Game to be played at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tennessee
Neither Georgia nor TCU entered the season aiming for a berth in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis on Dec. 30, but that is where they will end disappointing campaigns. The Horned Frogs are tied with Oklahoma for the best record in the Big 12 the past three years (29-9), but after finishing in the top 10 in the country each of the past two years, they won just six times this season. The Bulldogs also fell short of expectations, going 7-5 in Kirby Smart’s first season as head coach after finishing 10-3 in 2014 and 2015.
TCU’s roster features just 13 seniors, and head coach Gary Patterson looks to the bowl game as a springboard into next season. “It’s really about us growing up as a football team and finding out how we need to play going into next season, because we weren’t happy with this one,” Patterson told reporters. “Going 6-6 is not something we’re happy about.” The Horned Frogs lost three games by six points or less, including two in overtime, and closed the regular season with losses in four of their final six contests.
Smart’s first season was marked by a 1-4 stretch in the middle of the season, a stirring upset victory over Auburn and then a bitter home loss to in-state rival Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs have spent practice time working on improving execution, especially at quarterback, where freshman Jacob Eason has shown flashes of brilliance mixed with first-year mistakes. “He’s got to do a better job of commanding the huddle for our team and being a leader,” Smart told reporters.
TV: Noon ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: The line opened with TCU as 1.5-point dogs, that number has since jumped the fence and now stands TCU -2.5. The total opened at 49 and faded to 48, before rebounding to 48.5. Check out the complete line history here.
WEATHER REPORT: The forecast for kickoff on Friday afternoon at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium is sunny skies with temperatures in the mid-50’s.
Georgia – WR Jayson Stanley (probable, toe), DB Tyrique McGhee (questionable, leg), DT DaQuan Hawkins (questionable, ankle), LB Natrez Patrick (questionable, shoulder), LB Lorenzo Carter (questionable, knee), DB Kirby Choates (doubtful, personal), WR Michael Chigbu (doubtful, knee), DB Juwuan Briscoe (out, personal), DB Rico McGraw (out, personal)
Texas Christian – QB Kenny Hill (probable, foot), PK Jonathan Song (questionable, toe)
ABOUT GEORGIA (7-5 SU, 5-7 ATS, 5-7 OU): The Bulldogs received surprisingly good news Dec. 15 when running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, who combined to rush for 1,741 yards and 10 touchdowns, announced they would return for their senior seasons. Eason completed 55 percent of his passes and threw for 14 touchdowns, but did not top 200 yards passing six times in 12 games (11 starts) as the Bulldogs ranked 11th in the SEC in scoring (24 points per game). Georgia’s defense forced 25 turnovers, tops in the conference, and ranked 18th nationally against the pass (186.9 yards per game).
ABOUT TCU (6-6 SU, 3-9 ATS, 5-7 OU): Quarterback Kenny Hill passed for 3,062 yards and 15 touchdowns in his first season after transferring from Texas A&M, but the junior threw 13 interceptions. A knee injury to wide receiver KaVontae Turpin disrupted an offense that still averaged 31.7 points and 475 yards of total offense per game, as Kyle Hicks rushed for 954 yards and 12 touchdowns. Defensively, the Horned Frogs gave up 30 points six times, and followed up a dominant performance at Texas by allowing 30 points to Kansas State in the regular-season finale.
* Bulldogs are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss.
* Horned Frogs are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring less than 20 points in their previous game.
* Under is 5-0 in Bulldogs last 5 neutral site games.
* Under is 8-1-1 in Horned Frogs last 10 Bowl games.
* Under is 4-1 in Horned Frogs last 5 vs. a team with a winning record.
For a full list of hot and cold trends click here.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The public is on the underdog in this matchup, with 58 percent of wagers on Georgia. As for the total, an 55 percent of wagers are on the Over. Click here for in depth consensus data.