2018 Memphis Tigers Season Win Total Picks and Predictions for NCAA Football
2017 Record: 9-4
2018 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 8.5*
2018 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: 'Over'
Mike Norville has been a steady hand at the rudder for Memphis over the course of the past two seasons. But now he has to move on without sensational quarterback Riley Ferguson (and standout receiver Anthony Miller) while trying to maintain the Tigers' perch atop the AAC West.
Memphis was a bit of an overachiever last season thanks to Ferguson's exploits. The Tigers were the No. 2 scoring offense in the nation last year at 45.5 points per game - trailing only conference rival Central Florida. In fact, two of Memphis' three losses came at the hands of UCF, including a double-OT loss in the AAC Championship Game. The other came by just one point against Iowa State in the Liberty Bowl.
Despite the loss of their two best offensive players, Memphis still has a load of talent and experience on the offensive side of the ball. Four starting linemen are back, including four-year starters Drew Kyser and Trevon Tate. Running backs Darrell Henderson and Patrick Taylor combined for nearly 2,100 yards and 22 touchdowns last year, so I won't be surprised if Memphis becomes more of a run-first team until they get their quarterback situation stabilized.
Defensively, they lost the heart of the defense as Genard Avery moved on. That's a problem, because even with his 80 tackles and 8.5 sacks the Tigers were still outside the Top 100 in scoring defense, total defense and passing defense. They do have 11 of their top 14 tacklers back, and they desperately need to improve on the 32.5 points per game they allowed last year.
Memphis has only five road games all season. And two of them come against bottom-tier teams East Carolina and SMU. They also have three easy games in the first month against Mercer, Georgia State and South Alabama. Further, Memphis gets to host its toughest opponents, Central Florida and Houston.
Suffice to say, the Tigers may have the easiest schedule in the conference. So when you factor in their experience, this team has to be considered one of the top two favorites to win the AAC title after coming up just short last year.
That said, even if Memphis can rack up some wins straight up I think that this team is going to struggle against the spread all season long.
I think there's a really good chance that Memphis could win its first four games and also win its last four games. That means to beat this number they just need to find one win either at Tulane, at home against a terrible Connecticut squad or at home against Central Florida. That's doable. I'll bite on the 'over'.
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