College Football Week #1 Betting: Texas Tech Red Raiders at SMU Mustangs
Texas Tech Red Raiders at Southern Methodist Mustangs
Gerald Ford Stadium – Dallas, Texas
Friday, August 30, 2013, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Texas Tech -7
Current Line: Texas Tech -4
Opening Total: 57 1/2
Current Total: 59
Opening Money Line: Texas Tech -220 / SMU +185
Current Money Line: Texas Tech -190 / SMU +160
Former Southwest Conference rivals meet for the 49th time as Texas Tech visits SMU to open the 2013 season Friday night. Texas Tech leads the series 32-16 and has won 14 straight games against SMU dating back to 1989. The Red Raiders won the last meeting 35-27 in Lubbock in 2010. SMU hasn’t beaten Texas Tech since 1986 the year before the NCAA gave the school the infamous “death penalty” that abolished football for two years at SMU.
Last year, Texas Tech went 8-5 under coach Tommy Tuberville. The Red Raiders beat Minnesota in the Meineke Car Car Bowl of Texas 34-31. Tuberville left to become the head coach at Cincinnati, and was replaced by former Texas Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury, who was the offensive coordinator at Texas A&M last year.
SMU was 7-6 last year under coach June Jones in their last year in Conference USA. The Mustangs crushed Fresno State 43-10 in the Hawaii Bowl. The Mustangs moved on to the American Athletic Conference, formerly the Big East.
Texas Tech was #20 in scoring offense with 37.5 points a game, and #2 in passing at 356 yards per game. The Red Raiders might even throw the ball even more under Kingsbury and co-offensive coordinators Sonny Crumble and Eric Morris.
Sophomore Michael Brewer was supposed to be the starting quarterback, but is out for week one with a back injury. So a true freshman will start Friday night, either Davis Webb or Baker Mayfield. Kingsbury didn’t announce who would start, and both could see action against SMU. Junior Kenny Williams was the leading rusher for Tech last year with 143 carries, 824 yards and 5 touchdowns, and also had 16 catches, 163 yards and a touchdown. DeAndre Washington also returns at running back after missing all of last year with a knee injury. Receiver Eric Ward had 82 catches, 1,053 yards and 12 touchdowns last year. He and Darrin Moore got the vast majority of the catches last year, but Moore is now in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys. Tight end Jace Amaro had 25 catches for 409 yards and 4 touchdowns before an upper body injury sidelined him. He is suspended for the first half against SMU. The line was great at pass protection last year, but loses several key parts.
Last year, the Texas Tech defense improved immensely, and was second in the Big 12 in yards allowed, and second against the pass. It didn’t really show on the scoreboard though as the Red Raiders allowed 32 points per game. Still, 8 starters return from that unit, but they do need to force more turnovers. Senior defensive end Kerry Hyder had 56 tackles and 6 sacks last year. Defensive end Dartwan Bush and linebacker Sam Eguavoen are also talented.
Coach June Jones’ “run & shoot” offense usually translates to a lot of points and yards. However, the Mustangs were 90th in total offense and #54 in points scored at 30.5 points per game. The offense did show signs of life like in the 72-42 rout of Houston and in the Bowl game against Fresno St. Jones brought in Hal mumme as the new coordinator to juice up the offense.
Senior quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who began his career at Texas, completed 53% of his passes for 2,932 yards with 15 touchdowns and 15 picks, along with 94 carries, 346 yards and 8 touchdowns. The Mustangs must replace leading rusher Zach Line, now with the Minnesota Vikings. Line had 277 carries, 1,278 yards and 13 touchdowns, along with 33 catches for 229 yards. Junior Traylon Shead will take over as the feature back after transferring from Navarro College. Zach’s little brother Prescott will also get some carries. Jeremy Johnson (67 catches, 679 yards, and 3 touchdowns), Der’rikk Thompson (41 catches, 535 yards, and 4 scores) and Keenan Holman (25, 311, and 2) are the top returning receivers. The struggled last year in both run blocking and pass protection. The line must do better but returns only 2 starters.
SMU was third nationally in takeaways last year on defense and also had 8 pick sixes. However, the Mustangs must replace most of their top defenders. The front seven was especially hard hit and must replace the entire defensive line. Senior Cornerback made 3 picks last year and does return. Linebacker Randall Acker had 93 tackles and 3 interceptions last year.
Texas Tech was 6-7 ATS last year and the total was 8-4. The Red Raiders are 0-6 ATS overall and 0-5 on fieldturf.
SMU was 8-5 ATS last year and the total was 6-6. The Mustangs are 6-0 ATS at home, 5-1 on fieldturf, 5-2 overall and in non-conference games, and 5-15-1 against Big 12 teams.
I would like Texas Tech more if Brewer was playing, but the kids should be fine. Whomever starts will throw the ball 60 or perhaps 70 times Friday night. I like Texas Tech to win a close shootout on the road.
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