The Opponent: TCU Horned Frogs (6-0, 3-0)
Kick Off Time: 6:00 PM CDT
Location: Jack Trice Stadium - Ames, IA
Television: ESPN 2/WatchESPN
Radio: Cyclone Radio Network - John Walters (PxP), Eric Heft (Color), Ben Bruns (Sideline)
ISU Offense vs TCU Defense: Advantage, TCU. Iowa State is a very solid running team, but won't do it enough to win. Gary Patterson is a defensive wizard and has no time for injuries and depth concerns.
TCU Offense vs Iowa State Offense: Advantage, TCU. Boykin > *
Special Teams: Advantage, TCU. Oberkrom is a better kicker than anyone that's come through Ames. Ever.
TCU Iowa State
Three years ago Iowa State traveled to Ft. Worth and gave TCU a rude introduction to Big 12 play with a 38-23 win over the Horned Frogs. It was Trevone Boykin's first start for TCU and the Cyclones snapped the nation's longest winning in the process.
Since that day three years ago the teams have went in opposite directions. TCU lost the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in 2012, went 4-8 in 2013, and then was a late meltdown against Baylor away from making the inaugural College Football Playoff. Instead they took a consolation prize in Atlanta and blew out Ole Miss in the Chick Fil-A Peach Bowl. Despite losing their first game in their short conference history, TCU has accomplished more in three years than Iowa State has in five decades.
The Cyclones limped through the rest of 2012 after that win in Ft Worth, lost in Memphis to a Tulsa team they previously beat, and went 5-19 the next two seasons. Despite 2015 starting promising the defense was exposed for a lack of talent and scheme against Texas Tech, and the offense seemingly can't get out of its own way and let Mike Warren become the best back since Troy Davis.
All of it comes together today in Ames. TCU is still angling for that Playoff spot and Iowa State is trying to stay above water during a brutal stretch and maybe save the jobs of the coaching staff. On paper this game has no business being close, but TCU has been disappointing in more than one game this season.
It's easy to see how this one breaks down. Iowa State can take advantage of some of TCU's issues on defense by running the ball, but it will be how they handle Boykin when he's on the field that ultimately determines this game. The Cyclones can't win a game in the 50s or 60s, but might have a fighting chance in the 40s or 30s.
But we know they won't because at some point there will be a turning point in the game where everyone in the stands and at home wonders why this staff even has jobs. It might not make the ultimate difference in the game but it will make us hearken back to the days that we had faith in the product on the field.
TCU 56, Iowa State 28