No. 20 TCU Horned Frogs (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS) vs. No. 12 LSU Tigers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS)
College Football Week 1
Date and Time: Saturday August 31st, 2013. 9:00PM Eastern.
Where: Cowboys Stadium Arlington, T.X
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TCU +4.5/LSU -4.5
Over/Under Total: 50
Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas will host one of the most exciting
match-ups of week 1 when the no. 20 TCU Horned Frogs meet
the no. 12 LSU Tigers on Saturday August, 31st under the
primetime ESPN spotlight. Gary Pattersons Horned Frogs took a step back
in 2012 finishing with a disappointing 7-6 record in what can be described
as a rebuilding type year. However, TCU will return 17 starters this season
led by senior quarterback Casey Pachall. Remember Pachall led the Horned
Frogs to a 4-0 start last season before missing the rest of the year as
a result of a suspension that stemmed from a DUI arrests. Gary Patterson
says his star quarterback has matured tremendously from last years experience
but has TCU matured enough to knock off one of the big dogs from the SEC
when they meet the no. 12 LSU Tigers inside Cowboys Stadium?
LSU will enter Arlington with the number 12 ranking in the country which is actually their lowest preseason ranking since 2010. The Tigers finished 2012 with a 10-3 campaign that was marked by big wins over South Carolina and Texas A&M. The Tigers also dominated eventual National Champions in Alabama for nearly 4 quarters before letting the game slip away in the waning seconds. This year LSU will have a fairly similar football team under Coach Les Miles as they did a year ago. The Tigers will have a ton of talent on the field but can they get all the pieces to come together?
It would not be hard to argue that LSU has fielded National Championship talent the last few years. Just think back to their perfect 2011 season that was yielded by a loss to Alabama in the National Championship Game. The Tigers have maintained one of the best defenses in college football under Miles and do not expect the 2013 unit to be much different. The only question of concern for the defense will be up front where the Tigers lost all starters from their 2012 defensive line. Still those guys will be replaced with some serious talent despite the lack of game time experience on the defensive front. Instead the bigger question marks will be where they have remained on offense.
Possibly the one area that has held the Tigers back from actually winning a National Championship has been the inconsistent play of the offense mainly in the passing game. QB Zach Mettenberger will once again be the man in the hot seat behind center this year. Mettenberger has a big arm but is very inconsistent at times as well. The Tigers quarterback threw just 5 touchdowns in all of conference play last year and LSU has to get better production behind center to make any type serious run at any SEC or National Championship. Sure Les Miles will stick to his horses and keep the ball on the ground as much as 70% of the time. After all the Tigers are loaded at running back with Jeremy Hill returning and a big offensive line but I believe the play at quarterback will once again be the x factor from LSU having just another solid year or in fact a great year.
TCU will enter Arlington as slight 4 point underdogs to LSU. While the betting public has favored the SEC powerhouse by nearly 70% of early betting action, the Horned Frogs look to prove they are worthy of the upset. Similar to LSU under Miles, TCU has been rock solid on defense throughout the Patterson era. The Horned Frogs finished 2012 as the 16th best group in college football holding opponents to just 330 yards per game. That same group will now return 8 starters on defense and the potential to be an even more dangerous group in 2013.
Offensively, TCU was mediocre at best by the numbers in 2012. The Horned Frogs ranked 72nd in total offense averaging just 388 yards per game. Of course those numbers were without Pachall for the final 9 games of the season. Still, TCU has to be more consistent right away to challenge LSUs stout defense. Unfortunately outside of Pachall, the offense is still awaiting for that emerging star. Sophomore running back B.J Catalon rushed for 512 yards in his freshman season and should get the bulk of the carries this year. The Horned Frogs lost leading wide receiver Josh Boyce and additionally really need someone to step up in the receiving corps. Still having Pachall back under center will definitely be a luxury. I do not expect TCU to have a ton of success running the football against LSU but I believe Pachall has a big enough arm to worry the Tigers defense. Just a few big plays may be all TCU needs to pull off this upset as both defenses should keep the scoring relatively low.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I like the under 50 for obvious reasons. Neither LSU nor TCU have much confidence on offense and this is a rather important games. Do not be surprised to see some conservative play calling early and scoring to remain low throughout 4 quarters.
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