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TCU vs. Texas Preview: Sorry, Charlie edition

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The Frogs have a chance to end Strong’s time at Texas.

NCAA Football: Texas at Kansas Gary Rohman-USA TODAY Sports

One time, in high school, I was staying the night at a friend’s house. We had been shooting bb guns all over the neighborhood, as young troublemakers tend to do, when we heard the craziest animal noises start coming from my friend’s back yard. We ran back there to find that his tiny dachshund had cornered a possum, and both animals were wailing at each other.

They began to fight, and then they separated, and the dachshund wound up in the corner. Both animals injured, my friend and I intervened the only way two 14-year-olds new how. With our bb guns. We ran the possum off, and checked out his dog to see how badly she was hurt (not badly at all). Then we went inside and played video games.

I think of that story when I think of the TCU-Texas matchup this year. It’s two animals, injured from a long, hard winter season, looking to redeem themselves by coming out on top in this battle. For Texas, it’s their last one of the season, and their final chance to get to a bowl, and possibly keep Charlie Strong around.

For TCU, it’s about bowl-eligibility, and continuing the trend of beating Texas in Austin (since TCU joined the Big 12).

Recent history of TCU-Texas

The Frogs annihilated Texas in Fort Worth last season to the tune of 50-7, and if you think that’s a blowout, you should realize that it easily, easily could have been more like 80-7. TCU’s final touchdown came with 12:14 left in the third quarter. Their final points came with 11:31 left in the game.

The year before that, TCU went down to Austin and scored four touchdowns in the fourth quarter to win going away, 48-10.

I don’t think the teams played in 2013, but someone check that for me.

In 2012, after finally breaking into the Big 12, TCU, led by the illest of defenses, won a heavyweight battle 20-13 over then-ranked #16 Texas.

Texas so far

Texas was BACK with a win over Notre Dame to open the season, before people realized that the Fighting Irish were actually a bigger dumpster fire than normal this season. Then, following a win over UTEP (which further proved Texas was BACK), the Horns rattled off three straight losses to Cal, Oklahoma State, and Oklahoma, putting Charlie right back on his throne of fire.

A win over Baylor would stem the tide for a minute, but losses to West Virginia and Kansas (lol) have had the rumor mill swirling all week about whether or not Charlie Strong has been fired already, or will inevitably be fired after the TCU game.

Sorry, Charlie

By all accounts, Charlie Strong is a good human. He cares about his players, and he is incredibly close with them. However, I’m starting to ask myself: if he didn’t have Teddy Bridgewater at Louisville, would he have won games there?

The defensive-minded coach has struggled to field much of a defense, and their reliance on D’Onta Foreman, while an acceptable game-plan (#GiveForemanTheFreakingBall), doesn’t mean much when your freshman quarterback throws three interceptions and YOU LOSE TO KANSAS.

So now, Strong finds himself in the kind of drama he was certainly warned about before taking this gig. Boosters want him gone. Fans want him gone. But President Feneves and AD Perrin continue to defend him. This is how we get the concurrent reports of, “He’s already been fired but they’re making him coach against TCU” and “IF he beats TCU he’ll get a fourth year.”

Of course, if the Tom Herman to LSU rumors are true, then Texas is much more likely to hold on to the maybe-already-fired Strong (per ESPN).

I’m just totally shocked Sonny Cumbie looked at that situation and decided to stay at TCU last offseason.

Sorry ‘bout ya, Charlie.

Three players to watch

1.D’Onta Foreman, RB

This guy can run. He has 1,863 yards rushing and 15 rushing touchdowns on the season, and he’s coming off of a ridiculous 51-carry effort against Kansas. He proves that, as much as you give a running back the ball, you have to have more on offense than a ground game.

Unfortunately for Frog fans, Foreman should feast on TCU’s soft run defense. Hopefully that doesn’t mean TCU loses this game. The dude should be a legit Heisman candidate.

2. Breckyn Hager, DE/OLB

Hager has been a monster for the Horns this season, totaling 57 tackles, including 1.5 TFL and 6 sacks. The sophomore from Westlake only has two games this season with fewer than five tackles. He’s all over the field, and he’ll be a big problem for TCU’s offensive line.

3. Shane Beuchele, QB

The true freshman was supposed to be the savior of this team, but fan bases like Texas and Texas A&M just won’t every get it through their heads that freshman saviors are very rare.

Vince freaking Young completed just 58% of his passes, and threw more interceptions than touchdowns as a freshman (6 to 7), but people in Austin are losing it over Beuchele’s year. The kid has 21 TDs to 10 picks, and has looked like a stud at times, while also looking like the freshman that he is at times.

What a win means for TCU

Pretty simple: Bowl eligibility. It also means that TCU will be 4-1 against Texas since joining the Big 12, and it likely means the end of Charlie Strong’s tenure at Texas.

What a loss means for TCU

It means that TCU has to beat the always-underrated Kansas State on December 3rd to get to 6-6 and qualify for a bowl. Let’s hope it doesn’t get to that.

Prediction

TCU is 3-1 on the road this year, with wins over SMU, Kansas, and Baylor, and a loss to West Virginia. I’d say Texas is more like the teams in the win column than West Virginia, so I think the Frogs pull this one out. It won’t be a pretty game, though.

TCU 27, Texas 23