TCU goes to take on the University of Kansas Jayhawks this Saturday. Charlie Weiss has taken over the Jayhawks and even recruited from Notre Dame, but TCU is on a roll. Let's take a look and see what line to lay it on.
TCU vs. Kansas
The TCU Horned Frogs have made
it back to the big time. They definitely belong in the Big 12, while the Kansas
Jayhawks look more like a low major these days. Opening odds for this game have been set at -20.5 spread in favor of TCU with a 60 point total.
You might not have been around
the last time the Horned Frogs were playing with the big boys of college
football. That was back in the late 1950’s in the old Southwest Conference.
Both the Frogs and the conference fell apart over the following decades, mired
in scandal and riven by defections. While teams like Texas and Texas A&M
joined the Big Eight and turned it into the Big 12, TCU had to settle for an
invitation to the Western Athletic Conference in 1996. Cue the sad trombone.
Then LaDainian Tomlinson happened.
The Frogs started winning, taking three straight WAC titles before moving up
the ladder to Conference USA in 2001, the Mountain West Conference in 2005, and
finally to the Big 12 in 2012. Tomlinson has long since moved on, but coach
Garry Patterson has been nothing short of brilliant in steering this program
back to the top over the past dozen years.
The Jayhawks have been on a
somewhat different trajectory of late. It was just five years ago that Kansas
went 12-1 SU and 11-1 ATS on the way to victory at the Orange Bowl. But coach
Mark Mangino resigned after an internal investigation into his treatment of
players, and successor Turner Gill was bought out for $6 million after winning
just one conference game in two seasons.
Will Charlie Weis make a
difference? He had his moments at Notre Dame, earning Coach of the Year honors
in 2005 and taking the Fighting Irish to the Fiesta Bowl. But two years later,
while Kansas was rolling up the victories, the Irish had the worst campaign in
the history of the program at 3-9 SU (5-7 ATS). Weis was shown the door in
Weis will have to start at the
bottom in his latest crack at college football success. He’s sent a number of
players packing and brought in former Notre Dame QB Dayne Crist, but the
Jayhawks have still managed to perform below expectations. They’re 0-2 ATS to
start the 2012 campaign after a lackluster 31-17 win over the FCS South Dakota
State Jackrabbits (+21.5 away) and an embarrassing 25-24 loss at home to the
Rice Owls (+12). Yes, the Rice Owls.
Crist the Redeemer?
Just as we
thought things couldn’t get much worse for the Jayhawks. They finished No. 107
out of last year’s 120 FBS teams in offensive efficiency according to the F+
numbers over at Football Outsiders. That prompted Weis to give QB Jordan Webb
(13 TDs, 12 INTs in 2011) the boot and bring in Crist, who was part of Weis’
2008 recruiting class at South Bend. Crist had a strong 2010 campaign for the
Irish (15 TDs, seven INTs) before blowing out his left knee. He hasn’t been the
So how do we pick this game? All Crist needs to do this Saturday is face a team
that started the season by polishing off the FCS Grambling State Tigers 56-0,
enough to cover the 51-point spread. Texas Christian goes into this matchup as
a 21-point away favorite according to the college football lines. The Frogs had
a Top-10 defense three years running before slipping to No. 31 in the 2011
efficiency rankings; there might be some holes in the pass rush for 2012, but
Crist needs a miracle cure if he’s going to find those holes and get to the pay
Free College Football Pick:
TCU to cover the spread