The UAB Blazers have not been to a bowl game since 2004. They are coming off back-to-back 3-9 seasons, but they were more competitive than their record would show last year. In fact, they stood toe-to-toe with both Ohio State (15-29) and Tulsa (42-49) despite being a massive underdog in each contest.

Second-year head coach Garrick McGee has this football program on the rise. McGee will welcome back 16 starters and 50 lettermen, making the Blazers one of the most experienced teams in Conference USA in 2013. Now, the goal has to be getting back to a bowl game.

The offense features eight returning starters from a unit that put up 28.3 points and 419 total yards per game last season. Austin Brown played well as a freshman, completing 57.7 percent of his passes for 2,673 yards with 15 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. He should be even better as a sophomore. Leading rusher Darrin Reaves (1,037 yards, 13 TD), top receiver Jackie Williams (52 receptions, 799 yards, 1 TD) and four starters along the O-line return.

Improvement needs to come on defense where the Blazers allowed 37.5 points and 427 total yards per game last season. That shouldn’t be a problem with eight starters back, though they lose their best player in first-team All-C-USA LB Marvin Burdette (157 tackles, 13 for loss). Those 157 stops set a single-season school record, and they were 85 more than second place on the team last year.

Last Season
C-USA East
ATS Record
Points For
Points Against
2013 Schedule
2013 UAB Blazers Schedule
Date Opponent
Spread (Est.)
Win Chance
8/31 @ Troy
9/7 @ LSU
9/21 Northwestern State
9/28 @ Vanderbilt
10/5 Florida Atlantic
10/12 @ FIU
10/26 @ UTSA
11/2 Middle Tennessee
11/9 @ Marshall
11/16 @ East Carolina
11/21 Rice
11/30 Southern Miss
Estimated Wins: 5.44

The Blazers have two very winnable non-conference games against Troy and Northwestern State. They also have two games in which they are expected to get blown out against SEC foes LSU and Vanderbilt on the road.

UAB got a bad break when it was schedule to face the top team from the West in Rice. However, it also draws one of the bottom feeders from that division in UTSA and should at least go 1-1 in those two contests.

The Conference USA home schedule is very manageable aside from that game against the Owls. The Blazers will host Florida Atlantic, Middle Tennessee and Southern Miss and will need to take care of business in those games if it wants to become bowl eligible.

While UAB has to very winnable conference games at UTSA and FIU, it does have to travel to face the top two teams from the East in Marshall and East Carolina. It will be a favorite or a PK in five conference games this season, so improvement is likely.

Odds (Courtesy of Bovada)
Regular Season Win Total
C-USA Championship Odds
National Championship Odds
15 to 1
9900 to 1
Season Predictions

UAB fans have a lot to be excited about heading into 2013. This is a team that returns 16 starters from a squad that took both Ohio State and Tulsa right down to the wire last year.

The offense is going to be even better than it was a year ago, and it was pretty darn good. UAB average 419 total yards per game last season and welcomes back eight starters on that side of the ball. That includes QB Brown, WR Williams, RB Reaves and four starters along the offensive line.

I am concerned about the defense after yielding 427 yards per game this year. However, they’re 11.4 yards per point allowed was very unlucky, and that number should go up in 2013. Eight starters return, though Burdette is simply irreplaceable at linebacker.

The biggest reason I have picked UAB to get back to a bowl game is its schedule. It has two winnable non-conference games against Troy and Northwestern State, though I have only picked it to go 1-3 outside of Conference USA. It will be favored or a pick ’em in five conference games, and I believe it will go 5-0 in those contests for a 6-6 finish.

2013 Projections
C-USA East
C-USA Record
Overall Record
Win Total Prediction
Over 5.5
More College Football Predictions
Conference USA