TV Schedule: Thursday, September 3, 9pm ET on ESPN
Location: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
Line: TCU (-16)
On Thursday, the No. 2 TCU Horned Frogs and Minnesota Golden Gophers kick off their 2015 football seasons in a head-to-head showdown that’s sure to intrigue plenty of college football diehards. While it might not seem like the most exciting of matchups, it certainly offers a number of tantalizing storylines for fans to chew on.
First and foremost, can the Horned Frogs live up to the hype of being the No. 2 team in the country? They finished off the 2014 campaign with a blowout win over the Ole Miss Rebels in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, proving to the college football world they belonged in the inaugural playoff.
Now heading into the opener against an underrated Minnesota team, TCU must come out and take care of business to prove they haven’t lost any steam from last season.
The focus will be on quarterback Trevone Boykin, who is clearly one of the top 2015 Heisman Trophy candidates. The dual-threat gunslinger put up spectacular numbers last year, including 3901 yards and 33 touchdowns through the air, and 707 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground. With 10 of 11 starters returning on offense, Boykin shouldn’t have much trouble keeping the ball rolling in 2015, especially with top receiver Josh Doctson back in the mix.
Despite losing a number of key players on the defensive side of the ball, the Horned Frogs shouldn’t have too much trouble keeping Minnesota out of the end zone.
The Golden Gophers return starting quarterback Mitch Leidner, who is far from a reliable weapon under center. Add that in with the fact that running back David Cobb took his talents to the NFL back in spring, and you have a Minnesota offense with limited ways to keep up with TCU’s explosive attack.
Don’t, however, count the Golden Gophers and head coach Jerry Kill out completely. The Big 10 sleeper has finished 8-5 the last two seasons, and has the potential to pull off an upset or two. The Golden Gophers will be looking to prove they can hang with the big boys of the Big 10 — like Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan State Spartans — by putting up a fight against TCU. While chances are slim they come away with the W, Minnesota certainly won’t make things easy for Boykin and Co.
It’s sure to be an interesting kickoff game for both of these teams as they look to start the 2015 campaign off on a positive note. Make sure to tune in, because fireworks will fly and plenty of touchdowns will be scored.
Prediction: TCU 48, Minnesota 27