UTEP Miners (0-0) at Arkansas Razorbacks (0-0)
|Date & Time||Saturday September 5, 2015, 3:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Arkansas Razorbacks -33 Over/Under 49.5
The Arkansas Razorbacks and the UTEP Miners face off on Saturday in as they open their 2015 college football seasons.
The Arkansas Razorbacks were down for a few years but last season they won four of their last six games and ended the season with a lot of positive momentum. Brandon Allen is back at QB for the Razorbacks for his third year as a starter and coming off of a year where he threw just five interceptions to his 20 touchdowns he could be ready for a monster season. The bad news for Arkansas at running back is last year’s leading rusher Jonathan Williams is gone for the season but Alex Collins ran for just 90 yards less but he will need to carry a much bigger load. Keon Hatcher leads the Hogs receivers who will need to have someone else step up but tight end Hunter Henry is top notch. Arkansas losses a ton on defense but hey are big up front with Taiwan Johnson and Bijhon Jackson while Brook Ellis is the best of the linebackers and Josh Liddell is a hitter in the secondary. Arkansas was 10th in he nation in yards allowed last season so leaning on the running game and sound defense has always been a formula for success and Bret Bielema could have his best year since taking the Arkansas head coaching job.
The UTEP Miners finished last season with seven consecutive wins and made it to a bowl game. UTEP returns a lot of talent from last year’s team but QB is an area where they don’t and for now it looks like Mack Leftwich will be the starter but the passing game wasn’t one of the strengths last year. The UTEP rushing attack is led by Aaron Jones who was second team CUSA last season rushing for 1,321 yards. Jones will get the benefit of a UTEP offensive line that returns four of five starters and wide receiver Autrey Golden is the top target in the passing game. UTEP runs a 4-2-5 defense and five of the front six are back including linebackers Alvin Jones and Jimmy Musgrave and Roy Robertson-Harris on the DL. Sean Kugler has built a decent team at UTEP but facing a big time out of conference opponent in the opener isn’t what the doctor ordered.
Arkansas is 5-0 against the spread in their last five non-conference games, 6-1 against the spread in their last seven home games, and 10-2 against the spread in their last 12 games. UTEP is 6-2 against the spread in their last eight games, 0-6 against the spread against the SEC, and 3-9 against the spread in their last 12 road games.
This is a ton of points for an opener and while UTEP has struggled against teams who are similar to them but are bigger, I don’t see the Miners struggling enough to not cover this gigantic spread.