College Confidential: TCU’s offense needs a spark

Posted Thursday, Sep. 26, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Star-Telegram writers Jimmy Burch and Stefan Stevenson sound off on the issues of the day in college football in College Confidential at star-telegram.com.

TCU has had two weeks to inject life into its lethargic offense heading into Saturday’s game against rival SMU. What should we expect from the Horned Frogs this week and going forward in the Big 12 race?

Jimmy: I’ve got no clue about the offense. On paper, there seems to be more talent on hand than the production that has surfaced on the scoreboard. After watching two SMU games in person, I think the TCU defense should stymie the Mustangs’ offense.

Stefan: I think we’ll see Waymon James and B.J. Catalon take turns rushing the ball like we haven’t seen so far in 2013. Both are averaging over five yards a carry and TCU needs to use that to take some pressure off quarterback Trevone Boykin.

No. 10 Texas A&M will remain one of the nation’s most visible teams as long as quarterback Johnny Manziel directs that explosive offense. But have the Aggies (3-1) shown enough on defense to suggest they can get back in the national championship race?

Jimmy: I will offer a prohibitive “yes” but reserve the right to waffle in mid-October. A&M’s next two games, Saturday at Arkansas and Oct. 12 at Ole Miss, represent the two best rushing attacks the Aggies will face before playing Nov. 23 at LSU. It’s already clear that the best way to beat A&M is with a ground-and-pound approach that keeps Johnny and the Aggies’ offense on the sideline.

Stefan: Maybe not, but if Manziel keeps pulling off scrambling miracles does it even matter? The passes he sometimes gets away with are hard to discount as luck at this point. I don’t think the Aggie defense is national championship-worthy but it might not matter.

One month into the season, the Big 12 has no football teams ranked in the Top 10 and no player is resonating nationally as a Heisman hopeful. Can a Big 12 player or team emerge in either race by November?

Jimmy: Both are possible. But it would sure help the league’s national image, and further both causes, if No. 14 Oklahoma could knock off No. 22 Notre Dame this week. Even if the Sooners fall, I look for No. 11 Oklahoma State and No. 19 Baylor to be undefeated Top 10 teams on Nov. 1. After that, things get dicey on the BCS front. But Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk is a Heisman candidate. Today. He just needs to light up a name-brand opponent for voters outside of Texas to notice.

Stefan: Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty could join his teammate if he keeps up his pace. But like Jimmy said with Seastrunk, Petty will need to light up Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and/or Texas down the stretch to turn enough heads.

How much cooler is the hot seat in Texas coach Mack Brown’s office after last week’s victory over Kansas State?

Jimmy: The temperature is lower. But a lot of high-profile hands are still with arm’s reach of the thermostat. And the dial will be adjusted again after the team’s Oct. 12 game against Oklahoma.

Stefan: Yeah, if Texas gets blown out by Oklahoma again any reprieve enjoyed by the K-State win will evaporate. The Longhorns need to at least play the Sooners close. Another shellacking and Mack Brown’s future remains in serious doubt.

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