College Football Week 1 continues this even and we will see the Idaho Vandals travel to the Lone Star State to take on the North Texas Mean Green. The start time is 7:00 pm (Eastern) and the game will be televised locally. Current Odds have North Texas listed as 15 point favorites, while the total sits at 58.5.
Analysis: The Idaho Vandals have been horrible the last 2 years, going a combined 3-21 over that stretch and with just 10 starters back this year and a new head coach, I just don't see that record improving all that much this year. The Idaho offense was bad last year, putting up just 15.8 ppg and 315 ypg on the year. This year they do have 7 starters back, but must replace QB Dominique Blackmon. taking over him is redshirt freshman Chad Chalich. They do return their 2nd and 3rd leading receivers that combined for 96 catches, but no depth is behind them and the running game must replace their top RB from last year. On defense is where this team really struggled last year allowing 42.4 ppg and 474 ypg, but the bad news is that they have just 3 starters back from that group. The Vandals have just 16 of 29 lettermen back on defense and they have lost their top 6 tacklers from a year ago. They will struggle on this side of the ball again.
The Mean Green haven't had a winning record since going 7-5 in 2004. Last year, UNT won a total of four games, but failed to put together back-to-back victories during the year. Averaging 20.9 ppg, UNT was 103rd in the country in that department, and yet the team was still good for almost 400 ypg and ranked first in the nation with just .50 sacks per game allowed. The offense brings back eight starters, including quarterback Derek Thompson who has 24 career starts to his credit. The signal-caller threw for more than 2,600 yards and 14 TDs in 2012, last year but also had 14 INTs. Running back Brandin Byrd had 205 carries last year logging almost twice as many carries as anyone else on the team, leading to 875 yards and four Tds. Last season the Mean Green allowed 27.8 ppg, which was 3 ppg less than they allowed in 2011, and with 8 starters back this year you should see even more improvements from that side of the ball. Senior linebacker Zachary Orr has the most career starts (22) on the defensive side of the ball for UNT, and comes back after being the top tackler a year ago with 108 stops.
Pick: I really like North Texas in this game. Yes they are a middle of the pack team in a weak Conference USA, but the Vandals may be the worst team in all of the FBS. The Vandals have 3 starters back on a defense that was just horrible last year, allowing 42.2 ppg and not much help coming in as their top two incoming defensive players were rated 254th and 269th in the nation by Phil Steele. This team just isn't recruiting well and they have no depth at all. On the other side we have a North Texas team that went just 48 last year and hasn't had a winning team since 2004. North Texas will be much improved this year as they have 17 starters back, including 9 on an offense that put up nearly 400 ypg last year. Last year they also brought back 9 starters, so this is a very seasoned offense, that should just pick apart the Vandals weak defense. The Mean Green brought 4 starters back on defense last year, yet still improved by 4 ppg and 14 ypg from 2011. This year they have 8 starters back from that side of the ball and should easily contain a weak Idaho offense that put up just 15.8 ppg last year. The Vandals have 7 starters back on offense, but their QB is a redshirt so expect some early growing pains from an offense that is already weak. North Texas may not make a bowl this year, but they are improved over last year, while the Vandals may be worse than their 1-11 team from a year ago. A redshirt freshman QB, making his first start on the road, vs an experienced team that needs to start the season with a big win for some momentum, should equate to at least a 20 point win by the Mean Green.
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