1. How will Trevone Boykin respond to being the number one guy at quarterback?
This is the obvious question that surfaces in the wake of Casey Pachall’s departure from the team and the university. Boykin took snaps at tailback in Tuesday and Wednesday’s practice last week in anticipation of filling in for a banged-up Matt Tucker, leaving him one day to prepare as a quarterback for the Iowa State game. He. Boykin threw three interceptions against the Cyclones. We will see how Boykin, and the offense as a whole, responds to the new depth chart.
2. How will each team handle the memory of last year’s 51-48 Baylor win in Waco?
The Frogs travel to Waco for the second consecutive year, after the unranked Bears upset the no. 14 ranked Horned Frogs in the 2011 season opener. The Frogs would give themselves a chance to win Saturday if they overcome this week’s adversity and play with a vengeance after last year’s upset. The question for Baylor, a team just outside of the top 25 polls, is whether it plays like the underdog they were in 2011, or like the favorite in a game against a depleted Horned Frog roster.
3. Can TCU make a statement in a rivalry game?
Saturday’s game will be the second rivalry game on the road for the Frogs in 2012. The Frogs’ recent track record in rivalry games leaves a lot to be desired. In last year’s loss to the Bears, the Frogs dug themselves a hole in the second and third quarters and even a 25-point fourth quarter surge was not enough to win the game. The Frogs’ last two rivalry games with SMU have come down to the wire. After a loss to the Mustangs in Fort Worth in 2011, the Horned Frogs came away with a less-than-convincing 24-16 win over SMU in miserable weather conditions earlier this season. That game included a fast start and an early 14-0 lead, but TCU let off the gas as the game went on and let the Mustangs back into the game. The key against Baylor Saturday will be maintaining intensity for four quarters.
4. Will TCU’s defense be able to keep this game from being a shootout?
The TCU defense will face its toughest test to this point against a prolific Baylor offense. The Bears are ranked second in the nation in scoring offense, putting up 54.3 points per game. Baylor also gives up a lot of points, ranking 119th in the nation in points allowed. TCU struggled on both sides of the ball against Iowa State, surrendering five touchdowns (one was a defensive score by the Cyclones), but ranks tenth nationally allowing only 13 points per game. TCU will need to pace the game on the defensive side of the ball and make sure it doesn’t become similar to Baylor’s matchup with West Virginia two weeks ago, in which 133 total points were scored.
5. Will Matthew Tucker be at full strength?
After the 2011 season, the Frogs had three NFL-caliber running backs slated to return to the backfield. However, Ed Wesley left to take a shot at NFL camps, Waymon James suffered a season-ending injury against Kansas, and Tucker has now missed a game after getting hurt in the SMU game. If Tucker can’t go, or only plays in a timeshare role, the offense will once again have to rely on a running back-by-committee approach. Without a consistent running game, the Baylor defense (albeit a suspect one) can key in on the passing game. Tucker’s back up, freshman BJ Catalon, lost two fumbles against Iowa State. Tucker rushed for 43 yards and a touchdown in last year's game against the Bears. If Tucker is active, the question still remains as to how effective he can be running on a bum ankle.