Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players

Middle Tennessee College Football Preview 2022: Team breakdown, season prediction, keys to the campaign, and what you need to know

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Middle Tennessee season with what you need to know and keys to the season.


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Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Preview
Head Coach: Rick Stockstill
17th year at Middle Tennessee, 101-98
2021 Preview: Overall: 7-6, Conference: 4-4
Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Middle Tennessee Top 10 Players | Schedule

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Preview 2022

It got bleak for a little while.

Middle Tennessee had been chugging along under longtime head coach Rick Stockstill with winning seasons and bowl games the norm. And then came an off year in 2019 going 4-8, followed up by an 0-4 start in a 3-6 2020.

2-4 to start 2021, the program was saved by a lovely run of some of the easiest teams in the FBS to play, and the season turned around, there was a bowl appearance, and a slightly-stunning win over Toledo made it a 7-6 season with things starting to look back to normal.

But now it’s time to start doing more.

Conference USA was gutted by the Sun Belt – losing Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Miss. More will be bolting next year to the American Athletic Conference – Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UAB, UTSA – and that leaves the league a shell of its former self for the 2023 season.

Middle Tennessee was on the verge of leaving for the MAC, but it’s staying around, and so is FIU, Louisiana Tech, UTEP, and WKU, to go along with the addition of Jacksonville State, Liberty, New Mexico State, and Sam Houston State.

What does this mean? It makes this a make-or-break season for the program.

Conference USA will be there for the taking, and Stockstill has to prove after 16 seasons going into 2022 that everything is on track for his Blue Raiders to be the star.

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Preview 2022: Offense

The offense has to be far, far better. 12th in Conference USA and 96th overall, the Blue Raiders averaged just 362 yards per game, but cranked up the points against the bad teams averaging 30 per game. There was no running game, and the downfield passing attack didn’t exist. However …

The offense gets its guy back. Chase Cunningham was having a nice season throwing for over 1,300 yards and 16 touchdowns with just three picks in eight games, but he was knocked out with a leg injury.

Nicholas Vattiato balled out and won three of the last four games – including the bowl – after giving up five picks in the loss to WKU. Now the Blue Raiders have a strong QB situation.

Leading receiver Jaylin Lane returns after rolling for 528 yards and four touchdowns on 42 catches, and Yusuf Ali is a nice midrange receiver who made 45 grabs. The transfer portal is bringing in help at tight end, and again, getting Cunningham back will make everyone better.

The Blue Raiders used a whole lot of parts for the running game, but leading rusher Martell Pettaway only gained 372 yards. He’s done, but sophomore Frank Peasant is experienced enough to take over. It’ll be a rotation of young, quick backs behind him.

The offensive line was decent in pass protection but now it has to start doing more for the ground attack. The problem is that the front five is all but starting over. There’s bulk around all-star center Jordan Palmer, but it’s going to take a little while.

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Preview 2022: Defense

The defense might not have always been great, but that thing took the ball away in bunches. Middle Tennessee led the nation with 32 takeaways, led Conference USA in tackles for loss, and was decent enough to save the season.

However, there are some massive talent losses losing mainstay star safety Reed Blankenship, heart-and-soul LB DQ Thomas, and second-leading tackler Greg Grate. In all, the top four tacklers are gone and five-pick corner Quincy Riley is off to Louisville, but …

The defensive front should be okay on the inside. All four starters are expected back on the line – starting with all-star pass rusher Jordan Ferguson – and with a nice rotation at tackle.

The back seven will need more time. There’s no replacing what Blankenship and Thomas brought, but Johnathan Butler is a good tackler in the middle of the linebacking corps and Teldrick Ross should be among the best defensive backs in the conference when he comes back healthy.

Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Middle Tennessee Top 10 Players | Schedule

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats NEXT

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Top 10 Players: College Football Preview 2022

Who are the top 10 Middle Tennessee players going into the 2022 college football season?

Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Preview 2022: Who are the top 10 players going into the season?


