The No.6 TCU Horned Frogs (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) were arguably the biggest snub of the College Football Playoff, finishing the regular season as one of two one-loss teams that won’t get a chance to compete for the national championship. Instead, they’ll take on the No.9 Ole Miss Rebels (9-3, 5-3 SEC) in the Peach Bowl at the Georgia Dome on New Year’s Eve.
TCU did all they could to make the playoffs. They were ranked No.3 in the nation before playing their last game. It’d be hard for the Horned Frogs to play much better, as they defeated Iowa State, 55-3. However, the selection committee decided to go with Ohio State, who shut out Wisconsin, 59-0, in the Big Ten Championship Game. The committee bumped Baylor ahead of TCU, even though the Bears entered their final game ranked No.6.
Few teams were more dominant in 2014 than the Horned Frogs. Most of their games were noncompetitive, as they beat eight teams by at least 21 points. TCU has a few marquee wins on their resume, defeating four ranked teams. Their only loss came at Baylor, where no team won this year, in a three-point game, which gave the two teams a share of the Big 12 title.
Ole Miss was in the national championship conversation for the first two months of the season. They recorded one of the biggest wins in school history, beating Alabama on Oct. 4 and climbing to as high as No.3 in the AP Top 25. Back-to-back losses to LSU and Auburn spelled the end of their title hopes, but they ended the season on a high note with a victory over No.4 Mississippi State. The Rebels lost to Arkansas in the previous week, 30-0.
Wednesday’s contest will be a battle of the nation’s top defense versus the No.2 ranked offense in the country. TCU is behind only Baylor with 46.8 points per game, and no team allowed fewer than Ole Miss’ 13.8 points surrendered per contest.
It’d be difficult to point out one poor offensive performance on the Horned Frogs’ schedule. The team never scored fewer than 30 points in any game, and they scored at least 55 points on four different occasions. Four of TCU’s opponents ranked in the top 40 in scoring defense.
The Rebels allowed more than 20 points just twice, including a loss to Arkansas that saw Ole Miss turn the ball over six times. They held four teams with offenses that rank in the top 21 to 17 points or less.
Because of their defense, TCU might have the advantage that ultimately wins them the game. The Horned Frogs rank 18th, allowing 20.3 points per game, and the Rebels have experienced their share of struggles on the offensive end. Ole Miss’ 30.4 points per game ranks 58th in the country.
Quarterback Bo Wallace has had a few bad games against top defenses, and he might not be able to lead an offense that can keep up with Trevone Boykin and TCU. When facing the No.6 and No.9 ranked defenses of LSU and Arkansas, Wallace completed just 30 of 64 passes for 411 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
TCU has been victorious in six of their last eight bowl games. Ole Miss is unbeaten in their last six bowls.
Start Time: 12:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Point Spread: TCU favored by 3 points
Over/Under: 56 points
Prediction: TCU over Ole Miss, 34-20