Pick the 'Over' in Peach Bowl Matchup Between Ole Miss vs. TCU

Willie Bee

Thursday, December 11, 2014 2:13 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014 2:13 PM UTC

The first bowl game on the college football betting card that pits two ranked schools will be the Peach Bowl on New Year's Eve when TCU tangles with the Ole Miss Rebels.

Two dozen bowl games will be played on this year's slate before we get to a matchup of two teams in the College Football Playoff Rankings. Twenty-four!

At least we have a dandy battle when the first one does arrive, this year's Peach Bowl in Atlanta on New Year's Eve. The game pits the No. 6 TCU Horned Frogs against the No. 9 Mississippi Rebels in a 12:30 PM (ET) boot at the Georgia Dome, kicking off the first of this year's inaugural CFP format of six bowls rotating as hosts for semifinal events at the old FBS level.

SBR's live college football odds saw this one go out with TCU as 3 point chalk and 56 for the total. So far, both numbers have stuck.

Mississippi and TCU are getting together for the first time in more than 30 years when they collide in The ATL for this one. The most recent get-together was midway through the 1983 season as SWC/SEC rivals. A mediocre Rebels bunch beat a very poor Horned Frogs team, 20-7, giving Ole Miss a 5-1 advantage in the series.

Two of the six meetings have come in the postseason; Mississippi bested TCU, 13-9 for the Delta Bowl title in Memphis way back in 1947, the first-ever game between the two schools, and also eking out a 14-13 triumph in the 1956 Cotton Bowl.


How Will Frogs React To Missing Playoffs?
It had to be a really belly-flop for TCU to go from No. 3 in the CFP rankings to No. 6 despite winning the season finale vs. Iowa State by more than 50 points. That kind of disappointment and dejection can weigh heavy on anyone's mind, especially a bunch of 20-year-old kids who will have about a month to let it bother them.

One thing that might help temper the frustration is the way head coach Gary Patterson handled things, expressing disappointment but not going off on a sour-grapes rant like his counterpart down in Waco. Plus, TCU has been fighting as the 'little guy' for several seasons now, first as a juggernaut in the Mountain West and now in the Big 12.

For once under Patterson, TCU's strength was not the defense. The Horned Frogs did finish 15th in the country allowing just 20.3 PPG, as well as ranking 34th in total defense (359.5 ypg), but it was an offense led by junior QB Trevone Boykin that really shined in 2014.  Texas Christian finished right behind Baylor in scoring (46.8 ppg), and fourth in yards gained behind Boykin who finished with a 146.63 QB rating (7th).


Rebels Seek First 10-Win Season Since 2003
The Horned Frogs will need all of the offense they can muster against a Mississippi defense that is one of the best. No team held opponents to fewer points than the Rebels (13.8 ppg), and only a few gave up more real estate than Ole Miss, 321.2 YPG which was good enough for 13th in the country.

Things started off in fine fashion for Hugh Freeze and his troops as the Rebels raced to a 7-0 record that included a huge upset of then-No. 3 Alabama to begin October. Ole Miss fizzled after that, however, dropping three of its last five with an inexplicable 30-0 whipping at Arkansas where the Rebels turned it over six times, committing just 15 total in their other 11 games.

Both teams did a good job putting money into the pockets of college football bettors, TCU at the top of that list covering 10 of 12 spreads while Mississippi cashed eight of 12. The Rebels were on a 4-game skid at the window prior to upsetting rival Mississippi State in the season finale with one of their best overall offensive performances of 2014.

The teams recorded very different outcomes in totals betting for the season, Ole Miss heavy to the 'under' side (2-9 O/U) while eight of TCU's 12 games hurdled the numbers. My gamble will be on the Horned Frogs playing with a chip on their shoulders, along with a free college football pick on the 'over' for the Peach Bowl.

College Football Pick: TCU -3, Over 56 at 5Dimes

Season: 61-43-1 (+13.70)

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