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Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Preview
Offense, Defense Breakdown
Keys To The Season | Schedule
Season Prediction, What Will Happen  

College Football Rankings, Season Predictions: Conference USA Spring Version 2022

Conference USA college football rankings and predictions with realistic best and worst case records and quick analysis – the 2022 spring version.

Conference USA college football rankings and predictions with the realistic best and worst case records and quick analysis – the 2022 spring version.


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It’s a new world for Conference USA with the loss of Marshall, Old Dominion, and Southern Miss over to the Sun Belt. There are still plenty of good teams still around, but the league is hanging on through the expansion process.

Can 2021’s star teams keep it all going? UTSA and WKU won’t be quite as good, UAB should be strong, and UTEP might just keep on stunning.

If Florida Atlantic can rise up after a down season, and if North Texas and Middle Tennessee can be bowl-worthy again, it should be a fun run.

The rankings are based on how good the teams should be and not the final projected records. Keeping in mind that this all could/might/will change when we make the final calls in August …

2022 College Football Schedules By Teams: All 131 Schools

Middle Tennessee Beats Toledo 31-24: Bahamas Bowl 5 Thoughts, Instant Reaction

5 Thoughts and Instant Reaction to Middle Tennessee’s Bahamas Bowl win over Toledo.

Middle Tennessee vs Toledo. 5 thoughts and instant reaction after the 31-24 win by the Blue Raiders in the Bahamas Bowl.


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Middle Tennessee vs Toledo: Bahamas Bowl

5. Middle Tennessee went for it. Toledo didn’t.

Toledo played a strange game. It sort of went conservative when it shouldn’t have, and it sort of kept pushing when it shouldn’t have, and Middle Tennessee thanked the Rocket coaching staff and left with a win.

The Rockets needed to keep moving the chains, the running game was great – more on that in a moment – and they didn’t push it too much as they went for field goals – missing a few of them – and not trying to capture the momentum to take over the game.

Middle Tennessee didn’t do anything crazy, but it kept bringing the defensive pressure, took advantage of the opportunities that were there, and got the win.

It helped the cause that …

4. Toledo stopped running the ball

Bryant Koback was ripping through the Blue Raiders.

The Toledo back ran for 126 yards and averaged seven yards per carry, but he only had 18 carries. QB Dequan Finn was running well when he got his chances. The ground attack overall averaged 7.3 yards per carry, and yet the offense stopped going with what worked.

Toledo finished with just 32 carries, Finn completed just 18-of-39 passes, and it all played right into Middle Tennessee’s defensive strengths.

Toledo needed to keep running and running and running, and it didn’t, and it lost control of your 2021 Bahamas Bowl.

3. Middle Tennessee got it done without having to be Middle Tennessee

Toledo came into this as the most penalized team in the country, and it didn’t disappoint with 12 for 119 yards – including a big one early that led to a touchdown.

Middle Tennessee came into this as the best team in the country at taking the ball away, but it only got one, it came late, and it didn’t really need it.

The Blue Raiders were able to win with ball control, timely plays, and again, with an aggressive nature that Toledo didn’t have.


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2. Toledo just never found its footing

Toledo piled up a good 7-5 record with wins over a whole slew of bad teams, but it also pushed Notre Dame. It rocked a flaky Western Michigan squad, and it managed to go 4-1 over the final stretch to overcome a disappointing season – this was a MAC Championship-caliber team on talent – with a shot at ending with something strong.

Instead, the passing game didn’t work until late, the double-digit favorite lost, and it’s a fourth straight bowl loss for head coach Jason Candle.

The team is loaded for next year, but the pressure is on. Toledo should be – and should’ve been – must stronger than this Bahamas Bowl loss.

1. Middle Tennessee has its quarterback … maybe

Chase Cunningham was the star of the Blue Raiders before suffering a knee injury with four games left, and freshman Nick Vattiato burned his redshirt year to carry the team down the stretch.

He doesn’t run, he’s not big, and he had interception issues, but he didn’t throw any picks, he went for 270 yards and two touchdowns – including the game-sealer – and he left the running to Mike DiLello, who stepped in and ran for 44 yards and a score – but threw an interception.

