Remember the 2015 Alamo Bowl, because it’s going to be a very entertaining, high-scoring affair. The Oregon Ducks and TCU Horned Frogs both had College Football Playoff aspirations at the start of this season, but injuries (particularly to their star quarterbacks) saw them fall short of that goal.
Oregon’s quarterback is healthy now, while TCU will be forced to rely on their (healthy) backup due to a recent arrest. So while this meeting could’ve been a total shootout, it may now look more like a backseat kind of bowl game. Did I leave you hanging by the way with that “arrest” line?
Well read ahead to find out more. While you’re at it as well, be sure to check out our previews of the Liberty Bowl (Kansas State vs. Arkansas) and the TaxSlayer Bowl (Penn State vs. Georgia) as well.[sc:NCAAFArticles ]
Oregon Ducks vs. TCU Horned Frogs Preview
Where: Alamodome, San Antonio
When: Saturday, January 2, 6:45 PM ET
Line: Oregon Ducks (PK) vs. TCU Horned Frogs (PK); total 78.5 – view all NCAA Football lines
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Betting on the Oregon Ducks (9-3, 7-2 Pac-12)
Oregon looked on the verge of collapse during the first six weeks of the season, as it went 3-3 and was badly missing Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota. However, it only took the return of quarterback and graduate transfer Vernon Adams Jr. from his finger injury to get the Ducks back to their familiar heights.
[sc:NCAA240banner ]Since Adams’ return, Oregon has gone a perfect 6-0 (5-1 ATS), with its signature offense averaging 45 points during that span. Adams threw for over 300 yards in four of those six wins, which included an outstanding 407-yard, six-touchdown performance in a 48-28 win over USC.
Meanwhile, running back Royce Freeman has been consistently great for Oregon this season. Often overshadowed by other stud sophomore running backs like Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey, Freeman quietly finished fourth in the country in rushing yards (1,706) as well as total yards from scrimmage (2,031).
Freeman’s rushing ability will put a lot of pressure on a subpar TCU defense (182 rushing yards allowed per game, 79th in the nation) that will also have to worry about the big play ability presented by Adams and the passing game.
Oregon’s own defense is also pretty bad. It was third from bottom in the entire nation, giving up 301 yards per game through the air. But it will have the advantage of not having to deal with TCU’s top receiver Josh Doctson, who won’t recover in time from his season-ending wrist injury.
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Betting on the TCU Horned Frogs (10-2, 7-2 Big 12)
After last season’s playoff near miss, TCU came into this campaign with very high hopes of finally making it in. Unfortunately for the Horned Frogs, those playoff hopes faded during the home stretch as the team couldn’t cope with all its injuries on defense and the loss of arguably its biggest game-changer on offense, Josh Doctson.
Doctson injured his wrist in TCU’s 49-29 loss at Oklahoma State, but even his presence wouldn’t have made much of a difference. The TCU offense, which had been one of the most prolific in the country up to that point, hasn’t been the same since his injury.
It should be noted that quarterback Trevone Boykin was also either kept out or hampered by an ankle injury in those last three games, where the Horned Frogs scored only 23, 29 and 28 (in 2OT) points. The under has gone 5-1 in TCU’s last six games.
Boykin, who passed for 3,575 yards with 31 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this season, is and was completely ready to return but has since been suspended by the team for allegedly striking a police officer.
Of course, Boykin – one of the elite dual-threat quarterbacks in the country – is a game-changing weapon in his own right with his legs. Boykin rushed for 612 yards and scored eight touchdowns on the ground this year. Which is why it’s such a shame for TCU fans that the team will have to likely now rely on Bram Kolhausen as their lead dog.
However, it remains to be seen how long the Horned Frogs can go toe-to-toe with Oregon. The TCU defense, which was severely burned by Oklahoma State’s prolific passing game, likely won’t make too many stops throughout the game.
Oregon is the more in-form team, and has the weapons on offense to outlast TCU. The Ducks (PK) win, 42-38.[sc:NCAA490banner ]
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