Post-Mortems: C-USA – 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):

Western Kentucky at Wisconsin (-36.5/52): It was hard to tell much from this one since the Hilltoppers were so overmatched. WKU HC Mike Sanford, Jr. has a lot of work to do with his team to play at the tempo he desires, while the Badgers looked like they were just going through the motions. We’ll see if they’ve got a receiver dynamic enough to help replace Quintez Cephus in case he doesn’t make it back from suspension. They’ll need to open up the passing game at some point. Result: Wisconsin 34-3. ATS: Underdog/Under

Florida Atlantic at Oklahoma (-19/69): Over before you blinked, this was looked at like an embarrassment by Lane Kiffin because it was one. His offense didn’t score until the third quarter and didn’t live up to their end of the bargain since he had to know his defense would be in for a tough day. Kyler Murray attacked the season, which is what you wanted to see given his future as a baseball prospect. He looks engaged and like he’s set to have a fun chasing the Heisman alongside Rodney Anderson. Result: Oklahoma 63-14. ATS: Favorite/Over

Houston (-25.5/56) vs. Rice: The Owls played like they belonged right there with the Cougs for the entire first half, aggressively pushing the ball down the field in chunks. Ed Oliver and the defense got it together to allow just three second-half points but the damage was done as far as covering a large number was concerned. The big plays eventually came following the groggy start with Marquez Stevenson finding the end zone via the run and pass. Result: Houston 45-27. ATS: Underdog/Over

Indiana (-12.5/55) at Florida International: Hoosiers QB Peyton Ramsey showed why he beat out Arizona transfer Brandon Dawkins for the job, consistently moving the offense. Freshman backup Mike Penix had a nice debut as well, but the Golden Panthers rallied from a 35-14 deficit to pull off the cover when Indiana failed to score on four attempts from inside the 10-yard line as the team was running out the clock. The last play had to be frustrating if you laid the points since it was a straight run up the middle on fourth down with no intention to really score. FIU had broken through on a James Morgan TD pass to put itself in position for the backdoor cover. He looked like the more competent of the new QBs. Result: Indiana 38-28. ATS: Underdog/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

Marshall at Miami, OH (-1.5/51): The Thundering Herd stayed a step ahead of the RedHawks on the road, surviving one last flurry to spoil the earliest Homecoming game I’ve ever been aware of. Redshirt freshman Isaiah Green had a great debut after beating out Wagner transfer Alex Thomson, relying on top target Tyree Brady as a security blanket. Gus Ragland threw for three scores but couldn’t engineer a game-tying drive. The high side did come in due to the attempted comeback after bad weather forced a delay and the slow start had 'under' bettors feeling fortunate. It wasn't meant to be. Result: Marshall 35-28. ATS: Underdog/Over

SMU at North Texas (-3/71.5): The Mean Green scored the game’s first 36 points and completely shut down the visitors from nearby Dallas until the final quarter. I didn’t expect it to be that easy but will pat on myself on the back for selecting the game as my Saturday lock out of a very full card. Anyone who didn’t know about Mason Fine yet had to notice he went 40-for-50 for 444 yards, spreading the ball out among 11 receivers. That was no fluke. On a day where other C-USA teams fell flat on their faces, North Texas rose up to salvage some pride for the league. Result: North Texas 46-23. ATS: Favorite/Over

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

UT-San Antonio at Arizona State (-17.5/52): Herm Edwards hasn’t had the last laugh but got the first chuckle in since critics who felt he’d be overmatched have to admit his team looked sharp and well prepared. QB Manny Wilkins put the ball where it had to be all night against the Roadrunners, allowing playmakers N’Keal Harry and Eno Benjamin to shine. UTSA is likely in for its worst season under third-year coach Frank Wilson and will need more production from JC transfer Cordale Grundy or the well-traveled D.J. Gillins to surprise in C-USA. Result: Arizona State 49-7. ATS: Favorite/Over

Old Dominion (-5/58) at Liberty: The Monarchs were favored but never led and couldn’t take advantage of the Flames suspending three defensive standouts for the opening half. Bucksot Calvert hit DJ Stubbs, a sophomore who had all of seven catches last year, for 155 yards to produce a lopsided result with the team making its FBS debut winning the second half 38-0. Turner Gill’s team made Saturday’s meeting with Army quite interesting. ODU has high hopes for sophomore QB Steven Williams and has a lot of talent back, so watching them melt down was one of Saturday’s most surprising developments. This week’s home debut against FIU doubles as its C-USA opener, so there’s great bounce-back potential. Result: Liberty 52-10. ATS: Underdog/Over

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