Appalachian State Mountaineers 2020 Win Total - College Football Pick, Odds, and Prediction
2020-05-07 11:00:00 EDT
The Appalachian State Mountaineers had yet another successful campaign in 2019 once again establishing themselves as the team to beat in the Sun Belt.
App State finished the year with a 13-1 record, the best single season FBS record in school history, as well as the 4th double-digit win season in the last five years and the 6th winning season in as many tries since re-joining FBS as a member of the Sun Belt conference back in 2014. The Mountaineers will be led by first-year head coach Shawn Clark, who led the Mountaineers to victory in the New Orleans Bowl for the 2nd straight year with a 31-17 win over UAB.
Lets take a look at App State’s schedule for the 2020 season.
Saturday Sept. 5, 2020 vs. Morgan State
Friday Sept. 11, 2020 at Wake Forest
Saturday Sept. 19, 2020 at Wisconsin
Saturday Sept. 26, 2020 vs. UMass
Wednesday Oct. 7, 2020 vs. Louisiana
Wednesday Oct. 14, 2020 at Georgia Southern
Saturday Oct. 24, 2020 vs. Arkansas State
Saturday Oct. 31, 2020 at Louisiana-Monroe
Saturday Nov. 7, 2020 at Texas State
Saturday Nov. 14, 2020 vs. Georgia State
Saturday Nov. 21, 2020 at Coastal Carolina
Saturday Nov. 28, 2020 vs. Troy
The good news is that there’s a lot to like for App State on the offense, as the Mountaineers retain starting QB Zac Thomas for his senior year after throwing for 2,718 yards, 28 TDs compared to just 6 INTs. We’ll talk in the next section about how the backfield took a huge hit, but the Mountaineers also have three RBs back in Marcus Williams Jr., Daetrich Harrington and Raykwon Anderson who combined for just under 1,200 rushing yards and will be running behind an O-line that has four starters returning. The Mountaineers also have a loaded and experienced receiving group with Thomas Hennigam and Corey Sutton back after leading the team in receiving the last couple of seasons while slot receiver Malik Williams and home-run threat Jalen Virgil are all back for their senior seasons. The defense took a hit as well, but sack leader Demetrius Taylor is back as well as run-stopping beast D’Marco Jackson at LB and Shamar Jean-Charles and Shaun Jolly in the secondary.
The bad news, is that Darrynton Evans is gone after rushing for 2,600 rushing yards over the last three seasons, taken in the 3rd round of the 2020 NFL draft by the Tennessee Titans. The Mountaineers also lost a pair of top defenders in Akeem Davis-Gaither and Desmond Franklin, with Davis-Gaither being selected by the Cincinnati Bengals in the draft while Franklin graduated from the program after his senior year. The other concern is that App State will be under new leadership at head coach for the 2nd straight year after Eliah Drinkiwitz accepted the coaching position at Missouri. However, Clark and a lot of his assistants have the App State pedigree and culture where they can replace a solid coach and continue to play at a high level.
The win total for Appalachian State is set at 9.5 coming into this year and if we go according to pattern, that would suggest that App State regresses this season and falls back to a single-digit win total. Looking at the schedule, there are 4 spots where App State could potentially trip up. The two non-conference road games stand out against Wisconsin and Wake Forest, and to be honest, I see the Mountaineers rolling past Wake but stumbling against Wisconsin as Camp Randall is not an easy place to go on the road and win. In conference, Louisiana was as good as we’ve seen in some time and could be primed to give the Mountaineers a run here, but the game is at home for App State so there’s an edge there. Georgia Southern has also been a thorn in the side of App State, including back-to-back losses to the Eagles. This year’s matchup is at Georgia Southern so it may prove difficult to get over the hump. Even so, with the loss at Wisconsin and a potential conference loss, I still have the Mountaineers at 10 wins, therefore making my pick over for App State in the 2020 season. I just don’t think that anyone has gotten significantly better in the Sun Belt and I expect another Louisiana vs. App State matchup in the Sun Belt championship game.