The Troy Trojans enter the 2023 season after a magical 2022 campaign. The Trojans went 12-2, losing to Ole Miss and to App State on a Hail Mary. Troy could’ve gone 13-1, but fans of the program can’t complain after the Trojans won the Sun Belt and beat UTSA 18-12 in postseason action.
For good reason, Troy is viewed by many as the Sun Belt’s best team ahead of the 2023 season. College football betting odds suggest the Trojans are poised for another strong season in 2023, with potential to reach 10 wins yet again. BetMGM lists the team’s regular-season win total at 8.5 games with -110 odds for both the over and under.
I’m inclined to take the over 8.5 wins.
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The Sun Belt’s strength makes every year a challenge, and 2023 is no different. Cross-division matchups with James Madison and Georgia State will push the Trojans, and non-conference games with Western Kentucky and Kansas State are major tests.
It’ll be hard to win nine or more games in 2023, but it’s not an impossible test. JMU and Western Kentucky both visit Troy, and the Trojans host South Alabama. Outside of South Alabama, the Sun Belt West has some talented teams, but they shouldn’t strike any fear into Troy.
Troy returns quarterback Gunnar Watson and running back Kimani Vidal. The defense loses some talent – I’ll miss watching linebacker Carlton Martial – but it’s still loaded and should be one of the best defenses in the Sun Belt.
It’s easy to look at a team’s schedule and view tough games as possible losses, but the Trojans are good enough to put up a fight in every game this fall. Even the Kansas State matchup in Week 2 is winnable, given how solid the Trojans might be again on defense.
With Troy’s level of defensive talent, coaching acumen, and offensive returners, I could see the Trojans being favored in every game in October and November. I have a hard time betting a team’s under win total when I could realistically see them with a 6-1 or 7-0 record in October and November.
Even if Troy doesn’t get off to a red-hot start, the Trojans could still use a late-season surge to reach nine wins.
Offense gives me pause
The only area that gives me some pause when considering Troy’s over win total is the offense, especially the quarterback spot. I like that Watson returns, but he was more of a game manager than a stellar performer in 2022.
During league play in 2022, Troy led the conference in scoring defense (15.1 points per game). Offensively, however, the Trojans (25.4 points per game) were eighth among Sun Belt teams in scoring during conference games.
Troy won 12 games despite an average offense. If the Trojans want to replicate their 2022 campaign, they’re going to need offensive improvement. I like Troy’s defense, but banking on winning games with a mediocre offensive output isn’t sustainable.
I’ll bet on Troy’s offense improving in 2023, which makes me comfortable taking the Trojans to win nine or more games.