By Chris Carlson
On paper, the opening weekend (not week zero) for College Football had potential to be a run of the mill snoozer with only one ranked vs. ranked squaring off. As per usually in the regular season the games delivered plenty of nail-biting action and breakout performances.
Week 2 has 4 programs ranked in the AP Top-12 facing off in the Marquee Matchups and a bunch of games flying below the radar that should produce tight contests. Buckle up your chin straps because the College Football season is in full swing.
#1 Clemson vs. #12 Texas A&M: The Tigers and Aggies do battle after putting up great performances in Week 1 versus overmatched foes. For Texas A&M to have a real shot at victory as a 16.5 underdog they will need to establish their rushing attack. Not an easy feat generally facing a Clemson defense, but if they can do it will help the Aggies make a few big plays thru the air as well. QB Kellen Mond will need to be at his peak as an all-around playmaker not just a dynamic runner.
The problem is Clemson has both an elite all-purpose QB in Trevor Lawrence and a legit stallion running back in Travis Etienne, fresh off a 205 yard game on just 12 carries. Keep in mind last year’s game was a barnburner and Jimbo should have his boys ready to play ball.
The Pick: Clemson 34 Texas A&M 23
#6 LSU vs. #9 Texas: Both of these stories programs look to climb back up to top of the heap in College Football. Last year was a positive step in the right direction especially Texas, as the Longhorns have been out of the playoff hunt for a long time. It’s seems most of the pieces are in place for Texas to make another step heading into this season. That was the case until their running back depth was virtually stripped, losing 4 players at that position to injury.
LSU was inexperienced a season ago almost across the board but are poised to build on a successful 10-3 record in a very difficult schedule. Texas has the advantage at QB with Sam Ehlinger under center. Although, Ehlinger can run and pass like few quarterbacks in the nation, without a potent running back to set up the pass Texas will have to lean on their defense. That alone has this podcaster leaning LSU’s way.
The Pick: LSU 30 Texas 27
Under The Radar
#23 Stanford vs. USC: Stanford has played big brother bully to the USC Trojans over the last five years besides in 2017. Stanford has a tough road to hoe with Central Florida, Oregon, and Washington all by early October. USC’s path to a PAC-12 title shot is filled with land minds as well with Utah, Washington, & Notre Dame 3 out of next 4 weeks post Stanford. If either team wants to get to 10 wins this year they must get this one making for an early pressure cooker this Saturday. K.J. Costello will be the difference maker with a Trojan backup J.T. Daniels not quite accustomed to the bright lights.
The Pick: Stanford 26 USC 20
#25 Nebraska vs. Colorado: The Cornhuskers are a trendy pick in the Big Ten West but they underperformed last week versus South Alabama. Maybe it was first game rust or whatever but Nebraska will have to be much improved to get a road win at Colorado. A few years ago the Colorado Buffaloes were a school on the rise winning 10 games and competing for a PAC-12 championship. The key to this one will be Cornhusker QB Adrian Martinez making enough plays to get Nebraska over the hump.
The Pick: Nebraska 37 Colorado 30
Saturday Upset Special
BYU as a slight underdog on the road at Tennessee will make it two losses in a row for the Vols.
Miami vs. North Carolina: This ACC Coastal matchup usually delivers drama especially when the Tarheels are at home.
Minnesota at Fresno State: The Gophers slid by a respectable South Dakota State squad last Thursday and Fresno State lingered around against a more talented team in USC. Last year this non-conference tilt came down to an Antoine Winfield Jr. interception in the end zone and a Minnesota ‘W’.
Against The Spread
Don’t sleep on Army losing by less than 22-points to Michigan or #16 Oregon besting Nevada but not necessarily by the 24.5 points the Ducks are favored.
(Honorable Mention: Early to mid-week Texas A&M was a 17.5 point underdog to Clemson as of Thursday it was down to 16.)
Take it to the window #14 Washington vs. California will go over the 43.5 over/under.
Quick Hits Recap
-Heisman hopeful quarterback Jalen Hurts made an astonishing debut as an Oklahoma Sooner to the tune of 332 passing yards, 3 TD’s and 176 rushing yards adding 3 more touchdowns. Only one of other QB former Texas A&M Johnny Manziel accomplished this stat line in the last 15 years.
-Georgia State as a huge underdog defeated Tennessee 38-30 making it the worst loss by an SEC team favorite 25+ points in the last 40 years.
-Penn State and Maryland both put up 79 points, just the third time in Big Ten history dating back to the beginning of the Associated Polls.
-Alabama signal caller Tua Tagovailoa threw 4 touchdowns against Duke in a 42-3 whooping. Tua now has 7, four touchdowns games in his career tying a school record.
-Clemson RB Tyler Etienne rushed for a healthy 205 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Tigers pulled away from Georgia Tech 52-14.
-Auburn true freshman Bo Nix overcame early struggles to rally the Tigers back coming thru on a game winning TD with 9 seconds left. In the 27-21 thriller Nix became the first true freshman to start a season opener at quarterback for Auburn since 1944.
-Nevada kicker Brandon Talton hit a walk-off 56-yard field goal to beat the favorite Purdue 34-31. Talton went on to receive a scholarship post game.
Written by Chris Carlson Host of The College Ball Show Podcast available at blogtalkradio.com/ ropeadoperadio
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