We're still a few months away from the return of college football, but the anticipation is slowly building across the country with spring practices in the books. There's plenty of optimism surrounding the Appalachian State football team with Shawn Clark entering his fourth season as the Mountaineers' head coach. Below, we continue our college football odds series with an over/under win total prediction for App State.
Appalachian State kicked off last year's promising campaign with a bang in Boone, culminating in an absolutely incredible 63-61 shootout and gut-wrenching loss against North Carolina and Heisman contender Drake Maye. App State dropped a whopping 40 fourth-quarter points—the most by an FBS school in the last 20 years.
To put that game into context, the 62 fourth-quarter points were one point short of the all-time NCAA single-quarter record. The Mountaineers then reached new heights with a colossal upset against No. 6 Texas A&M that led them to host ESPN's College GameDay for the first time in school history.
The scene in Boone, which captured the national spotlight, was completely electric. Adding insult to injury for the Aggies, App State received $1.5 million to come to College Station. They followed it up with a miraculous Hail Mary win over Troy.
Appalachian State's historical rollercoaster season continued with a brutal Week 4 loss, as James Madison scored 29 unanswered points to rally past the Mountaineers in its Sun Belt Conference opener.
October's soft schedule provided a rare sense of stability to the Mountaineers' season, as App State came up short at Texas State, but blew out The Citadel, Georgia State, and Robert Morris by a combined margin of 133-20.
But outside of a dominant win against Old Dominion, November just presented more heartbreak, as App State lost hard-fought road battles to Marshall, Coastal Carolina, and Georgia Southern by a combined 17 points.
The Mountaineers also lost some of their top stars to the NFL draft, including Los Angeles Rams fifth-round edge rusher Nick Hampton and Jacksonville Jaguars seventh-round guard Cooper Hodges. Running back Camerun Peoples also profiles as a top undrafted free agent that can make the Carolina Panthers' roster.
Can App State football overcome those key departures and put together another winning season? Without further ado, let's take a look at App State's over/under odds.
Here are the latest college football odds, courtesy of FanDuel
College Football Odds: App State Over/Under Win Total
Over 6.5 Wins: +116
Under 6.5 Wins: -142
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Why App State Could Hit The Under
The Mountaineers were left off of our list of way-too-early college football playoff rankings heading into the summer and they'll face some daunting tests this season, including Coastal Carolina and Marshall at home and James Madison and North Carolina in highly anticipated rematches on the road in hostile environments. All four opponents have higher implied win totals this year.
They also have the same implied win total as Week 3 opponent Eastern Carolina and Week 13 opponent Georgia Southern, a heated rival that's won three of the last five meetings.
In addition to a tough schedule, they also put together an underwhelming recruiting class, which ranked 80th-best in the nation. They didn't really fare any better through the transfer portal, either.
Averaging a whopping 34.9 points per game last season, App State's offense shouldn't be an issue, pending a good bill of health. Likely operating with sophomore quarterback Ryan Burger under center could lead to some early season growing pains in tough early-season tests against North Carolina and East Carolina, however.
But aside from the schedule, the bigger factor in App State's over/under odds will be the defense, which allowed a staggering 33.4 points per game in its nine competitive games last year. The three massive blowout wins over Georgia State, Robert Morris, and The Citadel definitely deflate the otherwise brutal metrics from the defense last season.
Why App State Could Hit The Over
Recent history makes it a seemingly safe bet to take the over on App State's over/under pick. Since being elevated to the FBS and joining the Sun Belt in 2014, the Mountaineers have gone 86-30, with six bowl game wins and four conference titles. Despite last year's 6-6 record, App State's still 26-11 so far under coach Shawn Clark.
Despite the daunting schedule, the Mountaineers should be playing with a chip on their shoulders after the way their 2022 season ended. A healthy bulk of their starters are still returning on both sides of the ball. But strong history, continuity, and coaching aren't the only reasons we feel more comfortable taking the over on App State's over-under pick.
The offense has some real playmakers, including standout running back Nate Noel, slot receiver Dashaun Davis and deep threats Christian Horn and Dalton Stroman. The Mountaineers also bring back a very solid, experienced offensive line that boasts the second-highest graded guard in the country in Bucky Williams, per PFF.
App State also ended up with one of the top FCS players from the transfer portal, per CFN's Cam Mellor. A cornerback out of Richmond, Tyrek Funderburk profiles as an experienced, sticky cover corner with impressive ball skills. Our friend and longtime scout Bill Carroll became a big fan of Funderburk last season.
Final App State Over/Under Prediction & Pick
Appalachian State might have its hands full in an increasingly competitive Sun Belt conference, but the Mountaineers are well-equipped to overcome the obstacles on their schedule and produce a third consecutive winning season under coach Shawn Clark. As the year progresses, health, depth, and leadership will be key factors for App State's over/under odds.
Final App State Over/Under Pick & Prediction: Over 6.5 Wins: +116