Week 2 of the college football season is upon us. My colleague Zane already did a wonderful job of previewing and predicting the SEC schedule, so I’ll dive into the remaining leagues here.
Notre Dame and Michigan might be the prettiest matchup of the weekend, but there are plenty of intriguing games to tune into.
Must See: Houston at Temple – This matchup represents the debut of the league. Adding to the intrigue is the fact that these two teams are evenly matched. Implications – Other than history of being the first winning and first losing team in AAC league play, there’s not much.
Sleeper: Cincinnati at Illinois – Cincy stomped Purdue a week ago. This time they travel to Illinois. I’m curious if the Illini can find more success against the Bearcats than the Boilermakers did.
Avoid: Louisville welcomes…drum roll please…Eastern Kentucky to Papa John Extra Cheese Stadium.
Must See: Florida at Miami – This rivalry is on life support. More than that, if “The U” wants to send a message to the football world that they are back, upsetting the Gators would be a wonderful way to do it. For the league that hasn’t found the BCS era very kind to them, this would be an early statement in the final year of the system. Implications – Well, those are what makes it a must see!
Sleeper: Oregon at Virginia – It is very strange to see a team travel from as far away as this game features in non-conference play. This game could easily turn ugly in a hurry, but like some piece of modern art, I can’t quite turn away either.
Avoid: Clemson welcomes…a louder drum roll than the Louisville game please…South Carolina State to Death Valley.
Must See: Texas at BYU – This is a chance for UT to quiet a lot of their doubters. The Cougars are a tough non-AQ squad, they have a wonderful home crowd, and the altitude will pose some problems for the Longhorns. Implications – A big win will will ease the tension among Texas fans for about five minutes, while a loss will fill up Mack Brown’s inbox and kill the servers in Austin.
Sleeper: South Dakota at Kansas – Really disgusting, but am I the only one who wants to see this game? We could see three FCS teams beat Big 12 teams. We could also see the state of South Dakota improve to 2-0 against the state of Kansas.
Avoid: OSU at Texas San Antonio and Buffalo at Baylor have equal parts ugly written all over them.
Must See: Notre Dame at Michigan – This is another rivalry about to bite the dust. Good thing it doesn’t matter to Brian Kelly. Implications – Potential BCS bowl berths, bragging rights, recruiting. You know, the small stuff.
Sleeper: Am I allowed to repeat? Can I get a judges ruling on that? Anyway, I am curious to see what Illinois does against Cincy. They showed signs of improvement in Week 1, especially with Nathan Scheelhaase’s big day, but it was against an FCS team.
Avoid: I’m not sure there is enough money in the world to get me to sit through Tennessee Tech at Wisconsin, though I’ll gladly field offers.
Must See: San Jose State at Stanford – This is a terrible week in the league, but I do want to see this game. The Spartans are a good small-ball club and the Cardinal were idle last week, so this will be our first look at the national title contender. Implications – An upset will end Stanford’s quest quite early.
Sleeper: Washington State at USC – Washington State put up some points at Auburn. I am interested to see what the Men of Troy can do without a quarterback. This game will certainly have me flipping back and forth.
Avoid: Sacramento State was just shut out by San Jose. Now they travel to a popular pick to win the South, Arizona State. No Thanks!
Independents and Non AQ
Notre Dame at Michigan (See above)
Bowling Green at Kent State – MAC shootout from title hopefuls.
Utah State at Air Force – Aggies’ Mountain West debut could prove tricky with the Falcons’ triple-option threat.
Colorado State at Tulsa – Two teams desperate for a win after the Rams’ upset bid came up short against Colorado and the Golden Hurricanes’ road trip to BGSU went wrong in every possible way.
Louisiana-Lafayette at Kansas State – ULL is a title threat in the Sun Belt but they have to face an angry Wildcats team. At the start of the season this could have been considered winnable for the Ragin’ Cajuns, but now it looks a lot harder.