By Chris Carlson: This week College Football won’t feature as many close matchups on paper as we had in the opening weekend. However, we will get a few key non conference games and a Pac-12 opener between bitter rivals. Week 2 should give us a clearer picture as far as Power 5 strength and set the tone for league play across the nation.
Week 2 Marquee Predictions:
#3 Oregon vs. #7 Michigan State: Huge non conference game shapes the season for the winner and puts their Power 5 conferences in line to qualify for a national semi-finalist slot. This game may come down to Oregon offense versus Michigan State defense. Both teams are very effective at what they do on the opposite side of the ball, making this top 10 match-up a real head scratcher trying to pick a winner. Flip of a coin, Las Vegas doesn’t see it that way with the Ducks as a comfortable 12.5 point favorite. Let’s put it this way if I were in Las Vegas now my knee-jerk reaction to the spread is bet with Sparty. It’s a tough task early in the season to steal a win in Autzen Stadium, but it has done been on a few occasions in the recent years.
Michigan State 34 Oregon 33
#13 Stanford vs. #14 USC: USC is the most talented in Pac-12 and Stanford is being undervalued yet again. Will the recent losses on both sides of the ball combined with lack of depth for the Trojans, be too much to overcome? Successful past transgressions in the rivalry leads me to believe that Stanford closes out the game with a time consuming drive at home.
Stanford 30 USC 24
#8 Ohio State vs. Virginia Tech: VaTech’s running game and defense will be put to the test this Saturday night. The Buckeyes will need to improve on last week’s sluggish moments versus Navy. An improved Hokies team paired with a Braxton Miller-less Ohio State, should equal a hardnosed low scoring affair. At home, with more talent top to bottom to place around a new quarterback, the Buckeyes get it done in the 4th quarter.
Ohio State 27 Virginia Tech 23
#16 Notre Dame vs. Michigan: No scheduled games after meeting 31 times in the last 38 years. Quarterback’s Devin Gardner and Everett Golson looked improved in the first week of play. Michigan has won 4 out of last 6 meetings. If nothing changes, Notre Dame missing cornerback KeiVarae Russell, most productive returning receiver DaVaris Daniels, along with their defensive losses to the Draft the last 2 years could spell a long season. With their taxing schedule the Irish need this win badly to have any shot at a successful season.
Notre Dame 36 Michigan 30
Unranked Under The Radar:
BYU vs. Texas: Longhorns have a big hill to climb if they want revenge. David Ash is out with a concussion, several suspensions, including a newly announced suspension of two players now totaling 3 missing starters from the offensive lineman. Last year BYU embarrassed Texas rushing for 550 yards. Can Charlie Strong’s defense redeem itself from the dreadful performance?
Navy vs. Temple: Will Navy, who went tooth and nail with the Buckeyes last week, build off that impressive performance?
Northwestern vs. Northern Illinois: Bounce back game for Northwestern is a must-have facing 0-2 after a disappointing 2013 campaign.
Missouri vs. Toledo: A competitive game last year may be interesting again.
South Carolina vs. East Carolina: The Gamecocks need to stay focused on East Carolina with Georgia looming on September 13. Running back Mike Davis may miss the game.
Saturday Night Upset Special:
With Oregon 12.5 point favorites over Michigan State I will go with Sparty. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Virginia Tech beat Ohio State.
Quick Hits Recap Week 1:
-Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill already has his own nickname “Kenny Thrill”, after setting several passing records in a blowout victory on the road against the South Carolina.
-Georgia closes strong versus Clemson behind Todd Gurley’s 198 rushing yards. Add in a timely kickoff return for a touchdown makes it hard to deny that Gurley is a Heisman Trophy candidate and may be MVP in the nation behind Oregon’s Marcus Mariota.
-Overhyped in the preseason, UCLA struggles to find rhythm on offense against Virginia lucky for them the Bruins defense had 3 touchdown returns.
-With high expectations, Florida State and especially Alabama, showed plenty of rust and must improve on both sides of the ball to reach elite status.
-LSU comes from behind to beat Wisconsin adding to Les Miles’s already legendary play calling and track record in 4 quarter comebacks.
Written by Chris Carlson Owner and Host of The College Ball Show http://www.blogtalkradio.com/college_ball_show