Can the Texas Longhorns wreck TCU's playoff hopes once and for all this Thursday in Austin? Join us for game analysis and a free college football pick for the Big 12 clash.
So, it turns out the Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies are playing on Thanksgiving once again...just not against each other.
Perhaps the crybabies at both schools will eventually coagulate their feces and bring back the great tradition, but until then, at least we have both the Longhorns and Aggies to consider on our Thanksgiving college football betting card. While Texas A&M takes on LSU in a somewhat meaningless SEC battle, Texas is hosting the TCU Horned Frogs in a Big 12 clash that has College Football playoffs implications.
TCU and Texas will kick things off in Austin a little past 7:30 PM (ET) on FOX Sports 1, and the Frogs are favored by 6½. SBR's live College Football odds will have a total as soon as it is released.
It's the 85th meeting between the Horned Frogs and Longhorns, most of those matchups coming as Southwest Conference foes and Texas sitting on a commanding 62-21-1 record in the series. The two tilts as Big 12 rivals have been split with the road teams winning and covering while the final scores never reached the totals. TCU's 2012 win in Austin was its first there since 1967, stopping a 15-game losing streak at Memorial Stadium.
Texas hung a 30-7 final on the Frogs in Ft. Worth about 13 months ago in a game that was held up for more than three hours during the first half due to stormy weather. That won't be an issue this time with the forecast in the Live Music Capital of the World calling for clear skies, the low-60s at kickoff and a light southerly breeze.
Frogs Lose Ground During Bye Week
Both teams will have been idle for 12 days when the referee blows his whistle to begin Thursday's affair, and the Week 13 bye week proved a bit costly to TCU, at least according to the AP Poll. The Horny Toads slipped from No. 5 to No. 6 on that list as Baylor leapfrogged TCU thanks to the Bears' 49-28 shellacking of Oklahoma State.
Texas Christian also entered that bye off a near-upset loss at Kansas in Week 12, having to rally from a 10-point deficit in the third quarter for a 34-30 victory very lackluster as 4-TD chalk. That was just the second time in 2014 the Frogs didn't cover, both losses against the college football spreads coming in the last three contests.
It should be taken into account that TCU was going up against the Jayhawks following a very big and emotional win over Kansas State the previous Saturday. Losing ground to Baylor in the AP Poll isn't the end of the world for TCU, and we'll have to wait for the updated College Football Playoff rankings to see exactly where the Horned Frogs stand before getting too hyped-up about this one. But even if Gary Patterson's bunch is still No. 5 there, it's apparent they will need to score style points in addition to a victory to really state their case for the playoffs.
Win Would Be Huge For Strong & 'Horns
Texas is on a good roll heading into the matchup, three straight wins and ATS covers in the current streak that also includes four consecutive 'under' winners for college football bettors who prefer going up against the scoreboard. In fact, betting the low side of the tally when the Longhorns play has netted an 8-3 record for 4.7 units of black ink.
Two of the latest wins came on the road as small underdogs, the other at home vs. West Virginia a few weeks back as short chalk. Though spotty at times, the defense has been pretty solid all year which is no surprise for a Charlie Strong-coached team. But a key during this win streak has been the play of soph QB Tyrone Swoopes. The numbers vs. Texas Tech and West Virginia weren't all that great, but he's showing vast improvement in game management, and he'll be facing a TCU defense that has surrendered 300+ yards passing in each of its last two games.
Both teams hit Joe Jamail Field at Darrel K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium in pretty good health, certainly in terms of recent injuries. The only update worth mentioning right now is Longhorns wide receiver Jaxon Shipley, and he's expected to play after injuring his leg in the win over Okie State.
I'm really more interested in the total since I'm expecting a tight, low-scoring affair, but I'm also willing to take the 'Horns and the points for my free College Football pick.
Free College Football Pick: Texas +6.5 at 5Dimes
Season: 57-37-1 (+16.30)