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North Texas vs. UTEP, 9:00 ET
Nothing quite like a Texas-sized battle in college football to kick Week 0 off, and the official start to college football. Okay, I’m getting ahead of myself. North Texas and UTEP are both in Texas, I don’t know that we really want to call that a “Texas-sized battle.” Still, I think this game is likely to be one of the closest of the weekend. We can even see that by the line posted.
North Texas had an interesting campaign last year. After starting the season with Northwestern State, they lost their next six games, before winning the final five. That’s some college-level streaking right there! One of those wins for North Texas came against UTEP. It was a 20-17 home victory for the Mean Green. Junior quarterback Austin Aune returns and after he found his groove last year, he was able to at least keep the Mean Green in most games. The running back position should be turned over to Ikaika Ragsdale. He had one really good game last year when North Texas beat ranked University of Texas San Antonio in their last regular season game.
UTEP had one bad quarter against North Texas last season, and it cost them the game. In the 3rd quarter, the Mean Green came out and scored 14 points against them. Outside of that quarter, they only allowed two field goals. They just couldn’t muster much offense themselves. Even their touchdown in the second quarter was a bit of a fluke – it was a 76 yard touchdown pass play. Gavin Hardison is still at UTEP and I do think he has improved a bit since that game against North Texas. He just is very inconsistent. I’m pretty confident in their running game and think they have a good enough defense.
If I had to take a side, it would be UTEP. The problem I have is the game opened with UTEP getting 4 or 4.5 in some places. Now we are down to just getting 1.5 points. I think they can win the game outright, but I can’t rely on Hardison. Now that I’ve lost three points in value, I have to lay off a side. Instead, I think the game is an under again. I think both teams will spend the first half feeling each other out. However, rather than play the full game, I think our best shot here is under 27 points in the first half at -110.
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