Post-Mortems: American – 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):

UCF (-24/68.5) at UConn: Josh Heupel’s offense is definitely faster than Scott Frost’s and McKenzie Milton looks as polished as ever. UCF’s defense lost some teeth, so shootouts appear to be inevitable for the Knights. The Huskies got rolled and never stood a chance but QB David Pindell looks far more confident. His elusiveness and speed should help UConn improve significantly on offense as he grows more comfortable in new OC John Dunn’s up-tempo spread. Result: UCF 56-17. ATS: Favorite/Over

Wake Forest (-7.5/56) at Tulane: The Green Wave offense looks overly reliant on Jonathan Banks, so the senior transfer is going to need other guys to step up around he and returning leading receiver Terren Encalade in order to make the most of his final season. Tulane should have beaten the Demon Deacons at home outright but couldn’t contain true freshman Sam Hartman, who accounted 442 yards with his arms and his legs. He was only out there due to injuries and suspensions but it would be surprising if he isn’t the starter entering the season’s final game, barring injury. Result: Wake Forest 23-17 (OT). ATS: Underdog/Under

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

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

Cincinnati at UCLA (-14.5/63): Chip Kelly’s debut went terribly, doomed in part because Wilton Speight left with a second-quarter back injury. Freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson took over and looked too raw to trust, which doesn’t bode well for the Bruins since the Bearcats were the most beatable team on their schedule. Cincinnati gave running back Michael Warren II nearly 40 touches with starter Gerrid Doaks sidelined and now only leave Ohio once between now and Oct. 20 for a game it will likely be favored to win at UConn. Luke Fickell may end the team’s two-year bowl drought. Result: Cincinnati 26-17. ATS: Underdog/Under

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

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