Everett Withers inherited a team that was in shambles. Most of the struggles the last couple years shouldn’t be blamed on him. Withers has recruited decently since he has taken over, but that hasn’t translated to wins on the field yet. It’s year three of his rebuild though, and there will be increasing pressure on him if they don’t start winning some more games.
Texas State has been playing a ton of inexperienced guys the last couple years. It can be really hard to win games with a bunch of freshman and sophomores and no veteran leadership. Texas State is still relatively young, but not nearly to the level they were a few years ago.
Texas State is -29 in turnover margin in the last two years. It’s going to be really difficult for this group to turn things around if they don’t start taking care of the football. Texas State has lost 20 games in the last two years, and most of them weren’t close either. The Bobcats have lost 17 of those 20 games by double digits.
Texas State’s season win total is set at 3.5 wins at 5Dimes, and the under is listed at -145. Texas State is +9,000 to win the Sun Belt.
Texas State Schedule:
|09/15||@ South Alabama||Loss|
|10/20||@ UL Monroe||Loss|
|10/27||New Mexico State||Loss|
|11/03||@ Georgia State||Loss|
Texas State’s offense only averaged 4.8 yards per play and 17.3 points per game a year ago. The Bobcats had only averaged 4.3 yards per play two years ago, and overall last year’s offense was a bit better than the previous version. Still, it’s fair to say that things have been awful on offense for Texas State since Withers took over. It all starts with the offensive line. They have allowed 80 sacks in the last two season. That lack of protection certainly has something to do with the Bobcats massive turnover problems. Aaron Brewer is a good linemen, but the rest of the starters are questionable at best. I’m still not convinced that this Texas State line is good enough to be competitive against most teams on their schedule.
Willie Lee Jones is likely to be the starter at quarterback. Jones is a good runner, and he should be able to make some big plays with his legs. The question for Jones is whether he can become a decent passer. Last year, he was just 18/37 passing and had zero touchdowns and one interception. The Bobcats top three running backs from last year return. None of them have a particularly high upside, but there is decent depth here. At wide receiver, Elijah King had been the main man for Texas State, and they’ll definitely miss him. Texas State has the worst group of wide receivers in the Sun Belt.
Can they be better than last year? They should average more points per game, but I wouldn’t expect a big jump.
Chris Woods is the team’s new defensive coordinator. He spent three years at Oklahoma as a defensive specialist before taking this position. Texas State’s defense was good against the run last year. They gave up only 3.7 yards per carry. Though there is some talent gone from last year, the defensive line has enough size and depth to be solid once again. Texas State had only 9 sacks two years. They sacked opponents 22 times a year ago, but that number still needs to go up more in the year ahead.
The linebackers are the strength of this defense, which certainly is helpful when you are running a 3-4 defense. Bryan London has been the team’s leading tackler each of the last two seasons. Frankie Griffin led the team with 7.5 tackles for loss, and I would expect even bigger things out of him in his senior year.
Texas State allowed a 68% completion rate on first down last year. That kind of success on first down by the opposition makes it really tough to get off the field. Somehow Texas State managed to intercept zero passes a year ago as well. That’s really hard to do, and you have to assume Texas State will pick off a few passes this season. The secondary has enough depth, but these guys haven’t proven to be all that good. We’ll see if any of the freshmen make an impact here.
Texas State doesn’t play a terribly difficult non-conference schedule, but things are tough in the Sun Belt. The last three games of the year are vs. Appalachian State, at Troy, and vs. Arkansas State. Don’t expect a strong finish from the Bobcats. Their most winnable games inside the conference are likely South Alabama and vs. Louisiana. Those are their first two games in Sun Belt action.
Win Total Pick: Texas State under 3.5 wins
I won’t be betting this one, because I don’t like taking unders at this low of a number. My lean is certainly to the under though. Texas State should be better, but they haven’t been very close the last couple years as the 17 losses by double digits shows. In 7 of their 11 games against FBS teams last year, they scored 14 points or less. The offense should be weak again this year. I expect more close games this year, so maybe they will be a decent team against the spread. I wouldn’t expect many straight up wins.