The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs and SMU Mustangs meet in the first edition of the Frisco Bowl. I initially thought this game was in San Francisco, would have made sense, but we’re talking about Frisco, Texas here. We have a matchup in the Frisco Bowl between two teams who have been on the rise in 2017. They hope to take some more momentum with them into the offseason.
The Mustangs have come a long way, and are armed with one of the most underrated offenses in college football. Devin Singletary may be the best running back in the country you haven’t heard of. And on the wide receiver front, Courtland Sutton may be the best wide receiver you haven’t heard of yet. If you don’t know who he is now, you will get to know him in this game and the NFL. He may very well be the best wide receiver prospect draft. He possesses the combo of size and speed that scouts love.
Sutton has the potential to be something big, or he could be the next Aaron Dobson. The future will tell, but for right now, he’s been a load to handle in college. He caught 76 balls for 1,246 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2016. He’s followed that up with 1,017 yards and 12 touchdowns. Sutton can add to that total in the Frisco Bowl on Wednesday night. His quarterback, Ben Hicks, has come into his own as well. Hicks has thrown for 32 touchdowns and 9 interceptions this season. He was recruited by bigger schools, including Texas Tech, Houston, and Indiana. It seems he may have made the right decision by going with the Mustangs of Southern Methodist.
SMU were on a three-game losing streak before beating Tulane to get to 7-5. The offense has been blistering hot, but their defense has been prone to gaffes. They’d be looking a lot prettier right now if they could have just played a little defense. Louisiana Tech enter with wins over UTEP and UTSA. UTSA were a 6-6 team as well, but the bowl committee opted to give Louisiana Tech the nod. That game was essentially a playoff game for the Frisco Bowl. Louisiana Tech will likely give a better game than UTSA would, too. UTSA can play defense, but their offense is about as exciting as a stiff board. Let’s get to our Louisiana Tech vs. SMU pick below.
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs vs. SMU Mustangs Betting Odds:
Louisiana Tech +5(-110)
vs. SMU -5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Louisiana Tech vs. SMU Pick:
The 1-2 punch of Ben Hicks and Courtland Sutton is difficult to contain. SMU have averaged 42 points per game in their last three contests. Hicks went off for 12 touchdowns in those three games, 4 in each. Sutton is not the only wide receiver who can get after it on this team. Trey Quinn has been slicing through defenses as well, and has actually accumulated more yards than Sutton with 1,191 yards. Teams are focusing on Sutton, while Quinn is finding room to run free. Hicks has it easy sitting back in the pocket with those two to sling it to. The Mustangs averaged 40.2 points per game for 8th in the nation this season.
If SMU had a strong defense, this would be one difficult team to beat. They’d be playing in something bigger than the Frisco Bowl. As it is, though, they’re allowing 35.5 points per game for 113th in the nation. The Bulldogs have the Mustangs beat there, as they’re allowing 26.6 points per game for 66th. However, they’ve benefitted from some bad offenses skewing their numbers a bit. Against Mississippi State they allowed 57 points and 48 points to Florida Atlantic. They’re going to have to deal with a high-octane offense in this matchup.
Quarterback J’Mar Smith has thrown for 13 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He is good with his legs, as he’s rushed for 356 yards and 5 touchdowns. Smith will need a heck of an effort to keep up with Hicks. Newly appointed head coach, Sonny Dykes, will be on the sidelines in an unexpected move. That tends to never happen when a new coach comes in. Sykes will not be calling plays or involved in that sense. In Sutton’s last game of college, look for him to go off and haul in big numbers. The Mustangs should be able to light the scoreboard up, and J’Mar Smith and company won’t be able to keep pace. I’d take a look at SMU in the Frisco Bowl.
PICK: SMU -5 (-110)