Matt: Trevone Boykin has been a thorn in WVU's side for the last two years, both as a quarterback and as a wide receiver. What has been the biggest key to his development as a Heisman candidate quarterback this season?
Nick: The biggest key is really supported by two smaller keys- This is Boykin's first year where he has been exclusively a quarterback- no filling in to supplement decimated running back depth, no move to wide receiver in spring practice because Casey Pachall was coming back. This year he was a quarterback, no doubt about it and as a result he thrived. Then there's new co-OC/Quarterback coach Sonny Cumbie, who worked extensively with Boykin this offseason and was instrumental in Boykin picking up the new offense so quickly, and of course transfer quarterback Matt Joeckel, who provided competition with Boykin in practice, but also mentored him in the new offense this offseason and lost what was presumed to be his starting job as a result of Boykin's rapid growth. A lot of layer's went into making Boykin the Big 12's current best shot at the Heisman- and a better O-line has helped too.
Matt: It looks like Josh Doctson should be able to play this weekend, which is a big break for the Frogs. If by chance he can't go or can only play in a limited capacity, who are going to be TCU's go to weapons in his stead?
Nick: Doc is the receiver who can literally do it all for the Frogs, but the key to the TCU offense has been the depth of weapons at the wide receiver spot so that other teams simply cannot just focus on Doctson. Outside receiver and track star Kolby Listenbee is likely the fastest man in the Big 12, and has grown tremendously as a route runner and catcher this year. If Listenbee is the fastest man in the Big 12, Deante Gray is not far behind, and has an elusive tackle breaking running style which has punished everyone (and led to my favorite touchdown of the day against Texas Tech). Ty Slanina is mostly a possession receiver, but he runs good routes and has amazing hands, and there's Florida transfer Ja'Juan Story who has all the tools to be Doctson's twin if he could just stay out of the coach's doghouse. Mix in healthy doses of B.J. Catalon, Aaron Green and the beastly Trevorris Johnson on the ground, and you have what we have- an offense in the discussion for the nation's best. Oh, and also Trevone Boykin is very good.
Matt: There's been some talk that TCU may be effected by the travel this weekend? I don't particularly buy in to that kind of stuff, but it is TCU's first trip outside of Texas this season. Do you see any way that the trip effects the Horned Frogs? To play off that a bit, how do you think your guys will react to playing in less than ideal weather this weekend? It's gonna be pretty damn cold and rainy.
Nick: I think I like the cold and the rain, because I like TCU's running game a lot better than I like West Virginia's so far this season. Catalon and Green are both home run threats, and Boykin has the ability to turn a four yard loss into an eight yard gain any time he feels pressure. Also the rain tends to make people a bit more turnover prone which, again, has tended to favor the Frogs so far this season. I could be entirely wrong on this, and of course, a slip on a wet field by a defender in coverage could give West Virginia an easy six points, but I think the weather may help the Frogs more than hurts them... or at least, potentially hurt West Virginia more than it hurts us.
Matt: I'm going to go off the rails here for a bit. WVU and TCU have been linked for a good while now. Beyond the obvious link as the two Big 12 newcomers, there was the botched (though that may not be the best word) attempt by the Big East to bring in the Frogs as a last ditch attempt to save the conference. The Big 12 is better for both of us, but what did Frogs fans think about the Big East for the short time that they were going to be future members of Marinotto's sinking ship?
Nick: There was never any great attachment to the Big East- though we were happy to be making more money and have better access to the BCS, there wasn't really the history or contentiousness with any of the teams there (with the possible exception of Louisville, who we had some great games with) and it felt like starting over yet again. The dream was always to somehow work our way into the Big 12 where our rivals were, and the Big East simply afforded the best way to continue to increase our notoriety and hopefully give us a shot at the championship if we went undefeated by being an AQ conference. That said... man did the wheels fall off in a hurry there, or what? I don't know what, if anything, could have been done to keep that conference together, but without the basketball schools it really is pretty much Conference USA v2, now featuring UConn.
Matt: And finally, how do you think that this huge game is going to play out? How does TCU get out of Morgantown with a win, and what can WVU exploit to get another upset win and continue their improbable run to Big 12 glory?
Nick: TCU gets out of Morgantown with a win by doing what they've been doing so far this season- run the offense, take what's there in the passing game and set up the big pass play with the play action game. West Virginia has shown that they can be had on the ground, and the Frogs have the personnel to run the ball exceptionally well (our O-line is huge). When the Frogs go one dimensional (by choice in the Baylor game) they're a lot less threatening. For West Virginia to win the game, they're going to have to hold onto the ball much more than they have in their other games- three turnovers will spell doom against this TCU team, and they're going to have to take the lead early- TCU's defense tends to grow stronger and tighter as the game goes on, so for big plays to be had, the Mountaineers are going to have to take shots downfield early and see how the Frogs respond- the secondary has a lot of talent, but it has been vulnerable to being burned deep, particularly out of the slot.
In the end, I'm a TCU guy and I think that this TCU team is pretty incredible- if they're the team that I think they are, they'll win in Morgantown, perhaps even with a late touchdown to push it to a two score margin. Let's say TCU 48, West Virginia 34 in a game that's one possession throughout (until about two minutes left).
Matt: Who would win in a fight between Voltron and the original Power Rangers Megazord?
Nick: I'm going to go Voltron, but if you give me Mega Dragonzord, I'll take him every time- I was always a homer for the Green ranger.
[AUTHOR'S NOTE: I waaaaaaant to call this another tie, but I'll give it to Voltron and the lions to take the lead at 3-2-1.]