North Texas vs. Troy, New Orleans Bowl: Prediction, pick, line, odds, live stream

Welcome to the 2017 college football bowl season. Your weekly dedication to America's greatest sport (don't @ me) has paid off in the form of 39 football games over the course of about two weeks. So eat, drink, avoid your in-laws and be merry while watching college football. And if you think there are too many bowl games, sorry about your bad attitude and be sure to direct your grievances to our special inbox: complaints@nobodycares.com

Now, on to more important items. The bowl season kicks off with an old Sun Belt game that's been given a new twist due to realignment. North Texas actually had a secondary home at the New Orleans Bowl in the early 2000s with four straight appearances from 2001-04. Troy is coming off a share of a Sun Belt title and is seeking its highest single-season win total (11) ever. Similarly, North Texas is looking for its first 10-win season in history. 

Date: Saturday, Dec. 16 | Time: Noon ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome -- New Orleans, Louisiana
TV: ESPN | Live streams: WatchESPN / WatchESPN apps

Storylines

North Texas: Quarterback Mason Fine is emerging as one of college football's great success stories. He leads Conference USA in yards per passing attempt (8.2), passer rating (147.77) and is one of the best downfield passers, per Pro Football Focus. Not bad for a guy with zero other FBS offers coming out of high school. 

Troy: This team beat LSU, remember? And it was no fluke, either. Even though coach Neal Brown has an offensive background, not enough credit is given to the Trojans' defense, which is the Sun Belt's best in points allowed per game and run defense, and isn't that far behind in pass defense. Forget Group of Five labels, this team is legitimately good (and like many other good teams, somehow inexplicably lost to South Alabama).

Prediction

North Texas' offense against Troy's defense should be a fun matchup, especially in the fast track of the Superdome. Fine has orchestrated some major drives this season when his team has needed them, but the Trojans have the team speed to be up for the challenge. Bowl season should get off to an exciting start with this one. Pick: UNT +6.5  

So what side do you need to be all over in the New Orleans Bowl? Visit SportsLine now to get a strong pick for North Texas vs. Troy from an expert in data analyst Stephen Oh, who's on a 33-23 run in college football against the spread picks.

CBS Sports Writer

Ben Kercheval joined CBS Sports in 2016 and has been covering college football since 2010. Before CBS, Ben worked at Bleacher Report, UPROXX Sports and NBC Sports. As a long-suffering North Texas graduate,... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories
    24/7 Scores, News, Highlights
    FREE ON ALL YOUR DEVICES