In what many consider to be the must-see bowl game of the year, the Frisco Bowl presented by DXL (shout out to the XXXL guys out there) will be taking place Wednesday in Frisco, TX. Okay, this might not be quite the instant classic I was joking about, but we do have some interesting angles worth taking a closer look at. Hopefully we will discover some angles in the game that will give us a winner to stuff in our DXL khakis.
Louisiana Tech vs. SMU Frisco Bowl
Date/Time: Wednesday, December 20th at 8:00pm EST
Pro Football Betting Odds from 5Dimes
Pro Football Betting Favorite: SMU -5
The biggest narrative here is the coaching change on the SMU side of the ball. Sonny Dykes was named the new head coach last week. There will be only a nine day span in which he became the new head coach to the playing of the Frisco Bowl. Former head coach Chad Morris packed his bags for Arkansas, and it’s notable the he will be taking a few assistants with him. Dykes is a disciple of the air raid offense, and in time it will prove to be fruitful for the Mustangs, but clearly he won’t have time to prepare his squad for that scheme. Dykes will lean on graduate assistant G.J. Kinne to run the team in this game. “The focus here is on just having the opportunity to be around the players and have a chance to get to know them and have a chance for them to get to know me and start to build some trust with each other and that relationship,” Dykes said. Reading between the lines, Dykes doesn’t want to rock the boat in this game, he’s taking an approach of status quo and will likely not have much of a factor in this game. However, whenever there’s a coaching change and the outgoing coach leaves and takes his favorite staff with him, the players are usually unmotivated and the result is lackluster at best.
SMU does have a prolific offense, with signal caller Ben Hicks throwing for 32 TDs on 9 INT and 3442 total passing yards. Standout WR Courtland Sutton has declared for the upcoming NFL draft and in fact could be a first-round pick, so he looks to have one final breakout game. He’s sporting 12 TD on the season, and he will definitely get his yardage in this game.
Louisiana Tech became bowl-eligible after their season finale win against UTSA on Nov. 25th. They’re one of a handful of 6-6 teams lucky enough to be extended a bowl bid. The team had to win their final two games in order to even sniff bowl competition. The Bulldogs have adopted a “win or go home” mentality for the last few weeks, so motivation shouldn’t be a factor at all. They’ve been playing for their collective season for a few weeks now.
We feel this game will be won on the defensive side of the ball, even though it’s most likely going to be a shootout. Louisiana Tech has the far better defense, allowing 26.67 ppg. SMU, on the other hand, is allowing a staggering 35.5 ppg. SMU ranks #120 or worse in passing yards allowed, rushing TDs allowed, total yards allowed, and yards per pass attempt allowed. Clearly, they are struggling on defense, and they’ve been able to put a band-aid on it because their offense is so prolific. Here they’re running to a Bulldog defense that ranks #12 in the nation in red zone defensive efficiency.
Sin City Sharp (@SinCitySharp on Twitter) Free Pick:
With very little time to prepare for this game via the regime change at SMU, Sonny Dykes will be nothing more than a figurehead on Wednesday. Suffice to say outgoing coach Chad Morris took anyone worth their salt to Arkansas with him. This combined with SMU’s porous defense and LA Tech’s stellar defense, it’s a spot prime for the upset. We will gladly take the points here and side with the underdog.
Take La Tech +5