TCU vs. Stanford: Alamo Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

TCU vs. Stanford: Alamo Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

Big 12

TCU vs. Stanford: Alamo Bowl Prediction, Game Preview


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

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Valero Alamo Bowl
TCU (10-3) vs. Stanford (9-4)


Date: Thursday, December 28th
Game Time: 9:00 pm
Venue: Alamodome, San Antonio, TX
Network: ESPN

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

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

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Valero Alamo Bowl

Under Gary Patterson, TCU never fakes the funk when it comes to wining bowl games. After losing his first two, Patterson has gone 9-4 in the postseason, and all four losses were beyond acceptable. As in, losing to load Boise State teams twice, Michigan State once, and last year to Georgia acceptable. As disappointing as the Big 12 Championship loss might have been, the Horned Frogs are going to show up.

Under David Shaw, Stanford never skips on the swank when it comes to bowl games. Yeah, he lost the epic 2012 Fiesta to Oklahoma State, he and Stanford have been phenomenal, going 4-1 with the lone loss to Michigan State in the Rose Bowl. As disappointing as the Pac-12 Championship loss might have been, the Horned Frogs are going to show up. And that might mean all of them …

Heisman finalist Bryce Love is expected to play. Christian McCaffrey skilled last year’s Sun Bowl vs. (back when he was) Mitch Trubisky and North Carolina, but Love is supposed to be ready to give this a go, even if he chooses to turn pro early. Love vs. the TCU defense trained to stop him? That’s as good as the pre-CFP bowls get.

Here’s Why TCU Will Win The Valero Alamo Bowl

The TCU run defense is great, and it’s had time to prepare. Oklahoma came up with two 200 yard games, and that’s been about it. Only Texas Tech – oddly enough – was able to take off for more than 150 yards. Iowa State, Kansas State, and Texas were just a few of the teams held under 100 yards on the ground – the fourth-best run D in the country knows how to key on a backfield.

This could be Kenny Hill’s moment. For all the talk about the other big parts of this game, this is Hill’s chance to close out his interesting career with a massive splash. Deadly accurate, he came back from missing the Texas Tech gets to hit 72% of his passes with five touchdowns and just one pick against Baylor and Oklahoma.

It’s possible to throw on the fantastic Stanford secondary. Sam Darnold and Luke Falk each cranked up over 300 yards – Darnold did it twice – and Josh Rosen threw for 480.

Third downs, third downs, third downs. As good as the Stanford defense might be, it’s 105th in the nation in third down conversions allowed, giving up 44% of opposing offense’s chances. In a league loaded with phenomenal offenses, TCU was No. 1 in the Big 12 in third downs converted, and 11th in the nation.

Here’s Why Stanford Will Win The Valero Alamo Bowl

Yeah, Love is pretty good. Even with the time off, it’s not like Love’s high ankle sprain will be 100% cool, but it’ll be a whole lot better. Remember, as good as he was throughout the season, he played the second half of the year on one good leg and still ran for almost 2,000 yards with 17 scores. Stanford might have figured out a few things to overcome its star’s injury, but if the main man is cranking out big plays, the O is deadly.

The TCU special teams are good, but Stanford’s are phenomenal. Jet Toner nailed 20 of his 24 field goal attempts, the punt return game is solid, Cameron Scarlett averaged 26 yards per kickoff return, and Jake Bailey averages over 45 yards per punt. This should be a tight game, and this could be where Stanford takes over.

The Cardinal don’t screw up. This might not be the most explosive of offenses when Love isn’t hitting big home runs, but it doesn’t give away a whole lot of easy chances. Stanford led the Pac-12 in both turnover margin and giveaways, losing the ball just ten times all year. One pick – that’s the only turnover over the last four games.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The Valero Alamo Bowl

There but for little bit of good luck, this could’ve been a College Football Playoff game. That might be a bit extreme considering the seven losses between the two teams, but after struggling in Week Two against USC, the other three Cardinal losses came by a grand total of nine points – all three defeats by three points. TCU had an Oklahoma problem and lost a puzzling game against Iowa State. Both teams should be able to put on a good show.

Stanford QB K.J. Costello isn’t going to start bombing away, but he has to give it a shot. With his massive receiving corps, all Costello has to do is hang it up in the air and hope for the best. The freshman can go into next year as the next big thing if he can take over early on, and considering how good TCU’s run defense is, he might have to.

Expect both defensive fronts to make big things happen behind the opposing lines. TCU’s Ben Banogu and Mat Boesen combined for 30 tackles for loss, and Stanford’s Harrison Phillips is a special talent with seven sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss. The TCU pass rush is better, and the TCU offensive line is the lesser of the two.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The Valero Alamo Bowl ?

As good as the TCU defense might be, it can be hit.

The Stanford running game might not go off, but the Horned Frogs struggled defensively against most of the dangerous offenses on the Big 12 slate – the Cardinal have to throw well to win this.

This will be a dead even game, but Stanford will win on penalties, special teams, and turnover margin. In a game between two teams and coaching staffs who do all of the little things right, Stanford will do a wee bit more.

Final Score

Stanford 27, TCU 24
More Bowl Info & Get Tickets


TCU -2.5, o/u: 49

ATS Confidence: 2
5: Being in the bar already
0: Watching ball drop … and then trying to get into the bar

Must See Rating: 4
5: New Year’s Eve: Ministry of Sound, Defected London NYE
0: New Year’s Eve with Maroon 5, Las Vegas

Alamo Bowl History, Results

Dec. 29, 2017 Oklahoma State 38, Colorado 8
Jan. 2, 2016 TCU 47 Oregon 41 (3 OT)
Jan. 2, 2015 UCLA 40 Kansas State 35
Dec. 30, 2013 Oregon 30 Texas 7
Dec. 29, 2012 Texas 31 Oregon State 27
Dec. 29, 2011 Baylor 67 Washington 57
Dec. 29, 2010 Oklahoma State 36 Arizona 10
Jan. 2, 2010 Texas Tech 41 Michigan State 31
Dec. 29, 2008 Missouri 30 Northwestern 23 (OT)
Dec. 30, 2007 Penn State 24 Texas A&M 17
Dec. 30, 2006 Texas 26 Iowa 24
Dec. 28, 2005 Nebraska 32 Michigan 28
Dec. 29, 2004 Ohio State 33 Oklahoma State 7
Dec. 29, 2003 Nebraska 17 Michigan State 3
Dec. 28, 2002 Wisconsin 31 Colorado 28
Dec. 29, 2001 Iowa 19 Texas Tech 16
Dec. 30, 2000 Nebraska 66 Northwestern 17
Dec. 28, 1999 Penn State 24 Texas A&M 0
Dec. 29, 1998 Purdue 37 Kansas State 34
Dec. 30, 1997 Purdue 33 Oklahoma State 20
Dec. 29, 1996 Iowa 27 Texas Tech 0
Dec. 28, 1995 Texas A&M 22 Michigan 20
Dec. 31, 1994 Washington State 10 Baylor 3
Dec. 31, 1993 California 37 Iowa 3

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