By Brad Carroll
This college football season hasn't played out as we all expected. There truly haven't been many blockbuster games, and fewer truly exciting moments either, with only three games quickly being recalled as season-makers, Michigan State's stunning win over Michigan, Ole Miss's upset of Alabama and TCU's miracle finish in beating Texas Tech.
But that's really been it. For a sport I love and I know everyone who reads this does as well, it's been a disappointing season to say the least. Even this week's slate of games features just one matchup of ranked teams playing each other. That's nearly unheard of this late in the season. Throw in the fact the biggest game of the week is Notre Dame playing Temple and you know it's been a strange ride to this point.
But one thing is for certain, I'll be watching the games again this week, just like every other college football in the country. This week, we start things a little early, with a heavyweight matchup from the Big 12 Thursday night, as West Virginia plays TCU.
As always we preview, analyze and our four college football experts pick the game against the point spread. Check back for all of our Saturday picks in the days ahead. Make sure to follow us on Twitter here.
West Virginia at No. 5 TCU, 7:30 p.m., FS1
The Spread: West Virginia +14.5; TCU -14.5
Analysis: TCU has had two close calls this season, a three-point win over Texas Tech and a seven-point victory over Kansas State, the latter of which the Horned Frogs trailed 35-17 at halftime. That's the reason the Frogs have slipped a bit to No. 5 in the rankings. But TCU has survived and its College Football Playoff hopes remain intact despite some extremely shaky moments this season. And with news out of Baylor that quarterback Seth Russell will miss the rest of the season with a neck injury, the Frogs have the Big 12 championship in their sight. But finishing undefeated, which TCU likely has to do to make the Playoff, won't be easy. First, there is this game against West Virginia, a team more than capable of pulling an upset. Then, the Horned Frogs visit No. 12 Oklahoma State, play Kansas at home, travel to No. 14 Oklahoma before finishing at home against No. 2 Baylor. That is one incredibly difficult stretch of games to conquer, but if TCU does come through that without a loss, it will make the Playoff guaranteed, unlike last year when the Frogs were left out. TCU is run on the arm and legs of quarterback Trevonne Boykin and star wide receiver Josh Doctson, who return to the elite QB-to-WR duo with Baylor suffering its huge loss. West Virginia has lost three games in a row, all to ranked teams in Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Baylor. The last three games between West Virginia and TCU have all been close, with the road team winning each game. TCU has two one-point wins, while the Mountaineers won their game by three points. Two of the games went to overtime. History says this game will be close, and who am I to argue against history?
Brad's Score: TCU 49, West Virginia 45
Craig's Score: TCU 49, West Virginia 27
Glenn's Score: TCU 58, West Virginia 35
Matt's Score: TCU 56, West Virginia 30