Ready or not it’s bowl season and it begins with Myrtle Beach Bowl on Monday at Coastal Carolina University. Bowl committees had a tough time finding teams to play in bowls, and the Myrtle Beach Bowl had to settle on the 4-5 North Texas Mean Green to match with the 8-3 Appalachian State Mountaineers. Appalachian State deserves to be playing in a bowl. North Texas on the other hand? They’re here because of a lack of available teams.
During a normal season, this matchup is never happening. Appalachian State would have been paired with a much better opponent, probably one of the teams that bowed out of bowl season. There are a lot of schools that decided to call it quits after their final regular season game. It’s a long list, so committees were forced to call up teams with losing records to fill their bowl games.
It would have been nice to put Army in this game against Appalachian State. However, Army was already signed up to play in the Independence Bowl, a game in which has been cancelled. It’s being cancelled because there is no team for the Black Knights to play. North Texas is not the worst team playing during bowl season, at least if we’re going by records. South Carolina, 2-8, and Mississippi State, 3-7, are both bowling.
While this isn’t a traditional bowl season, at least we have college football action throughout the holidays. It would have felt awfully empty without these mostly meaningless bowl games. A lot of these matchups, including the Myrtle Beach Bowl, is an opportunity for the coaching staff to evaluate their talent for next year. Motivation is the key to these games.
I don’t know if Appalachian State or North Texas are overly enthusiastic to be going to the Myrtle Beach Bowl, so that could be a wash in this game. North Texas knows they don’t belong, while Appalachian State intended on winning the Sun Belt and going to a bigger bowl. Head below for our free Appalachian State vs. North Texas pick for December 21, 2020 in Myrtle Beach Bowl.
Appalachian State Mountaineers vs. North Texas Mean Green Myrtle Beach Bowl Betting Odds:
Appalachian State vs. North Texas Prediction:
Appalachian State had a fine season with a record of 8-3. That sounds nice and all, but the Mountaineers had loftier goals in 2020. They were a favorite to win the Sun Belt and possibly record a perfect season or come close. That was before Coastal Carolina and Louisiana-Lafayette decided to crash their party.
Coastal Carolina and Louisiana, who are both ranked teams, beat Appalachian State by a score of 34-23 and 24-21. Their other loss came early in the season against Marshall, 17-7. Marshall was better than anticipated this season, so that may have been a surprise to the Mountaineers.
The Mountaineers will look to steamroll North Texas on the ground with Camerun Peoples and Nate Noel. Those two are a battering ram and can make any defense not want to show up. Peoples has gained 807 yards and 7 touchdowns on 5.5 yards per carry, while Noel has been effective with 484 yards and 3 touchdowns on 6.1 yards per carry. As a team, Appalachian State have averaged 243.5 yards per game on the ground.
Quarterback Zac Thomas has been good against bad defenses, but struggled against good units like Louisiana and Coastal Carolina. Against those two defenses, Thomas passed for 1 touchdown and 5 interceptions. However, has otherwise been in good form. Overall, Thomas has passed for 19 touchdowns and 11 interceptions on 64.7% completions.
North Texas does not have a defense that is going to bother Thomas and the Mountaineers’ backfield. There was only one team worse in the FBS defensively than the Mean Green. North Texas conceded an average of 509.4 yards and 41.3 points per game in 2020. They were abysmal against the run, with 243.6 rushing yards allowed a game. Look for Appalachian State to run all over the Mean Green.
Offensively, don’t expect North Texas to put together too many drives, either. Appalachian State are especially dangerous against the pass, where they’ve allowed just 169.8 yards through the air. I see Appalachian State getting out to an early lead, and North Texas being forced to pass the ball to play catch up.
That’s a recipe for a disaster against the Mountaineers. Appalachian State has blown out a lot of teams with this game plan. Look for a similar scenario to play out, with the Mountaineers routing North Texas for a 41-17 win in the Myrtle Beach Bowl.