Situational analysis accounts for approximately 25% of our handicapping, and Saturday’s game presents a huge letdown spot for LSU as the Tigers are coming off an emotional win over TCU in their season opener. And, while LSU will certainly win its home opener against UAB, the Blazers possess an explosive offense that should easily stay within the inflated point spread. UAB is one of our Week Two College Football Best Bets.
UAB (+34.5) (-110) over LSU
- UAB starting quarterback Austin Brown is extremely athletic and passed for 301 yards and three touchdowns in the Blazers season opener against Troy, including throwing a 62-yarder to Jamarcus Nelson in the third quarter. Brown won the starting job last season as a true freshman after coming off the bench against Ohio State and going 21-for-35 for 196 yards, and we expect even better numbers from Brown in 2013.
- Brown’s downfield threat is Jamarcus Nelson, who totaled 367 all-purpose yards against Troy last week to set a school record. He also recorded a school-record 97-yard kickoff return against the Trojans. Nelson is UAB’s fastest wide receiver and should set school records in many categories this season.
- UAB’s offense is balanced by one of Conference USA’s best backfield led by Darrin Reaves, who is a physical back who became the second UAB running back to eclipse 1,000 yards last season (1,037 yards; 4.8 yards per carry). Reaves is also capable of catching the ball out of the backfield as he compiled 302 receiving yards on 7.4 yards per catch in 2012.
- Defensively, UAB returns eight starters and possesses one of the most improved secondaries in college football. The secondary returns 7 of its top ten players from last season, including the unit’s top two tacklers. The Blazers’ defensive line also returns intact and should improve upon its numbers for the second consecutive year.
UAB is a veteran team with sixteen returning starters and boasts one of the best (if not the best) offensive attacks in the conference. Head coach Garrick McGee arrived in Birmingham last year after spending the previous two season as Arkansas’ offensive coordinator and has done a nice job so far. Pro Edge scouts have also been impressed with UAB’s special teams, which are the best in Conference USA. The point spread in this game cannot be justified based upon the situational and fundamental analysis. Pro Edge Sports likes UAB the the boatload of points.