This could’ve been a College Football Playoff preview, but instead we get this matchup on the day after New Year’s in the Alamo Bowl. Even if it isn’t the playoff, this should be a fun Game between two teams looking to end disappointing seasons on a high note. The Horned Frogs opened as a slight -1 point favorite at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.
NOTE – TCU QB TREVONE BOYKIN AND RECEIVER PRESTON MILLER WERE SUSPENDED 12/31. THE NEW LINE IS OREGON -7
TCU has the home-state advantage, as its campus is just Four hOurs away from the Alamodome. The Horned Frogs were looking like a playoff team with an 8-0 record, but injuries derailed their hopes as they lost their final two road Games of the year, at OK State and Oklahoma. Even their final two wins of the year weren’t all that impressive: 23-17 over Kansas, and 28-21 against Baylor.
Oregon’s season got off to a rougher start with a 3-3 record, but the Ducks still managed nine wins, one fewer than the Frogs. Most impressive, they closed the season on a six-Game winning streak with road wins at Washington, Arizona State and Stanford, while also beating USC at home by 20. Once quarterback Vernon Adams got healthy and accustomed to the offense, this team rolled.
Because of these high-scoring offenses, the over/under is nearly 80 points. Neither of these defenses are great, but Oregon has been the worse of the two, giving up over 300 yards per Game through the air and a ridiculous 36.8 points per Game. That’s good news for TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin (31 TDs, 10 INTs), even if he’s without top receiver Josh Doctson.
The loss of Doctson is pretty large in the Horned Frogs offense considering he almost doubled every other receiver on the roster in receptions (79), yards (1,327) and touchdowns (14). And yet, Boykin still has some speedsters to work with in KaVontae Turpin (eight TDs) and Kolby Listenbee (20.6 yards per receptions). Boykin is dealing with an ankle injury, but he’ll be good to go in this Game and should be in for a nice performance against a bad secondary.
The question may be what Boykin can do on the ground as mobility is one thing that pushes him over the top as a quarterback after rushing for 612 yards and 9 touchdowns. Running back Aaron Green is still healthy and he’ll get a decent amount of carries after going for 1,171 yards and 10 TDs himself.
TCU’s defense is a bit better than Oregon’s, but with the way the Ducks offense is playing, that probably won’t matter.
Once Vernon Adams came back from injury, this offense flOurished as he tossed 21 TDs and 4 INTs in the final six Games of the year. That’s an impressive streak. This offense is never short of options, but receiver Bralon Addison came on a lot with Adams late in the season and he’ll be a top target in this Game. Of course, the Ducks are still a great rushing team with Royce Freeman, who silently went for 2,031 total yards and 16 touchdowns this season.
The Ducks took a run-heavy approach against Stanford earlier in the year, and may do the same in this Game to try and keep Boykin off the field as much as possible. This Game will be a shootout, but the Frogs get the edge with the better defense, although the loss of Doctson could prove fatal.
The under is actually 8-0-1 in the last nine bowl Games for the Horned Frogs, mainly because the over/under is huge for their Games. The Frogs covered their final two Games as underdogs, but were still 6-6 ATS on the year, while the Ducks closed 5-1 ATS and 7-5 ATS overall.
Our Pick – TCU +7 (without boykin)