College Football Picks: Expect Temple & SMU to Keep Scores Low

Willie Bee

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 3:02 PM UTC

Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015 3:02 PM UTC

Coming off its first loss of the season, Temple heads to Dallas to take on SMU and we're previewing the AAC matchup with a free college football pick.

It's never much fun after a tough loss, and coaches hate it even more when their teams' prep time for the next game is cut due to playing on the road in one of the early games on the following week's schedule. Matt Rhule and his Owls staff probably aren't too concerned, however, since the short week finds them comfortable favorites in the Friday night boot.

Then again, considering Temple has never beaten its next opponents, we aren't expecting Ruhle and his staff to go easy on the Owls in practice this week.

A trek to Dallas to meet the SMU Mustangs is up next on Temple's slate, Friday's 8 PM (ET) kickoff at Ford Stadium. The Owls opened as 11½ point favorites before those college football odds shot up a point at shops such as Bookmaker and 5Dimes. Friday's scoreboard barrier started at 59½ but has since dropped down a tad to 58½.

It's just the fourth meeting ever between the schools, and second since they both moved into the infant American Athletic Conference at the start of the 2013 season. The first two clashes came in the 1940s when the teams settled for two ties, the Owls and Mustangs combining to score just six points each in those contests.

They combined to score way more than that in their 2013 encounter, SMU coming away with a 59-49 win in Big D where the Mustangs were 2-TD favorites. The Owls were cruising towards a big upset with a 28-7 lead in the second quarter before the Pony Express got rolling. Southern Methodist almost scored enough points on its own to send the matchup 'over' a 60 point total.


Owls Still Flying High In AAC Standings
Despite seeing the unbeaten record end last week, Temple (7-1 straight up, 6-2 against the spread) has nothing to hang its head about following the 24-20 loss to Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish closed as 11-12 point favorites, depending where college football bettors made their plays, and the Owls were in position to win the game holding a small lead with under five minutes to go.

Temple's defense didn't break down, but it did bend a lot against the Irish who rolled up nearly 470 yards of offense against the Owls. They'll be taking on an SMU offense that is in the middle of the pack in several categories and built around the passing game more than running the pigskin.

The good news is the Owls are healthy and will be going up against one of the weakest defenses in college football. The Mustangs rank near the bottom of the nation in just about every category, including points allowed (43.6 ppg), total yards (524 ypg) and rushing yards (259 ypg).


Ponies Look To End 6-Game Skid
While the Owls were dropping their first game of the season, Southern Methodist (1-7 SU, 4-4 ATS) was busy losing its sixth in a row with a 40-31 home defeat to Tulsa. The Mustangs nearly matched the Golden Hurricane yard-for-yard on offense and jumped out to a 14-3 lead in the opening quarter. A couple of turnovers, including an interception returned for six, turned the tide in the game to prevent Chad Morris from claiming his first AAC win as SMU head coach.

Holding on to the ball has been an issue all season for the Mustangs have fumbled it away 12 times already, tied with Middle Tennessee for the most. Temple has proven very adept at taking the ball away from the opposition, the Owls' 14 interceptions tide for 2nd-most in the country.

There is a 20% chance of rain in the Dallas area Friday evening when the thermometer should be in the mid-60s for kickoff. There's a 100% chance that Temple is going to win this game, but I'm not sure if the Owls can cover so my free college football pick will instead be on the 'under.'

College Football Pick: Under 55½ at Bookmaker

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