The 2014 bowl season rolls on with New Year’s Eve action featuring a Wednesday afternoon (11:30 pm ET) game with the 9th ranked Ole Miss Rebels (9-3) of the SEC and the 6th ranked TCU Horned Frogs (11-1) of the Big-12 Conference in the Chick-fil-A Bowl from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, GA. The Rebels won their regular season finale in the Egg Bowl over in-state rival Mississippi St. 31-17. That victory followed a skid that saw Ole Miss drop 3 of 4 games after beginning the season 7-0 and vaulting into the national playoff picture. Their losses to SEC rivals LSU (10-7), Auburn (35-31) and Arkansas (30-0) dropped them from the top 5, but they will face another team that had high aspirations in TCU. The Horned Frogs closed the regular season with 7 straight victories, with their only loss coming to Baylor, a 61-58 shootout in week 7.
Ole Miss is ranked 54th nationally in scoring offense with an average of 30.4 points per game and 34th among FBS teams in total offense with 443.4 yards per contest. The Rebels rank #1 nationally in points allowed with 13.8 per game and 12th in total defense 321.2 YPG allowed.
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TCU is ranked 2nd nationally in scoring offense with an average of 46.8 PPG scored and 4th among FBS teams in total offense with 542.4 YPG. The Horned Frogs rank 18th nationally in points allowed with 20.3 per game and 33rd in total defense 359.5 YPG allowed.
Ole Miss vs. TCU Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Ole Miss Rebels +3.5
@ TCU Horned Frogs -3.5
Over 56.5 (-110)
Under 56.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Ole Miss vs TCU Pick
The Rebels are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 bowl games, 21-6-1 ATS in their last 28 non-conference games but 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games overall. The Horned Frogs are 8-1 ATS in their last 9 games against a team with a winning record, 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games and 12-2 ATS in their last 14 games overall. The Under is 8-1 in the Rebels’ last 9 vs. a team with a winning record, 4-1 in their last 5 neutral site games and 12-2 in their last 14 games overall. The Under is 7-0-1 in the Horned Frogs’ last 8 Bowl games, 7-0-1 in their last 8 bowl games and 7-2-1 in their last 10 neutral site games.
TCU has another issue to tackle aside from Ole MIss, they have to get over the disappointment of being left out of the inaugural College Football Playoff. The Horned Frogs were 3rd in the next-to-last playoff rankings, but dropped out of the final field of four when Ohio State’s 59-0 victory over Wisconsin in the Big-10 title game vaulted them ahead of TCU. Their explosive offense is led by dual-threat quarterback Trevone Boykin, a 2nd team All-American, who finished 4thh in the Heisman Trophy voting. Boykin passed for 3,714 yards and 30 TDs while rushing for 642 yards and 8 TDs this season.
The Rebels are playing in a bowl game for the 3rd consecutive season and have won 6 straight bowl games. That includes a 25-17 win over Georgia Tech in the 2013 Music City Bowl and a 38-17 win over Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl to end the 2012 season.
TCU has an offense that has not been held in check by any team that they have faced this season, but they have not faced the type of defense that the Rebels possess either. The Horned Frogs are back in a bowl game after not playing in one last season for only the 2nd time in 16 years. They feel that they were wronged by the playoff selection committee, and they can either go into the tank and not play up to their capabilities or come out and make a statement against Ole Miss. The bet here is that their offense will struggle more than expected due to rust, and facing the best defense they will see all season. Ole Miss has not been the same on offense since the loss of receiver Laquon Treadwell, and they should struggle offensively as well. With the trend favoring the Under, that is the pay to make here.