|Coach Gary Patterson is directing another strong TCU defense early this season. (AP)|
Kickoff: Saturday, 12 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Spread: TCU by 17.5
Watchability: Both teams turned in ugly performances last Saturday. TCU committed four turnovers in a win at Kansas. Virginia was on the business end of a 56-20 thrashing at Georgia Tech. Still, it's worth tuning in to see if the Frogs truly look like a top 20 team -- and to check out the $164 million in renovations that have been done to Amon G. Carter Stadium.
Shining stars: Virginia: LB Steve Greer. Anchoring the team's defense from the middle linebacker spot, Greer's 24 tackles are just one away from the team lead. But it's his ability to make plays in the backfield that separates him from his teammates. Greer has 3.5 tackles for loss (no other Virginia player has more than 1.5) and a pair of sacks. TCU: QB Casey Pachall. In a Big 12 that is loaded with talented quarterbacks, Pachall is tops in at least one category through two games. He leads the nation in passer efficiency rating at 242.4, coming into the game completing 33 of 39 passes (84.6 percent) for 536 yards and five touchdowns without an interception.
Who could steal the show: Virginia: KR Khalek Shepherd. To have a chance against TCU, the Cavaliers will need to hit for big plays as often as possible to flip the field and avoid having to grind out long drives. Shepherd is one of UVA's best candidates to do so. He has kick returns of 72 and 59 yards this season. TCU: The Horned Frogs' defense. TCU is again looking stingy on that side of the ball, as it has not allowed a touchdown through two games this season. Admittedly, the competition hasn't exactly been outstanding (Grambling State and Kansas), but regardless, ranking second in the nation in scoring defense (3.0 points per game allowed) is impressive.
You going? Ranking the road trip: While TCU fans turned up for the season-opener against Grambling State, facing a team from another major conference should make for a different sort of atmosphere at the newly-renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium. ESPN will be in attendance to broadcast a TCU home game for the first time since 2005, and a sold-out crowd will be on hand to greet the Cavaliers. This one is worth showing up for.
Magic number for Virginia: 104.7. That's the number of rushing yards per game the Cavaliers are generating at this point, 107th in the nation. It's a drop-off of almost 60 yards per game compared to 2011. If UVA harbors any hopes of competing against TCU, it will need to establish the run.
Magic number for TCU: 17. Under coach Gary Patterson, the Horned Frogs are 79-2 when allowing 17 points or fewer.
The game comes down to: How sloppy TCU gets with the ball. Last Saturday's 20-6 win over Kansas was more interesting than it probably should have been because the Horned Frogs lost four fumbles. Last week, Georgia Tech exposed the UVA defense, which yielded more points and yards than the program had in any game since 1999 and 2000, respectively. So as long as TCU keeps possession, it should be able to generate plenty of offense.
Eye on College Football's take: TCU's key to winning is erasing, well, most everything from its 20-6 win against Kansas last week. The Horned Frogs totaled four fumbles, with Pachall responsible for three, and if it weren't for a pair of turnovers by Kansas, the Big 12 opener could have been a painful memory for TCU fans. If TCU can clean up the mistakes they should be able to execute at will against Virginia. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, will need an inexperienced secondary to play their best game of the season to steal a victory in Amon G. Carter Stadium. Virginia found ways to win ugly games on the way to a Chick-fil-A Bowl appearance a year ago, but that game plan soured against Georgia Tech when it lost ugly. Perry Jones and Kevin Parks need to be the two-headed rushing tandem many expected, and quarterback Michael Rocco must avoid throwing interceptions if Virginia is going to have a chance to hang with the high-powered Horned Frogs offense. -- Chip Patterson
Prediction: TCU 34, Virginia 13
For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis from Big 12 bloggers C.J. Moore and Patrick Southern, follow @CBSSportsBig12 on Twitter. You can also follow C.J. (@cjmoore4) and Patrick (@patricksouthern).