September 3, 2015 (Posted at 12:00 PM ET)
The football season officially starts tonight and we could not be more excited!
One pick was wisely released back on Tuesday since the line was favorable at the time but always unlikely to stay there.
We are releasing another pick early, this time for a Friday night matchup.
Given the small MLB card, we are passing on the bases tonight but will be back at it when there is a full schedule tomorrow!
Take TCU at -14 spread against Minnesota risking 3% of the bankroll. (Released on Tuesday)
TCU may have very well been the best team in the country last year but never got a chance to prove it. The Horned Frogs' only defeat on the year came in a narrow 58-61 loss at Baylor in a game in which they blew a 21 point lead! It was that game which prevented them from not only from going undefeated but ultimately kept them out of the first ever 4-team college football playoff.
After being snubbed by the committee last season, we don't believe the Horned Frogs are going to leave any doubt that they deserve a shot at this year’s playoff! They have had an entire offseason to sit on the sidelines and think about it all and now that the first game of the season is here, we expect them to let out all their frustration. Last year the TCU offense exploded on the scene and averaged 46.5 ppg while racking up 533 ypg and this season they are bringing back 10 of their 11 starters on offense! This squad has all of its major weapons back at all the skill positions. Their top rusher returns in senior Aaron Green (922 yards, 9 TDs last season), as well as their top three options at wide receiver in Josh Doctson (1,018 yards, 11 TDs), Kolby Listenbee (753 yards, 4 TDs) and Deante Gray (582 yards, 8 TDs). Most importantly, their QB Trevone Boykin returns for his senior season. Boykin threw for 3,901 yards with 33 touchdowns (with just 10 interceptions) while also adding another 707 yards and 8 scores on the ground! In his senior season, we wouldn't be surprised if the Heisman hopeful puts in a better overall performance this season.
What some may be concerned about regarding this Horned Frogs team is the fact that they are only returning 5 starters on the defensive side of the ball. After limiting opposing offenses to just 19.0 ppg and 342 ypg, there may be a bit of a regression, however, it is worth noting that Head Coach Gary Patterson has consistently sent out a strong defense in his tenure at Fort Worth and with the talent he has coming back up front on the defensive line, there’s a good chance that this unit suffers only a minor setback this season. While they may not be as stout as last year, we do expect TCU to be solid on the defensive end.
Their opponents in this contest, the Minnesota Golden Gophers, have seen somewhat of a program resurgence under head coach Jerry Kill. Minnesota had a strong season last year going 8-5 overall with key wins coming against Michigan and Nebraska on the road. Defense was the main focal point of this squad and a big reason for their success and with 7 starters returning, Minnesota will likely be a force once again in the Big 12. The true strength of their defense is their secondary led by all-conference stand outs Murray and Boddy-Calhoun. Minnesota will return all 4 starters in the secondary and look to make things difficult for opposing QBs.
However, while their defense is solid, their offense was nearly non-existent at times as the team was almost a nonfactor through the air last season. QB Mitch Leidner returns at quarterback after completing just 51.5 percent of his passes for 1,798 yards, 11 touchdowns and eight interceptions a season ago! Minnesota also has the unenviable task of finding replacements for top skill players Cobb and Maxx who went on to the NFL in the offseason. The RB position will try to fill the void left by Cobb and the receiving corps has a young group of talent that no doubt needs more coaching as no true playmakers of note have risen as of yet. It will likely take Leidner some time to build chemistry with some of the younger talent on the team and that does not bode well when playing an offensive juggernaut such as TCU in the season opener.
This is no doubt a big game for the Golden Gophers as they have a chance to start the season well against the No 2 ranked team in the country. They do have a stout defense that should be able to at least slow down the offense of the Horned Frogs at some stages of this game. The issue here is that the TCU Horned Frogs are coming into this game with a chip on their shoulders and are not going to want to leave any doubt in the committee's mind that they deserve a shot at the national championship! The Minnesota defense may keep them in the game early on but will not be able to contain this Horned Frogs offensive for 4 quarters. With their inconsistent play on the offensive side of the ball, the Gophers won't be able to keep up on the scoreboard. Barring a late meaningless score by the Gophers, TCU should win this one comfortably by 17 or more
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