Penn State was encouraging, but last week’s 56-20 loss at the hands of Georgia Tech had to leave fans wondering about this season. Georgia Tech ran for 461 yards in that game. Michael Rocco and Phillip Sims are now in the middle of quarterback controversy in Virginia. Rocco threw two picks last week, and Sims came on to throw two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Virginia’s running game has been disappointing so far this year. The team’s leading rusher is Kevin Parks, but he only has 128 yards in three games. This isn’t designed to be a team that just drops back and throws it a bunch, so the running game needs to get going. Defensively, the front seven looks weaker than it did a year ago. Virginia will have to prove it can stop the run to be competitive this year.
TCU beat Kansas 20-6 last weekend, but I doubt Gary Patterson and the rest of his staff were happy with that performance. Kansas is a bad team right now, and TCU fumbled the ball away four times in last week’s win. The Horned Frogs can’t play that way once they get up against squads like Oklahoma, West Virginia, Texas, and the rest of the top Big 12 teams. TCU’s leading rusher Waymon James is listed as questionable for this game. James has a minor knee injury. Casey Pachall has been brilliant at the quarterback spot. Pachall is completeing 85% of his passes, and he has thrown five touchdowns and zero interceptions. Josh Boyce and Brandon Carter give the Horned Frogs two very reliable pass catchers.
TCU’s defense pitched a shutout in the season opener against Grambling, and they allowed just six points last week against Kansas. The Horned Frogs defense ranks seventh in the nation in total defense. This unit should be solid all year, but you have to be careful reading too much into wins over Grambling and Kansas. This unit will be tested in a big way throughout the Big 12 season. This defense has lots of team speed, and they have solid depth as well.
Virginia doesn’t have a very good offense right now, and I expect TCU to come back and play a much sharper game this week. The Horned Frogs have much better balance and depth on both sides of the ball. Look for TCU to cover in this contest.
TCU 35 Virginia 13
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