North Texas vs UTSA Football Prediction & Picks – 2022 C-USA Championship Game
North Texas and UTSA are off to the American Athletic Conference next season, as two of the dominoes involved in the reshuffling that will affect the American, Conference USA, and Big 12.
but their football programs have one final bit of business to tend to as members of Conference USA, as they will face off at the Alamodome tonight with the conference championship on the line.
The Roadrunners are the defending champions, having defeated Western Kentucky for the title last season. The Mean Green, meanwhile, are in the championship game for the second time. Their previous appearance came in 2017, when they lost to FAU.
Will they leave the conference with a championship, or will the Roadrunners wrap up their tenure with back-to-back titles? Keep reading for our North Texas vs UTSA prediction, along with our recommended bets for tonight’s showdown in San Antonio.
North Texas Mean Green vs UTSA Roadrunners Matchup Information and Betting Odds
- Matchup: North Texas Mean Green (7-5, 6-2 Conference USA, 2nd in Conference USA) vs UTSA Roadrunners (10-2, 8-0 Conference USA, 1st in Conference USA)
- Venue & Location: Alamodome (San Antonio, Texas)
- Date: Friday, December 2, 2022
- Game Time: 7:30 pm ET (6:30 pm local time)
- How to Watch North Texas vs UTSA: CBS Sports Network
North Texas vs UTSA Odds
- North Texas +8.5 (-110)
- UTSA -8.5 (-110)
- Over 69.5 (-105)
- Under 69.5 (-115)
- North Texas +270
- UTSA -345
Will the Mean Green Deny the Dominant Roadrunners a Rare Feat?
Since the inception of the C-USA championship clash in 2005, only two programs have won back-to-back titles. East Carolina, who will welcome UNT and UTSA to the American next year, won the title game in 2008 and 2009, while Western Kentucky won back-to-back titles in 2015 and 2016.
If the Roadrunners can come out on top tonight, they will join that club and will also become one of seven programs to win the C-USA championship game twice (joining former members ECU, UCF, and Tulsa and current members Western Kentucky, FAU, and UAB).
Over the last three seasons under head coach Jeff Traylor, the Roadrunners are 29-9 overall and 20-3 in C-USA play. Over the last two seasons, they have taken a leap onto the national radar, going 22-4.
One of their losses was to an 11-win San Diego State squad in last season’s Frisco Bowl. Their losses this season have come against Houston–in three overtimes–and Texas, who trailed 17-7 in the second quarter before scoring 34 of the game’s final 37 points.
Their other loss? A 45-23 loss in their regular season finale at North Texas, when they were 11-0 and ranked 22nd in the College Football Playoff rankings.
Along with ending UTSA’s perfect season, it capped off a five-game win streak for the Mean Green and enabled them to become bowl eligible. They’ve already ensured they will be playing in a bowl game for the sixth time in seven seasons under coach Seth Littrell, but will they grab some hardware first?
Will We See Another Championship Classic in San Antonio?
In last season’s C-USA championship game, UTSA and Western Kentucky engaged in a 90-point shootout at the Alamodome, with the Roadrunners holding on for a 49-41 win after nearly squandering a 29-point lead.
What is in store for tonight’s tilt? When North Texas and UTSA met earlier this season at the Alamodome, they traded the lead seven times, including five times in a wild fourth quarter.
In the end, the Roadrunners had the last word, with Frank Harris and De’Corian Clark hooking up for a game-winning touchdown with 15 seconds left to deliver a 31-27 win.
Both teams are led by experienced QBs who have put up excellent numbers this season, and both teams have three players who have run for at least 500 yards.
For UTSA, one of their three 500-yard rushers is sixth-year senior Harris, who is having the best season of his career. UNT QB Austin Aune has dialed back the running this season–he has only 40 rushing yards this season after running for 325 last season–but he is having his best season as a passer.
The Mean Green do have an edge on the ground. They are 22nd in the FBS in rushing yards per game (204.2) and 18th in yards per attempt (5.3).
The Roadrunners, with no one quite replacing All-American and two-time C-USA Offensive Player of the Year Sincere McCormick, average 173.3 yards per game and 4.5 yards per attempt.
UTSA, however, sports the better run defense, and in their October win over North Texas, allowed just 22 rushing yards on 21 attempts while racking up 257 rushing yards on 54 attempts themselves.
North Texas vs UTSA Prediction and Picks
North Texas vs UTSA Prediction: UTSA to win
I expect the Roadrunners to pull out the win and go back-to-back as C-USA champs, and there’s not a lot of doubt when it comes to my North Texas vs UTSA prediction. It may not be the shootout that they had in last season’s title tilt, but the scoreboard operator will get plenty of work in.
But as dominant as they have been in the win column, the Roadrunners have had their share of close games. In fact, half of their games this season have been decided by six or fewer points, including their first meeting with the Mean Green.
So, I definitely feel like UNT can cover, and a spread of this size provides somewhat of a cushion. The Mean Green can lose by a touchdown and two-point conversion, as Western Kentucky did last season, and still cover.
All that said, I’m going to go outside of the expected boxes a bit and hop on UNT’s team total, along with the over for the first half.
There were only nine first-half points in the earlier meeting, but I expect much more this time around.
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Eddie Griffin has been writing about and Betting on sports for over a decade. For more of his thoughts on sports and sports betting, you can follow him on Twitter.