College Football Picks: LSU vs. TCU Week 1 Predictions
by Dave Schwab - 8/21/2013
This season’s Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Texas, features a showdown between the No. 12 LSU Tigers and the No. 20 TCU Horned Frogs in what should be a solid opening day test for both programs. Next Saturday’s SEC/Big 12 clash is scheduled for a 9 p.m. (ET) start, and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.
LSU comes into this season with high aspirations after going 10-3 last season overall and 6-2 in SEC play. The Tigers ended the 2012 season on a sour note with a 25-24 loss to Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl as 6.5-point favorites, but victories over ranked opponents such as South Carolina, Texas A&M and Mississippi State is the reason the bar has been set higher this year.
The Horned Frogs suffered a baptism by fire in their first season in the Big 12 with a 4-5 record in conference play. They started out strong with five wins in their first six games last year but folded down the stretch with just two victories in their final seven games to finish 7-6 on the year.
Tigers vs. Horned Frogs Storylines
LSU will have a good portion of its offense back from last season with eight starters returning to the lineup. The biggest name on this side of the ball could be tailback Alfred Blue, who will lead a ground game that averaged 173.7 yards per game last year. Zach Mettenberger is back at quarterback after throwing for 2,609 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012. The biggest strength on offense could be a line that has four of five starters back from a year ago.
There will be quite a few new faces on defense for the Tigers in this opening day matchup with just four starters back from a squad that was ranked 12th in the nation in average points allowed (17.5). Head coach Les Miles had to replace his entire defensive line and most of his secondary, but the linebacking corps remains basically intact. This unit will quickly have to find a way to gel with such a tough test right out of the gate.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson has decided to remain mum of whether or not Trevone Boykin or Casey Pachall will get the start at quarterback in this game. Pachall may have the bigger arm, but Boykin has the added dimension of using his running ability to move the chains. Either way, the Horned Frogs’ chances to win this contest will most likely hinge on their ability to run the ball against the Tigers’ rebuilt defensive line.
The good news for TCU heading into this game and this season is a defense that returns 10 starters from last year. This unit did a fairly good job at keeping opposing teams out of the end zone last season (allowing an average of 22.6 points a game), but it was burned for 36 points or more three times in 2012. The Horned Frogs have a couple of preseason all-American candidates in defensive end Devonte Fields and cornerback Jason Verrett back to help lead the way.
Tigers vs. Horned Frogs College Football Week 1 Betting Tends and Futures Odds
BetOnline has released its opening lines for Week 1 of the college football season and has listed LSU as a 4.5-point favorite over the Horned Frogs with the total set at 50.5.
The Tigers are 3-7 against the spread in their last 10 games but 21-4 straight up in their last 25 games. The total has stayed “under” in four of their last six games.
The Horned Frogs are 18-7 SU in their last 25 games, but they have failed to cover the spread in five of their last seven games. The total has stayed under in five of their last six games.
This will be the first meeting between these two schools in recent memory.
College Football Picks: LSU vs. TCU Betting Predictions
This matchup should come down to how well LSU’s youthful defense can contain a TCU offense that has two legitimate threats at quarterback and knows how to put points on board both through the air and on the ground. The Tigers remain the better all-around team, but I really like the Horned Frogs chances to put up enough of a fight to keep this a three- or four-point game.
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