As much fun as it is to watch the ball fly through the air, and the high flying passing offenses will grab your attention, there is something to respect about teams who still ground and pound. UAB is for sure one of those teams. Over the last 3 years The Blazers average 221 yards per game on the ground, 22nd most in the country. Certain times there is just as much value backing a team's style of play as it is the players. UAB's Head Coach Bill Clark has moved on, but there is a lot to love in Birmingham,AL which is why I am on :
UAB OVER 8.5 WINS -134
As mentioned, Bill Clark brought the program back from the graveyard , literally the didn't exist in 15' and 16' after his debut season. Clark came back with a vengeance posting an 8-5 record in 17 while most predicted The Blazers at the. bottom of the conference, and then won his side of the division 3 straight years, winning the conference title in 18 and 20. Clark announced this summer he would be moving on , however the foundation for a successful team still lies in Birmingham.
The offensive and defensive coordinators both return as well as 12 starters, 7 of which on offense. The workhorses in the backfield will be RB DeWayne McBride (1300 yards 13 TD's) and Jermaine Brown Jr (600 yards 7 TD). They'll run behind and experienced line (4 of 5 upperclassman) returning 3 starters, 2 of which on the Conference USA Preseason All American Team.
The Blazers have options at Quarterback. Dylan Hopkins will be the starter (2200 passing yards 18 TD), and can be a goal line threat (5 TD). It's Hopkins job , however if Hopkins goes down the offense will hum with a variety of options behind him( a Baylor transfer Jacob Zeno, and Bryson Lucero has started games before). You should never bank on players going down, however it does show the whole season isn't hanging on 1 man's shoulders.
The defense returns 5 starters (2 Preseason All Conference) from a squad that ranked Top 50 in PPG allowed, rushing yards allowed, passing yards allowed, and total yards allowed. David Reeves , the defensive coordinator, is in his 6th season and has produced impressive units every year . The Blazers will be a veteran , top notch defense in the conference.
As I always mention, the schedule is what really decides things for me, and this one is one to love.
Let's start with this. UAB is projected to be favored in 11 of their 12 games (@ LSU will be a dog).
In those 11 games, 7 of them they project to be a double digit favorite.
Let's assume those are all wins (Alabama A&M, GA Southern, @ Rice, Middle Tenn, Charlotte, North Texas, and @ LA Tech)
LSU will be the only loss, putting the Blazers at 7-1 with 4 games of wiggle room.
(@ Liberty, @ WKU, UTSA, @FAU)
I trust UAB nearly as much as anyone in the country , and I have to believe UAB will find a way to split those 4 games AT WORST, to get to 9 wins.
Back The Blazers, back the run game, cash the over.
Previously released Win Totals :
- Washington State Over 5.5
- N.ILL Over 6.5