Oregon vs. TCU Prediction, Alamo Bowl Preview

    Oregon vs. TCU prediction and 2016 Alamo Bowl preview. Find out who's picked to win between the Ducks and Horned Frogs.

    December 20, 2015

    Among non-New Year’s Six bowl games this postseason, few figure to be more entertaining than the Alamo Bowl matchup between the Oregon Ducks (9-3) and the TCU Horned Frogs (10-2). Check out the Oregon vs. TCU prediction and game preview.


    Oregon vs. TCU Game Preview

    Broadcast

    Date: Saturday, January 2
    Game Time: 6:45 ET
    Network: ESPN

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    Why You Need To Care

    Oregon and TCU began the 2015 season ranked in the top 10, with realistic aspirations of participating in the second annual College Football Playoff. Instead, they’ll be in San Antonio, two days after semifinal games have been played. Bad for the Ducks and Frogs, but very good for fans of high-scoring shootouts that produce spools of splashy footage.

    It was, to say the very least, a bizarre first season without Heisman QB Marcus Mariota in Eugene. Oregon didn’t even win its division, but no Pac-12 team was playing better at the end of November. At the midway point, the Ducks were 3-3, having already fallen to Utah and Washington State at Autzen Stadium. There was an undeniable, palpable buzz that the run was over. And then QB Vernon Adams regained his health and Oregon suddenly became Oregon again, sweeping its final six games, including over divisional champions Stanford and USC. If the Ducks can stay hot, they’ll reach 10 wins for the eighth year in a row.

    No excuses, but TCU was decimated by injuries in 2015, from as far back as the summer right through the season. The defense was whacked early, yet head coach Gary Patterson was able to fill the holes and navigate the first eight games on the schedule. However, the Frogs lost to Oklahoma State on Nov. 7 and made a season-defining trip to Norman two weeks later without the elite pitch-and-catch combo of QB Trevone Boykin to WR Josh Doctson. A valiant effort fell short, resulting in a visit to the Alamodome instead of Jerry’s World. The last time TCU played Oregon, 1978, it was still a member of the Southwest Conference.

    Why Oregon Will Win

    Time will not halt the Ducks’ late-season offensive surge.

    No one, not Stanford nor USC, could hold Oregon below 38 points over the final five games of the regular season. The Ducks were diverse and unstoppable, with Royce Freeman running behind an improved line and Adams pitching the ball to a splashy collection of receivers that added Darren Carrington at midseason. Oregon’s balance and big-play ability will cause problems for the TCU defense, especially on a fast track. With Doctson still questionable with a wrist injury, the Ducks possess the better group of receivers, as well as four playmaking backs that each average at least 6.6 yards per carry.

    Why TCU Will Win

    Boykin is as healthy as he’s been in a long time, and that’s a major concern for an iffy Oregon defense.

    The Horned Frogs will not only have an edge behind center, but they’ve also got the more reliable D as well. Patterson and his staff have done a terrific job of patching up the defense this season. TCU is stout at the point of attack, led by linemen Davion Pierson, Josh Carraway and Terrell Lathan. And LB Ty Summers and safeties Denzel Johnson and Derrick Kindred excel in run defense. Meanwhile, the Ducks have been saddled with defensive problems all season long, especially on the back end. Oregon gives up more than six yards a play, while the pass defense ranks 126th nationally. With or without Doctson, Boykin will feast through the air on Saturday evening.

    Player Who Matters

    TCU is once again expected to be without All-Big 12 C Joey Hunt. And that’s a big concern against the Oregon D-line.

    While the Ducks have struggled on defense in 2015, the fault doesn’t rest at the feet of the linemen. Oregon is two-deep strong along the front three, spearheaded by Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year DeForest Buckner. Buckner is a microcosm of a unit that’s big, athletic and quick to the backfield. He’ll require more than one Horned Frog, which will create a clearer path for senior NG Alex Balducci, who’ll be lined up across from Hunt’s replacement, inexperienced sophomore Austin Schlottman.

    What’s Going To Happen?

    Buckle up. This promises to be four hours of pure football enjoyment.

    The Ducks and the Frogs on turf is a matchup designed for fans who can’t get enough offense and explosive plays. Adams vs. Boykin will not disappoint, with both players orchestrating attacks that liberally move up and down the field. Adams’ team, though, is just a little hotter and a little healthier at this stage of a long season. Fueled by Freeman, Oregon will have greater success on the ground than TCU. And in a last-team-with-the-ball kind of game, the Ducks will make a key defensive stop in the final moments to close 2015 on a seven-game winning streak.

    Oregon vs. TCU Prediction

    Final Score: Oregon 41, TCU 39, Line: PK, o/u: 78
    Must See Rating: 5: Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens – 1: Property Brothers at Home on the Ranch… 4

    MORE: 10 Best College Football Bowl Games

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