Schedule and Odds
The road will be long and sometimes look impossible for Charlotte this year. The 49ers are making the transition to FBS play after going 5-6 in FCS last season. Nothing about that sounds good for this team, although they will return 19 starters. Their over/under is set at 2.5 wins (at 5 Dimes), with the under coming in at -260. Their odds to win Conference USA are at +50000 and they open the season as 4-point underdogs at Georgia State, a team that went 1-11 last year playing in the Sun Belt.
The starting quarterback spot hasn’t been decided yet, but there is at least two experienced guys fighting for the spot. Matt Johnson is the two-year starter after tossing for 13 TDs and 8 INTs in eight Games last year before getting hurt. Lee McNeill played plenty in a backup role, finishing with 6 TDs and 3 INTs. The main name on this offense is running back Kalif Phillips, who averaged 6.3 yards per carry for 1,436 yards and 20 touchdowns last season. His offensive line is almost all intact as well with Four starters returning. At receiver, Austin Duke (79 receptions, 1,373 yards, 9 TDs) and Trent Bostick (33 receptions) will hold down the top two spots again.
Charlotte scored plenty in 2014 in FCS play at 38.8 points per Game. While they obviously won’t be able to reach those levels again, it’s at least an experienced group that knows how to Scorethat could keep them hanging around in more than one Game this year. Unfortunately, their defense may have a bigger problem. They allowed 31.6 points per Game, including Four Games of 47 points or more. Eight starters return, but that’s not saying much.
The 49ers brought in coordinator Matt Wallerstedt to help make the transition, who comes over from Texas Tech. The defense dealt with a few major injuries last year, which didn’t help, but they should be getting those guys back. One of those is senior end Devon Johnson, who isn’t considered a returning starter because of injury. The defense lost a couple of their leading tacklers from a year ago, but bring back the likes of Johnson, Nick Cook and Caleb Clayton-Molby from injury. There’s plenty of experience in this group, but again, that’s at an FCS level.
Charlotte started playing football in 2013, which is a main reason they have a lot of returning starters and most of them are juniors. The offense has a chance to be decent, but the defense could be in for a long year. Their opening two Games against Georgia State and Presbyterian stand out as a possibilities for wins, as do C-USA meetings against Southern Miss and UTSA. If you’re crazy enough, those are the Games to look at if you think the over is possible. Don’t count on it, though.
2015 Charlotte Football Schedule
Sept. 4 at Georgia State
Sept. 12 vs. Presbyterian
Sept. 19 at Middle Tennessee
Sept. 26 vs. Florida Atlantic
Oct. 2 vs. Temple
Oct. 17 at Old Dominion
Oct. 24 vs. Southern Miss
Oct. 31 vs. Marshall
Nov. 7 at Florida International
Nov. 14 vs. UTSA
Nov. 21 at Kentucky
Nov. 28 at Rice