College Football Lock Of The Week: SMU vs. Memphis

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Getty Image / Joe Murphy

There are plenty of great games each and every week on the college football slate that jump out at you making it that much harder to zero in on one game each Saturday. In this weekly series, we’ll circle one game, break down the matchup and lay out the evidence as to why this is the lock of the week.

Our lock of the week will always be a pick against the spread. While we’re not saying it’s wrong to bet over/unders or money lines, we’re just going the spread route.

Last week we went with the bottom-feeder game of the Big 12 picking Texas Tech to cover against Kansas, which we lost, but this week we’re going back to Memphis which has been kind to us this season.

SMU @ Memphis (-6)

No. 15 SMU (8-0, 4-0 in the AAC)

No. 24 Memphis(7-1, 3-1 in the AAC)

Kickoff: 7:30 PM EST on ABC

This marks the third time this season we’ve gone with the Tigers as our lock of the week, but they haven’t failed us yet and this week should be no different.

Some college football fans may look at this matchup as a rather boring one between two non power five programs, but the winner of this game will likely go on to win the AAC West and could find themselves in New Year’s Six bowl game when it’s all said and done. Also, College GameDay is making its first-ever trip to Memphis this weekend if you don’t believe us as to how massive this game is.

When you break down this game it’s clear as to just how evenly matched these two teams are on the offensive side of the ball. Memphis enters the game ranked 23rd in the nation in yards per game with 470.6 while SMU sits 10th with 504.1 yards per contest.

On the other side of the ball, the Tigers have the edge, which will be the biggest factor on top of all of the hype behind a College GameDay home game in favor of Memphis.

While Memphis and SMU each rank 55th and 60th, respectively, in yards allowed per game it’s the Tigers pass defense that stands out as the x-factor here. The Mustangs rely more on the passing game and allowing Shane Buechele to make plays with his arm, but he hasn’t quite seen a pass defense like Memphis’.

The Tigers have allowed just over 186 yards through the air per game this season, giving them the 23rd best defense against the pass in the country. Buechele has thrown seven interceptions this season and will have to face a defense that has seven interceptions this season while giving up the third-fewest passing touchdowns on the year with just nine.

SMU’s pass defense, on the other hand, is the second-worst in the conference which should give Memphis quarterback Brady White, who has been the most efficient quarterback in the conference, to do some damage through the air. The Mustang’s pass defense has also given up the most passing touchdowns in the conference with a whopping 21 this year.

There will be points in this game as the two teams average over 39 per game, but Memphis’ defense at the Liberty Bowl will step up in key moments and make this an easy cover for the Tigers. Memphis is 3-1-0 against the spread at home this year and that number will move to 4-1-0 on Saturday night.