TCU (6-6) vs California (7-5)
When: Wednesday, December 26th 2018
Where: Chase Field,
Time: 9:00 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Pickem/41
If you’re looking for an offensive explosion on Wednesday from Chase Field in Phoenix, you may want to wait until April when the Diamondbacks return to the field, because you probably won’t see that in the Cheeze-It Bowl. The TCU Horned Frogs and California Golden Bears will battle on Wednesday night with two of the best defenses in the country with a current total of 38.5 (as of Sunday night). The Bears are allowing only 21.3 points per game under defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter, while TCU is close behind at 24.4. The Horned Frogs are a perfect 6-0 against Pac-12 opponents under coach Gary Patterson, including a 39-37 victory over Stanford in last year’s Alamo Bowl, but he’s just 6-9-1 ATS in Bowl games. Cal is 6-3 SU and 4-5 ATS in their nine Bowl games since 2000 and this will be the first meeting between the two. The Bears won four of five before losing 23-13 to Stanford in the Big Game on December 1st, but have signature wins over Washington (12-10) and USC (15-14) and are bowling for just the second time in seven years. TCU started out 3-5, but rallied by winning three of its last four, including a 31-24 home win over Oklahoma State in the season finale to secure a berth in the Cheeze-It Bowl. The Horned Frogs held opponents to an average of 344.4 yards and have been especially tough against the pass, allowing 202.6 yards (40th).
Linebackers Evan Weaver and Jordan Kunaszyk have a combined 275 tackles for Cal with the latter receiving first team All-Pac-12 honors after recording 11 tackles for loss, four sacks and five forced fumbles. Weaver was a second team All-Pac-12 selection who had nine tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and two interceptions. The Bears had the worst passing offense in the Pac-12 with an average of 188.1 yards per game, but running back Patrick Laird rushed for 932 yards and five touchdowns and will try and break through the Horned Frogs. Cal has a great special team’s unit including punter Steven Coutts and kick returner Ashtyn Davis (26.1 yards per kickoff return).
The defensive unit features two of the top defensive ends in the country in first team All-Big 12 selections Ben Banogu and L.J. Collier, who combined for 12.5 sacks. The Horned Frogs won three games scoring 17 points or fewer (Iowa State, Kansas State and Baylor) – Cal had two of them – and finished seventh in Big 12 in passing offense (226.8). Five players earned second team All-Big 12 honors, including safety Ridwan Issahaku, offensive tackle Lucas Niang, wide receiver Jalen Reagor and cornerback Jeff Gladney. Reagor has caught a touchdown pass in seven consecutive games and boasts 72 receptions for 1,061 yards and nine scores coming into Wednesday’s game.
TCU has a slightly better offense, but Cal has them on defense, ranking 16th overall in the country. I look at the schedules and results from this season and Cal has been a little more impressive to me with their wins over Washington and USC, and almost winning at Washington State. This will be close but I think Cal will want this more, being as this is a rare bowl trip for them.
Earl Morgan’s Pick: Cal -1
Watch the video below for Jay Cooper’s pick…
- Golden Bears are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Golden Bears are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game.
- Golden Bears are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- Golden Bears are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games on grass.
- Golden Bears are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 non-conference games.
- Golden Bears are 15-31 ATS in their last 46 games following a straight up loss.
- Golden Bears are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games in December.
- Golden Bears are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.
- Horned Frogs are 7-19 ATS in their last 26 games on grass.
- Horned Frogs are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games following a ATS win.
- Horned Frogs are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 neutral site games.
- Horned Frogs are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 bowl games.
- Horned Frogs are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games overall.
- Horned Frogs are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 Bowl games.
- Horned Frogs are 2-8 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Horned Frogs are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in December.
- Under is 5-0 in Golden Bears last 5 games on grass.
- Under is 5-0 in Golden Bears last 5 games following a straight up loss.
- Under is 7-1 in Golden Bears last 8 games overall.
- Over is 7-1 in Golden Bears last 8 vs. Big 12.
- Under is 6-1 in Golden Bears last 7 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game.
- Over is 9-2 in Golden Bears last 11 neutral site games.
- Over is 7-2 in Golden Bears last 9 Bowl games.
- Under is 7-2 in Golden Bears last 9 games following a ATS loss.
- Over is 7-2 in Golden Bears last 9 bowl games.
- Under is 12-4 in Golden Bears last 16 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Over is 34-16-1 in Golden Bears last 51 non-conference games.
- Over is 6-0 in Horned Frogs last 6 vs. Pac-12.
- Over is 4-1 in Horned Frogs last 5 non-conference games.
- Over is 4-1 in Horned Frogs last 5 neutral site games.
- Under is 7-2 in Horned Frogs last 9 games in December.
- Under is 21-7 in Horned Frogs last 28 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
- Under is 8-3-1 in Horned Frogs last 12 Bowl games.
- Under is 8-3-1 in Horned Frogs last 12 bowl games.
- Over is 5-2 in Horned Frogs last 7 vs. a team with a winning record.
- Under is 7-3 in Horned Frogs last 10 games after accumulating more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game.