On Thursday, the #13 ranked Stanford Cardinal takes on the #15 ranked Horned Frogs of TCU in the battle of the Alamo Bowl. This is the 25th edition of the Alamo Bowl which took on the name Valero Alamo Bowl in 2007. Both TCU and Stanford look to end their seasons on a high note after falling short of their goals late in the regular season. Kickoff inside the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, is at 9 PM ET.
Since 2010, the Pac-12 and the Big 12 conferences have squared off in this Bowl Game. Since then, the Big 12 conference holds a 5-2 record against the Pac-12. Stanford and TCU have played two times prior with TCU winning both games.
Stanford (9-4) features one of the best running backs and rushing attacks in the nation. Unfortunately, their QB play has been inconsistent at best. For the Cardinal to win this game they will need to crack a tough TCU rush defense and have QB Costello manage the game well. Stanford failed to beat USC twice this season and ultimately fell to 2nd in the conference, earning a trip to the Alamo Bowl.
TCU (10-3) brings into this matchup a solid defense and a balanced offense. Their 2 losses to Oklahoma on the season, prevented them from winning the Big 12 conference and playing in a bigger bowl game. The Horned Frogs look to rely on their defense to shut down Stanford and get their 11th win of the season.
The spread opened with TCU favored by 2 points and it has since gone up to 2.5 points. The Over/Under opened at 46.5 points and has gone up to 49 total points.
Both teams come into this game looking to get the bad taste out of their mouths from losing their respective conference championship games. For Stanford, it was their second loss to USC on the season. For TCU, it was also their second loss to Oklahoma on the season. TCU had a poor showing in the Big 12 conference game as they suffered their biggest loss on the season, while Stanford only lost by 3 points.
This matchup will be different for both teams. For Stanford, they face a top shelf rush defense that holds teams to under 100 rushing ypg. Stanford, who averages 205.8 rushing ypg will have a tough test this week. But, we all know that won’t stop them from trying. The entire Cardinal team is hoping to help running back Bryce Love crack the 2,000 rushing yard mark on the season. Currently, Love is second in the nation with 1,973 yards. He also has 17 rushing touchdowns.
Despite Stanford’s Costello having 11 touchdowns to just 2 interceptions, his inconsistency at times has hurt the team. This week, it could cause more problems, especially against a good defense. TCU also has a QB that has been inconsistent at times in Kenny Hill. This will be the last game of his college career. On the season, Hill has 2,838 yards, 21 touchdown throws and 6 picks. Unfortunately, he didn’t play well in both losses to Oklahoma.
TCU puts up 176 rushing yards per game, but they don’t have a top level running back like Stanford does. This is going to be the deciding factor in the game. Stanford allows 170 rushing yards per game and TCU allows 99.8 ypg. If Stanford can put pressure on Hill and limit TCU’s ground game, then they have a good chance at winning. If TCU can limit Stanford’s run game and bring the pressure on Costello, then they could win. With such a close matchup, it’s best to take the Under in this game.
The Under has gone 8-1 in TCU’s last 9 games and 6-3 in Stanford’s last 9 games. Additionally, TCU has averaged only 26 ppg over the last 5 weeks, which is a full touchdown less than their season average. In their 2 losses to Oklahoma, they only averaged 18.5 ppg. On the season, TCU allowed 17.6 ppg and Stanford allowed 21.5 ppg.
I see both defenses showing up this game and pressuring opposing QBs. Stanford finished with 32 sacks on the season and TCU finished with 41, which was good for 4th in the nation.
Both teams will try to run the ball and limit their passing attacks to just managing the game. I don’t see either team putting the game in the hands of their respective QBs. In the end, I like Stanford’s toughness on both sides of the ball over TCU’s. I believe Stanford will win. However, for the sake of betting, I say go with the Under as I don’t see the total going over 45 points.