College Football 2023: Conference USA Preview
It is early in the month of August 2023 and, as always at this time of year, excitement is building for the coming Football season. That includes NFL and College Football. Most every sports bettor is quite familiar with the NFL as it is certainly the most popular among sports betting markets. Additionally, when it comes to College Football, many sports bettors are quite familiar with the Power 5 Conferences.
The “Power 5” Conferences include the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC. Those major conferences in College Football along with the 32 teams in the NFL dominate the attention of most everyone this time of year and heading into the football season. That said, my focus heading into the new season is covering the “other 6” which is the “Group of 5” Conferences as well as the small group of Independents.
These less popular teams which comprise the “other” conferences absolutely deserve some attention and yet many sports bettors are the least familiar with these smaller conferences. That is even with the best value often being found where others just do not focus the attention. That said, I feel there is value in at least giving a “quick hitter” preview at these teams heading into the 2023 season.
FIU – Solid coaching staff but concerns on offense after losing some key pieces, including on the offensive line, in the transfer portal. Should be a respectable defense and they are well-coached but concerns loom with this offense.
Jacksonville State – The Gamecocks can score well, generally speaking, but there are real concerns about this defense. This is particularly true as they adjust to playing in a tougher conference. Look for overs involving this team.
Liberty – Flames just so strong on both sides of the ball. Solid program that keeps reloading and will be right up there again this season with Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee.
Louisiana Tech – Bulldogs another team to keep an eye on in terms of overs. They should have a respectable offense with Bachmeier at the controls and you know coach Cumbie wants to get a strong air attack going here. This team has a lot of new faces (and question marks) on defense however.
Middle Tennessee – This team has a veteran coach and plus a defense that lost practically no one so they will be the favorites in this conference. They have one of the best rosters and are well-coached.
New Mexico State – Jerry Kill did a great job with the Aggies last season and look for New Mexico State to build off that momentum here. This team does not have the most talented roster but they play hard and that effort counts for a lot in this day and age! They outwork opponents.
Sam Houston – Having lived in Texas for many years, I still can not even believe the Bearkats are at this level of College Football. The fact is they still do not belong! They will likely be in the cellar of this conference and their only hope is a solid defensive front. I will give them that but the rest of this team, including the entire offense, is just not ready for Group of Five football just yet.
UTEP – The Miners got a big return on offense when Tyrin Smith decided to remain with the team instead of transferring to Texas A & M. That said, this is a respectable offense and if the defensive jells as the season goes on, this team could be dangerous in this conference. They could surprise for sure if they stay healthy on offense.
Western Kentucky – Definitely a strong team and expected to battle it out with Liberty for the top spot in this conference. However, their defense could have some growing pains early in the season. The offense looks strong again and is expected to be pass-happy so looking for overs with this team could be a good idea…especially until the defense catches up as the season goes along. Hilltoppers should end up solid again this season.