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TCU, Looking At LSU’s Depth, Faces An Uphill Climb In Arlington

Posted by Blake Frazier on 8/29/2013 7:46:11 PM

In Jerry Jones’ pleasure palace known as Cowboys Stadium, two non-NFL teams will knock heads. It’s LSU versus TCU in one of college football’s better week-one offerings.

LSU Tigers vs. TCU Horned Frogs (Game in Arlington, Tex.) – Saturday, August 31
Sport betting line: LSU -4

Why LSU Will Win

When the best online betting sites tackle this clash, they will readily point out that less than a week into summer training camp, lightning struck in the same place thrice for the Horned Frogs, who have been snake-bitten in August. Three players, two of them starters, up and left the team. Guard Michael Thompson, after multiple knee surgeries, retired from football due to bad health (a series of injuries that took a collective toll). Starting linebacker Joel Hasley left the program as well. Hasley, according to people in and around the program, including head coach Gary Patterson, flatly lost interest in football. Starting offensive tackle Tayo Fabuluje did not report to campus on July 31 in time for training camp. LSU is not as skilled as it was in past years, but the Tigers remain a physical and tenacious team – head coach Les Miles always gets his guys to play with determination. If TCU can’t hang with LSU in the trenches, this game is going to spiral out of control for the Horned Frogs.

Why TCU Will Win

The smart sports bet might pick LSU, but betting players would certainly be reasonable to conclude that TCU can still be competitive and even steal a win in this contest. Why? LSU is simply not a proven offensive team. The Tigers can defend, but they struggled on offense for most of 2012. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger has a gun for an arm, but he struggles with touch passes, and he has difficulty making the right reads and progressions on a consistent basis. He is not a great student of the game and has not displayed the kind of attitude one would expect from a leader. In an early-season game of considerable magnitude against a worthy opponent, it’s very easy to envision a scenario in which Mettenberger commits multiple turnovers. That’s precisely how TCU can get stacks of points without having to move the ball 70 or 80 yards down the field against LSU’s defense. At most positions, LSU certainly outclasses TCU, but if a generally superior team is inferior at quarterback and is hamstrung by an awful performance from that quarterback, the competitive equation can and will change. Mettenberger could be TCU’s most valuable player on Aug. 31, and as long as TCU doesn’t turn the ball over in its own right, the Horned Frogs could definitely outpace the Tigers throughout the evening. TCU quarterback Casey Pachall endured a lot of personal problems during the 2012 season, causing him to take a break from football and stabilize his life off the field. He did that, and he’s now in a better frame of mind. Being mentally rejuvenated could be just the thing Pachall needs to play well in this game and make a difference for the Frogs.

Who Will Win?

The Tigers simply have more strength and more resources in reserve than the Horned Frogs do. Phrased differently, LSU has much more margin for error than TCU does.

College Football Betting Pick: LSU -4

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