Post-Mortems: SEC – Wk. 1

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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):

Middle Tennessee at Vanderbilt (-3/56.5): A popular upset pick never materialized since the Vandy defense stood out again in a great debut from Jason Tarver, who took over playcalling duties from head coach Derek Mason. With plenty of new faces, the 'Dores stood tall against a spread look ran by the very capable Brett Stockstill, who has been running his dad's offense forever and can really find a rhythm doing so. That didn't happen thanks to great penetration from the Vandy front that took the Middle o-line completely out of it. Kyle Shurmur protected the ball and got into the end zone when he had to. Solid start. Result: Vanderbilt 35-7. ATS: Favorite/Under

Washington at Auburn (-1/50): This heavyweight clash lived up to billing and could’ve gone either way. The Huskies failed to execute in the red zone and the Tigers made plays when they had to most so the more deserving team certainly won. Ryan Davis stood out most for Auburn as the electric playmaker necessary to make the offense go and Jarrett Stidham just has to take care of the ball to assist his tremendous defense. Washington won’t see another team capable of applying the type of pressure it saw in Atlanta and is certainly capable of running the table and landing back in a CFP for the second time in three years. Result: Auburn 21-16. ATS: Favorite/Under

Central Michigan at Kentucky (-17/50.5): Benny Snell did his thing and roommate AJ Rose added over 100 yards and two scores himself, so the ‘Cats have the potential to be lethal if they can find a way to get some production out of the passing game. Cue Gunnar Hoak, who lost the QB competition to former Oregon recruit Terry Wilson in camp but may have passed him after settling everyone down following Wilson’s three first-half turnovers. I’d expect to see both in Gainesville this weekend as conference play begins. The Chippewas will also be looking for improvement from the passing game with 6-foot-7 sophomore Tony Poljan offering a unique look as a dual threat QB. Result: Kentucky 35-20. ATS: Underdog/Over

Ole Miss at Texas Tech (-2.5/72): The Rebels scored in 33 seconds and put up points in every quarter, which bodes well for life without Shea Patterson. Jordan Ta’amu kept his receiving corps happy in spreading the ball around and Scottie Phillips took advantage of all the attention they receive, debuting with 204 rushing yards. We’ll see how they handle Alabama at home next weekend. The Red Raiders were held scoreless in the fourth quarter and lost McLane Carter to an ankle injury that will likely sideline him for some time. Backup Alan Bowman, a true freshman, will have to grow up fast as Kliff Kingsbury hopes to avoid a third straight losing season. Result: Ole Miss 47-27. 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

West Virginia (-10/59.5) at Tennessee: The Vols ended up being the only team in the SEC to lose in Week 1 and hung in there as long as they could. QB Jarrett Guarantano played about as well as he could but the team’s offense will be a work in progress. Will Grier toyed with Jeremy Pruitt’s young secondary in what was one of the worst possible matchups for his new-look Tennessee squad. The Mountaineers got a five-touchdown game from Grier and 100-yard days from David Sills and Greg Jennings. Business as usual. Result: West Virginia 40-14. ATS: Favorite/Under

Louisville at Alabama (-24/61): Tua Tagovailoa started and excelled. Jalen Hurts contributed but is clearly the inferior option, so Nick Saban’s loyalty to him could prove detrimental to covering the substantial spreads the Crimson Tide will likely be saddled with all season. In retrospect, this first number was too low since the Cards were so overmatched but the team was unveiling a new-look defense given Jeremy Pruitt’s departure to Tennessee and so many departures from last year’s group. Their manhandling of the ‘Ville was impressive, as was the explosiveness of the Tua-led attack. The ‘Ville has a chance to have a decent season with Jawon “Puma” Pass likely to improve as he gets settled it against lesser competition. Result: Alabama 51-14. ATS: Favorite/Over

Navy (-13.5/61.5) at Hawai’i: The Rainbow Warriors have dominated a pair of double-digit favorites after this conquest, surviving the 60 minutes they knew they were going to get from Ken Niumatalolo’s Midshipmen by scoring as often as they could. The aggressive play-calling produced six touchdown passes from Cole McDonald, who combined with top receivers John Ursua, JoJo Ward and Cedric Byrd 27 times for 418 yards. He was doing video game things out there against a helpless Navy secondary, while QB Malcolm Brown was only able to break off a few big plays as he took over full-time duties after opening last season as a slotback. It was interesting to see Zach Abey back out there under center around the goal-line, so he won’t disappear entirely into a receiving role. Result: Hawai’I 59-41. ATS: Underdog/Over

Miami, FL (-3/47.5) at LSU: The Tigers really followed the lead of linebacker Devin White in flying around with abandon, challenging the ‘Canes at every turn. They took WER Ahmmon Richards completely out of the equation and never allowed for a running game to be establish. Dave Aranda has his defensive group playing with passion, which combined with his schemes will make LSU a major threat to hang in there against a challenging schedule. New QB Joe Burrow played a huge role with his poise under center and should be an asset. Adding a kicker with Cole Tracy’s leg talent also paid immediate dividends. Outside of hitting a few deep balls late that helped produce an over that should’ve never come in, UM QB Malik Rosier wasn’t impressive and took a beating due to an awful effort from an offensive line. Their penalties and inability to block absolutely killed Miami. This was a complete annihilation despite the cosmetic score at the end. Result: LSU 33-17. ATS: Underdog/Over

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