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(This is the second in a series previewing the Group of 5 conferences based on their O/U win totals, as provided by Draftkings. For the AAC Preview, click here.)

With all the talk of realignment, college football is going to look at lot different in the future. But in Conference USA, the future is now.

Gone are Marshall and Old Dominion, choosing to take their talents to the Sun Belt. Leaving for the AAC after this year are UTSA, UAB, Charlotte, North Texas, Rice, FAU. Arriving after this year are Liberty, New Mexico St., Jacksonville St. and Sam Houston St. Got all that?

There are a lot of questions that can be asked that will make this last season of C-USA as we know it interesting? What will UTSA do for an encore? What will UAB look like without Bill Clark at the helm? Can Western Kentucky’s offense come close to producing at the level they did last year? Will there be any bad blood between the teams leaving and the teams left behind? The answers will reveal themselves over time, but as for now, here’s how I would bet these teams (based on lines provided by DraftKings as of July 10).

North Texas (O/U 6.5) – On October 23, 2021, the Mean Green were 1-6, with only a season opening win against Northwestern St. on their resume. Seth Littrell was possibly coaching for his life heading into a game against Rice.

But to quote Michael Scott, my how the turntables have turned.

North Texas beat the Owls in overtime, and at that point, everything clicked. They won the rest of their regular season games, including crushing the dreams of Roadrunner Nation by ending UTSA’s undefeated season. That was enough to make the AAC, a conference they will be joining in 2023, take notice. They did all this behind the #5 rushing attack in the nation and steady if not unspectacular quarterback play by Austin Aune.

Whether it was a timely hot streak or the start of something sustainable could be answered Week Zero, when they open the season with a conference game at UTEP. Honestly, I tend to think it was the former.

Taking a closer look at the Mean Green, while they will still have a formidable rushing attack, they do lose 1,200-yard rusher DeAndre Torrey, their entire front four and every safety who started last year. And while Aune was the man to right the ship behind center, he still finished with 9 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in 9 games. He has to cut down on turnovers.

The schedule is more than tricky. The first five games contains only one gimme (against Texas Southern) and four games that could swing either way (at UTEP, SMU, at UNLV, at Memphis). In fact, the Mean Green also plays UTSA, UAB and Western Kentucky all on the road.

Expecting a 7-5 record with that schedule is asking a lot. Take the Under.

read more:  https://thewalkonredshirts.com/2022/07/11/predicting-the-futures-conference-usa/
 

Edited by Coach Andy Mac
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