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Previewing This Weekend's BIG 12 Marquee Matchup

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Hello all! The name is Kyle (I feel like there's a million Kyles that are covering OSU. So why not add another?) For the remainder of the season, I'll be doing a weekly preview of the Cowboy's game of the week. I'll break down what I find to be key matchups, what I think the Cowboys need to do to win and whether or not I believe they will pull off what will likely be considered upsets in three of their remaining four games.

Cowboys Keep Surpassing Expectations
Cowboys Keep Surpassing Expectations
Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

I'll do my best to deliver my expertise to you all. But let's be honest: when it comes to these Cardiac Cowboys, "expertise" is about as guaranteed as J.W. Walsh breaking off a 60 yard run and dropping a 70 yard dime in the same game. Wait, that's already happened? Okay, well how about Walsh accounting for five touchdowns in a single game...what? That happened too?

Anyway, lets get to it.

This week features what is easily the biggest game of the season, to date, for the Cowboys. TCU and the Heisman hopeful Trevone Boykin head North on I-35 for a battle of BIG 12 unbeaten teams. The game kicks off at 2:30 because the OU-Iowa St. game got the primetime slot, which still doesn't make much sense.

Even though both programs are undefeated, this still feels like a David vs. Goliath game to me. OSU has struggled to get wins and at times has looked downright awful. Does that clunker of a game in Austin come to mind? Regardless of how they had to do it, though, they found a way to win each and every game. As the late Al Davis famously said, "Just win, baby!" That's exactly what OSU has done, win. And in doing so, they've continued to prove many wrong and few right.

TCU has been in similar situations this season. I wouldn't say they've looked bad at any one point. They did steal a W from Texas Tech on a last minute touchdown throw from Boykin but that's about it.

OSU beat Tech by 17, but that's none of my business...

The reason I give TCU a pass for not being everything that people expected them to be is that they have, in large part, been mostly injured through the first three quarters of the season. Put it this way: They are to college football what the OKC Thunder were to the NBA last year, except winning. Everyone short of Boykin has been hurt, it seems. Yet, they've still managed to go undefeated to this point. Now that they're finally getting healthy, they are squad that I honestly think is the best in the conference.

For me, this game is going to come down to TCU's offensive abilities versus OSU's ability to slow them down long enough for the OSU offense to get going. The Horned Frogs rank second nationally in total offense. I'll give you three guesses who comes in first but you'll probably only need one. (Hint: they play in a stadium with faux brick surrounding the field)

If you watched the OSU-Tech game and thought, "Wow, that Mahomes kid sure can run away from our defense and make plays," then holy cow, you're in for a treat when Boykin takes the field. He has the ability and poise to stand in the pocket and deliver pinpoint accurate passes while at the same time, he can take off running and still make perfect throws.

That's where the OSU defense comes in. It will be up to Ogbah and company to disrupt Boykin for a full 60 minutes. This may be the best defense that Mike Gundy has had during his tenure as head coach. They lead the league in almost every defensive category, including interceptions and sacks. That's HUGE for this game. The Cowboys defense has compiled 30 sacks through eight games. That's almost four per game. For reference: the TCU offensive line has only given up six sacks on the season.

For reference: the TCU offensive line has only given up six sacks on the season.

Everyone who talks about TCU's offense talks a lot about standout wide-receiver Josh Doctson. I think OSU has enough ponies in the barn that can come in and disrupt the TCU receivers enough to allow the defensive line to get to Boykin. After all, this is a group that has only allowed one 100 yard receiver all season. That was Tech receiver Jakeem Grant, last week (and 90 of his yards were on one play.)  Point being, take Boykin out of the game with constant pressure, a few sacks and maybe an interception or two and the Cowboys won't have to worry about those receivers running past them.

The TCU defense doesn't really worry me. Don't get me wrong, they have big play capability. The OSU offense may not be the best that TCU has seen. But I guarantee they will be the most efficient. I've finally come to the realization that Lego Man Yurcich at his fastest will never look like more than a jog compared to the Holgerson and Monken offenses of the past. But what Yurcich has done is compile a 25-8 record since he made the trip to Stillwater. It hasn't always looked pretty, but it's worked. He also has a two headed monster in Mason Rudolph and J.W. Walsh. That will play a huge role in keeping the TCU defense on their toes especially because both players seem to truly feed off of the others success. Whether it's Yurcich calling the plays or Gundy or the receiver coach or that guy from the Dr. Pepper commercials that claims he made the College Football Playoff format, I just don't care. Because what this OSU offense has done this season hasn't always been Baylor and TCU pretty, but it's been highly effective.

The biggest key to this game, though? Confidence. I don't know what Gundy is feeding those boys. Maybe it's something in the water. Stillwater H2O has always had its own strange taste, if you ask me. Just walk the streets of the OSU campus. Get on Twitter. Listen to press conferences. Watch body language on the sidelines during games. This team is confident. They never waver no matter what the circumstances are. Twice against Tech, the Cardiac Cowboys were down 17. They won that game by 17. For all the math junkies, that's a 34 point swing in less than four quarters. Not bad for a team that the nation's top analysts have deemed "overrated."

To sum it all up

Games aren't won on paper. They never are. Confidence, commitment and execution always beat out talent. As OKC Thunder fan favorite Kevin Durant once said, "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard." Truer words have never been spoken. It also doesn't hurt when your team is actually pretty good, regardless of what the "experts" say.

Just watch this team on Saturday. I guarantee you'll see it. Get ready for a wild ride.