What looked like a titanic clash between the Sooners and Horned Frogs before the the season started has lost some buzz in recent weeks. A woodshedding at the hands of Oklahoma State effectively ended TCU’s national championship dreams. The loss of star receiver Josh Doctson and uncertainty over the status of quarterback Trevone Boykin raise serious questions about the chances of seeing an upset this weekend.
Gary Patterson’s team has a history of hanging tough with OU, though. If Boykin is limited, the TCU coach still might be resourceful enough to come up with a plan to waylay the Sooners’ aspirations of another Big 12 conference championship.
College Football Podcast: Week 12 Preview
TCU at Oklahoma
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Saturday)
TV Channel: ABC
Three Things to Watch
1. How effective can Boykin be (if at all)?
As of the middle of the week, Vegas oddsmakers had yet to put a line on the game, a reflection of the questions surrounding the health of TCU’s Heisman Trophy candidate. Can the Horned Frogs compete with the white-hot Sooners if they’re only getting Boykin at 75 percent?
2. Containing Sterling Shepard
Shepard has secured a spot among the best receivers in OU history with his stellar play this year. His presence out wide forces opposing defenses to decide if they want to dedicate extra players to stop him, thereby creating more opportunities for Shepard's teammates. If they don't, Shepard is almost uncoverable one-on-one.
3. OU's attitude
The Sooners are coming off an emotional win over Baylor that saw them conquer a few demons. The Bears firmly entrenched themselves as the Big 12's bullies by whipping OU in their two previous meetings. Bob Stoops clearly wasn't treating last week like just another game. OU may be in that "mission: accomplished" mindset, but the Horned Frogs definitely won't be.
Knowing what we know about the Oklahoma program of recent years, this is the spot where the Sooners lay an egg, right? We've all been trained over time to expect that OU will unexpectedly blow a gimme.
This OU team might be the one to buck that trend. Since losing to Texas last month, the Sooners have played razor-sharp football. Reasons for concern have been few and far between, and the team that controlled Baylor resembled the squad that dispatched Kansas State, Texas Tech, Kansas and Iowa State so efficiently in the prior weeks.
Frankly, a Boykin-less TCU might get the business end of OU's boot as the squad looks to impress the selection committee.
Prediction: Oklahoma 38, TCU 10
— Written by Allen Kenney, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Kenney is founder and editor of BlatantHomerism.com and host of the Blatant Homerism Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @BlatantHomerism.