A high-scoring game may be on tap at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Tex. on Friday. The Texas Tech Red Raiders go on the road to take on the Southern Methodist Mustangs in both teams' season-opener.
College football season is here, and pigskin action in the state of Texas is still a big deal, even with two unranked teams. Both of these squads averaged over 30 points per game last season, so touchdowns should be plentiful on Saturday. Here's how you can watch.
Here's a look at the injury situation for both teams, per USA Today.
Youth and Uncertainty at QB for the Red Raiders
With Michael Brewer out, the Red Raiders will start a true freshman quarterback. The thing is, no one except first-year head coach Kliff Kingsbury knows if it will be Davis Webb (a three-star prospect, per 247 Sports) or walk-on Baker Mayfield, who has drawn rave reviews, per Max Olson of ESPN.
In either case, it will be difficult for SMU to know what to expect on defense. This development could equal a massive success or disaster for the Red Raiders.
Point One of the Texas Square Dance for SMU
Head coach June Jones is leading his team in the inaugural season of the American Athletic conference. The conference is a hodgepodge group of programs with teams as far west as SMU and Houston to teams on the east coast like Central Florida, Connecticut, Temple and Rutgers.
Big conference realignment has a way of disregarding geographical continuity.
The Mustangs will be all over the United States this season during conference play, but much of their non-conference schedule will take place in the Lone Star state.
The clash with Texas Tech is the first of four games against a Texas school and the only one at home. The Mustangs will also face No. 7 Texas A&M on Sept. 21, No. 20 Texas Christian on Sept. 28 and conference foe Houston on Nov. 29.
How Many Points Will Be Scored?
With historically high-scoring offenses on display, taking the over on the 59.5 point line is tempting. Even with a true freshman quarterback, the Red Raiders' offense has standout running backs Kenny Williams and DeAndre Washington to take pressure off the young signal-caller.
SMU senior Garrett Gilbert is explosive and erratic. Last season he threw for 2,938 yards, 15 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.
His qualities and deficiencies are sure to provide scoring opportunities for his team or the Red Raiders. Most of all, neither team is known as a particularly stingy group on defense. In 2012, the Red Raiders were 38th in total defense, and the Mustangs were 63rd, per CFBStats.com.
That over is looking better and better.
Prediction: Mustangs 45, Red Raiders 35
The combination of opening on the road and inexperience at quarterback and head coach will be too much for the Red Raiders to overcome in the opener. To further highlight their ineptitude on defense, the team was 82nd in the nation against the run in 2012.
Most of the starters from that unit are back, with the exception of an even younger secondary.
Look for the Mustangs to pull the mild upset.
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