SEC vs. Big 12, Round III.
The Big 12 has been staggered in the first couple of rounds. West Virginia lost in a shootout to Texas A&M, then Texas got pummeled by Arkansas. Throw in Oklahoma's knockout loss to Clemson and the Big is 0-3, fodder for those that have been claiming the conference is overrated and doesn't play defense.
But TCU ain't West Virginia or Texas and their Peach Bowl showdown with Ole Miss is still probably the most intriguing matchup of the bowl season. Led by a Heisman candidate quarterback and a cadre of big, speedy receivers, the Horned Frog offense has been one of the best in the country. But that was against Big 12 defenses. What happens when they take on an aggressive, athletic Ole Miss defense allowing the fewest points per game in the country?
We won't have to wait long to find out. Here's a quick preview of Wednesday's game and info on how to watch it.
How to tune in
The latest line at Oddsshark.com has TCU by 3.5 points with an over/under of 56. Their computer-generated score prediction has the Horned Frogs winning 34.6 to 26.5.
3 things to watch
1. TCU's run D
Reports of an Ole Miss running renaissance may be a bit premature. Sure, the Rebs ran for 205 yards in the Egg Bowl, but take away two long runs from Jaylen Walton and Jordan Wilkins and they averaged just 2.5 yards on 29 carries. The fact that starting left guard Aaron Morris is injured doesn't help anything (though freshman backup Rod Taylor may actually be the better run blocker).
On top of all of that, the Horned Frogs are allowing just 2.98 yards per carry, sixth-best in the country. Defensive tackle Chucky Hunter is projected as high as a third-round NFL Draft pick and linebacker Paul Dawson led the Big 12 in tackles and was named the conference's defensive player of the year. If the Rebs do find success on the ground, it probably won't be up the middle.
2. Kendarius Webster
If you wanted to nitpick the Rebels' dominant secondary, you could mention the fact that they've struggled at times against bigger wide receivers -- something that has a lot to do with the fact that starting cornerbacks Senquez Golson and Mike Hilton are both 5'9. TCU's top two wideouts? 6'4 Josh Doctson and 6'1 Kolby Listenbee.
Which means we'll probably see more of Webster, who's two inches taller than his starting mates. The freshman's been getting more and more playing time as the season's gone on and saw a lot of action against 6'5 De'Runnya Wilson in the Egg Bowl.
3. Ole Miss wide receivers
Everyone knows about the gruesome ankle injury to Laquon Treadwell in the Auburn game, but the Rebs took another big hit when senior Vince Sanders tore his ACL against Mississippi State. That leaves Cody Core, Quincy Adeboyejo and Markell Pack as the top three healthy wideouts. Core has seen his production wane after a hot start to 2014, Adeboyejo has been quiet in what was supposed to be a breakout season and the freshman Pack has shown promise but only has 10 catches. The TCU secondary can be had -- they rank 88th in the country in pass defense -- but Bo Wallace needs his receivers to step up if the Rebs hope to hang with the Horned Frogs' offense.