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Troy Trojans Vs. Alabama-Birmingham Blazers Free Pick 8/31/13

UAB Blazers (0-0) at Troy Trojans (0-0)

College Football: Saturday, August 31, 2013 at 7:00 pm (Veterans Memorial Stadium)

The Line: Troy Trojans -5 --- Over/Under: 63.5 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN 3.com

The Alabama-Birmingham Blazers travel to the Troy Trojans for both team's 2013 opener.

Followers of Alabama-Birmingham football know two things about this program; they need to stop some body or score a lot of points. That was the need in 2013 and neither happened although the Blazers weren't bad offensively at 28 points. The problem was keeping opponents out of the end zone which didn't happen often enough with over 37 points given up with problems stopping both the run and pass. With seven starters back these numbers figure to improve but losing linebacker Marvin Burdette who led the country in tackles isn't going to help. The offense does get back QB Austin Brown who threw for 2,673 yards but his 15/12 touchdown to interception ratio has to improve. He has top receiving option Jackie Williams (52-799) and leading rusher Darrin Reaves (215-1037) back so the weapons are in place for UAB to put up points.

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Troy Trojans Vs. Alabama-Birmingham Blazers Free Pick 8/31/13

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The average fan would say Troy has problems entering the new year and on the surface the numbers would seem to agree. In 2013, the Trojans went 5-7 and only have nine returning starters on a team that generally moved the ball but struggled to stop opponents. Consistency also plagued this team but the good news is quarterbacks Corey Robinson and Deon Anthony are back. Robinson threw for over 3,100 yards and Anthony for 856 yards as well as running for nearly 400 more. Second leading receiver Eric Reeves (55-667) also returns so there is production back but only one returning offensive lineman is a huge concern. Five players are back on a defense that gave up over 30 points and were in the bottom third nationally against both the pass and run so Troy will depend on some new faces and transfers to get the job done.

Both teams are offensively oriented so the team with the ball last could very well emerge with the win. I tend to think the Trojans have a slight edge on both sides of the ball and will be looking at this closely in the coming week...

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