2017 New Orleans Bowl Picks – North Texas vs. Troy

The 2017 college football bowl season kicks off on Saturday afternoon down in the Bayou. Sun Belt co-champions Troy will take on Conference USA runners-up North Texas in the opening kickoff to the bowl campaign.

Troy Bowl History

The Trojans have only played in six bowl games in their history. This is the first time since 2008-2010 in which they’ve played in back-to-back postseason showcases, and they’ll be looking to win bowls in consecutive years for the first time in their history.

Last season, Troy knocked off Ohio 28-23 in the Dollar General Bowl

North Texas Bowl History

You have to go back to 2013 to find the last time North Texas won a bowl game. The Mean Green captured the Heart of Dallas Bowl over UNLV, but they haven’t had a winning season since that point.

Last year, Seth Littrell brought North Texas to the Heart of Dallas Bowl once again, though the berth was earned because there weren’t enough bowl-eligible teams. North Texas had a high APR, giving it entry into the postseason.

Though the Mean Green came up short in Dallas last year, this season’s team will be excited to return to the New Orleans Bowl, a place the squad has been four times before. UNT played in this contest four straight seasons from 2001 through 2004, though it only picked up one win in that bunch (2002).

Why Troy Will Win the New Orleans Bowl

If the Trojans are going to capture a second straight bowl victory, they’re going to do so on the back of quarterback Brandon Silvers. He is far from an elite signal caller, but he’s been here and done this before as a four-year starter. Silvers is the most-experienced quarterback in FBS, but the one massive hole in his resume is the lack of a bowl victory.

In games against Arkansas State and Texas State to end the regular season, Silvers threw for 626 yards and six touchdowns, and he wasn’t picked off once. He doesn’t necessarily have to be perfect in this game with Jordan Chunn in the backfield, but it’s going to be really hard for North Texas to contend if the Trojans play a clean game offensively.

Why North Texas Will Win the New Orleans Bowl

When Littrell was hired by North Texas before last season, he promised to bring an up-tempo offense with him to Denton. Though this is still a work in progress, Mason Fine has been getting better and better with each passing game.

Fine threw for 3,749 yards this season, and though he played a bad game against Florida Atlantic, he had put at least 30 points on the board in five of his previous six contests and at least 29 points in eight of his previous nine.

The little things mean a lot in bowl season, and the fact that North Texas has one of the better kickers in the country in Trevor Moore will certainly help its cause. Moore knocked through 19 field goals for the Mean Green and missed just twice this season.

New Orleans Bowl Prediction

Both of these teams are definitively trending in the right direction, but we think Troy is overstated from its win against LSU back in September. These Trojans are definitely good, but we’re not sure they’re as good as the Florida Atlantic team that beat North Texas twice.

Fine only had three games this season in which he wasn’t picked off, but three of North Texas’ four losses this year came in affairs which he was intercepted twice. If Fine can play a relatively clean game and avoid the huge mistakes, the Mean Green could pull off the upset in the New Orleans Bowl.

New Orleans Bowl Pick: North Texas 37, Troy 31

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