TCU has nationally title aspirations, and rightfully so, but the Horned Frogs should be in for a tougher battle than they would like when they visit Texas Tech on Saturday.
The fourth ranked team in the country could receive a scare and maybe even get upset in its Big 12 Conference opener on Saturday when those TCU Horned Frogs (3-0, 1-2 ATS) pay a visit to the dangerous and undefeated Texas Tech Red Raiders (3-0, 2-0-1 ATS) at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock, TX at 4:45 ET in a game televised nationally on FOX.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Texas Tech as a home underdog for this contest with the current line at +7 with odds of +100.
Not Blowing Teams Out Like Last Year
There was a lot of controversy when TCU was omitted from the College Football Playoff last year and the team has made no secret of its intent to go undefeated this year to take any decision out of the selection committee’s hands. Indeed, most experts were confident that the Horned Frogs would go ‘over’ their posted win total of 10 this year, so going 12-0 did not seem so far fetched.
However, while TCU is off to a 3-0 start it has not nearly looked as good as it did last year and it has yet to cover a point spread vs. an FBS school, with the lone cover coming in a 70-7 annihilation of an outclassed Stephen F. Austin team out of the FCS.
Conversely, Texas Tech is turning a lot of head under youthful head coach Kliff Kingsbury by being the winning college football picks in all three games so far, especially when going on the road last week to SEC territory and upsetting the Arkansas Razorbacks as 9½-point dogs 35-24. The Red Raider may have the firepower this year to go toe-to-toe with the Horned Frogs, and you can bet Tech has not forgotten the game at TCU last season (more on that in a bit).
Feeling Loss of Seven Defensive Starters
TCU has lost a lot of players on defense since last year, and while the overall statistics may not reflect it due to limiting an FCS opponent to 167 total yards, the defense has struggled this season, much to the dismay of Coach Gary Patterson, who is a defensive mastermind. For evidence, look no further back than the 56-37 win over SMU last week, an SMU team that was 0-11 straight up last season before winning its season finale.
Besides the 37 points, the Horned Frogs allowed 508 total yards in that contest including 330 passing yards on a disgusting 10.6 yards per pass attempt, and now TCU must contend with the second ranked passing offense in the nation in the Red Raiders!
Obviously the Horned Frogs can still score on anyone with an offense that is averaging 49.7 points and 598.7 yards in the early going, but much like in the only TCU loss last season to Baylor in a 61-58 shootout, the defense may not be able to make enough stops vs. an equally potent offense to cover the touchdown spread on the road, and given that the defense has taken a step back from last year, an outright upset and the end to the TCU undefeated hopes is possible.
TCU 82, Texas Tech 27
In case you have forgotten, the final score when these teams met at Fort Worth last season was TCU 82, Texas Tech 27, with the final TCU touchdown coming with 1:16 remaining, an indication that Coach Patterson did not exactly totally call off the dogs. If you think Coach Kingsbury had some choice words for Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema last week, imagine how he feels about Patterson right about now!
Nonetheless, he could be in a position to do something about it on the field this time in front of what figures to be a raucous home crowd, especially with the Texas Tech offense in high gear and the TCU defense not as good as in 2014. The Red Raiders are fourth in the country in scoring with 54.3 points per game and fifth in total offense with 590.3 yards per contest including 399.0 passing yards.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes II is already over 1000 passing yards after three games while completing 66.4 percent of his passes and averaging a nice 8.9 yards per attempt with nine touchdown passes vs. three interceptions. He must be salivating after watching the passing performance of Matt Davis of SMU vs. the Horned Frogs last week and Texas Tech also has the ability to keep the TCU defense honest with 191.3 rushing yards per game.
More Turmoil in Fort Worth
Finally, as if the TCU defense was not having a tough enough time already, starting senior defensive end Mike Tuaua was one of two players arrested on Monday on felony robbery and assault charges, and he along with redshirt freshman Andre Petties-Wilson have immediately been suspended from the team. This is obviously a terrible distraction that the Horned Frogs do not need entering a dangerous Big 12 opener on the road.
Add this all up and revenge-minded Texas Tech appears to offer very good value getting a touchdown at home from a TCU team that may be ranked fourth but is having its troubles on and off the field entering this conference opener on Saturday.
College Football Pick: Texas Tech +7 (+100)