TCU needs to beat visiting Baylor to get another shot at Oklahoma. A win Friday against the one-win Bears will afford the 13th-ranked Horned Frogs that opportunity versus the fifth-ranked Sooners in the inaugural Big 12 Championship game.
The Horned Frogs’ quarterback situation is up in the air again but they can rely on a solid defense. TCU - ranked seventh nationally allowing 15.1 points - has allowed a total of three points in its past six second halves. Baylor (458.7 yards allowed) has improved on defense, holding its past three opponents to fewer than 400 yards. “The defense has gotten better,” Baylor coach Matt Rhule said Saturday. “It’s clicked for them at some point. A lot of our young players are getting better and better and better.”
TV: Noon ET, Fox Sports 1. LINE: TCU -24.5.
ABOUT BAYLOR (1-10, 1-7 Big 12): Freshman quarterback Charlie Brewer (1,261 yards, nine touchdowns, three interceptions) will likely start for the fourth straight game, although Zach Smith (six starts, 1,458 passing yards, eight touchdowns, seven interceptions) is getting healthier. Sophomore JaMycal Hasty (305 yards, one touchdown this season) has been the Bears’ leading rusher the past two weeks, but six turnovers have sunk Baylor in those games. Injuries to the Bears’ top two tacklers - linebackers Taylor Young (60) and Clay Johnston (54) - mean freshman cornerback Harrison Hand (41 stops, eight pass breakups, one interception) is the leading tackler heading into the finale.
ABOUT TCU (9-2, 6-2): Senior Kenny Hill (2,279 yards, 16 touchdowns, five interceptions) “is closer to probable” - according to coach Gary Patterson - after missing last week’s game with an undisclosed injury. Freshman quarterback Shawn Robinson threw for 85 yards and a score and rushed for 84 yards in his first start, while Kyle Hicks (554 yards, three touchdowns) added 81 rushing yards in TCU’s first game without Darius Anderson (768 yards, eight touchdowns), who will miss the rest of the season with a leg injury. Patterson did not give an update on the three injured starters who missed the Texas Tech game, including leading tackler Travin Howard (83 tackles).
1. Young (quad) will miss the finale and will end his career ranked second on the school’s career sack list (15.5) and third in tackles for loss (39).
2. Hicks had a career-high 192 yards and five touchdowns in TCU’s 62-22 win at Baylor last year.
3. Only TCU and Alabama have allowed fewer than 10 points in six different games this season.
PREDICTION: TCU 31, Baylor 13