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Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 2013 NCAA Football Gambling Odds & Predictions

2013-14 Football Previews – (Sun Belt) – Hilltoppers

Western Kentucky made a ton of progress under head coach Willie Taggart, but Taggart took the head position at South Florida during the offseason. Western Kentucky decided they wanted to hire a big name, and they brought in Bobby Petrino to be their new coach.

On one hand, Petrino comes with a lot of baggage and question marks. On the other hand, he has proven he knows how to win.

Sun Belt 2013 College Football Previews: Western Kentucky Hilltoppers
Head Coach: Bobby Petrino
2012 Record: 7-6
Western Kentucky Gambling Odds to win BCS Championship: +2,000 (Part of Field)
Western Kentucky Gambling Odds to win Sun Belt Conference: +500

Petrino might not end up being at Western Kentucky for a long time, because there will likely be larger schools that will take a chance on him again. Still, the talent at Western Kentucky is good enough that the Hilltoppers have a chance to make a run in his time at the school. Let’s look at the team’s strengths and weaknesses.

Team Strengths:

The single biggest strength of this team has to be their secondary. Western Kentucky has two tremendous safeties, and they also have two very good cornerbacks. No other team in the Sun Belt has even close to the talent that Western Kentucky has in the secondary. Expect opposing teams to struggle in a big way when they try to air the ball out this season.

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If it wasn’t enough that Western Kentucky is loaded in the secondary, they also have a terrific group of linebackers. Andrew Jackson is probably the defenses best player overall, and he’ll be the senior leader of the defense. Jackson led the team with 78 solo tackles in 2012. Xavius Boyd joins him in an extremely talented group of linebackers.

Antonio Andrews is the best running back in the Sun Belt Conference. Andrews nearly broke Barry Sanders’ 1988 record for all purpose yards last season, and he is an absolute star for the Hilltoppers. Andrews ran for 1,728 yards last year, and you better believe he’ll get the ball a ton again this season. [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Team Weaknesses:

The defensive line isn’t nearly as good as the rest of the defense. Can they shut down the running game and get some kind of a pass rush going? There are no real stars on the defensive front, and their inability to get any pressure on the opposing quarterback hurt the team at times late last year. Someone needs to step up for this group to be effective.

Western Kentucky will have a new starter at the quarterback spot. While they haven’t had great quarterback play the last few years, it’s always tough with a new guy without any experience under center. Brandon Doughty is likely to be the one taking most of the snaps this year. How will he perform in Petrino’s offense? There is quite a bit of pressure on him.

2013-2014 Western Kentucky Football Prediction: 7-5

Western Kentucky is a program that has a lot going for it heading into 2013. The Hilltoppers have a tremendous running back and a great back seven on the defense. They should be in the hunt in the Sun Belt, and it wouldn’t stun me if the team wins the conference. Still, without an experienced quarterback leading the way, I can’t predict them to finish on top. Look for a bowl berth from this team.

2013 Hilltoppers Schedule

8/31/13 7:00 PM ET KENTY
9/7/13 12:21 PM ET @TENN
9/14/13 7:30 PM ET @SALB
9/21/13 7:00 PM ET MRGST
9/28/13 7:00 PM ET NAVY
10/3/13 7:30 PM ET @ULMON
10/15/13 8:00 PM ET ULLAF
10/26/13 4:00 PM ET TROY
11/2/13 TBD @GeoSt.
11/9/13 12:00 PM ET @ARMY
11/23/13 7:00 PM ET @TEXST
11/30/13 4:00 PM ET ARKST

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