Kickoff: Saturday,10:15 p.m. ET (ESPN) at Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Ariz.
Forecast: Passing clouds, refreshingly cool.
Spread: TCU by 3
Watchability: This game figures to be a close defensive battle. The Spartans lost five games in the Big Ten by a combined 13 points, and TCU's worst loss this season was by 14 points. Michigan State ranked fourth in the nation in total defense and TCU led the Big 12. So if the video game statistics from many college games make you sick, stay up late for this one on Saturday night.
Shining stars: TCU -- DE Devonte Fields. The true freshman led the Big 12 in tackles for a loss (17.5) and was second in sacks (9.0). Big 12 teams realized they needed to pay extra attention to Fields in the passing game -- a major reason he has just one sack in the past five games. Michigan State -- Le'Veon Bell. The All-Big Ten running back ranked third in the nation with 137.3 rushing yards per game. This could be his final game as a Spartan, as he's expected to consider entering the NFL Draft -- CBSSports.com has him ranked as the No. 13 running back prospect. Bell was brilliant in Michigan State's last game, racking up a career-high 266 rushing yards in a 26-10 win over Minnesota.
Who could steal the show: TCU -- QB Trevone Boykin. Boykin was put in a tough spot this year when he took over five games in for Casey Pachall who left the team following a suspicion of DWI arrest. Boykin is the type of quarterback who can just be having a so-so game and then make several big plays down the stretch as he did in a comeback win against West Virginia when he tied the game with a 94-yard touchdown pass to Josh Boyce in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, a game TCU eventually won in double overtime. He also is a threat on the ground and his 77 rushing yards against Texas helped TCU pull off an upset on Thanksgiving weekend. Michigan State -- WR Bennie Fowler. The passing offense is the weak point of the team, but the Spartans were at their best when they were getting production from Fowler. He caught a touchdown pass in each of the team's three Big Ten wins and had his best game of the season last game out, catching seven passes for 101 receiving yards and a touchdown at Minnesota.
Magic number for TCU: 8. When the Horned Frogs averaged better than 8.0 yards per pass, they went 6-0. They were 1-5 in their other games, including all five of their conference losses, when they averaged less than 8.0 yards per pass attempt.
Magic number for Michigan State: 5. Rushing touchdowns allowed by Michigan State's defense, which was tied for the second-fewest in the nation. The Spartans lost all four games that they allowed at least one rushing TD.
3 keys to a TCU win:
- Force turnovers. TCU forced 25 turnovers in its seven wins and only seven takeaways in its five losses. The best takeaway artist is CB Jason Verrett, who led the Big 12 with six interceptions. Verrett picked off a pass in three of TCU's four wins in the Big 12.
- Slow Bell. The Horned Frogs led the Big 12 in rushing defense, holding opponents to 103.9 yards per game on the ground. Take away Bell and the rest of the Spartans average 20.2 rushing yards per game. He's the key to stopping this offense.
- Finish off drives. TCU got to the red zone 54 times this season but came away with only 27 touchdowns. The Horned Frogs also had eight turnovers in the red zone.
3 keys to a Michigan State win:
- Establish Bell. In the six games Bell received 30-plus carries, the Spartans scored at least 17 points in every contest and averaged 23.5 points per game. When he had less than 30 carries, the Spartans topped 17 points only once (a 41-7 win at Central Michigan.)
- Keep it close. The Spartans do not want to get in a position where they have to throw the ball to come back. In Michigan State's worst loss of the season -- a 20-3 defeat to Notre Dame -- Andrew Maxwell attempted a season-high 45 passes and threw for only 187 yards.
- Don't let Boykin run loose. Running quarterbacks have given Michigan State problems this year. Ohio State's Braxton Miller ran for 136 yards, Michigan's Denard Robinson ran for 96 yards only 10 attempts and Nebraska's Taylor Martinez ran for 205 yards and two touchdowns.
Prediction: TCU 20, Michigan State 17
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).