(8-5, 7-5 ATS in 2009)
Texas Tech Red Raiders
(9-4, 7-5 ATS in 2009)
The Tommy Tuberville era begins in Lubbock on Sunday afternoon, as the Texas Tech Red Raiders and SMU Mustangs engage in what could be a heck of a college football betting duel in the Lone Star State.
Things for the Mustangs are going to be very, very interesting this year. This is the third year for HC June Jones at SMU, and this is usually the year in which his teams really start to thrive in that wild run and shoot offense. QB Kyle Padron is well on his way to becoming a fantastic quarterback, and he could throw the ball 55-60 times in this game if Jones needs him to. The training wheels are clearly coming off of Padron after a freshman campaign in which he proved he was ready, prompting original starting QB Bo Levi Mitchell to transfer to Eastern Washington. The problem for SMU is still its defense. The unit improved over the course of the end of the season, holding its final two foes to a total of just 31 points, but still allowed 31+ six times over the course of the year. The Mustangs did win five of their final six games last season, including a huge 45-10 upset of the Nevada Wolfpack in their bowl game.
Texas Tech is going to be quite an interesting team to watch this year. There is a big question as to whether Tuberville is going to be employing the traditional “Air Raid” assault, or whether he’ll be settling this into more of an SEC style, rush first offense. The answer, at least for now, appears to be something in the middle. HC Mike Leach never had a 1,000 yard rusher in his time at Texas Tech, but RB Byron Batch could pull it off this year. Batch is looking forward to at least 200 carries this year. QB Taylor Potts is going to get the nod, but just as he was for most of last season, he’ll be looking over his shoulder at backup QB Steven Sheffield, who could take his job at a moment’s notice. Tuberville is determined to improve the way in which the Red Raiders play defense as well, as they won’t tolerate allowing so many points this year. The ‘D’ did hold five foes to 13 points or less last year, including both Oklahoma and Nebraska, so we know that this is a unit that has a ton of potential.
Be very, very careful, T-Tech. The Mustangs are a legitimate team and they are tired of being doormats in the Lone Star State, especially with the TCU Horned Frogs also dwelling in the great state of Texas. There are a lot of questions surrounding the Red Raiders right now, and it just feels as though Jones has a team that is more in tuned with what it wants to do this year. If this game were to be played a month or two into the season, we might think differently. But for the time being, SMU is still looking for respect and might get it in the form of a huge upset to open up the NCAA football betting season.
Selection: SMU Mustangs +14