Charlie Strong is so totally fired. Apparently, someone just needs to tell him that.
While reports have swirled that Strong’s fate as head coach of the Texas Longhorns is sealed, he talked on Monday at his weekly press conference like he still had a chance to save his job. (Which must be weighing on Tom Herman, who needs to know if he should order new business cards.)
The palace intrigue in Austin makes for a far more compelling subplot to this game than the action on the field. Between the lines, TCU and Texas are mediocre teams with little more than pride and a possible postseason trip to San Antonio (or something quite similar to that) on the line.
TCU at Texas
Kickoff: Friday, Nov. 25 at 3:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: FS1
Spread: Texas -2.5
1. Win One for Charlie?
Despite the incessant chatter this year about Strong’s job security, his players haven’t really helped build a case to retain him. A season full of inconsistency and disappointment culminated in a loss to lowliest of the low Kansas last week.
Texas players rallied around their coach at this week’s presser. They seemed to believe they could help save his job, at least. Maybe that will fire up the ‘Horns on Friday.
2. TCU’s Offensive Collapse
After lighting up Baylor for 66 points in their previous game, the Horned Frogs put a six on the scoreboard last week against Oklahoma State. While the offense produced a measly 4.8 yards per play, quarterback Kenny Hill continued to turn the ball over, tossing two picks to the Cowboys.
Texas has a forgiving defense, but it’s not so bad that the ‘Horns couldn’t take advantage of another mistake-filled outing by Hill and TCU.
3. Foreman’s Funk
If there’s one player who has nothing to apologize for in Texas’ disappointing season, it’s workhorse running back D’Onta Foreman. The junior has run for nearly 2,000 yards already this year.
He toted the rock 51 times for 250 yards versus Kansas, but his fumble in the fourth quarter gave the Jayhawks enough life to spring the upset. Foreman clearly took the loss hard afterwards. Texas needs him back on track to beat TCU.
Texas’ players could come out firing on Friday afternoon as a show of support for their embattled coach. Alternatively, the uproar around Charlie Strong could just as easily distract them from the Horned Frogs at hand. The only certainty is that Gary Patterson will find something in the officiating to complain about afterward.
TCU’s head coach should worry more about his quarterback’s tendency to throw the ball to the other team. For all their struggles, both offenses have their fair share of firepower. If a shootout breaks out, turnovers could be the only kind of stop the teams can get.
Ultimately, the Horned Frogs’ subpar outing versus Oklahoma State suggests the team might not be in the best frame of mind heading down the stretch. Look for a motivated Texas squad to play with a sense of urgency and make one last stand on Strong’s behalf.
Prediction: Texas 38, TCU 30
— 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.