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2023 College Football Win Totals: Collin Wilson’s Top Group of 5 Futures, Including Memphis & Boise State

2023 College Football Win Totals: Collin Wilson’s Top Group of 5 Futures, Including Memphis & Boise State article feature image

Tyler Ingham/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Boise State running back George Holani.

Less than a week after Power 5 win totals dropped, oddsmakers are back with win totals for the Group of Five. The biggest advantages in preseason futures often come from the lower-level FBS conferences.

Just like the Power 5, a shift has taken place in conference realignment at the G5 level. Conference USA now includes both Jacksonville State and Sam Houston from FCS, as UAB and Charlotte slide to the American.

The transfer portal has thrown conferences such as the AAC, Sun Belt and MAC in disarray, as players have moved on to national title-contending programs.

There are significant advantages for teams that return continuity in the coaching staff as well as the offensive line and quarterback. Teams that have shuffled out coaches for new schemes and green recruits are always in scope for an under.

Group of Five programs have the ability to flip the team around in a season with the right combination of coaches and players. Our goal is to identify those teams like Tulane and South Alabama well before Week 0.

Using our updated Power Ratings, a win total is created from a schedule of probabilities. Below are four Group of Five teams I played on open. Win total wagers will also be logged in the Action App as we march to opening kick in August.

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Memphis Over 7.5 (+110)

There are a number of variables that go into offseason power rating adjustments. One key element is Second Order Win Total, a Pythagorean look at what the true record of a football team should look like.

In the case of Memphis, a Pythagorean mark of +1.2 means plenty of games ended as close losses. A quick glance at the 2022 schedule shows just that, with three losses coming by a combined six points. The Tigers also logged a touchdown loss to Central Florida despite outgaining the Knights.

Positive regression is certainly due for Ryan Silverfield’s squad when you include a 2021 schedule with four heartbreak losses.

Memphis returns 88% of the offense, per TARP, a summary of experience returning in returning yards and offensive line snaps.

Quarterback Seth Henigan returns for a third season, logging 47 touchdowns to just 16 interceptions so far. Inside those numbers are a 9:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio in 162 pressured dropbacks last season.

A plethora of offensive linemen return to protect Henigan as well, but Memphis will have to replace both starting tackles. Getting a four-star tackle from Arkansas in the portal is a great start.

Seth Henigan connects with Roc Taylor for the TD!🏈

Memphis converts the 2 point conversion to pull within 3 with 2:36 left to play#AmericanFB x

— American Football (@American_FB) November 26, 2022

The schedule shows this win total is a push at a minimum. Memphis would be projected as a double-digit favorite in six games. Matchups against Missouri, Boise State and Tulane all fall within a touchdown, giving the Tigers a great chance to get over this opening number.

Over 7 (Play to 8 at -110)

Boise State Under 9 (+105)

The biggest news for the Broncos is the change in play-callers, as Dirk Koetter came out of retirement to take on the offensive coordinator role last season. With Koetter re-retired, the coordinator duties fall onto Boise alum Bush Hamdan, who previously served as quarterbacks coach at Missouri.

Hamdan served as offensive coordinator at Washington during Chris Petersen’s final two seasons. The coach prefers a pro-style quarterback and said after the spring game that a goal for Boise is to keep quarterback Taylen Green in the pocket.

Green tallied just 13 scrambles compared to 57 designed run plays, as Hamdan looks to take the risk of leaving the pocket out of the game plan.

Although Green had a 14:6 touchdown-to-interception ratio, a poor 10:14 ratio exists when it comes to big-time throws versus turnover-worthy plays. If Hamdan’s experiment to keep Green grounded doesn’t pan out, the Broncos may take early losses to Washington and Central Florida.

The division-less Mountain West conference schedule didn’t do Boise any favors, as it’ll play the projected top half of the league. The Broncos will host San Diego State and Fresno State, but trips to Wyoming and Air Force will decide the conference.

With Washington scheduled in the opener, achieving 10 wins and losing this win total would require a near sweep after the season kicks off. Look for Mountain West teams to be slightly better than in 2022, as Boise State looks to install a less explosive offense.

Under 9 (Play to 8.5 at -110)

South Florida Over 3 (-130)

The Bulls are ready to make some noise after years of playing in Stinktown under Jeff Scott.

South Florida may have made the best hire of any team this offseason, snagging Tennessee offensive coordinator Alex Golesh. The new head man has plenty of experience as a tight ends coach before accepting a coordinator role under Josh Heupel at Central Florida in 2020.

Fast forward through two seasons as offensive coordinator at Tennessee, and Golesh was the hottest name on the coaching market.

Tennessee offensive coordinator Alex Golesh has accepted an offer to be South Florida’s coach, sources told @ActionNetworkHQ. With the 38-year old Golesh, Tennessee led nation in total & scoring offense this season

— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) December 4, 2022

Although Golesh inherited middling numbers from a returning experience perspective, South Florida was not lacking in talented players at the skill positions. Sean Atkins returns at wide receiver after 21 targets and a mega 2.6 yards per route run last season. Quarterback Gerry Bohanon will once again start under center, while the transfer portal brings plenty of experience at multiple positions.

While backing new coaches and transitioning rosters to achieve a win total over is not a common formula, the mathematics show a high probability of at least three wins here.

USF will be heavy favorites over Florida A&M and Charlotte. As many as six other games are coin-flips with projections inside 6 points. UConn, Navy, Rice and UAB all represent chances to meet and exceed three wins.

Just don’t ask about Game 3 against Alabama considering what Golesh’s offense did to the Tide in Knoxville last year.

Over 3 (Play to 4 at -110)

Temple Over 4.5 (-130)

Stan Drayton got his chance to be a head coach at Temple last season after decades as a running backs coach. A Year 0 was in effect after a number of declining seasons for the Owls under Rod Carey, but this team didn’t let up in the second half of the 2022 season. Temple became a factor because of top-50 ranks in Havoc, Finishing Drives and PFF coverage grading.

With victories over only Lafayette and UMass, Drayton led a dramatic 54-28 blowout over South Florida to kick off November. Temple was close to pulling off an upset against other teams with a one-possession loss to Navy, Houston, Rutgers and East Carolina.

Temple proved to be buttoned up in execution with a penalties rank of ninth in the country, signifying that the Owls no longer beat themselves.

Now, Temple enters the 2023 season with one of the highest returning experience marks in the AAC. The Owls will need it on the offensive side of the ball, as quarterback EJ Warner led a unit that finished dead last in FBS when it came to Rushing Success Rate and Line Yards. The pass-heavy team did see success late, as Warner held a 10:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio over the final four games of the season.

There were a bevy of new weapons for Warner to work with at the spring Cherry and White Game.

EJ Warner airing it out! 50 yard TD pass to Adonicas Sanders

— Temple Football (@Temple_FB) September 24, 2022

The Owls became a weekly wager in 2022, ending Drayton’s first season as head coach with an 8-4 mark against the spread.

The 2023 schedule presents an opportunity for Drayton to exceed four wins. Temple will be comfortable favorites over Akron and Norfolk State in early-season action. Conference play includes projections as a small favorite over Navy, Tulsa and South Florida. The schedule is also littered with coin-flip games against Rutgers, North Texas and a transitioning UAB team.

The defense is expected to carry the water once the season begins, but any improvement for Warner and a dozen different targets will have Temple challenging for a spot in bowl season.

Over 4.5 (Play to 5.5 at -130)

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