Star-Telegram staff writers Jimmy Burch and Carlos Mendez sound off on the issues of the day in college football in College Confidential at star-telegram.com.
No. 4 TCU (4-0) needed the full 60 minutes to keep its undefeated record intact last week at Texas Tech. Will the Horned Frogs be pushed to a similar level Saturday in Fort Worth against Texas (1-3)?
Jimmy: Not likely. Texas is improving each week, but the Longhorns have yet to play a road game since their disastrous opener at Notre Dame. A trip to Fort Worth with a freshman quarterback and a hit-and-miss defense probably means a reality check, not another close call, for these Longhorns.
Carlos: They shouldn’t be, but it’s possible. The uncertainties on defense mean anything can happen. A freshman quarterback facing a fully stocked TCU defense would have Gary Patterson licking his chops. I’m not so sure right now.
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No. 5 Baylor (3-0) meets Texas Tech (3-1) in a Saturday matchup at AT&T Stadium in Arlington that will mark the Bears’ biggest challenge of the season thus far. Are the Bears showing the signs of a team headed toward a third consecutive Big 12 title?
Jimmy: I think so. But until Baylor plays a Big 12 opponent, it’s difficult to know. What speaks loudest to me is a ground game that ranks first among FBS teams (379.7 yards per game), suggesting a veteran offensive line is having its way in the trenches.
Carlos: The offense sure is. That side of the ball won’t be slowing down any time soon. What I’m really interested in is the defensive side. Texas Tech is exactly the kind of offense you have to slow down to win the Big 12.
For a second consecutive season, No. 14 Texas A&M (4-0) takes an undefeated record into October. The Aggies were 0-3 last October. Their next three games are against the same trio of teams that inflicted last year’s damage (No. 21 Mississippi State, No. 13 Alabama, No. 3 Ole Miss). How will this October treat these Aggies?
Jimmy: I cannot envision another 0-for-October stretch, especially with an Oct. 31 game against South Carolina in this year’s mix. But questions surfaced, once again, about the run defense in last week’s overtime escape against Arkansas. That’s a big issue in the SEC. My hunch is the Aggies end October at 6-2, with two league losses on their record.
Carlos: Football-wise, I believe the Aggies can do October. It might be as big of a challenge mentally. Do the memories of last year’s crash-and-burn linger? What happens when they and their young quarterback trail on the road? October will tell us.
Saturday’s key games
Texas at TCU, 11 a.m., WFAA/8 (ABC)
Baylor vs. Texas Tech, 2:30 p.m., ESPN2
Mississippi State at Texas A&M, 6:30 p.m., SEC Network