SMU vs. Louisiana Tech: DXL Frisco Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

SMU vs. Louisiana Tech: DXL Frisco Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

Teams & Conferences

SMU vs. Louisiana Tech: DXL Frisco Bowl Prediction, Game Preview


Three reasons why you should watch the DXL Frisco Bowl, why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.


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DXL Frisco Bowl
SMU (7-5) vs. Louisiana Tech (6-6)

Broadcast

Date: Wednesday, Dec. 20
Game Time: 8:00 pm
Venue: Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX
Network: ESPN

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The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness
(1 best-39 worst): 
11 out of 39

2017-2018 CFN Bowl Central: Schedules, Picks, Love
CFN Expert Consensus Confidence Picks

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The DXL Frisco Bowl

It’s Sonny Dykes’ job. Now. With SMU head coach Chad Morris taking off for the Arkansas gig, and with interim head man Jeff Traylor going along, Dykes is going to step in and start working right away – and why not? This is a nice extra game for an SMU program that hasn’t exactly been a bowl regular lately, but it’s also allows the new guy to dive in to 2018. And he gets to do it against the Louisiana Tech team he coaches from 2010 to 2012.

Get ready for some points in the inaugural DKL Frisco Bowl. SMU plays a lot of offense. SMU doesn’t play a lot of defense. Nine of the 12 Mustang games saw 59 points or more, and most of them were in the 70s and 80s. It’s Dykes, and it’s Skip Holtz coaching Louisiana Tech. Oh yes, there will be points.

These programs aren’t that bad in bowls. There was a long drought from 2001 to 2008 for Louisiana Tech, and then it got hot in the postseason, going 4-1 in bowls including victories in each of the last three seasons.

SMU took even more time off – for a few reasons – from 1984 to 2009, and it hasn’t received an invite since the 2012 Hawaii Bowl. But it won three of its last four.

Here’s Why SMU Will Win The DXL Frisco Bowl

SMU already had a terrific passing game, and now Sonny Dykes is at the helm. There might not be a massive change right away, but Dykes should be able to keep everything going as is. QB Ben Hicks has thrown four touchdown passes in three straight games, cranking up 200 yards or more in every game but the blowout opener against Stephen F. Austin. It’ll help the new head man, and Hicks, to have …

Courtland Sutton and Trey Hicks. Quinn was brilliant, coming up with 106 catches for 1,191 yards and 12 scores, making close to nine grabs per game. He’s terrific, but Sutton is NFL special, with 6-4, 216-pound size, nice deep speed, and the matchup issues to catch 62 passes for 1,017 yards and 12 scores. Throw in James Proche, and this is the best receiving corps Louisiana Tech has faced this year.

Louisiana Tech has been great when it comes to turnover margin. It’s a solid +7 on the season, and that made up for an okay offense and several other issues, coming up with 22 takeaways. But SMU has been better with a +10 turnover margin, only losing the turnover battle once – a win over Tulane in the regular season finale.

Here’s Why Louisiana Tech Will Win The DXL Frisco Bowl

If the Louisiana Tech offense was ever going to get rolling, this would be the time. The SMU defense has been a rumor throughout most of the season, giving up 410 yards or more in five straight games before dealing with the middling UTSA offense in the regular season finale. Want to run? Okay – the Mustang defensive front gives up over five yards per carry and 32 touchdowns. Want to throw? Go for it – the Mustang D allows a whopping 8.9 yards per throw.

This isn’t the Louisiana Tech offense of last year that put up big points and big yards in bunches. It needs to convert on third down opportunities and control games to win, going 5-1 – the lone loss coming to South Carolina on the road – when hitting 45% of its chances or more. SMU’s defense on the year allowed offenses to convert 43.4% of their third down opportunities, allowing offenses to come up with 50% or more conversions in six of the last ten games and five of the last seven.

The Bulldogs have to come up with something special. SMU hasn’t given up a kickoff return for a score, but it gets gouged – Bulldog RB Jaqwis Dancy has been terrific when he gets an opportunity. The Tech secondary has come up with three pick-sixes in the last six games and with four defensive scores on the year. Watch out for something quirky.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The DXL Frisco Bowl

This will be an interesting test when Dykes takes over. Usually, the head coach needs a little while to get his feet wet, figure out the lay of the land, and ease into the job. But if SMU wins this and wins this easily, it might be a precedent for future head coaches to take over new gigs during the bowl season to get in there and see what they can do.

Louisiana Tech had a bad habit this year of beating a bunch of bad teams, and coming close in losses to the good ones. The Bulldogs fought South Carolina, and lost by one point. They battled with UAB, Southern Miss and North Texas, and lost all three games by a total of nine points.

Don’t get into a twist over SMU falling off a cliff late in the year. It lost to UCF, Navy and Memphis – there’s no shame there. There weren’t a whole slew of great wins, but the Mustangs blasted North Texas 54-32 – the Mean Green beat Louisiana Tech 24-23. However, that Mustang D managed to keep inferior teams alive way too often.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The DXL Frisco Bowl?

Just how much will the coaching factor matter for SMU? Not as much as many will make it out to be.

Louisiana Tech’s defense has just enough talent to keep this closer than expected, and the offense will open it up against the SMU D, but the Mustangs have too many good weapons.

With Secdrick Cooper and Amik Robertson, Louisiana Tech has good defensive backs who’ll win their share of battles with the great SMU receiving corps, but the defensive front won’t generate enough of a pass rush to help the cause.

SMU’s offense will need a little while, but it’ll roll late when it has to.

Final Score

SMU 38, Louisiana Tech 30
More Bowl Info & Get Tickets

Line

SMU -5, o/u: 70

ATS Confidence: 2.5
5: Being in the bar already
0: Watching ball drop … and then trying to get into the bar

Must See Rating: 3
5: New Year’s Eve: Ministry of Sound, Defected London NYE
0: New Year’s Eve with Maroon 5, Las Vegas

Frisco Bowl History, Results

2017 Inaugural Bowl

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