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Arkansas State Football Betting Preview Predictions and Schedule 2011
Hugh Freeze takes over head coaching duties for Arkansas State this year. He was the offensive coordinator last year and will still call the plays this year, so the adjustment period a new coach faces with a new team may not be as bad however we'd still expect some growing pains. But Freeze walks into a pretty good situation here. Arkansas State hasn't won more than 6 games in a season over the last decade and not more than 4 games the past two season, yet they return several skill position players and weren't that far off a year ago.
Last season they were 4-8 overall and 4-4 in the Sun Belt, but those Sun Belt Conference losses were all within a touchdown. It's really an ideal situation for a new head coach to walk into. Turn a few of those close conference losses into wins and you're contending for a title. As handicapper, you can't just look at losses. You have to look to see if they were close losses, or not even competitive. In this case, they were all close.
The biggest concern will be the offensive line. Their only returning starter up front is Center Tom Castilaw. As much attention as the skill players get in football, we all know it begins up front. The line makes or breaks the QB, running backs and receivers and we simply don't know how this new offensive front will perform.
Arkansas State will have the entire month of September to whip that offensive line into shape as they have 4 consecutive non conference games against Illinois, Memphis, Virginia Tech and Central Arkansas. Their first conference game is October 1st at Western Kentucky.
From a betting standpoint, they get 3 cracks at revenge on their home turf this year. They get UL Lafayette, Troy and Florida International all at home. Their other conference loss was to Western Kentucky which, as mentioned above, they play on the road on October 1st.
Bottom line? It all comes down to the offensive line. If everything comes together for them, we see Arkansas State contending for the Sun Belt title. It's a very manageable schedule with just about all of their key games at home. Playing teams like Illinois and Virginia Tech early in the year can also help providing they can stay healthy. It should take 7 wins to win the Sun Belt and that's within reach here, which would also mean their first Bowl game since 2005.
2011 Arkansas State Football Schedule
Sat., Sep 3 @Illinois
Sat., Sep 10 Memphis
Sat., Sep 17 @Virginia Tech
Sat., Sep 24 Central Arkansas
Sat., Oct 1 @Western Kentucky
Sat., Oct 8 @Louisiana-Monroe
Tues., Oct 18 FIU
Sat., Oct 29 North Texas
Sat., Nov 5 @Florida Atlantic
Sat., Nov 12 Louisiana-Lafayette
Sat., Nov 19 @Middle Tennessee
Sat., Dec 3 Troy
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