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Peach Bowl 2014: Is TCU's offense overrated?

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Play a real defense, why don't ya?

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Like most of y'all, I'm sure one of the topics of conversation at your various family holiday functions was the Peach Bowl. When they corner you between the appetizer and booze station, there's no better thoroughfare for your lackadaisical non-ESPN watching family to bring up something they know you are passionate about. I can't really blame them -- the hype train for this game is reaching Snowpiercer (check it out on Netflix) speeds and it feels great to have bandwagon-esque family and friends reaffirm that when they ask me the following basic line-up of questioning while I sip brandy milk punch:

1. Are you going to the game? Yes, my wife and I skipped all away games this year for a potential college football playoff berth, but a New Year's Six bowl will suffice.

2. What do you think about the matchup? I think it will be a great game with a coin-flip on the victory. Hopefully Ole Miss wins so we can win the party even harder on New Year's Eve.

3. TCU... hmm, isn't that a Mormon college? No, it's Texas Christian University. You're thinking of BYU who you recently saw get in a brawl with Memphis after their bowl game. Someone must've spiked the Gatorade with caffeine. ::cue light chuckle::

4. Ah ok, TCU... don't they have the nation's best offense or close to it? Well yes... but we aren't sure. The Big XII is as good at defense as Uncle Rick is at making fruit cake. Sure we tell him it's good, but deep down, everyone grabs a bite just to appease him, then when he's not looking, we feed it to the dog.

5. I read on the Clarion Ledger comment section that Chad Kelly is gonna be there? You heard that too? Hmm, well his court date is Jan. 5 so I doubt that's true. However, his swagness follows us wherever we go like Christmas spirit.

6. Who do you think will show up at QB, Good Bo or Bad Bo? Ok you have now reached the acme of main stream media cliches, this conversation is over...

It's question No. 4 that really got me thinking... just how good is this TCU offense and is the BIG XII sucky-ass defense narrative really true? Let's turn to the numbers! Here's a look at TCU's schedule and the total defense statistics of their opponents (not including TCU's first opponent, FBS Samford).

Total D Rank Rush yds Pass Yds Total Yds Yards per play Yards per game
Minnesota 38 1934 2418 4352 5.32 362.7
SMU 122 2829 3164 5993 6.62 499.4
Oklahoma 53 1315 3272 4587 5.16 382.3
Baylor 41 1292 3120 4412 5.17 367.7
Okie State 96 2016 3231 5247 5.8 437.3
Texas Tech 125 3114 3038 6152 6.24 512.7
West Virginia 59 1951 2712 4663 5.34 388.6
Kansas State 36 1493 2841 4334 5.31 361.2
Kansas 109 2516 2922 5438 6.29 453.2
Texas 25 1945 2235 4180 4.67 348.3
Iowa State 128 2955 3392 6347 6.53 528.9

Ole Miss 12 1603 2251 3854 4.61 321.2

Now for the scoring defense of TCU's opponents.

Scoring D Rank Points allowed Points/game TCU Points
Minnesota 33 281 23.4 30
SMU 126 496 41.3 56
Oklahoma 44 297 24.8 37
Baylor 38 290 24.2 58
Oklahoma State 100 384 32 42
Texas Tech 126 495 41.3 82
West Virginia 60 314 26.2 31
Kansas State 26 261 21.8 41
Kansas 106 399 33.3 34
Texas 32 279 23.3 48
Iowa State 118 466 38.8 55

Ole Miss 1 166 13.8 ???

As it turns out, the answer is a pretty glaring and almost a definite YES... TCU just hasn't played any defenses worth a damn and their gaudy numbers are the result. Of the 11 FCS teams they have played, the average total defense rank is 76th while their average scoring defense rank is 74th. Ole Miss ranks 12th and 1st in those categories, respectively.

Now sure, the stats of TCU's competition is a bit skewed considering TCU ran up a bunch of yardage and points against those teams, but that is still one game out of 12. Remember the Arkansas game? (I wouldn't blame you if you didn't.)

Sure it's touchy territory to look at common opponents OF opponents, but let's consider Texas Tech, who played both TCU and Arkansas. Ole Miss had six turnovers against Arkansas and gave up 300-plus yards. Texas Tech, on the other hand, had three turnovers and gave up just shy of 500 yards. (Take this data with a grain of salt because our game and Texas Tech's game against Arkansas were at opposite ends of the season, but it's the only game I could fit in this comparison.) If Arkansas, a dominantly run-based offense can put up 500 yards on Texas Tech, it should come as no surprise that an offense that can do both, thanks to Trevone Boykin and Aaron Green, could put up almost 800 yards on one of the worst defense's in all of college football.

On top of the numbers, this game reeks of another narrative: the whole "we've got a chip on our shoulder because we were left out of the championship game so we are gonna play lights out to prove that we belonged and then shit the bed because yea, we really didn't." If you remember the last Cotton Bowl held at the Texas State Fair, then you should remember Texas Tech receiver Michael Crabtree's postgame quote, "I guess we just weren't feeling it." Well I have a feeling that TCU "just ain't feeling it" and will lay over once they face a real defense.

Crabtree

Now let's send them home like we did in Omaha.

Clicky for the good feels: Ole Miss sending TCU home from CWS.

My prediction? Rebels roll, 35-17. See y'all in Hotlanta.