College Confidential

Under-the-radar Texas team projects among 2016’s biggest winners

Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr., who had a 13-0 record as the Cougars’ starter last season, is one of the primary reasons the team received an over/under win total of 10.5 for this season, matching Alabama and Clemson for most of any college team in 2016.
Houston quarterback Greg Ward Jr., who had a 13-0 record as the Cougars’ starter last season, is one of the primary reasons the team received an over/under win total of 10.5 for this season, matching Alabama and Clemson for most of any college team in 2016. AP

The preseason coaches poll has been released for the nation’s top college football teams, with the two participants in last year’s national championship game holding down the top two spots (No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson). The Associated Press’ preseason poll, to be released Aug. 21, probably will look similar at the top.

So it is no surprise that Alabama and Clemson rank among the three teams given the highest over/under figure on their 2016 projected win totals by the website SportsBettingDime.com. What may surprise some fans is the identity of the third school tied for the national lead in that department: Houston, a team that does not play in a Power 5 conference.

The Cougars, who finished 13-1 last season, ranked No. 13 in the preseason coaches pool. But Houston joins Alabama and Clemson as teams projected to win at least 10.5 games despite a regular-season slate that includes non-conference games against Oklahoma (Sept. 3) and Louisville (Nov. 17), a pair of fellow Top 25 teams. The Cougars are the prohibitive favorites to win the American Athletic Conference title for a second consecutive season.

Among college teams from Texas, Houston has the highest over/under mark for 2016 victories. The Cougars project ahead of fellow area schools Oklahoma (10 wins), TCU (8.5 wins) and Baylor (8.5 wins) among the 18 teams given over/under figures of eight wins or higher this season.

Jimmy Burch: 817-390-7760, @Jimmy_Burch

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