2017 Frisco Bowl Picks – SMU vs. Louisiana Tech

The inaugural Frisco Bowl may as well be called the “Sonny Dykes Bowl.” Dykes was the head coach for Louisiana Tech before he left for California. After flaming out with the Golden Bears and spending a year as an assistant coach at TCU, Dykes is back in charge of a Group of Five team with the SMU Mustangs.

Dykes will be on the job a total of a week and a half in Dallas after taking over for the departed Chad Morris. His quest: beat up on his former team in the Frisco Bowl.

Louisiana Tech Bowl History

It’s a tad ironic that Skip Holtz, the man who replaced Dykes at Louisiana Tech, has had significantly greater success with the Bulldogs in the postseason than Dykes ever did. Dykes, in fact, only brought the Bulldogs to one bowl game in his three seasons (the 2011 Poinsettia Bowl).

Don’t count all of that against Dykes, though. The Bulldogs went 9-3 and were inexplicably left out of the bowl season in 2012 after once being ranked as high as No. 19 in the AP Poll.

After a 4-8 season in his first year in Ruston, Holtz has bounced back with three straight bowl wins at the Heart of Dallas Bowl, the New Orleans Bowl and the Armed Forces Bowl.

SMU Bowl History

SMU has played in 15 bowl games in its history, compiling a 7-7-1 mark. However, the team hasn’t been to a postseason contest since the 2012 Hawaii Bowl, and that was back when June Jones was still coaching the squad.

Morris is gone after leading the team to just 14 wins in three seasons, but he was always regarded as one of the top, young minds in college football. Now, Dykes is taking over after never winning a bowl game at Louisiana Tech and only bringing Cal to one postseason clash (2015 Armed Forces Bowl) in four years.

Why Louisiana Tech Will Win the Frisco Bowl

Momentum is key at the end of the season, and Louisiana Tech has plenty of it. The Bulldogs had to beat both UTEP and UTSA just to get into a bowl game, and they did just that. Their losses previously to Florida Atlantic and North Texas should be forgiven since both teams played in the Conference USA Championship Game.

This is a team that also lost three games by a single point, and that doesn’t even include the 34-27 loss to Southern Miss that came in overtime.

Quarterback J’mar Smith is one of the more exciting dual-threat quarterbacks in the country. He’s sacked far too often, and that hurts his rushing numbers. But don’t confuse Smith as a man who stands in the pocket too long. He’s generally one read and run, and that makes him tricky to slow down.

Why SMU Will Win the Frisco Bowl

Ben Hicks had a great season under center for the Mustangs, throwing for 32 touchdowns against nine picks. Dykes’ offense is very similar to that of Morris, and Hicks is certainly going to be allowed to keep the ball moving through the air all game.

It’s a good thing, too. Of the 130 teams in FBS, just one had a pair of receivers with at least 1,000 receiving yards and at least 10 touchdowns, and that team was SMU. But not only are Trey Quinn and Courtland Sutton dangerous; James Proche caught 40 passes for 816 yards, an average of 20.4 yards per catch.

Frisco Bowl Prediction

Holtz’s bowl history is very strong, but his team is overmatched in the Frisco Bowl. Louisiana Tech’s pass defense wasn’t terrible this season, but it also played a bunch of games against teams that couldn’t sling it anywhere near as well as SMU.

If SMU can average anywhere near its season-long mark of 5.0 yards per carry, the Bulldogs aren’t going to know which way is up. The Mustangs have the potential to drop a 50 burger on the Bulldogs, and we think they’ll get there in an easy win in the Lone Star State.

Frisco Bowl Pick: SMU 56, Louisiana Tech 28

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