Post-Mortems: Sun Belt – Wk. 1

American | ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | C-USA
Indy | MAC | Mt. West | Pac-12 | SEC | SBC

My high-volume approach to making picks requires me to watch as many games as possible. Picture-in-picture works overtime and tablets get worn out.

Not every game gets seen as it unfolds, but I have to go back and take a look at what stood out in games I didn’t catch.

This is my post-mortem for Week 1. I can’t divulge all my secrets, so you only get a few lines per game. They’re listed in chronological order (as listed on the board):

Appalachian State at Penn State (-24.5/54): The Mountaineers performed nicely early, took their third-quarter lumps like most teams that collect a paycheck this time of year in games like these often do and then flipped the script. Instead of going quietly, Appalachian State rallied from a huge deficit, recovered an onside kick and took advantage of major miscues. The Nittany Lions saw Trace McSorley prove he doesn’t need Saquon Barkley as a crutch with the game on the line, converting a 4th-and-2 on a game-tying drive to avoid disaster and then leading the way in overtime. Miles Turner scored to get over his own Barkley hump. Defensively, Penn State missed suspended DT Kevin Givens. App State is likely still in no mood for consolation prizes but got proof that QB Zac Thomas, who passed for just 60 yards as a freshman, will make a fine successor to Taylor Lamb. Result: Penn State 45-38, OT. ATS: Underdog/Over

Texas State at Rutgers (-16.5/48): Art Sitkowski’s debut was what all eyes were glued on here. The freshman made some nice throws, converting third downs, throwing out of his own end zone and zipping the ball around confidently. We’ll see how he fares against more pressure but he got the ball out quickly. One of his three interceptions resulted in the Bobcats’ lone score. Texas State mustered only 169 yards of total offense and finished 1-for-13 on third down. The Scarlet Knights aren’t expected that dominant, so that’s not a good sign even though TSU won’t play another Power-5 this season. Result: Rutgers 35-7. ATS: Favorite/Under

Boise State (-8.5/48.5) at Troy: The Broncos got sacked on their first play from scrimmage and then put on a clinic, showing off their depth at wide receiver, which was a concern with Cedrick Wilson no longer an option. Tyler Horton returned a pair of fumbles for touchdowns to lead a strong defensive effort and a game that was expected to be more competitive became a blowout. The Trojans were overwhelmed and will get only one more chance to punch above their weight class when they travel to Nebraska on Sept. 15. New QB Kaleb Barker won a tight battle with Sawyer Smith and fared decently considering he spent most of the day running for his life. Result: Boise State 56-20. ATS: Favorite/Over

Louisiana Tech (-10.5/53.5) at South Alabama: Turnovers kept the Bulldogs from covering in this one since they controlled the action in the first half and scored on a fourth down in the final minute to go up 20-7. The Jaguars converted on fourth multiple times in their desperate comeback and ultimately covered while stirring themselves up a QB controversy since Evan Orth outplayed Cole Garvin and produced the rally that helped get some a cover and delivered the over. Ultimately, it will be redshirt freshman Cephus Johnson’s job, but that appears to be weeks away. Result: Louisiana Tech 30-26. ATS: Underdog/Over

Coastal Carolina at South Carolina (-31/55.5): The Gamecocks dominated on both sides of the ball, but what stood out most was the speed with which the offense operated. Jake Bentley decisively got everybody lined up and went to work, spreading it around and pushing it downfield. Sure, Coastal was overmatched, but new coordinator Bryan McClendon has South Carolina flexing some muscle as it challenges Georgia in Columbia on Saturday. The Chanticleers have talent with BC transfer Marcus Outlow at RB and Malcolm Williams at receiver, so if QB Kilton Anderson can’t be more productive, true freshman Bryce Carpenter will take over before long. The former Mr. Football in Florida led the Chants’ first TD drive of the season in the fourth. Result: South Carolina 49-15. ATS: Favorite/Over

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