There is a quick turnaround to the start of the 2020-21 college football bowl season on the heels of the College Football Playoff field being announced on Sunday. The inaugural Myrtle Beach Bowl takes place on Monday afternoon at Brooks Stadium in Conway, South Carolina. The North Texas Mean Green will take on the Appalachian State Mountaineers in a battle between Conference USA and Sun Belt Conference foes.
The Mean Green had to battle a tumultuous schedule this year, only playing nine games total and finishing with a 4-5 record. Appalachian State, meanwhile, played 11 and continued to be one of the top teams in the Sun Belt with an 8-3 record. This will be the first ever meeting between the two programs as well. So who wins this showdown in South Carolina?
Let's take a closer look at the storylines to follow as well as the matchups to watch before making some expert picks both straight up and against the spread.
North Texas: The Mean Green didn't exactly have a smooth season. In addition to the massive layoff from Oct. 17-Nov. 21, they were blown out by Charlotte and UTSA. They had a big-time weapon in Swiss Army Knife Jaelon Darden. The 5-foot-9 speedster had 74 catches for 1,190 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is one of the most dangerous players in the country, but won't play on Monday afternoon.
Appalachian State: The Mean Green rushing defense is flat-out abysmal, and the Mountaineers have been awesome on the ground. Four different Mountaineers have rushed for 400 or more yards in the regular season, including Cameron Peoples, who has 807 yards and seven touchdowns. If you're looking for the reason why this line is so big, that's it.
Date: Monday, Dec. 21 | Time: 2:30 p.m. ET
Location: Brooks Stadium -- Conway, South Carolina
TV: ESPN | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
North Texas vs. Appalachian State prediction
Prediction: Give me Appalachian State to win, but three touchdowns are too much to feel safe in a game that should be a high-scoring affair. Darden's absence will come back to bite the Mean Green late, but there is still enough offensive juice to keep it close(ish). Don't get me wrong, the Mountaineers won't have to worry about much. But the Mean Green will at least have a chance in the second half (even if it's one of those Lloyd Christmas in Dumb & Dumber "so you're telling me there's a chance" opportunities). Pick: North Texas (+21)
So who wins Appalachian State vs. North Texas in the Myrtle Beach Bowl? And which side of the spread cashes in well over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the spread to back, all from the advanced model that is up over $3,500 on its top-rated picks against the spread over the past four-plus seasons.