Coastal Carolina vs. Buffalo College Football Betting Odds & Pick: Will the Game Resemble Old-School Big Ten Football?
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Grayson McCall
Coastal Carolina vs. Buffalo Odds
|Coastal Carolina Odds|
-110o / -110u
-110o / -110u
This should be one of the best Group of Five games of the week as two teams that earned a conference championship bid faceoff when Coastal Carolina travels to Buffalo.
I understand that it is Kansas, but it is wild that a Coastal Carolina team that has only been at the FBS level for five years just beat a Big 12 team by 27 points, and nobody bats an eye because the result was more or less expected.
Now, the Chanticleers will take on Kansas head coach Lance Leipold’s former team, the Buffalo Bulls.
After two trips to the MAC Championship game in the last three seasons under Leipold, the Bulls are in their first season under head coach Maurice Linguist, who spent last season as the defensive backs coach for the Dallas Cowboys. Prior to that, he was a DB coach at Texas A&M, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Iowa State and Buffalo in 2012-13.
Buffalo has never faced a Sun Belt team in the regular season before, with the only previous meeting coming against Troy in the 2018 Dollar General Bowl. Coastal Carolina is 0-3 all-time against MAC schools, most recently losing to Eastern Michigan in 2019.
Buffalo needs to bounce back after a tough loss to Nebraska, but Coastal Carolina likely presents an even tougher task than the Huskers, even at home.
Coastal Carolina enters the week ranked No. 16 in the AP Poll, after peaking as high as No. 9 late last season, earning a Top 10 AP Poll ranking in just their fourth season at the FBS level with an 11-1 season.
Jamey Chadwell is in his fourth season as the head coach at Coastal Carolina and has the Chants rolling, earning AP Coach of the Year honors after the 2020 Sun Belt Championship season.
Through two games, the Chants are 2-0 with easy wins over The Citadel and Kansas and follow Buffalo with two more easy games against UMass and UL-Monroe.
Coastal Carolina has stormed onto the college football scene with its unique hybrid spread-option offense. They use a ton of motion and different formations with two running backs, and run the option out of the shotgun to allow the passing option as well.
Sophomore quarterback Grayson McCall ran the offense to near perfection last year, throwing for 2,488 yards, 26 touchdowns and just three interceptions as a freshman. He added 569 yards and seven touchdowns rushing. Through two games this year he has completed 83% of his passes for four total TDs.
Grayson McCall is LIKE that. Kept the ball and got busy for another Coastal Carolina TD 🔥 #CFB pic.twitter.com/YLRopnUyqf
— PFF College (@PFF_College) September 11, 2021
Last season’s leading rusher CJ Marable is gone but Reese White and Sharmari Jones have taken over as the main rotation of backs, and are each averaging over 7.5 yards per carry this year.
On the outside, Jaivon Heiligh is a star and is second in the Sun Belt in receiving yards this year, after finishing third last season. Tight end Isaiah Likely is the best TE in the conference and another great target for McCall.
The defense was dealt the biggest loss with Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year Tarron Jackson off to the NFL. The defensive end had 8.5 sacks last year and replacing him won’t be easy.
With the exception of Jackson though, the other 10 starters are all back, including three All-Conference players. The defensive line is still a strength of this team, as they return defensive end Jeffrey Gunter and defensive tackle CJ Brewer. Both were first-team All-Conference selections and each of them posted 6.5 sacks.
True freshman Josaiah Stewart looks like he could fill Jackson’s shoes, tallying 3.5 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss in his first two college games.
On the backend, cornerback D’Jordan Strong was the 2020 Sun Belt Newcomer of the Year after two seasons at the JUCO ranks, finishing third in the country with five interceptions.
The Chants ranked 21st in the country in Passing Success Rate on defense last season and were excellent at forcing turnovers, finishing second in the nation with 25 takeaways last season.
Lance Leipold was able to elevate the Bulls to a consistent contender in the MAC, reaching four-straight bowl games and two MAC title games. Maurice Linguist will look to continue to build on the momentum Leipold built.
The Linguist era began with a nice 69-7 drumming of Wagner before a disappointing 28-3 loss at Nebraska. Cornhuskers QB Adrian Martinez rushed for 112 yards on just nine carries, and the Bulls will need to correct that before dealing with McCall’s running ability.
Buffalo ranked second in the country with 287.4 rushing yards last season and was obviously led by Jaret Patterson, one of the most exciting players in the Group of 5 over the last couple seasons. But it wasn’t just Patterson.
Backup running back, and now lead-man, Kevin Marks racked up over 105 yards per game and seven touchdowns in seven games. In 2019, Marks went for 1,035 yards and eight touchdowns and as a freshman he tallied 845 yards and 13 scores.
Now Patterson’s gone and this is finally Marks’ show. He has 157 yards and two TDs in the first two games. Ron Cooks Jr. and Dylan McDuffie give them additional options in the backfield as well as the clear identity of this team is pounding the run.
While Buffalo doesn’t throw it often, the Bulls had the fifth-highest rush rate in the country last year, when they do pass they are incredibly efficient.
The Bulls ranked 15th in the country in Passing Success Rate last year, with quarterback Kyle Vantrease completing 62.3% of his passes last year and averaging 8.6 yards per attempt.
The biggest concern for Buffalo’s offense is the offensive line. What has been a strength for the last couple seasons, is now a question mark as the Bulls return the third fewest offensive line starts in the country. On top of that, offensive line coach Scott Fuchs followed Leipold to Kansas.
On the other side of the ball, the defense also lost a lot with defensive lineman Eddie Wilson and Ronald McGee transferring to Kansas and All-MAC defensive end Malcolm Koonce off to the NFL.
They do get a quick replacement for Koonce in Taylor Riggins returning. They 2019 All-MAC defensive end missed the entire 2020 season with an injury. He has already tallied two sacks and three tackles for loss this year.
The secondary lost safety Tyrone Hill and cornerback Roy Baker but safety Cory Gross and corner Isaiah King are back to try and stabilize the secondary that looked great against Wagner but struggled against Nebraska.
While the heart and soul of the offense is gone, his brother is the heart of the defense and returns at linebacker. James Patterson led Buffalo with 63 tackles last season and earned All-MAC honors. He had 12 tackles against Nebraska last week and will need to rack up another double-digit effort against this heavy run Coastal Carolina team.
Coastal Carolina vs. Buffalo Matchup Analysis
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Coastal Carolina Offense vs. Buffalo Defense
Buffalo Offense vs. Coastal Carolina Defense
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Coastal Carolina vs. Buffalo Betting Pick
These are two teams whose main game plan and strength is very clearly running the football. Last season, they had two of the highest rushing rates in the country, with Buffalo ranking fifth and Coastal Carolina ranking seventh.
Defensively, neither defense is necessarily elite but they are two of the top tackling teams in the country, according to Pro Football Focus. Both defense limit explosiveness and keep things in front of them.
I expect both teams to come out and establish the run, and keep the clock moving for the majority of this game and making the under a good play here.
To further confirm an under play, this is a good “fade the public and follow the money bet.” At the time of this writing, 79% of the public is betting the over, but 87% of the money has come in on the under.
I like the under 58.5 and would play it down to 57. Let’s hope this MAC vs. Sun Belt matchup resembles some old-school Big Ten football.
Pick: Under 58.5
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