TCU vs California -1 (o/u 38.5)
It’s hard to imagine that the 26th best defense in the NCAA would belong to a team that finished the season at 6-6, barely bowl eligible. That is exactly what TCU experienced this season. It’s an anomaly. The offense was serviceable, finishing the season ranked mid-pack in the NCAA for most categories. They did manage to beat a pretty good Iowa State team 17-14, using that stubborn defense to keep the Cyclones frustrated all game long. The only TCU star on offense was WR Jalen Reagor, who caught 72 passes for 1,061 yards and 9 TDs. No one else scored more than three touchdowns on the ground or through the air.
As good as TCU is on defense, the California Bears (7-5) are even better, finishing the season 16th in the nation for total defense, allowing just over 319 YPG. Only twice on the season did the defense give up more than 24 points, both those games being very disappointing home losses to Oregon and UCLA. The cherry on the season was a narrow 12-10 win over #9 Washington at Cal. The offense is nearly a mirror image of TCU’s with no players scoring more than 5 TDs on the entire season. If Cal’s offense has any advantage over TCU’s it would be in the passing game where QBs Chase Garbers and Brandon Mcllwain combined for 2,176 yards passing and 16 TDs.
Prediction: On the face of it, it’s nearly impossible to trust either offense. That squarely points to the under in a game that features two of the best defenses in college football. That said, caution is warranted. Both teams cause turnovers, which could turn into easy scores against a fairy low bowl game total. Still, it’s difficult to imagine either anemic offense scoring against the opponent’s defense. Good game to pass, but. Play under 38.5