TCU Horned Frogs vs. SMU Mustangs Preview and Picks

TCU Horned Frogs
(3-0, 2-1 ATS)

SMU Mustangs
(2-1, 2-1 ATS)


Many wouldn’t think of the NCAA football betting battle between the TCU Horned Frogs and the SMU Mustangs as a bitter rivalry, but these two teams have quite the history and could put on a great show on Friday night in a nationally televised game.

This is a tricky little test for the Horned Frogs pass defense, which has passed all three of its tests so far on the young season. The unit ranks 15th in America, allowing just 134.7 yards per game. This is a defense that just has not lost a step in spite of the fact that it lost both DE Jerry Hughes and LB Daryl Washington to the NFL Draft last year. TCU still ranks fourth in the land in total ‘D’ at 222.7 yards per game against a schedule that includes a real high flying team in the Oregon State Beavers and the Air Raid attack of the Baylor Bears. On the other side of the ball, QB Andy Dalton and the crew just have not lost a beat either. The unit is averaging 279.7 yards per game on the ground and has parlayed that into 45.7 points per game in total. TCU has scored or more points in nine straight regular season games dating back to last year, and to no one’s surprise, it is 7-2 ATS in those nine.

It’s going to take more than 30 points in all likelihood to beat the Mustangs this week, though. This is a huge game, and there are few men that can draw up a game plan like HC June Jones. This year, Jones has shown a very surprising mix of run and pass to the point where SMU is virtually balanced; it has thrown the ball 106 times and run it 90 times. Part of the problem has been QB Kyle Padron’s QB rating and completion percentage. A 55.2 percentage of completions is just too low to run a run and shoot offense, and three picks in as many games can be worked on. However, this sophomore, who is the future of SMU football, has thrown eight TDs on the year and can clearly sling the ball all over the field when need be. RB Zach Line has been a big part of the rushing attack this year, as he leads the team with 276 rushing yards and three scores, an average of 7.7 yards per carry. Padron is second on the team with 116 yards and a TD.

Don’t count TCU into the winner’s circle in this game so quickly. SMU is a tough place to travel, particularly in a nationally televised game, especially when you don’t really know what Jones is thinking. The Mustangs played a relatively vanilla game last week in a win against Washington State, but as we saw at the outset of the season when the Texas Tech Red Raiders came to town, this isn’t a team to mess with. Is SMU winning this game outright? Probably not. Will it cover this hefty college football spread? We certainly think so.

Selection: SMU Mustangs +17.5

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