Middle Tennessee finishes at 7-6 with a great finish after a 2-4 start to the season. After two straight losing seasons, it was a great way to close things out for a program with a big upside for 2022.

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Toledo vs Middle Tennessee: Bahamas Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

Bahamas Bowl: Toledo vs Middle Tennessee prediction, game preview, how to watch, lines, and why each team might or might not win.

Toledo vs Middle Tennessee: Bahamas Bowl prediction, game preview, how to watch 


Toledo vs Middle Tennessee: Bahamas Bowl How To Watch

Date: Friday, December 17
Game Time: 12:00 pm ET
Venue: Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium, Nassau, Bahamas
Network: ESPN, Live stream on ESPN+
Records: Middle Tennessee (6-6), Toledo (7-5)
CFN Predictions | 2021-2022 Bowl Schedule

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Toledo vs Middle Tennessee Bahamas Bowl Preview

It wasn’t the season Toledo was hoping for. It came into the year with enough talent to win the MAC Championship, but after a rough start it got hot late with three straight wins to close things out thanks to the league’s best defense and an offense that scored 49 points in three of its last four games.

A strange team, Toledo got flagged more than anyone in America, but it made up for the mistakes by leading the nation with the fewest turnovers. The small things mattered – four of the five losses were by three points or fewer. Now the team that gave the ball up less than anyone faces the team that led the nation in takeaways.

Middle Tennessee sputtered early, but turned things around in the middle of the season. Just as it looked like it was about to make a move, it lost star QB Chase Cunningham for the season before the final month.

The Blue Raider offense picked it up with a decent balance, the defense kept taking the ball away, and the two wins in the final three games – including a clutch performance at Florida Atlantic to get bowl eligible – were enough to get here.

Why Toledo, Middle Tennessee Will Win
Prediction, What’s Going To Happen, History

NEXT: Why Toledo Will Win, Why Middle Tennessee Will Win, Bahamas Bowl Prediction

Florida Atlantic vs Middle Tennessee Prediction, Game Preview

Florida Atlantic vs Middle Tennessee prediction, game preview, how to watch, lines, and why each team might – or might not – win this Saturday.

Florida Atlantic vs Middle Tennessee prediction, game preview, how to watch: Saturday, November 27


Florida Atlantic vs Middle Tennessee How To Watch

Date: Saturday, November 27
Game Time: 7:00 ET
Venue: FAU Stadium, Boca Raton, FL
How To Watch: Stadium
Record: Florida Atlantic (5-6), Middle Tennessee (5-6)
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Florida Atlantic vs Middle Tennessee Game Preview


Why Middle Tennessee Will Win

It’s just this simple. Take the ball away and – usually – win, don’t take the ball away and lose.

Duh – that’s life for a whole lot of teams, but turnovers mean something extra for Middle Tennessee.

The Blue Raiders continue to lead the nation in takeaways, coming up with 29 on the year with five in the win over Southern Miss, four against FIU, and 21 in the last seven games.

The loss to Liberty was the only time since September that they didn’t win after generating a takeaway.

On the other side, Florida Atlantic’s offense has stalled. It hasn’t totally collapsed, but it’s struggling to score – it hasn’t pushed past 17 in any of the last three games – and …

College Football Expert Picks, CFN Week 13

Why Florida Atlantic Will Win

Florida Atlantic doesn’t really have a turnover issue.

It has big problems in a whole slew of areas, but it’s been able to control the turnover margin. Even when it gives the ball away – like it has over the last few games – with five turnovers in the last two – the defense makes up for it.

The Owls haven’t been in the negative turnover margin since early October.

Not, the offense hasn’t been great, but the Middle Tennessee attack hasn’t been consistent enough.

At home, as long as the FAU running game can get in control of the game, everything else should work.

The Owls are 4-1 in Boca Raton with the only loss coming to Marshall.

NFL Expert Picks, CFN Week 12

What’s Going To Happen

So it’s an interesting situation.

Both teams are 5-6, but there probably won’t be enough bowl eligible teams. If that’s the case, the schools with five-win football teams get in based on the Academic Progress Rate, and Middle Tennessee should be right there in the mix.

