We’ll be looking into two especially interesting matchups:
- UTEP Miners vs. Oklahoma Sooners
- Houston Cougars vs. UTSA Roadrunners
UTEP Miners vs. Oklahoma Sooners
Saturday, September 03, 2022 – 03:30 PM EDT at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium
One of the biggest questions on the Week 1 college football schedule is: how quickly can Brent Venables make Oklahoma Sooners fans forget the stunning departure of Lincoln Riley following a disappointing finish to the 2021 campaign?
Venables certainly has an opportunity to make his very first game as a head coach a memorable one, with the Sooners favored by 31 at the top-rated sportsbooks against the UTEP Miners.
The midafternoon contest on FOX is carrying a 57-point total.
Miners Off Week 0 Cave-In
Dana Dimel and UTEP opened their season last week at home against Conference USA rival North Texas. The game was expected to be a close affair when the Miners closed as 1-point home chalk after opening as a small underdog.
And it was a close contest… at least for the first 30 minutes when North Texas took a 14-13 lead into intermission. Gavin Hardison and the Miners were kept out of the end zone in the second half when the Mean Green pulled away for a 31-13 final.
Hardison threw for nearly 300 yards but completed just 21 of 48 aerials, and the Miners could not get much going on the ground to augment the attack.
Can OU Gel Quickly With So Many New Faces?
Venables has experience working in Norman after serving as the defensive coordinator before moving to Clemson in a similar capacity. But that was 11 seasons ago, and he’s had to rebuild the coaching staff, plus deal with several high-profile exits through the transfer portal.
Oklahoma was also busy plying talent via transfers, that list including quarterback Dillon Gabriel, formerly of Central Florida. Jeff Lebby is the new OC, and his task is to get Gabriel and the new Sooner depth chart up to snuff in a hurry.
Ted Roof accompanied Venables to Norman from Clemson to serve as Oklahoma’s defensive coordinator. It was a unit that finished 76th in yards allowed a year ago, and 58th in points allowed.
Oklahoma has the Upper hand
Fittingly, UTEP was the first opponent OU played under Riley, a 56-7 rout for the Sooners in 2017, and the Miners will serve as the icebreaker for Venables as well.
The Sooners have won all four of the previous meetings and outscored UTEP 203-28 in those contests.
Boomer Sooners Cover Big Spread
With Kent State on deck for the Sooners, Venables is going to have the luxury to work a lot of players into the new system in the first two weeks.
And my college football pick is that the Sooners work over the Miners in a big way. Oklahoma skates, 47-10.
NCAAF Pick: Oklahoma -31 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)
Houston Cougars vs. UTSA Roadrunners
Saturday, September 03, 2022 – 03:30 PM EDT at Alamodome
While Venables is making his coaching debut north of the Red River, a couple of Texas teams square off in the Alamo City, where the UTSA Roadrunners play hosts to the Houston Cougars in a clash of teams that each won a dozen games last year.
The campuses are just a few hours apart along Interstate 10, and the NCAAF odds are pretty close as well with Houston favored by 4-4½, and the scoreboard target 61-61½.
Conference Contenders Collide for 3rd Time
The game pits teams that are expected to be in the thick of their conference races all season.
Houston sits second in the AAC on the college football futures behind Cincinnati, with both the Cougars and Bearcats in their final year in the conference before joining the Big 12.
Conference USA numbers find UTSA as the team to beat, though UAB and Western Kentucky are lurking close behind the Roadrunners.
This is the third matchup between the Cougars and Roadrunners, and the teams split the previous two with the underdog winning both games. The two contests (2013-14) also split the totals.
Offenses Ruled in 2021
Houston’s Dana Holgorsen and San Antonio’s Jeff Traylor each oversaw high-powered offenses last year, and not much is expected to change in 2022.
Both teams finished top 15 in scoring, and it was the passing attacks that did the most damage.
Both teams will be breaking in new tailbacks, and the side that gets the most out of their ground game on Saturday should have the edge.
This one should go down to the wire, and I like the Roadrunners to continue the series trend by the underdogs.
NCAAF Pick: UTSA +4½ (-110) at BetOnline
Our Parlay Pick
- UTEP vs. Oklahoma: Oklahoma -31
- Houston vs. UTSA: UTSA +4½
NCAAF Pick: Two-Legged Parlay (+260) at BetOnline
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.