Better Defense Makes TCU The Pick vs. Oregon In Alamo Bowl

Joe Gavazzi

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 8:28 PM GMT

Our college football expert previews the Alamo Bowl matchup between the TCU Horned Frogs and the Oregon Ducks and offers his free college football pick and betting insight.

Alarming news of the suspension of TCU QB Boykin has resulted in a 7 point shift in the line to Oregon -7! Could savvy TCU  HC Patterson pull an Art Briles and use multiple running backs in Wildcat formations...... might be their best chance to control the ball (and clock) against a porous Oregon defensive front allowing 179/ 4.8 YPR. But if ball control tactics do not work Oregon has plenty of blowout potential behind QB Adams and the Ducks 43/548 YPG offense. Might UNDER 74 be the better college football pick?

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Updated Odds: TCU -7, O/U 73.5

 

TCU (-1/78) vs Oregon 6:45 ET ESPN
Expect a high scoring game when PAC 12 member TCU faces off with PAC 12 foe Oregon in the perfect conditions of the Alamo Dome on January 2nd. The game will be televised on ESPN with a starting time of 6:45 eastern. When the season began, this was clearly not a Bowl which either of these teams would have chosen. But early on it became evident that it would not be a banner season for either of these teams who are used to competing for the National title. 

In the 15th year under TCU HC Patterson, the Frogs began with 10 returning starters to an offense led by QB Boykin that averaged 46/533 LY. Scoring points was not the problem for the Horned Frogs, who averaged 42/564 on offense, including 219/5.1 YPR. Multiple injuries to a defense that returned only 6 starters caused major problems for the Horned Frogs once they began to play the high powered offenses of the BIG 12. In the course of the season, they allowed a whopping 52 points to TTRR, 45 to Kansas St, and 49 to Oklahoma St.  Credit goes to HC Patterson and QB Boykin that they lost to only Oklahoma St. and Oklahoma in November. When the dust cleared, the Frogs had only allowed 26/397, though it was notably higher than last year’s 19/342 defense. This unit has developed much depth and is as healthy as they have been all year for this Bowl game. 

The season for Oregon took a different twist. Third year HC Helfrich brought in Eastern Washington transfer Vernon Adams to lead the Ducks’ spread offense. An early season injury to his throwing hand knocked out Adams for much of the early part of the campaign. The Ducks were an underwhelming 3-3 SU, 2-4 ATS by the time Adams returned for the second half of the season.  There was a narrow loss (but cover) vs, Michigan St., and embarrassing turnover plagued home wipeout by Utah, and a 45-38 loss to Washington St.  With value aplenty, and Adams’ return, we jumped on the Ducks for a 5-0 ATS party in October and November. As usual, it was all offense for Oregon. The only spread defeat in the last half of the season was a 52-48 loss to Oregon St. to close the year.  Yet, the common thread throughout the season was a defense that ended up allowing 37/480. 

Each of these perennial National Title contenders have much to prove in this Bowl game despite their redemptive finishes. With offenses on a par, and each most probably missing top receivers (Doctson for TCU and Marshall for Oregon), we will take the better defense of the Horned Frogs to garner this victory in a high scoring shootout.

I invite you to put the college football odds in your favor and join me in my selection on TCU in the Alamo Bowl.