Tuesday, August 21, 2007

19 Days, 19 Questions: #11

With 11 days left until KICKOFF, 'The Forty' is back in business and going to run down the top 19 questions for the upcoming year.

11: Can Texas avoid the TCU upset?

This is one of those games you hate to play. There is really no way to win. On one hand, everyone expects you to win. So if you win, you were supposed to. But if you lose, it is a monumental upset (See OU v. TCU). The thing is, most people outside the south don't realize just how good this TCU team is and how they have been a consistent top performer over the past half decade. Don't fool yourself, the Texas offense will struggle some against arguably the most seasoned defense in the nation.

However, news came down today that starting defensive tackle, James Vess, will be out for the season after violating team rules. This will bring a true freshman to step in and take the place of the star lineman. On a similar note, Tommy Blake, the top star of this defense, has reportedly returned to campus after leaving for a week to be with his family. It was cited that the reason for the leave of absence was that he had been overwhelmed by the publicity he was receiving. Blake appeared on this year's cover of Dave Campbell's Magazine.

While the Frog defense is the unquestioned strong suit of this team, the offense is questionable this offseason, especially at the quarterback position. Monday, redshirt freshman Andy Dalton, from Katy, TX (My hometown), was named the Frog's starting quarterback for the 2007 season. Dalton has not taken a snap since the 2005 Texas high school state championship game. TCU does look to have a solid running game. Junior Aaron Brown leads the rushing attack for the upcoming year. In 2006, Brown rushed for 801 yards and 9 TDs. However Brown is also TCU's top returning receiver with 34 catches for 455 yards.

In 2006 TCU was ranked 2nd in the nation in total defense. The Frogs gave up only 60 rushing yards and 174 passing yards per game. TCU returns eight starters from that top defense. This game will provide a great matchup as Texas' high powered offense must face this staunch defense. Texas is hoping that injured wide reveivers Limas Sweed and Billy Pittman will be at full strength when TCU rolls into town.

Texas' defense should be capable of slowing the TCU offense. Texas was 3rd in the nation in run defense last year, allowing just 61 rushing yards a game. And while Texas might be soft in the secondary, TCU's offensive weakness is the passing game. Texas should be able to stiffle the young QB and his wide outs.

The key to this game, for Texas, is going to be how its offensive line responds to the tough TCU defensive front. This will be their first test of the year, and it may be the hardest of the season. Jamaal Charles and the running game may have a difficult time getting the push and racking up yards. But as long as Colt is given some time to pass, he should be able to hit enough of his talented wide outs to pull out the game for the Horns. But make no mistake, Texas will struggle to move the ball and there will be some tense times for Longhorn fans.

My Prediction: Texas 24 TCU 10

No comments: