College Football Predictions – ULM Warhawks 2019 College Football Preview
Record – 6-6
ATS – 4-8
That was tough.
The Warhawks sat at 6-4 after ten games and appeared to be on the cusp on going to just their second bowl game in school history. They proceeded to lose to Arkansas St and then fall at the hands of the hated Ragin’ Cajuns by a score of 31-28, missing a game-tying FG to make it even more AWESOME.
ULM was one of four teams in the FBS that won six games a season ago and failed to get invited to a bowl game. Can they finish the job this year?
2019 MEGALOCKS Opening Power Rating
West Division – #3
Sun Belt – #6
ULM Warhawks 2019 Outlook
The Warhawks have a really good QB to lead the charge as senior Caleb Evans provides a dangerous dual-threat profile to the offense. Evans threw for over 2,800 yards last year and rushed for over 600 with 10 TDs. There may have been a few too many INTs (12) but keep in mind that Evans attempted 374 passes. There are significant departures among the skill position groups including last year’s leading rusher Derrick Gore (662, 6 TD, 5.1) and #1 WR Marcus Green (855, 8 TD, 17.1) who was the most explosive player on the team. There are some experienced players coming back in the RB and WR units but nobody had more than 300 yards rushing, 30 receptions or 400 yards receiving a season ago. The REALLY good news is that the Warhawks lay claim to one of the best offensive lines in the conference that returns five starters (four seniors) and over 130 career starts. That should help the new faces on offense transition into their roles.
ULM booked 26.6 PPG last year and we expect a moderate rise in production in 2019.
The defense was a bit of a HORROR SHOW in the first half of the year but they definitely improved as the season went along. ULM returns eight starters to a group that allowed 31.8 PPG (#6 Sun Belt) but just 26.5 PPG in conference action (#5 Sun Belt). The bad news for the defense is the departure of LB David Griffith who led the team in tackles (92) and TFL (15.5) (!) last year. The DL still appears to be the strength of the defense although our ULM INSIDERS advise that we keep an eye on the status of starting DT Jaylen Veasley and DE Kerry Starks who both missed the spring game due to suspension. Those are two of the best players in the stop unit. The LB group should be fine with the return of a pair of starters including MLB Chase Day but we still worry about a secondary that yielded 71.8% (!) completions last year which ranked 2nd last in the FBS. And that was with the help of a defense able to put pressure on the QB (34 sacks, #3 Sun Belt).
ULM might be able to make small strides on defense this season but it’s hard to see them allowing less than 30 PPG.
Things might be a bit sketchy in this department. The electric Marcus Green will be missed on punt and kickoff returns, they need to break in a new PK, and P Jared Porter posted a meager 36.1 yard net in 2018.
Overall – It’s nasty. Their out-of-conference docket is loaded with tough ones (at Florida St, at Iowa St, Memphis) and they face Appalachian St, Georgia Southern and Louisiana on the road.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – Nothing noted as we approach press time.
Season Win Total
Over 5 -125
Under 5 +105
The Warhawks are good enough to attain bowl eligibility on PAPER but the schedule is a bear. Taking a pass for now but may come back to this bad boy.
MEGALOCKS ATS Outlook: Neutral
These guys should be fun to watch. We are fans of QB Evans and think that the offense will be fine with such a solid and experienced offensive line. The defense? Hmm. As noted above, keep an eye on the status of their two key defensive linemen. Some young guys looked good during the spring but they need ALL HANDS ON DECK to make a push for a bowl game. And you KNOW we will be pulling for these guys!
The Warhawks are 55-63-3 ATS (47%) over the past ten years and that is NOT a great mark given that the point spreads are usually shaded in their favor. They aren’t exactly a public team. We are taking a wait-and-see approach with ULM.
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