The Southern Methodist Mustangs meet another heavyweight from the BIG 12 Conference on Friday night. SMU took on Baylor a couple of weeks ago, in a game of two tales. The Mustangs pushed the Bears to their limit in the first-half, bringing a 6-6 tie to the half. Baylor were quickly alleviated of upset watch, as they blasted the Mustangs away in the second-half by a score of 40-13. SMU was just unable to keep pace with the speed and size on Baylor. The Stangs had to go with backup Ben Hicks at quarterback, instead of their talented starter, Matt Davis. Hicks and Davis are completely different quarterbacks.
Hicks is a pro-style quarterback, while Davis likes to dance and dazzle on his legs, as well as with his arm. Tough one to swallow for SMU, though, as Davis is out for the year after suffering a knee injury against North Texas. This was supposed to be a breakout year for SMU, which saw them pursue a bowl game. And while Hicks has talent, he is a 4-star recruit that caught the attention of Michigan on the recruiting trail, Davis had this offense down well, and is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country.
Undoubtedly, SMU has to shrink the playbook with Hicks at the controls. Consider the fact that Davis loved the option, whereas Hicks is a pure pocket-passer. Hicks is the future of SMU football, but they would have hoped to get him in the offense a year from now. Davis is applying for another year of eligibility with the NCAA, so this may be the most time he gets in the offense for quite a while, but he is going to have the entire season to operate. SMU would love for him to show progress, while he would have another year to mature and develop next season as the backup again.
The TCU Horned Frogs had to replace not one, but two quarterbacks from a year ago. Both the number 1 and 2 options are no longer with the school, with Trevone Boykin on the Seattle Seahawks’ roster, and senior backup Braun Kohlhausen moving on from football. Kohlhausen will be remembered for staging the biggest comeback in college football bowl history, erasing a 31-point deficit to win in overtime at the Alamo Bowl against Oregon.
TCU looks to Kenny Hill, who is a Texas A&M transfer from two years ago. Hill sat out last year due to eligibility rules. He compiled a nice final year at A&M, passing for 23 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Too much competition prompted him to look elsewhere, ultimately landing at TCU.
TCU Horned Frogs vs. SMU Mustangs NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. SMU +20.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
TCU vs. SMU Pick:
The goal for SMU is still a bowl game, despite them losing their leading signal-caller. They have won the games they should win, against North Texas and Liberty, and lost to Baylor. So at this juncture, they have done everything expected of them. The Baylor game was expected to be a loss, so no big loss there with respects to finding a 6-6 record. A night game at home under the light over TCU should evoke plenty of excitement against the Horned Frogs. Sometimes that just enough though, and against TCU they’re going to need to play flawless, mistake free football. Hicks will certainly have to put together the best game of his young career.
The Mustangs have a much improved offense, and most weeks, they should look like an adequate unit. The injury to Davis put a wrench into that, but Hicks is a 4-star quarterback that is expected to perform. He has shown at times, with his first touchdown of the season coming on a laser across deep middle against North Texas. That play is what makes SMU so excited about him. However, he’s had problems as well, which is evident in his 2:5 touchdown to interception ratio. Wide receiver of SMU, Courtland Sutton, has already hauled in 336 yards and 4 touchdowns. He has all the makings for an extremely productive career, this being his sophomore campaign. At 6’4” 215 he might be catching some attention from the NFL.
SMU bulldozed Liberty on the ground a week ago, rushing for 220 yards and 2 touchdowns, but Hicks failed to garner much success. Hicks finished the day with 209 yards passing and 2 interceptions. We should expect SMU to pound the ball again this week. Hicks just doesn’t look ready to be starting yet. If Matt Davis were starting this game for SMU I would have been all over the Mustangs. I was expecting to ride them quite a bit this season with favorable lines. But without Davis there, I have my reservations. Hicks is going to need to make plays to keep up with TCU, because the Horned Frogs are going to score tonight. No air game worked against Liberty but not TCU. I see a 24-point TCU win, so they look good a shade under three touchdowns.
PICK: TCU -20.5 (-110)