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TCU vs. SMU: Preview and Prediction

Can the Mustangs bounce back on national TV against a ranked opponent?

SMU v TCU Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Date: Friday, September 7th

Kickoff Time: 8 p.m. EST

TV: ESPN

Betting Line: TCU -22.5, FPI: 87.6%

Series Record: 50-40-7 TCU (has won each match up since 2012)

Last Meeting: TCU won 56-36, September 16, 2017


The SMU Mustangs got off to a rough start after a no-show against North Texas. The season has just started, so I do not want to overreact too much. However, this front-loaded schedule is going to make things tough for Sonny Dykes in his first season. He is going to have to get his team fully prepared and ready for this tough game against TCU. Here is the perfect opportunity for Dykes to prove that SMU is still a contender in the AAC and prove it on a national stage, if the Mustangs can seize the opportunity.

Last Week

As we have already mentioned, SMU came out flat against North Texas. We know that Ben Hicks and the offense could not get rolling until the 4th quarter (yes, you read that right). For an offense that is supposed to have a veteran leader at QB and a great running back in Xavier Jones, this offense should be able to score points that aren’t in garbage time.

In addition to the offense falling flat, the defense gave up way too many passing yards. Mason Fine is a great QB and will face even better QBs in the AAC. If this is going to be how the defense performs when they get into AAC play, I’m not sure this team will make a bowl game. I know that SMU is working out a new defensive scheme, but the secondary was troublesome last year and appears to be an issue again this season.

This Week’s Opponent

TCU is ranked number 16 in the country by the AP Poll. Bottom-line, they are not a cupcake. Jamie Plunkett, from Frogs O’ War, detailed to me in our Q&A that TCU has players that are scary good that we need to watch out for. If you missed my interview with Jamie click here.

They are currently working in a new QB, Shawn Robinson, who Jamie vouches is talented. I have personally not seen him play in a game yet, so Friday night we will get a chance to see how talented the new QB is. The other offensive skill players to look out for is Jalen Reagor and KaVontae Turpin. These two may be the most athletic players on the field.

TCU is also extremely talented on the defensive side of the ball with great players like Ben Banogu who wreaks havoc on the defensive line and safety Innis Gaines, who according to Jamie, “hits people so hard they go back in time”. They only allowed seven points to Southern University and they were 16th, in the nation, in total defense last year.

Keys to the Game

  1. Offense needs to show up early: They could not get anything started against UNT last week and was only able to score when they had no chance of winning the game.
  2. Xavier Jones has to be better: Jones only rushed for three total yards. For someone as talented as him, he’s got to get more involved in this offense. If SMU cannot run the ball with some sort of success, this game will be over very quickly.
  3. Defense has to try and keep the game close: The defense just has to do a serviceable job. Obviously, the offense is still trying to figure some things out. So the defense has to try and keep the score in the 30s in order for SMU to have any chance. TCU will most likely score their points, but the defense has to limit them as much as possible.

Prediction

Last year was a little easier for me to guess the score of the game as I knew a little more about TCU than this year. My best guess is that TCU wins big, but not as big as what they desire. I think both teams score early, but by the third quarter, TCU has a comfy lead. They will pull their starters out and SMU will score a couple more times. Give me a TCU win 45-20.

Who do you think will win the game? Vote in the poll or comment below if you have anything SMU that you want to discuss!

Poll

Who wins the game?

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    TCU
    (121 votes)
  • 14%
    SMU
    (20 votes)
141 votes total Vote Now