BOZICH | Latest U of L, UK, IU AND WKU projected football win totals
A projected win total for the Western Kentucky football team was not available in the first batch of numbers for the 2017 season. The WKU is now available.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Several Western Kentucky football fans howled at me when I wrote about projected win totals for the Louisville, Kentucky and Indiana football teams for the 2017 season and did not include the Hilltoppers.
This was the problem, Jude Redfield: The SportsBook that released the earliest numbers only had them for the Power Five leagues and Notre Dame.
That changed this week.
SouthPoint Sports Book has released its projected win totals for all 130 FBS teams -- from Air Force to Wyoming -- and that includes coach Mike Sanford's first WKU team.
Fairness dictates that since WKU was excluded last time, I'll lead with the Hilltoppers today and then share the numbers from the other local schools, too.
WESTERN KENTUCKY 9.5 wins
That's a lot of wins for a team that lost two top receivers, halfback Ace Wales and a proven coaching staff. The Hilltoppers play six road games, including a pair Power 5 teams, Illinois (not Purdue) and Vanderbilt.
That isn't much margin of error for a team that needs to win 10 to finish on the right side of that projection. That's the top number in Conference USA, a half-game ahead of Louisiana Tech as well as two games ahead of Middle Tennessee and Southern Miss.
Here's another projection with little margin for error (or injury). The sample size is tiny, but history tells you the best-case scenario will be a split in games against Florida State and Clemson. (For the record, the projected win total for the Seminoles and Tigers is also 9.5)
Kentucky disappeared from the automatic victory column last season. The Cards could slip in one of these three road games -- North Carolina, N.C. State or Wake Forest.
Winning 10 is hardly a gimme.
KENTUCKY 7 wins
The Wildcats' rousing finish to the 2016 season changed the dynamics around Mark Stoops' team. Their projected win total of 7 is higher than three rivals from the East Division of the Southeastern Conference -- Missouri, Vanderbilt and South Carolina.
Seven home games make the assignment more understandable. But to get to seven, Kentucky will likely have to win one of its first two road games with Southern Miss or South Carolina.
Indiana has not won seven games in a decade. Seven victories is always a risky proposition for the Hoosiers -- and remain so in a year when IU is adjusting to a coaching change and without a stud running back.
Add in a home opener with Ohio State, followed by a tricky road game at Virginia, plus back-to-back games with Penn State and Michigan before the mid-point of the season, and the Under is the wise play.
The wise guys are not expecting much from Jeff Brohm's first team at West Lafayette. But the Boilermakers have won three in half of their last four seasons. Three is not scaling Pike's Peak.
Ohio U, Missouri, Rutgers, Illinois and Indiana. Three wins are unlikely, but not impossible
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