Houston +14 3.3% play
This line is inflated in my opinion due to the way Houston played traveling all the way up to Uconn playing in the cold. They rested some guys and treated as a bye for this week's game, which is much more important. While, SMU took care of a hot Temple team that upset Memphis the week prior, but Temple has been a terrible road team. This is an interesting match-up between two similar coaches that were on the Texas Tech staff that used to recruit these areas that they now coach at. Holgorsen @ Houston, and Dykes up near Dallas with SMU. This game is a very big deal to Houston when you consider the recruiting aspect. I know everyone wants to say Houston has quit on the season, but that's just not the fact. Houston is still playing hard, and if there is a game they are going to show up for it's this gamea gainst an in state rival.
I think all the pressure is on SMU ranked #16 in the AP poll with a huge game on deck against Memphis that a lot of writers are talkinga bout being the ABC game next week with a potential College Game Day appearance. These players could be peaking ahead to that game. This is also the exact opposite situation a slast year. Houston was ranked #17, traveling to play SMU a team with a few losses, and they pulled the upset. The home team has won the last 4 matchups, and I expect Houston to be in this game throughout. Houston gets their QB back for this game in Clayton Tune, which should be a big deal. Houston's average recruiting over the last 4 years is 15 spots higher than SMU ranking #61.5 in the country on average compared to SMU 76.75 so overall more talent on the Houston side and even with players sitting out, this does not deserve to be a 17 point difference on a neutral field on talent alone.
So if my handicap is right. The talent is similar, the coaching is similar, the motivation for Houston should be at its highest, and the pressure should all be on SMU, then we are getting tremendous value. I want to look at the matchup as well and when I do I see that both offenses are relatively the same from a yards per play perspective against similar average defenses. Houston @ 33 against an average defense ranking 67, and SMU 37 against an opponent average 60. Defensively Houston has been bad, but they have faced a far different schedule with an average opponent offense ranking 45th compared to SMu who has faced an average opponent offense ranking 86.5 in yards per play. SMU's opponent YPP differentiation is -0.4, compared to Houston's which is +0.8.
Both teams ironically are run first teams, and that's going to be the key of the game. Houston 8th in rushing yards per carry, SMU is 65th, and the big question is can SMU stop Houston's running game which would be required to blow them out. Eventhough they rank 26th in run defense it's come against an average opponent rushing offense ranking 82nd. North Texas and TCU both inside the top 50 in rushing offense ran for 200+ yards, which I think Houston will be able to do here. SMU ranks 85th in 20+ yard rushes, which is not a good matchup considering they haven't played many good running teams. They gave up over 150 yards to a Tulsa team that ranks 124th in yards per carry. SMU will definitely get theirs in the passing game, but again, all the pressure int he world is on this SMU team. Houston also has a huge advantage in special teams ranking 10th in the country against an opponent special team srnaking 54th compared to SMU ranking 93rd, against an opponent rank of 97. Special teams could win Houston this game otherwise I expect a back and forth battle.
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