The no. 9 West Virginia Mountaineers will try to follow up their win over Texas last week with a home win on Saturday against TCU. Game time is at noon EST on Saturday, November 10, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, West Virginia. Fans can catch all the action on FS1.
According to the Week 11 college football odds, the Mountaineers are 13.5-point favorites at home. That line has come down some after West Virginia began the week favored by 14 points. The over/under for the game is set at 59.5 points.
After their 1-point win over Texas last week, West Virginia is very much alive in the College Football Playoff conversation. At 7-1, the Mountaineers will have to win out and get a little bit of help, but it’s still possible for West Virginia to factor into the national picture.
Of course, everything is building toward a showdown with Oklahoma the last week of the regular season. That game could have huge ramifications for both teams in the CFP rankings. However, that game won’t mean as much if the Mountaineers lose another game between now and then. They have to be careful to avoid a letdown in the next couple of weeks.
TCU, on the other hand, is just trying to qualify for a bowl game. At 4-5, the Horned Frogs could potentially miss a bowl for just the third time in Gary Patterson’s 18 seasons in Fort Worth. Fortunately for TCU, one week after an embarrassing defeat against Kansas, they were able to escape with a 14-13 win over Kansas State last week to snap their three-game losing streak.
However, TCU still has a lot of work left to do. If the Horned Frogs can’t pull off the upset of West Virginia this week, they’ll have to beat both Baylor and Oklahoma State the last two weeks of the season in order to reach six wins. Right now, their backs are against the wall.
The good news for TCU is that they’ve won four of the six head-to-head games between these two teams since they both joined the Big 12. That includes a 31-24 win last season and two wins in their previous three trips to Morgantown. However, the Horned Frogs are definitely facing an uphill battle this week against the top-15 Mountaineers.
Almost any other year, I’d pick West Virginia to falter following such a big win, especially against a TCU team that’s tough defensively. But I’m starting to believe in the Mountaineers a little. Meanwhile, I have the opposite feeling toward TCU after their recent play. I’ll eat the points and lean toward West Virginia to win by a couple of touchdowns and cover the spread.
I still think the TCU defense is a solid unit, but they have showcased some flaws this season. Most recently, they gave up 27 points to Kansas a couple of weeks ago, getting hurt mostly through the air. They rebounded well last week, but that was against a Kansas State team that’s not known for having a great passing attack. It’s also worth noting that TCU faced backup quarterbacks in games against both Iowa State and Texas Tech. Those games may have skewed how we view their defense.
More importantly, I can’t ignore the Horned Frogs getting rocked for 52 points and over 500 yards of offense against Oklahoma. Obviously, the Sooners are amazing offensively and I’m not going to hold that game against TCU too much. However, anything Oklahoma can do, West Virginia is equally capable of doing. That means if Oklahoma was capable of scoring 50-plus points against TCU, I can’t rule out the Mountaineers doing the same behind Will Grier and WVU’s dynamic passing attack.
Meanwhile, the TCU offense remains a concern. Sophomore Michael Collins has played well since taking over at quarterback for the injured Shawn Robinson. He still gives the Horned Frogs a running threat at quarterback. Collins also gives TCU more of a deep threat down the field than Robinson. However, he was still the starter for the terrible loss to Kansas and led them to just 14 points last week. Scoring 14 points probably won’t cut it this week against West Virginia. Plus, it’s not as if TCU has an outstanding rushing attack to give him that much support.
Also, the West Virginia defense deserves some credit. They got some big stops in the 2nd half of last week’s win over Texas. The Mountaineers are also giving up just 14 points per game at home against Big 12 opponents. Against a TCU offense that’s somewhat limited, I think the West Virginia defense can keep the Horned Frogs to a reasonable point total, putting their offense in a good position to win the game by a comfortable margin.
Frankly, last week’s win over Texas showed me that the Mountaineers have a lot of character. They know they’re close to accomplishing something special, which tells me that they can avoid a letdown this week at home. As long as West Virginia plays close to their best, I have little doubt that they can cover the spread against TCU.