TCU Horned Frogs (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks (1-0 SU, 0-1 ATS)
College Football Week 2
Date/Time: Saturday September 9th, 2017. 3:30PM (EST)
Where: Razorback Stadium Fayetteville, A.R.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TCU -3/ARK +3
Over/Under Total: TBA
The TCU Horned Frogs will go into Fayetteville for a showdown with the Arkansas Razorbacks this weekend in one of the more intriguing pairings in college football. Ironically, we have two teams in eerie similar situations. Gary Pattersons Horned Frogs are trying to shake off a 6-7 season and regain their 2014-2015 form where they racked up 23 wins. With the help of several experience players and returning talent, improvement is expected. Meanwhile Bret Bielema has been treading water at the 7-8 win mark for the last 3 seasons. The Razorbacks also return some key veteran players with the hopes to take a step forward. Therefore, this Saturdays matchup between both teams will be a good measuring stick as to which team is best suited to take that next step.
The Horned Frogs blew out Jackson State last week in a snooze worthy opener 66-0. Quarterback Kenny Hill played well completing 18 of 23 passing for 206 yards with 4 touchdowns and 1 pick. Meanwhile, the Horned Frogs had 9 different players rush the football totaling 242 yards on 36 attempts. It is no surprise that TCU ran the ball well against Jackson State nor should it be a surprise that they run the ball well all season. Pattersons teams are designed to run the football. However, the difference maker that will to determine TCUs success level this year relies on the arm of quarterback Kenny Hill.
If you remember Kenny Hill, he was the former quarterback at Texas A&M who transferred to TCU prior to the 2015 season. Hill did not quite live up to the lofty expectations last year as he threw for 17 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He was incredibly sharp at times and incredibly shaky at times to say the least. During the 2nd half of the season, Hill seemingly regressed with every game. Sure there were some factors outside of his control like unproven wide outs, injuries, and other items that are too deep to dive into. However, this season and this weeks game with Arkansass solid defense will rely heavily on Hills performance for the Horned Frogs.
For Arkansas, this is a big game for the Razorbacks. I would not say it is a program changing type of opportunity because that would be the product of a win against Alabama or perhaps LSU. However, this game is big for the Razorbacks potential in 2017. Bielema has built a stable program but it needs to progress. They have the pieces in place to compete but I still think this Arkansas team has several unknowns that will likely not be answered until this week. The defense changed coordinators going with the promotion of defensive backs coach Paul Rhoads which will convert to a 3-4 scheme. How successful will that scheme pan out against teams like TCU and a conference in the SEC that focuses on running the football?
Lastly, Arkansas also has to replace several talents on the offensive side of the football. Luckily, quarterback Austin Allen returns as a proven guy behind center. However, the Razorbacks lost several wide outs and top rusher Rawleigh Williams III. Therefore, the offense has some challenges into identifying the true playmakers for the 2017 season. Last week, freshman Chase Hayden played a great game and showed some signs of explosiveness with 13 carries for 120 yards and a score. We know how important the running game is to Bielemas offenses so that is a big vote of confidence for Hayden.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think this will be a hard fought game for both teams. Arkansas is going to be a solid test but I simply think TCU is the better team. They have a solid backbone with their defense that should match-up well against Arkansas. Furthermore, I believe the Horned Frogs have the more proven pieces to move the football consistently on offense. Therefore, I will ride with the Horned Frogs -3!
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