So if Florida Atlantic wins, both teams will likely go bowling. If Middle Tennessee wins, FAU will be out.

Middle Tennessee’s offense will stall just enough on the road – it’s not quite the same against good teams without starter Chase Cunningham – and the Owls will own home once again.

College Football Schedule: Week 13 Predictions, Lines

Florida Atlantic vs Middle Tennessee Prediction, Lines

Florida Atlantic 24, Middle Tennessee 20
Line: Florida Atlantic -3.5, o/u: 50
ATS Confidence out of 5: 1

Must See Rating: 3

5: The Times and Life of Shawn Carter: Official Video of JAY-Z’s 2021 Rock Hall Induction
1: “Why don’t we have Thanksgiving food the rest of the year?”

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Old Dominion vs Middle Tennessee Prediction, Game Preview

Old Dominion vs Middle Tennessee prediction, game preview, how to watch, lines, and why each team might – or might not – win this Saturday.

Old Dominion vs Middle Tennessee prediction, game preview, how to watch: Saturday, November 20


Old Dominion vs Middle Tennessee How To Watch

Date: Saturday, November 20
Game Time: 3:30 ET
Venue: Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TN
How To Watch: ESPN+
Record: Old Dominion (4-6), Middle Tennessee (5-5)
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Old Dominion vs Middle Tennessee Game Preview


Why Old Dominion Will Win

Who’s the hottest team in Conference USA?

It’s WKU and UTSA, but all of a sudden, Old Dominion has become a player with three straight wins with a stunner over Florida Atlantic. Now the team can get bowl eligible with wins over Middle Tennessee this week and Charlotte to close.

What is it doing right? The passing game has improved, the defense has been solid, and to be obvious, the schedule has been easier. FAU was a great win, but all six of the losses were supposed to happen.

Middle Tennessee kicked its own offense back in against a miserable FIU team, but the O is struggling to get to 300 yards on a consistent basis. However …

College Football Expert Picks, CFN Week 12

Why Middle Tennessee Will Win

After taking a week off in the blowout loss to WKU, the defense cranked up the turnover train again.

The best in the nation in takeaways, the D forced four FIU turnovers last week and came up with 21 in the the last six games – and that’s without coming up with any against WKU.

Old Dominion is doing a whole lot of things right, but it also turns the ball over on a consistent basis with two or more in each of the last seven games. It’s going to give it up at least twice in this and …

NFL Expert Picks: CFN Week 11

What’s Going To Happen

Middle Tennessee QB Nicholas Vattiato appears to have settled in. In place of injured starter Chase Cunningham, Vattiato completed 20-of-24 passes for 147 yards and two scores against FIU – and with no picks.

He gave up five interceptions in the loss to WKU, but Old Dominion doesn’t take the ball away. As long as the Blue Raider running game can work a wee bit against the solid Monarch defensive front, and as long as there aren’t any forced throws, the D should be able to take care of the rest to get the team bowl eligible.

College Football Schedule: Week 12 Predictions, Lines

Old Dominion vs Middle Tennessee Prediction, Lines

Middle Tennessee 26, Old Dominion 20
Line: Middle Tennessee -4, o/u: 50
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2.5

Must See Rating: 2.5

5: Tummyache Soak
1: Adele 30

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FIU vs Middle Tennessee Prediction, Game Preview

FIU vs Middle Tennessee prediction, game preview, how to watch, lines, and why each team might – or might not – win this Saturday.

FIU vs Middle Tennessee prediction, game preview, how to watch: Saturday, November 13


FIU vs Middle Tennessee How To Watch

Date: Saturday, November 13
Game Time: 3:30 ET
Venue: Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium, Murfreesboro, TN
How To Watch: ESPN3
Record: FIU (1-8), Middle Tennessee (4-5)
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FIU vs Middle Tennessee Game Preview


Why FIU Will Win

The offense continues to be fun.

