Game to be played at Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
1. The biggest challenge facing TCU when it competes in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl may not be the talented Ole Miss team across the line, but overcoming the disappointment of being left out of the inaugural College Football Playoff. The Horned Frogs were third in the penultimate CFP rankings, but plummeted out of the top four when Ohio State’s 59-0 victory over Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game trumped TCU’s 55-3 thrashing of Iowa State in its regular-season finale. “We need to move on,” Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson told reporters. “The players want to finish this season like they started. They’re excited about coming to Atlanta.”
2. The Rebels were part of the CFP equation and were No. 3 in the USA Today Coaches Poll after starting 7-0, but back-to-back losses to LSU (10-7) and Auburn (35-31) ended their championship dreams, so they could be in a better place than the Horned Frogs mentally. “To be one of the first teams chosen in the New Year’s six bowls and to come to a place that is extremely dear to us in Atlanta and particularly the Peach Bowl … we’re honored,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze told reporters. The Rebels’ season ends in the same venue it began as they opened 2014 with a 35-13 victory over Boise State at the Georgia Dome on Aug. 28.
3. The Peach Bowl features the No. 1 scoring defense in Ole Miss (13.8 points per game) against TCU’s No. 2 scoring offense (46.8). The Horned Frogs are led by junior dual-threat quarterback Trevone Boykin, a second-team All-America selection, who finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting, while senior defensive back Senquez Golson (second in the nation with nine interceptions) stars for the Rebels. “I don’t think it can get any better than it is right now,” Boykin told reporters about TCU’s attack.
TV: 12:30 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: After opening at TCU -3.5, the line has since bounced between -3 and -3.5. The total opened at 56.5 and has dropped to 56 at some books.
INJURY REPORT: Ole Miss – OL Aaron Morris (Out-Knee) TCU – WR Kolby Listenbee (Ques-Concussion), RB B.J. Catalon (Qut-Upper Body), DL Mike Tuana (Out-Shoulder)
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “TCU can’t be happy to be playing in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl considering they were ranked No. 3 in the playoff ratings before whipping Iowa State 55-3 and somehow getting left out of the top 4. Mississippi went just 2-3 SU down the stretch, but the Rebels have played the much tougher schedule (No. 6 vs. No. 44) and Ole Miss has a terrific defense that only allowed 16 points per game on 4.8 yards per play against the ten bowl teams they faced this season.” Covers Expert Steve Merrill
ABOUT OLE MISS (9-3 SU, 7-4-1 ATS, 2-9 O/U): Senior quarterback Bo Wallace tossed for 3,085 yards and 22 touchdowns while leading an offense that averages 30.4 points, but threw 11 interceptions and was sacked 26 times. While Golson patrols the secondary, freshman defensive end Marquis Haynes boasts a team-best 7.5 sacks while junior defensive back Mike Hilton leads the Rebels in tackles (66) and solo tackles (44). The Rebels play in a bowl game for the third straight season and have won six straight, including 25-17 over Georgia Tech in last year’s Music City Bowl and 38-17 over Pittsburgh in the BBVA Compass Bowl to end the 2012 season.
ABOUT TCU (11-1 SU, 10-2 ATS, 8-4 O/U): Boykin passed for 3,714 yards and 30 touchdowns while rushing for 642 yards and eight scores, and will likely be the preseason Heisman favorite in 2015. Juniors Aaron Green (team-best 854 yards, eight TDs) and B.J. Catalon (team-high 10 touchdowns) help power the running game while juniors Josh Doctson (16.3 yards per 59 catches and nine TDs) and Deante’ Gray (16.6 yards per 34 receptions, eight TDs) are Boykin’s favorite targets. The Horned Frogs return to the postseason after not playing in a bowl game last season for only the second time in 16 years.
*Rebels are 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games.
*Horned Frogs are 8-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
*Under is 12-2 in Rebels last 14 games overall.
*Over is 4-1 in Horned Frogs last 5 games on fieldturf.
COVERS CONSENSUS: 70.18 percent of Covers users are backing TCU -3.5, with 68.3 percent on the over.