Texas Tech (7-5) vs LSU (8-3)
When: Tuesday, December 29th 2015
Where: NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
Time: 9:00 ET | TV: ESPN
Leonard Fournette and the LSU Tigers will square off against the pass-happy Texas Tech Red Raiders in this year’s Texas Bowl from Houston. The Tigers looked like they would compete in the College Football Playoffs, but three straight losses to begin November did them in. They surrendered 30 or more points in each of those losses and Fournette was a non-factor in each of them. LSU finished with a strong 19-7 over Texas A&M that might have saved coach Les Miles’ job. The coach will be back next season to guide Fournette and company for at least one more year. Fournette ended the season with 1,741 rushing yards – the most in LSU history. This offense revolves around Fournette as quarterback Brendon Harris leads the 110th ranked passing attack that averages just 173.1 yards a game. He’s completed just 53.1% of his passes this season and all five of his interceptions have come in the last four games. The defense had trouble stopping opponents as they let up 19 points or more in every game, but the last. Their secondary ranked 50th in the nation and will be tested Tuesday against the Red Raiders passing offense.
Texas Tech comes in with the top-ranked passing attack in the country led by quarterback Pat Mahomes. The sophomore was third in the country with 4,283 passing yards and threw 32 touchdowns and ran for 10 more scores. The Red Raiders averaged 46.6 points a game this season which was second best in FBS behind Baylor. Running back DeAndre Washington took advantage of the spread offense and ran for a career high 1,455 yards and 14 touchdowns. He exploded in the last two games of the regular season going off for 421 yards and five touchdowns. With an offense like this, you wonder why they are just 7-5. Well, their defense is absolutely horrible. They ranked 127th out of 128 teams in yards allowed per game at 540.2 and 125th in points allowed at 42.6. In four of their five losses, they allowed 55 points or more including a 70-53 home loss to Oklahoma State. Even in their two straight season-ending wins over Kansas State and Texas, they allowed 89 points. They were 126th against the run which is not good news with one of the best backs in the country coming up.
This is a tough one to call. The Red Raiders can score at will and keep this close, but can they stop Fournette? LSU’s defense is susceptible to the pass which worries me, but I’m going to take the SEC in this one and hope the defensive front pressures Mahomes enough to have an off game. Fournette could run for close to 300 yards in this one. I’ll lay the points, but not with extreme confidence.
Pick: LSU -7