It’s not consistent, and it doesn’t move the chains well enough, but there’s a passing game Middle Tennessee has to worry about. The Golden Panthers have thrown for 260 yards or more in five of the last six games, and they’re about to push for 300 yards because they’ll have to.

They bomb deep – they’re averaging close to 17 yards per throw – and Middle Tennessee doesn’t have the pop with a new quarterback after losing Chase Cunningham a few weeks ago.

College Football Expert Picks, CFN Week 11

Why Middle Tennessee Will Win

Just win the turnover battle.

The Blue Raiders couldn’t force enough mistakes to matter against WKU in a 48-21 loss, and it was the opposite. They lead the nation with 25 takeaways, but they didn’t come up with any last week and they turned it over seven times.
Fortunately, they’re going against a defense that never, ever takes the ball away – FIU has only come up with six takeaways.

NFL Expert Picks: CFN Week 10

What’s Going To Happen

Can this be when FIU finally gets its first win over an FBS team?

Middle Tennessee has turned the ball over 11 times in the last two games, but the D was able to make up for it in the win over Southern Miss. In this, run, run, run, don’t take any deep shots, and assume the pass defense will come up with enough takeaways to matter.

College Football Schedule: Week 11 Predictions, Lines

FIU vs Middle Tennessee Prediction, Lines

Middle Tennessee 34, FIU 27
Line: Middle Tennessee -10, o/u: 56
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2

Must See Rating: 2

5: House of Gucci
1: Yellowstone

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10 Best College Football Predictions Against The Spread: Week 11. Going West

What are the 10 best college football predictions against the spread? This week we go West for some of the more interesting predictions of the week.

What college football games appear to be the best bets and the best picks against the spread going into Week 11? This week we go West for some of the more interesting predictions of the week.


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Week 11 Fearless Predictions, Game Previews 
CFN Week 11 Experts Picks: College
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Week 11 Schedule, Game Times, Game Previews
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Results So Far ATS: 62-48-1

After a rocky run it’s time for a road trip to shake things up a bit.

This week we go west for most of the 10 best predictions against the spread. There’s a reason for this – there are a TON of good-looking matchups – Nevada shouldn’t be an underdog against San Diego State and Utah State will probably beat San Jose State outright.

But first come the tried and true foundation selections.

While the picks have been up-and-down over the last few weeks – fewer games to choose from and less big spreads to exploit like there are in September – the overall record is still solid because of four core beliefs.

If you’ve been with the program, you know by now that …

1. Always go over on a point total in the mid-30s. Too many things can go right, unless it’s Army-Air Force, which once again proved to defy all laws of logic and reason.

2. Always go under on a point total in the mid-70s. Too many things can go wrong, like a torrential downpour late in the Pitt-North Carolina game.

3. Always take the underdog if it’s getting 45 points or more. Games can be blowouts without being brutal.

Over the long haul, if you stick with those three principles you should be okay – as long as you’re using good judgment, like going over on the Wednesday night Central Michigan-Kent State insanity.

Two of the three are foundations are represented this week, and there’s a fourth tried and true belief that – if you’ve been with this all year – has done you a big-time solid.

We kickoff our trip out west by making a stop at the fourth core belief for 2021. You ALWAYS go against …

Click on each game for the preview

10. Kansas at Texas

LINE Texas -31
ATS PICK Texas

Full disclosure – I wouldn’t come near this if it didn’t involve Kansas, but as the man said, you dance with the one that brung ya.

Oklahoma couldn’t get the job done against Kansas against the spread a few weeks ago, but that’s been it. 1-8 ATS – including not covering the +24 in a 35-10 loss to Kansas State last week – to continue an epic heater of a run going back to the beginning of last year.

Texas is a mess.

It completely lost its stuff ever since that fourth down run by Caleb Williams halfway through the loss to Oklahoma. However, as bad as things look, the five teams Texas has lost to – at Arkansas, Oklahoma (in Dallas), Oklahoma State, at Baylor, at Iowa State) are all terrific.

How many times as Kansas lost by more than 31? Three in the last seven games.

Whatever. It’s Kansas, there’s a spread, and we stay on the ride until it stops for good.

