Back in the preseason, everyone thought Texas-Oklahoma would be the must-watch game in the Big 12 this Saturday, but TCU and Kansas have emerged as the surprise undefeated in this league coming into Week 6.
TCU is fresh off a thrashing of Oklahoma, a game in which the Horned Frogs piled up almost 700 yards of offense and scored one after another long touchdown.
Kansas is the surprise team arguably in all college football. That is, unless you haven’t been watching the slow build Lance Leipold has been working on with the Jayhawks, who are perfect through five games on the year.
Here’s what you need to know about this Saturday’s matchup.
TCU vs. Kansas preview, prediction
How to watch
When: Sat., Oct. 8
Time: 11 a.m. Central
TV: FS1 network
Stream: fuboTV (Start your free trial)
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Odds, point spreads, betting lines
Odds courtesy SI Sportsbook
TCU ATS: 4-0
Kansas ATS: 5-0
Moneyline: TCU -300 KU +200
REIT pick: TCU 68.0%
Related: TCU vs. Kansas picks, predictions: Week 6 college football odds, spread, lines
TCU vs. Kansas: What you need to know
College Football HQ turns to the team experts in the SI Fannation network to provide in-depth coverage of Saturday’s game
Andy Mitts of Blue Wings Rising join us to bring you the keys to the game
Kansas in the red zone. The Jayhawks are one of the best teams in the country at both scoring touchdowns when they make it to the red zone and keeping the opponent from scoring a touchdown when they get into the red zone. Why focus only on touchdowns? Because the expectation when a team gets to the red zone is that a field goal is made, and short of 15-yard sacks or breaking through field goal blocking, there isn’t much a defense can do explicitly to affect the odds of a kicker missing that kick.
It will be important for the Jayhawks to get to the red zone more often than they did against Iowa State, but as long as they stay relatively even with TCU in those trips, I like their chances to come out on top. — Andy Mitts, Blue Wings Rising
Sack disparity. The Jayhawks have only given up 2 sacks the entire season, a statistic that likely has something to do with the number of times that the Jayhawks have a tight end or running back help in the blocking game. But they have also sacked their opponents 15 times in five games, including 5 against the Cyclones. And that proficiency at getting to the quarterback comes not from one individual, but from a large number of talented guys across the defensive line that have a knack for shedding blockers to get a hand in the face of the quarterback.
On the other hand, TCU has allowed 6 sacks and only sacked their opponents 9 times this season. Specifically concerning is that nearly half of their sacks came against an Oklahoma offensive line that has struggled mightily this season, and they allowed 5 sacks to the SMU defensive line, which is the best one they’ve faced so far but isn’t as good at bringing pressure as the Jayhawks are. Expect Max Duggan to be forced to escape pressure more frequently as the game goes on, as the Kansas depth on the defense wear on the blocking. — Andy Mitts
TCU vs. Kansas: Fast Facts
+ TCU Is 4-0 for the first time since 2017
+ Kansas is college football’s most improved offense from last year to this, with a difference of over 20.8 points per game
+ TCU is 3rd with 19.8 more points per game than last season
+Kansas is 12th nationally with 41.6 points per game
+ TCU is 2nd nationally with 48.5 points per game and 549.5 yards per game
+ KU is 3rd nationally in 3rd down offense (60%)
+ TCU had 4 TDs of at least 62 yards in last week’s win over OR
+Kansas is 5th nationally with 7.29 yards per play
+ Max Duggan is 1st nationally in passing efficiency and 3rd with a 74.5% completion mark
+ Kansas is 7-2 when leading after 3 quarters under Lance Leipold and 0-8 when not
+ TCU has scored 194 pts through its first 4 games, its most since 2015
+ KU is 6-3 under Leipold leading at halftime and 1-7 when trailing
+ TCU averages 8.3 yards per play this season, tops nationally
+ Kansas has scored 35-plus points in each of its 4 games for the first time since 2007
TCU vs. Kansas Prediction
Kansas is getting most of the attention coming in, and rightfully so after its best start since 2007. KU’s defense held firm last week, is playing behind a solid offensive line, is getting great numbers out of quarterback Jalon Daniels, and isn’t making a ton of mistakes.
But accounting for offensive consistency and big play ability, TCU looks like the better side here. Max Duggan is finally playing up to his potential, a shade under 1,000 yards passing, hitting on almost 75% of his throws, has scored 11 times with no picks, and has a quality piece in Kendre Miller working the ground at 7.43 yards per carry for his career, the nation’s leader.
All of which add up to college football’s No. 2 total offense and scoring unit, which could build an early enough lead to force KU out of its game plan and abandon the run before it wants to.
Kansas is no fluke and deserves every bit of its 5-0 record (and should’ve been ranked last week in our opinion), but it hasn’t faced an offense of TCU’s caliber yet.
College Football HQ Prediction: TCU 34, Kansas 24
According to AP top 25 poll
- Ohio State
- Oklahoma State
- ole miss
- Penn State
- NC State
- kansas state
- Mississippi State
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