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UMass Minutemen 2015 NCAA Football Odds & Predictions

2015-2016 Football Previews (MAC)- Minutemen

The UMass Minutemen weren’t expected to be as competitive as they were a year ago. They went 1-11 in 2012 and 2013. They had a season win total of 1.5 last year. The Minutemen picked up 3 wins. UMass now returns 19 starters (most in the MAC), including star quarterback Blake Frohnapfel.

NCAA Football Gambling Lines

MAC Lines

MAC 2015-2016 College Football Preview- UMass Minutemen

Head Coach: Mark Whipple
2014 Record: 3-9
Odds to win MAC (from BetOnline): +2,000
Season Win Total (from 5Dimes):4.5

As you can see, the oddsmakers have definitely adjusted their expectations for UMass this season. It’s a unique year for UMass, since it will be their last season in the Mid American Conference.

The school plans to stay an FBS level program, but they will have no conference home. A smaller school like UMass can’t survive as an Independent for long.

Can they make some noise in the MAC this year before moving on?

Team Strengths

Blake Frohnapfel is the best quarterback in the MAC. Head Coach Mark Whipple has a complex pro-style offense, and Frohnapfel picked it up right away. I expect him to be even better in his second year in the system. He’ll get a lot of chances to air it out, since that’s the game plan the Minutemen are likely to go with. Expect a bunch of yardage through the air for UMass this year. There isn’t much depth behind him though, so UMass badly needs Frohnapfel to stay healthy.

Tajae Sharpe leads a very talented group of pass catchers for UMass. Sharpe caught 85 passes last year and averaged 15.1 yards per reception. Three other receivers return who caught at least 20 passes last year. With Frohnapfel at quarterback and this group of receivers, UMass is set when it comes to their passing attack.

A secondary that was much improved last year should get even better this season. UMass returns a combined 113 starts in the secondary. They also add in a quality player in UAB transfer Kelton Brackett. UMass should be difficult to throw it on in the season ahead.

Team Weaknesses

UMass is really weak in the trenches on both sides of the ball. The offensive line struggled badly in run blocking situations last year. The Minutemen averaged only 3.4 yards per carry. The offensive line might be a little better this year, but this unit definitely lacks high quality talent.

On the defensive front, UMass gave up 4.7 yards per carry last year. The defensive line was so thin last year that the team changed to a 3-4 scheme. They lost a good nose tackle in Daniel Maynes, and I expect the defensive front to be a problem again this year.

UMass has quality players at a lot of positions on the field, but if they don’t shore up the lines, this team won’t reach its full potential.

Shadrach Abrokwah and Lorenzo Woodley haven’t proven capable of running it effectively. While the UMass passing game should be very good, they’ll need some balance on offense when they go up against the best defenses in the conference. You can’t let the opposition totally line up to get after the quarterback. UMass needs to find a running game.

UMass Minutemen 2015-2016 Prediction: 4-8

UMass is definitely improving as a team. It’s a shame they are leaving the conference after this year.

The Minutemen should be fun to watch, but their schedule is too difficult and they are too thin on the lines to be a contender. They play 12 straight games without a bye week, and that will hurt. I’ll call for four wins.

UMass 2015 Football Schedule

Regular Season
Date Time vs
9/12/15 TBD @COLO
9/19/15 TBD TEM
9/26/15 TBD @ND
10/3/15 TBD FIU
10/10/15 TBD @BGSU
10/17/15 TBD KENT
10/24/15 TBD TOL
10/31/15 TBD @BALL
11/7/15 TBD AKR
11/14/15 TBD @EMU
11/21/15 TBD M-OH
11/27/15 TBD @BUFF

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