Now that the opening week is behind us, it’s time to take a look at predicting week 2 in college football. I ended up going 5-1 including the bonus game last week as Clemson shocked me (and most everyone else) by actually winning. This week’s games aren’t as deep as last week but there are still some intriguing matchups.
5) #3 Oregon Ducks at Virginia Cavaliers
Last week the Ducks ran up 66 points and 772 total yards against some school named Nichols which was a record to open the Mark Helfrich era. This week though, they have to go on the road to face a serviceable Virginia team. Last week Virginia pulled out a close win over BYU 19-16 and didn’t look all that great under Coach Mike London’s retooled staff. The only danger here is if they Ducks start looking ahead to a matchup with Tennessee next week. I expect the Ducks to pull away in the 2nd quarter after a bumpy start on the road and win comfortably.
4) West Virginia Mountaineers at #15 Oklahoma Sooners
Last season’s meeting between Oklahoma and West Virginia featured 99 points and more than 1,400 yards of total offense as players shattered school records on both sides. Don’t expect quite as many fireworks in this game as Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops has lasered in on improving that defense. Also Landry Jones, Geno Smith, and Tavon Austin are no longer in college to light it up. Both teams’ QB situations are sketchy with redshirt freshman Trevor Knight taking over for OU and WVU splitting time between Paul Millard and FSU transfer Clint Trickett. On a neutral field, this game would be a toss up for me because of all the questions on both sides of the ball. Since the game is in Norman though, expect to hear a lot of “Boomer Sooner” as OU takes home the victory.
3) #9 Florida Gators at #25 Miami Hurricanes
Many people forget that this game is a rivalry dating back to 1944 when the teams play every year until 1987. They didn’t play again after that until 2001 and have now been on hiatus for 13 years. The rivalry is in jeopardy though after the Florida AD complained that they had to set aside $700k to make up for a lost home game. Cry me a river. Florida notoriously doesn’t leave the state of Florida to play out of conference games with cupcake schedules but that’s another topic for another time. On the field, this game will come down to a few things. Will UF QB Jeff Driskel continue to improve or revert back to being inept? Is Stephen Morris ready to make a big jump onto the national radar? I just don’t trust Jeff Driskel yet. The most important question though is can UF stop the most underrated RB in the country Duke Johnson from running wild? I say they will not and call for the upset special. Miami will win and start claiming they are “back.”
2) #13 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at #17 Michigan Wolverines
Despite what Brian Kelly wrongly claimed (and later walked back) Michigan-Notre Dame is a big deal and a great rivalry. Next year will be the last game the play because of ND taking on a 5 game ACC schedule (FSU-ND will be FUN) starting in 2014. Brady Hoke who isn’t known to be shy , says ND is “chickening out” of the matchup. This is the stuff that makes rivalries great. This is another interesting QB matchup with Tommy Rees of ND coming off a great start to the season and hopes being high for Devon Gardner. In the end, ND has the better coach and the better defense. Expect another low scoring game that end up with the Fighting Irish getting the road victory.
1) #6 South Carolina Gamecocks at #12 Georgia Bulldogs
The most intriguing matchup comes from the SEC this week as we get a great conference game early in the season. This game would be interesting if they had both played cupcakes the week before but with Georgia coming off a close loss to Clemson, it is a Week 2 must win for them. In a must win game, would you like to see Jadeveon Clowney lined up on the other side of you? South Carolina has beaten Georgia two years in a row so they won’t fear going into Athens to take on the Bulldogs. Georgia’s running backs will need to have a big game both running and helping to block Clowney and if that happens I expect the Bulldogs to pull out a close victory at home.