The TCU Horned Frogs and Oregon State Beavers are two teams that consistently outperform expectations. Year in and year out, these two clubs are at or near the top of their respective conference, the Mountain West and Pac 10. Last year TCU ran the regular season table, losing to Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl. Oregon State was a game away from the Rose Bowl, but a loss to bitter in-state rival Oregon sent the Beavers to the Las Vegas Bowl. Oregon State was manhandled by BYU, likely the result of a post-Oregon hangover.
This season neither team will sneak up on anyone. TCU is the preseason favorite to win the MWC, while Oregon State is predicted to vie for the Pac 10 crown. On Saturday, these two perennial winners are set to clash in Arlington, Texas – a ‘neutral’ site that will be packed in purple. For a non-BCS team like TCU or Boise State, every week is a must-win. Otherwise the chances of playing in a BCS bowl of any kind (let alone the national championship) are effectively squashed.
Although the game will be played at a neutral site, for all intents and purposes, this is a home game for TCU. College football oddsmakers initially listed the Horned Frogs as 14 ½ point favorites, but with just under 60% of betting being placed on the visiting Beavers the line has come down a point at most sites, sitting at 13 ½ points. There is a legitimate chance that TCU will beat Oregon State going away, easily covering the spread. But I think there’s a better chance of the Beavers not just covering the spread, but actually winning the game straight up. Playing Oregon State on the moneyline might be a good investment in you’re looking for a nice payback on a smaller wager.
TCU is a good football team – there is no doubting that. The Horned Frogs bring back 16 returning starters from last year’s team, along with their kicker and punter. From an offense that put up around 40 points per game, 9 starters are back. That is an intimidating thought! Senior quarterback Andy Dalton leads the way. Last year Dalton racked up over 3,000 total yards and 26 touchdowns between throwing and running the ball. Four O-linemen return and basically the entire receiving corps. Gone is leading rusher Joseph Turner, but two returning backs combined for over 1,300 rushing yards and 10 tds. Simply put, the Horned Frogs are stacked on offense. Defensively, TCU gave up less than 13 points per game last year. 7 starters are back, and the defensive line will be the strength of the team. The linebackers and secondary lost some important personnel, but by all accounts the Horned Frogs have talented, capable replacements ready to step in. There are no glaring weaknesses on this team.
But Oregon State looks to be stacked as well. Like TCU, the Beavers welcome back 16 starters. The stars of this team are the Rodgers brothers. Senior wide receiver James Rodgers is a two-time 1st team all-Pac 10 performer. Last year James hauled in over 90 passes for over 1,000 yards. His younger brother Jacquizz – also a 1st team conference selection last year – somehow had even more impressive numbers. In addition to rushing for over 1,400 yards and 21 touchdowns, Jacquizz hauled in nearly 80 passes for over 500 yards. That is downright amazing! To pave the way for Rodgers, four starting linemen are back for the Beavers. The only question mark on offense is a big one – quarterback. Sean Canfield is gone and sophomore Ryan Katz fills the void. Katz’s performance in this game may well determine the outcome. On defense the Beavers will be strong with 8 returning starters. The secondary looks to be a force, though the defensive line should be solid as well. An inexperienced linebacking core needs to mature quickly if the Beavers expect to stop the juggernaut that is the TCU Horned Frogs offense.
Can the Beavers beat such a talented TCU team? Absolutely. Oregon State is every bit as experienced as TCU, nearly as talented, and the Rodgers brothers are dynamic enough to give any defense fits. And remember this – on the entire Oregon State roster only two players are from the state of Texas. That’s right. The Rodgers brothers. This will be a homecoming for the two stars, so you know this game will have special meaning. On top of that, the Beavers have a shot to knock off a top 10 team and come into this game with absolutely nothing to lose. TCU has everything to lose. And you know both teams have been reading all the press written up about TCU and how great they are. The pressure is on the Horned Frogs, not the Beavers.
All things considered, I think Oregon State warrants a moneyline play of some kind. The Beavers are a top 25 team playing a non-BCS team at a neutral site. Two touchdowns are a lot of points in this game. The moneyline return will be nice. Consider taking a small gamble that yields a good return. But like always, make sure to grab our winning college football picks to ensure a positive return on your sports betting investment.