So that’s one of the staples. Another foundation pick …

CFN Week 11 Experts Picks: College

9. New Mexico State at Alabama

LINE Alabama -51.5
ATS PICK New Mexico State

Besides the gimmicky aspect of always taking the underdogs with a point spread this high, this actually isn’t a bad call.

Of course New Mexico State will get annihilated – it lost 62-10 to Bama back in early 2019, hence the number – but this version can actually score a little bit.

No, it’s not going to keep up, but all you’re looking for are 10-to-14 points, and the Aggies can do that.

Mercer got 14 on this Tide team back in September. Southern Miss got rolled 63-14. Neither one of those games pushed past the 51.5, and New Mexico State is better.

As always with these picks, think of it this way – you’re walking into the stadium up 51-0. It can be a total wipeout – like 63-14 – and you’re fine.

Keeping with the weekly foundations, the over.

CFN Week 10 Experts Picks: NFL

8. Minnesota at Iowa

LINE 37 Point Total
ATS PICK Over

Last week in the exact same spot I said the exact same thing.

Too many things can go right with a low 37 point total, like one team can get the job done all by itself.

Last week here at the 8: Wisconsin 52, Rutgers 3.

Minnesota scored 41 against Northwestern. Before that it scored 34 against Maryland and put up 31 on Nebraska on the way to hitting the 30-point mark six times so far.

The problem is Iowa.

This team just doesn’t score. Something is wrong if you’re beating Northwestern 17-12, and yes, I demanded you go over on the low point total against Wisconsin. Both teams sort of decided they were done early in the fourth of a 27-7 Badger win.

It’s a point total of 37, and it’ll probably drop.

Before going west, two ACC games.

NEXT: College Football Pick Against The Spread No. 7: Notre Dame at Virginia

Middle Tennessee vs WKU Prediction, Game Preview

Middle Tennessee vs WKU prediction, game preview, how to watch, lines, and why each team might – or might not – win this Saturday.

Middle Tennessee vs WKU prediction, game preview, how to watch: Saturday, November 6


Middle Tennessee vs WKU How To Watch

Date: Saturday, November 6
Game Time: 3:30 ET
Venue: Houchens Industries LT Smith Stadium, Bowling Green, KY
How To Watch: Stadium
Record: Middle Tennessee (4-4), WKU (4-4)
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Middle Tennessee vs WKU Game Preview


Why Middle Tennessee Will Win

The WKU offense is amazing, Middle Tennessee is without its quarterback, and there are several issues with the running game and on the offensive line and …

No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin, No. 1 in the nation in takeaways.

How has the team with so many problems been able to win three of its last four games? Five takeaways against Southern Miss. Three against UConn. Six against Marshall, and 17 in all over the last four games.

The Blue Raider pass defense hasn’t been all that bad, but …

College Football Expert Picks, CFN Week 10

Why WKU Will Win

The Bailey Zappe thing has worked.

The WKU quarterback is hitting 72% of his passes for over 3,400 yards and 33 touchdowns with just six picks for a passing game that hit 365 yards or more in every game.

Meanwhile, the Middle Tennessee success has been great, but beating UConn and Southern Miss isn’t any big deal. Now it’s about to deal with a Hilltopper defense that’s been solid over the last few weeks and now just has to hold serve because …

NFL Expert Picks, CFN Week 9

What’s Going To Happen

Blue Raider starting QB Chase Cunningham is out for the season with a leg injury.

There won’t be a whole lot happening through the air from the Blue Raiders, but likely new starter Mike DeLiello can move. The running game will come up with close to 200 yards, the defense will do its part to come up with a few takeaways, and it’ll be just enough to keep this from getting ugly.

WKU will win, but Middle Tennessee will have its moments.

College Football Schedule: Week 10 Predictions, Lines

Middle Tennessee vs WKU Prediction, Lines

WKU 37, Middle Tennessee 26
Line: WKU -17.5, o/u: 67
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3.5

Must See Rating: 2

5: Belfast
1: Ghostbusters: Afterlife

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