|-2.5 WVU (-128) @ Fanduel|
My 9* Eye Opener is on West Va at 12:00 ET.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson took over at TCU when Dennis Franchione left to take the Alabama job (that didn't go well but it's a story for another day) and in his 19 full seasons, he's led TCU to 15 winning ones and 16 bowls (10-6). TCU's 'glory years' were 2008-11, when the school went 45-5 over four seasons. TCU finished 7th, 6th, 2nd and 14th in the final AP rankings during that stretch (2010 team went 13-0, including a 21-18 Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin). TCU entered 2020 off a 7-6 record in 2018 and a 5-7 record in 2019. 3-3 TCU has just nine games on its current schedule, so the Horned Frogs will fail to reach eight wins for a third straight year. That hasn't happened since the 1998 team went 8-4 to end a drought of 14 seasons the school failed to reach eight wins (maybe the team gets a 'pass' this year, due to COVID-19).
Neal Brown spent four years as the head coach at Troy. His first season saw his team go 4-8 but over the next three seasons the Trojans went 31-8 overall, including winning all THREE bowl appearances. He was announced as the 35th head football coach of West Va on January 5, 2019 and after a 5-7 first season, the Mountaineers are off to a 4-3 start in 2020. West Va lost all four Big 12 home games last season but the Mountaineers are 4-0 at home so far this season, including 3-0 in Big 12 play.
QB Max Duggan battled a heart condition that led to him having a procedure back in mid-August to correct it. The Horned Frogs opened the season losing THREE of four but have won two in row, albeit over struggling programs Baylor and Texas Tech (a combined 2-9 this season). Duggan has been able to play all games so far, completing 65.2% for 1,113 yards with a modest five TDs but just two INTs. He's TCU's leading rusher (329 yards / 4.1 YPC / 6 TDs) and rushed for a career-high 154 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries in last Saturday's 34-18 win over Texas Tech. RB Barlow adds 291 yards on 5.8 YPC and three TDs, as the Horned Frogs are averaging 184.5 YPG on the ground.
The Mountaineers are coming off a tough 17-13 loss at then-No. 22 Texas last Saturday. However, West Virginia nearly beat the Longhorns despite rushing for a season-low 43 yards. The Mountaineers average just 67.3 YPG on the ground while losing all THREE road contests but have averaged 218.3 YPG in going 4-0 at home. RB Leddie Brown has run for 741 yards on 5.3 YPC with nine TDs (more in a bit). QB Jarrett Doege has been pretty good, completing 65.2% for 2,007 yards with 11 TDs and only three INTs in 282 attempts. The defense has been strong all season, allowing 19.4 PPG.
Here's the bottom line. West Va is 3-1 SU in its last four with TCU, covering all four. That includes last season's 20-17 outright upset at Fort Worth as about a two-TD underdog. I just noted West Va's defense above and will add that its "stop unit" is allowing just 282 YPG against Big 12 opponents, holding those foes to 97 YPG under their season average. West Va is averaging 39.5 PPG in going 4-0 at home and RB Brown, who has averaged a modest 76.0 YPG on the road, averages 128.2 YPG at home. Add in that QB Doege has thrown for over 300 yards in each of West Va's last four games with a 6-1 TD/INT ratio and "the price is right" for a West Va "W' and an easy cover!