The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers and San Jose State Spartans will wrap their seasons up with a fascinating Group of Five matchup in this year’s Hawaii bowl on Saturday (12/23/23). Get Coastal Carolina vs. San Jose State odds, picks and predictions below, where the best bet is San Jose State -10.5.
Coastal Carolina vs. San Jose State Prediction
It’s officially the end of an era for Coastal Carolina, as record-setting quarterback Grayson McCall has elected to transfer out to NC State for his final year of college football eligibility. Backup quarterback Jarrett Guest is also heading out, so third-stringer Ethan Vasko is expected to start his fourth straight game.
The results have been mixed, but Vasko has at least shown promise of becoming some semblance of an heir to McCall, so this game will act as a preview of sorts for what is to come on the turquoise turf next year. Similarly, this was the Chanticleers’ first year after head coach Jamey Chadwell departed to coach Liberty, where he’s gotten some great results. After three years of unprecedented success for the program, Tim Beck’s debut season was a fall to relative mediocrity resulting in a 7-5 record.
On the other side of things, it’s a blast to the past of sorts for San Jose State quarterback Chevan Cordeiro. The sixth-year passer is a native of Honolulu, and spent his first four years of school at the University of Hawaii, so the return to the area to play at Aloha Stadium will be a real treat for the quarterback and his family.
It’s also a nice moment for the program, as they’ve reached a bowl in consecutive seasons for the first time since the 1986 and ‘87 seasons. In year seven, head coach Brett Brennan has established some stability, an impressive feat after the team won a total of three games across his first two seasons at the helm in San Jose.
Throughout the season, both of these teams were offense-heavy squads. San Jose St ranked 23rd in the nation in offensive EPA per play, on the shoulders of the pass and run attacks both grading highly, while Coastal ranked 42nd, despite an anemic ground game. Neither defense did all that much, but Coastal’s is losing a couple of contributors to the transfer portal, namely linebacker JT Killen and edge rusher Braylon Ryan.
San Jose State will be missing one major name, star tackle Fernando Carmona Jr, who is transferring up to the SEC where he’ll play for Arkansas. Sure-handed tight end Dominick Mazotti is also gone, he was the team’s second-leading receiver this year, albeit a distant second behind Nick Nash.
The Spartans are the more stable squad right now, with the less-glaring flaws; even with a large spread, there is still some value on them against a Coastal Carolina team that has lost a ton of talent.
Coastal Carolina vs. San Jose State Prediction: San Jose State -10.5
Coastal Carolina vs. San Jose State Best Odds
With all of the transfers heading out of Coastal Carolina, San Jose State is listed as a 10.5 point favorite. The Chanticleers are +310 on the moneyline to pull off the upset, while the Spartans are -400 to win. The total is set at 52.5 between two offensively oriented teams.
Coastal Carolina vs. San Jose State Key Matchups
Without Grayson McCall, Coastal Carolina will need to be able to run the football more effectively than they have in the past. San Jose State, meanwhile, will look to exploit a very weak run defense on the Chanticleers’ side.
Coastal Carolina Rushing Offense vs. San Jose State Run Defense
Coastal’s success in this game will be determined by how effectively they’re able to run the ball, so a bit of pressure can be taken away from Vasko as a passer. The task of running the ball against San Jose State is a very reasonable one, as their run defense ranks a disgusting 126th in the country in terms of EPA per play, but unfortunately, Coastal hasn’t been much better, with their ground offense ranking 106th by the same metric. Braydon Bennett led the team with just 381 rushing yards, but even in limited time, Vasko was right behind him, so he can contribute as well.
The one positive that can be said for the San Jose State run defense is that the transfer portal hasn’t touched it yet. The issue is that outside of edge Tre Smith, everyone in the front seven was absolutely terrible against the run this year, most notably linebacker Bryun Parham, who was right in the middle of the action and still fairly unproductive.
San Jose State Rushing Offense vs. Coastal Carolina State Run Defense
Coastal’s run defense was barely better than San Jose’s, ranking 113th by EPA per play. The huge difference is when we look across the line of scrimmage; the Spartan offense ranked a sparkling 20th in EPA per play on rushing snaps. Losing Carmona is a real issue, as he anchored the run blocking effort, but the Spartans still have a great running back duo to lean on. Kairee Robinson ran for 1,127 yards at a rate of 7.1 per carry, and scored 18 times, all crazy numbers. Quali Conley was a great second option too, as he racked up 809 yards, averaging 6.4 per carry, and he scored 8 times.
As we discussed earlier, Killen is a major loss at linebacker, even though he didn’t play all that well. None of his backups were any better against the run, and of course there’s a loss of familiarity, which will be a major hurdle for the Chanticleers’ defense in this one. Edge rusher Will Whitson will be an anchor for the unit, but he will largely be alone, as it will be an uphill battle for Coastal to win at the line of scrimmage on defense.