The UTEP Miners may not be college football betting favorites against the Oklahoma Sooners by a long, long, long shot, but they can at least take pride in their homegrown talent.
- Date: Saturday, 2nd September
- Time: 3:35 PM
- Venue: Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, Oklahoma
Sportsbook NCAA football lines:
UTEP +44½ (-110) +55000
Oklahoma -44½ (-110) -33928
A Miner for a Heart of Gold
As has been his modus operandi in each of his five years as head coach of the University of Texas at El Paso, Sean Kugler signed five El Chuco natives in his most recent recruiting class, bringing the total of El Pasoans in Camp Ruidoso to well over thirty.
“The coaches put in long hours, but the whole process is done collectively as a group,” Kugler said. “We went through a painstaking process of, number one, making sure that these are young men that have a burning desire to get a degree, that these are young men that are going to fit well into our program, we call them our kind of guys, guys that we feel will flourish here in El Paso and flourish here in this program.” One of those guys is quarterback Keith Tarango-Lopez from Eastlake High School in El Paso, who joined a deep QB room which includes starting junior Ryan Metz, veteran backup Zack Greenlee, freshman Mark Torrez, and Alex Fernandes. Which is just as well because without running back Aaron Jones – drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 2017 draft, the passing game will have to pick up the offensive slack if they want to improve their college football betting chances.
Ask and ye shall receive
For the second year in a row, Oklahoma Sooners starting quarterback Baker Mayfield has been left without his favorite target. Sterling Shepard had 86 receptions for 1,288 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2015 before the New York Giants selected him in the second round of the 2016 draft – which paved the way for Dede Westbrook to become OU’s No. 1 wide receiver and he made the most of it with 74 catches for 1,465 yards and 16 TDs last season. However, Westbrook was drafted by Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2017 draft.
— Sooner Gridiron (@soonergridiron) August 18, 2017
To say that Oklahoma’s offense is pass-happy is quite an understatement. OU has had a receiver with at least 60 catches in 10 of the last 11 seasons, and Westbrook was the fourth receiver to record at least 80 in a season since 2009 – which begs the question, who – if anyone – will emerge as the Sooners’ No. 1 receiver in 2017? Candidates include tight end Mark Andrews, senior Jeffrey Mead, transfer Jeff Badet, and sophomore Mykel Jones. Andrews caught 31 passes in 2016, Mead has 16 since 2015, Badet left Kentucky with 81 receptions over three seasons, and Jones earned a starting spot following junior Nick Basquine’s season-ending injury. Why worry, though, when your receiving corps includes a guy named Charleston Rambo? Dude must be badass. If that doesn’t make you a college football betting fave, nothing will.