This Game could end up meaning a lot for both conferences. A win for either side would improve its respective Conference in the hunt for one or multiple teams in the College Football Playoff. Both teams have torched their first two opponents, but Ohio State is still a bigger threat on the national stage. The Buckeyes opened as -12.5 point favorites for the Game at AT&T Stadium (as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook).
The spread seems large, but it makes sense given how popular Ohio State is and the 129 points it’s scored in the first two Games. Neither one of its opponents has as good of defense as TCU’s, but there’s little reason to go against the Bucks. Maybe the biggest selling point for TCU is that a different Big 12 team (Oklahoma) took down OSU last year pretty easily with better play on both sides of the field. Of course, TCU lost by about the same amount to Oklahoma last year, twice.
The Buckeyes offense is what to look out for in this Game as Dwayne Haskins has been incredible, completing almost 80 percent of his passes to go with nine touchdowns and only one pick. He’s one of the frontrunners for the Heisman and has all of the needed tools around him. Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins form one of the best backfields in the country, while Terry McLAurin and K.J. Hill are just two of the many wide outs Haskins has at his disposal.
This is a huge test for the Frogs that were great last year, yet never figured out better offenses like those of Oklahoma or Stanford. The defense is solid, but still only returned five starters from that group and guys like Ben Banogu can only do so much against elite offenses. The Bucks probably won’t Score50 points again, but surpassing 30 is likely.
To cover, TCU will need to get more consistency out of its offense. While it looked great in the first two Games, playing a front that includes Nick Bosa, among others, is different than that of Southern or SMU. Maybe the biggest issue is that sophomore quarterback Shawn Robinson hasn’t been over-the-top in the first two wins, completing 61.5% of his passes for 6.31 yards per attempt. Now against one of the elite defenses in the country, he could find trouble completing passes. Robinson also leads the team in rushing, but the Frogs will need more from Darius Anderson and company if they want to contend in this Game.
This really comes down to what the Ohio State defense can do because it kind of took it easy on Oregon State in the opener and if that happens here, TCU will get its points. Then again, if Robinson struggles and the running Game can’t consistently move the chains, it’s hard to see TCU’s defense doing enough to cover by itself. At this point, there’s little reason to go against Haskins, even at a neutral site in Texas.
The Buckeyes are 6-2 ATS in their last eight vs. the Big 12, while the Frogs are 1-4 ATS in their last five against the Big Ten and haven’t covered in their last Four against a team with a winning record.
Our Pick – A year ago, this would be a TCU call plus the spot. Both teams lost a significant number of starters from last years squads, but we know Ohio State is a recruiting MAChine and simply reloads. The same can’t be said for TCU. So, the jury is still out on this years edition of TCU football. As a result, we have to side with the Buckeyes here. Ohio St -12.5