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North Texas vs. SMU - 9/3/16 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction

SMU Mustangs (2-10) at North Texas Mean Green (1-11)

College Football: Saturday, September 3, 2016 at 7:00 pm (Apogee Stadium)

The Line: North Texas Mean Green +9.5 -- Over/Under: 66 See the Latest Odds

TV: American Sports Network; Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area; NESN Plus; CST

The SMU Mustangs will travel to Mean Green Stadium to take on the North Texas Mean Green on Saturday, September 3rd in College Football action.

The SMU Mustangs suffered through a long season in 2015 finishing the year with just a 2-10 overall record and a 1-7 record in American Conference play. SMU has 16 returning starters from last year’s squad which should help them on both sides of the ball, however, if the Mustangs want to improve in the 2016 season, they’ll need to find some answers on the defensive end as SMU allowed 45.7 ppg (ranked 126th) and 502.2 total yds/game (ranked 118th). Offensively, SMU will be led by their playmaking WR, Courtland Sutton, who averaged 71.8 receiving yds/game last season to go along with 9 TD’s. Duel threat QB Matt Davis (188.6 passing yds/game, 16 TD, 7 INT; 63.42 rushing yds/game, 10 TD) should be back behind center again. Leading the rushing attack will be Xavier Jones who averaged 52.67 rushing yds/game to go along with his 10 TD’s. Defensively, SMU had no answers last season and was especially bad against the run as they allowed their opponents to average 261.2 rushing yds/game. SMU will return a lot of experience in their secondary and also will have their leading tackler in DE Justin Lawler (64 tackles, 5.0 sacks) back this season. SMU will have an inexperienced LB group but have high hopes for incoming freshman, Jordan Carmouche.

North Texas vs. SMU - 9/3/16 College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction

USA TODAY Sports

The North Texas Mean Green and first year Head Coach, Seth Littrell, will start a major rebuilding project as they work on trying to improve a North Texas team that went just 1-11 (1-7 C-USA) last season. North Texas brought in a lot of offensive coaching experience and hope that they can help an offensive that ranked T-123 last season in scoring offensive with an average of just 15.2 ppg. Leading the way for the Mean Green will be Alabama transfer, QB Alec Morris, who saw basically no action during his time with the Crimson Tide. Morris top receiving and playmaker threat will be WR Tee Goree who had 118 receiving yards and a TD last season. Leading the backfield will be Jeffrey Wilson who averaged 83.0 rushing yds/game in 2015. Defensively, North Texas was one of the worst ranked defenses in the country in 2015 as they allowed their opponents to average 41.3 ppg (ranked 121st) and 502.6 total yds/game (ranked 119th). North Texas will return 8 starters from last year’s defense including DB’s Kishawn McClain and James Gray who each had over 100 tackles. LB Fred Scott (68 tackles) also returns for North Texas however, the Mean Green still is projected to struggle at the Defensive Line and Linebacker positions.

The Mustangs are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games in September and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games overall. The Mean Green are 13-6 ATS in their last 19 home games and 6-14 ATS in their last 20 games overall.

SMU and North Texas displayed two of the worst defensives in college football last season and as things don’t seem much different in 2016, this could be a high scoring game. I like the coaching hires for North Texas in the off-season however, it’s going to take the Mean Green at a least a couple of seasons before they start turning things around and winning football games. SMU has much more proven talent on the offensive end in QB Matt Davis and WR Courtland Sutton and as they should also see some improvement on the defensive, I think the Mustangs will be able to cover this single-digit spread. Take SMU to cover. 

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SMU Mustangs -9.5

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