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UCONN AT NORTH CAROLINA
2* Connecticut +8 over North Carolina – In evaluating talent on a college football team, it can be helpful in certain situations to take a look back at the previous season. The situations where that is helpful is where teams have lots of starters back from the previous year. Such is the case here for both of these squads as UConn has 9 on offense and 8 on defense while North Carolina has 10 on offense and 8 on defense. So these teams both have the same core of talent as they did a year ago. Same coaching staffs, same schemes, same team. One significant missing link for both teams is QB as both have seen their starters go down with injuries. For UConn it’s QB Tyler Lorenzen who is out 6-8 weeks with a broken foot. Notre Dame transfer Zack Frazer takes his place. More on that later. For the Tar Heels, starter TJ Yates is out and Cam Sexton and Mike Paulus are in.
So with the core talent the same as a year ago, what can we learn from taking a look back? How about this. They had 3 common opponents, Duke, Virginia and South Florida. The results? UConn Beat Duke 45-14 while NC beat Duke 20-14. UConn beat South Florida 22-15 while NC lost 37-10. UConn beat Virginia 16-17 while NC lost to Virginia 22-20. Sure, there was some bad weather involved here with the UConn South Florida Game last year but by and large what we can take away from last years results is that UConn was a little better than North Carolina. At the very least, we come away with these two teams being on the same level talent wise.
Schedule strength will be one valid argument used for North Carolina especially when you consider that North Carolina played Virginia Tech and Miami in back to back weeks winning one and having the chance to win both. Playing a higher quality opponent gives a team more chance for improvement from week to week. Playing good teams makes you better. It’s not UConns fault, as a team, but thus far they have played Hofstra, Temple, Virginia, Baylor and Louisville. North Carolina will be their toughest opponent to date without question
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UConn may actually benefit from the QB change. Zack Frazer was good enough for the folks at Notre Dame to be interested. He’s got a great arm and is much more of a long ball threat than Lorenzen was. When you have the number one rusher in the country in your backfield, and now a deep threat, the two go hand in hand to help each other. CoNCentrate too much on stopping Donald Brown and that leaves the deep threat open. Keeping the North Carolina secondary honest opens it up for Donald Brown to continue to eat up yards on the ground.
The UConn defense been a bend but not break defense. They GAve up over 500 yards to Louisville but kept them out of the end zone. They had a yards per point number last season of 18 and this year it’s currently at 22. Very good. again, who they did it against will be the common argument against UConn, but we have shown that going back and taking a look at the core talent from a year ago for both squads, that these teams figure to be evenly matched. UConn has played a weak Schedule perhaps, but they have done what’s expected when you play a weak Schedule….they won and are 5-0.
This isn’t a play against North Carolina or for that matter, a play on UConn because we feel they are superior. What we have here are two well coached teams that aren’t beating themselves. Both teams can pound the ball. UConn may have the better defense but the offensive edge goes to North Carolina with more weapons. Shake it all up and we have two evenly matched teams taking the field. The +8 is what attracts us here. This UConn team is built to play the type of Game that gets decided late, which is an ideal spot for an 8 point underdog.
One area of coNCern here, and it’s a legitimate one, is UConns performance on the road. They have only had a winning record on the road oNCe this decade. Even last years team managed just a 2-3 road record. But the talent is there for a close Game, even a win, so we’ll grab the +8 here and make a 2* play on UConn. 2* UConn +8
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