Valero Alamo Bowl 2017: Stanford vs. TCU TV Schedule, Time and Odds

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 27, 2017

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 18:  Bryce Love #20 of the Stanford Cardinal in action against the California Golden Bears at Stanford Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Stanford and TCU have one more chance to finish off the season on a high note after falling in their respective conference championship games. 

David Shaw's Cardinal come into the Valero Alamo Bowl off a heartbreaking defeat to USC in the Pac-12 Championship, while TCU was thumped by Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship. 

The showdown of Pac-12 and Big 12 powers is highlighted by a matchup between a Heisman Trophy finalist and one of the stingiest defenses in the nation. 

Below is all you need to know about Thursday night's contest in San Antonio, Texas.

            

Date: Thursday, December 28

Time: 9 p.m. ET 

TV: ESPN 

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Live Stream: Watch ESPN 

Odds: TCU (-3); Over/Under: 49

          

How Stanford Will Win 

Stanford's success runs through Bryce Love, who torched opposing defenses for 1,973 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns. 

Not only has Love been able to wear down teams that have lined up against him, he's also displayed his big-play potential on numerous occasions. 

In all but two of his games, the Stanford junior and Heisman Trophy finalist, broke a run of 50 yards or more. 

Love is going to treat the Alamo Bowl with the same mindset he uses for every game, and that's with a chip on his shoulder, per the Alamo Bowl's official Twitter account: 

But Love won't be the only threat the TCU defense will be tasked with stopping, as quarterback KJ Costello has himself a few weapons in the passing game.

Costello's main target is J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, who hauled in 43 catches for 720 receiving yards during the regular season. The junior wideout will be relied upon to keep the TCU defense honest as it tries to load the box in an attempt to stop Love. 

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 18:  Camryn Bynum #24 of the California Golden Bears breaks up a pass intended for JJ Arcega-Whiteside #19 of the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Imag
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Defensively, Stanford has to contain the production of TCU quarterback Kenny Hill. That can be achieved in a few ways, starting with getting pressure on Hill through Harrison Phillips, who has 14.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. 

In the secondary, Justin Reid will be in control of shutting down Hill if Phillips and the defensive line are unable to get to the quarterback. Reid, who leads the Cardinal with five interceptions, will be tasked with keeping the Horned Frogs receivers from getting open. 

If Reid and Phillips are able to have the impact they should on the contest, it will be a low-scoring affair that could be won by Love's output in the ground game.

           

How TCU Will Win 

Hill is going to have the attention of the Cardinal defense from the start, but he won't be the only TCU player worth keeping an eye on. 

In order for Hill to have success through the air, he'll have to let Kyle Hicks and Co. thrive on the ground. Hicks leads the Horned Frogs with 133 carries, and he's averaged 4.5 yards per attempt. 

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 2: Kenny Hill #7 of the TCU Horned Frogs looks to throw against the Oklahoma Sooners in the first half of the Big 12 Championship AT&T Stadium on December 2, 2017 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

When the Horned Frogs begin to air it out, Hill will have plenty of targets to hit, as nine of his receivers have caught 10 or more balls this season. 

John Diarse and Jalen Reagor are Hill's top two receivers, but they'll have to navigate through the tight coverage Reid and the Stanford secondary are expected to put on them. 

Although the Alamo Bowl winner could score fewer than 20 points, TCU has the potential to blow the Cardinal defense out of the water as well.

TCU has scored 20 or more points in all but two of its games this season. Iowa State held the Horned Frogs to seven on October 28, while Oklahoma limited the Horned Frogs to 17 in the Big 12 Championship.

The Horned Frogs are also equipped to come out on top in a defensive struggle if that's what Thursday calls for. 

TCU boasts the 12th-best scoring defense in the FBS, as it has conceded 17.6 points per game. The Horned Frogs also have the fourth-best rushing defense in the nation, as they've given up just under 100 yards per game. 

Tasked with stopping the impact of Love in the run game will be Mat Boesen and Ben Banogu, who have combined for 30 tackles for loss and 20 sacks. 

MANHATTAN, KS - OCTOBER 14:  Defensive end Mat Boesen #9 of the TCU Horned Frogs gets set on defense against the Kansas State Wildcats during the first half on October 14, 2017 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas.  (Photo by Peter G. Aiken/
Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images

If Boesen and Banogu wreak havoc at the line of scrimmage against Love, it will force Stanford to find success through Costello, which isn't the ideal situation for David Shaw's men with a Heisman finalist in the backfield. 

          

Prediction 

Love and Hill are going to play some type of role for their respective teams, but how big that impact is will determine the winner of the Alamo Bowl.

Expect this to be one of the closest games of bowl season, with it potentially coming down to the last possession. 

Stanford 20, TCU 16

            

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

All statistics obtained from ESPN.com

Odds obtained via Oddsshark.com.