Tulane Out to Complete Improbable Run
With the regular season in the rear-view mirror (excepting a few games), the schedule is dominated by conference title games, so selecting the unexpected is a much more difficult task.
With spots in the College Football Playoff on the line, it seems rather unlikely that Georgia, Michigan, Texas Christian, and Southern California will be distracted as they try to secure the invitations. However, the 2022 season has seen surprises along the way, with teams defying the college football odds. Perhaps that continues.
We had Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Carolina among the teams to keep an eye on, so will any of those schools pan out this time around?
North Texas vs UTSA
- Date, time (TV): Friday, Dec. 2nd, 7:30 p.m. ET (CBS Sports Network)
- Line: UTSA -8½
When the teams met in October, visiting North Texas led before Frank Harris threw a touchdown pass with 15 seconds remaining, lifting UTSA to win by a count of 31-27. Now, the Roadrunners are listed by the Las Vegas odds as favored by more than a touchdown.
The game against North Texas was one of three one-score games UTSA played over the last five contests.
UTSA may very well repeat as conference champions. However, the first meeting of the season proved that North Texas can hang with the Roadrunners.
Seven of the last eight games in the series have gone under the total, with the college football predictions listing this number at 69½. That’s the highest of the conference title contests.
North Texas has covered in four of the last six meetings with UTSA.
Leading rusher Ayo Adeyi and leader sacker Mazin Richards are among the North Texas injured, thus they’re questionable here. UTSA will be without rush leader Brenden Brady.
Scoop on Free Play from the Locker Room
Kansas St. vs Texas Christian
- Date, time (TV): Saturday, Dec. 3rd, 12 noon ET (ABC)
- Line: Texas Christian -2½
Texas Christian has found a variety of ways to remain undefeated during a stretch when eight of nine games were decided by 10 or fewer points or less. One of the more surreal contests came against these same Wildcats TCU meets in the Big 12 title game.
Kansas St. scored touchdowns on four consecutive possessions, taking an 18-point lead in the second quarter. The Wildcats then turned the ball over twice, and missed two field goals, on five second-half possessions. TCU ended with a 38-28 victory.
The Big 12 championship game might be at the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, but the Wildcats are a popular pick to end TCU’s perfect season.
Kansas St. had won the previous three games with the Horned Frogs before this losing effort.
These are two of the best “betting” teams in the country (TCU 9-2-1 ATS, Kansas St. 8-3-1).
Also, under has been the result in six of the last seven games in the series.
While Will Howard is expected to start as Kansas St. quarterback, there’s a chance Adrian Martinez will play. If so, he would add a running threat to the offense. Safety Cincere Mason, who’s tied as the team leader with three interceptions, is out.
Quentin Johnston, leading Texas Chtistian with 49 catches (764 yards), is questionable, as is second-leading receiver Taye Barber.
For those who believe that success starts with line play, Kansas State had both the Big 12’s offensive lineman (Cooper Beebbe) and defensive lineman (Felix Anudike-Uzomah) of the year.
— K-State Football (@KStateFB) November 30, 2022
Coastal Carolina vs Troy
- Date, time (TV): Saturday, Dec. 3rd, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)
- Line: Troy -8
The line would look much different if Coastal Carolina had the services of starting quarterback Grayson McCall, the Sun Belt player of the year. He had the conference’s best passer rating before his season-ending foot injury (more than 2,300 yards, 21 touchdowns, and one interception).
Jared Guest is just 17-of-38 (262 yards, three interceptions) in the last two games.
Troy has the top passing defense in the conference, so this could be a tough foe.
While the Trojans rolled past their last two rivals (combined score of 82-35), the previous four games were decided by a total of two touchdowns. It’s not like Troy has been overwhelming.
The 16 touchdown passes and 13 interceptions thrown by Troy is something to consider in a game where it’s an eight-point favorite.
Troy has covered in four of the last five meetings with Coastal Carolina.
Total has gone over in the last five games in the series (number at 48 here).f
UCF vs Tulane
- Date, time (TV): Saturday, Dec. 3rd, 4 p.m. ET (ABC)
- Line: Tulane -4
Tulane has been one of the best stories of the season, a 2-10 team to 10-2. However, one of those losses came at home against UCF.
UCF leads the American Athletic Conference in total offense and scoring offense.
UCF suffered a stunning loss to Navy, then held off rival South Florida to get into this game (first time since 2018).
Tulane will be playing at home in Saturday’s game, It’s the school’s first title game.
The Green Wave defense is one of the best in the conference. so perhaps that slows down UCF’s offense. It won’t be a surprise to see UCF come away with the win.
As an added bonus, winner of this game could earn the Group of Five slot in one of the New Year’s Day bowl games, thus there is more at stake than just a conference title.
UCF has won the last five meetings with Tulane, three were decided by seven or fewer points.
Tulane is 10-2 against the Las Vegas odds this season. Nine of UCF’s last 11 road games finished over the total.
Louisiana St. vs Georgia
- Date, time (TV): Saturday, Dec. 3rd, 4 p.m. ET (CBS)
- Line: Georgia -17½
We aren’t suggesting defending national champ Georgia loses the SEC title game a second time in a row. However, a 17½-point line against a team that just a week ago had a chance to earn one of the four spots in the College Football Playoff field seems rather extravagant.
LSU should have plenty of motivation, having fallen to unranked and underachieving Texas A&M in the regular-season finale.
LSU had five games with more than 500 yards of total offense. Can the Tigers sustain drives against the vaunted defense of the Bulldogs?
Georgia will be motivated to win the SEC. It hasn’t since 2017. With no fear of losing a spot in the College Football Playoffs, there won’t be a win-or-go-home attitude, however.
LSU whipped Alabama earlier this season, so the Tigers shouldn’t be overwhelmed at the prospect of facing No. 1 Georgia. Teams haven’t met since 2019, when the Tigers rolled to a 37-10 win as a seven-point favorite in the SEC title game. The last game in the regular season between the teams was a 36-16 LSU win (as a seven-point ‘dog) in 2018.
Something to consider if you bet online is that seven of the last nine games between the teams went over the total.
The line opened at two touchdowns, but has since moved to 17½.
Jayden Daniels has an ankle injury, but the Tigers’ quarterback is trending in the right direction ahead of this game. LSU cornerback Jarrick Bernard-Converse (concussion) is questionable, running back Josh Williams is probable. He missed the last two games with an injured knee.
Georgia tight end Arik Gilbert is questionable, while offensive lineman Earnest Greene (leg) is nearing a return. Georgia has played the last four games without linebacker Nolan Smith.