Was this year’s opening week of college football the best ever? Maybe, but we do know the games produced the usual drama — blowouts, upsets, nail-biting overtime wins, and player ejections. Throw in questionable decisions made by coaches and fanbases should feel satisfied that nothing was missing this past week. As for my predictions, well, they were terrible. (Understatement of the year so far.) The real disappointing factor regarding the poor results was that the only games I picked correctly were the games I just threw in as an afterthought to round out the numbers. Anyway, time to move on from the rough week 1 predictions to Week 2. This week’s schedule didn’t offer many intriguing games; as a result, there are only three predictions this week.
TCU (-7) vs Arkansas
Home field: TCU
Neither team looked impressive last week. Arkansas had to come from behind in the fourth quarter to vanquish Louisiana Tech, while TCU allowed a ton of yards to South Dakota State. Both offenses should score points. Gary Patterson’s track record is greater than Bret Bielema’s at Arkansas, so the choice to go with TCU in this game is based on the Patterson versus Bielema matchup. Edge Patterson.
TCU 38 – 28
Mississippi State (-7) vs South Carolina
Home field: Mississippi State
Anyone think that either of these teams can muster enough offense to score more than two touchdowns? This game will “showcase” the defenses. Perhaps, later in the year Dan Mullen and the Bulldogs will field a more efficient offense, but Will Muschamp’s lack of ability to implement or find someone to implement an offense, please see his coaching stint at Florida, leaves the South Carolina fans little hope for the future. Obviously, it’s still early in the season, so South Carolina plus the points is the logical pick.
Mississippi State 16 – 10
Winner: South Carolina plus 7
Tennessee (-7) vs Virginia Tech
Home field: Neutral field
Will the Vols will play inspired football this week? Last week, they were fortunate to get the win versus a very tough Appalachian State team at home, where Appalachian State more than held their own at the line of scrimmage. Virginia Tech is transitioning from long-time head coach Frank Beamer to Justin Fuente. In the past, one could count on the Hokies to play great defense and special teams. The Vols should have the edge in overall talent, but that may not matter if quarterback Josh Dobbs struggles as he did in their first game. Look for the Vols to play much better and cover the point spread in this game.
Looking back at last week’s games, here are a few “spare change” thoughts.
Nebraska honors late punter Sam Foltz
It’s hard to watch that video without the eyes getting a little dusty. Well done, Nebraska. Oh, and Fresno State declined the delay of game penalty as well to show that there are some things more important than football. (Would Nick Saban decline the penalty? Okay – just kidding. We all know Nick would decline the penalty, right?)
Alabama rolls through USC
Yes, many pundits predicted a comfortable win for the Tide; however, a 52-6 thrashing probably exceeded the expected margin of victory. It certainly did for me. USC held firm until Alabama freshman Jalen Hurts rocketed a long touchdown pass to ArDarius Stewart. After that, a field goal, a pick six before the half, and Alabama acquired all the points it needed. The Alabama defense squeezed the life out of USC in the second half, and the rout was on as the Tide continued to score. Yes, they were still throwing late in the game.
The defense may actually have a chance to improve from last year. Offensively, the line struggled at times, which was probably why the coaches decided to insert the more mobile Jalen Hurts to move the pocket. Obviously, no team wins the title the first game of the year, but Alabama definitely took care of business.
Houston upsets Oklahoma
Down goes the number three team in the nation. Not only did Houston stand toe-to-toe with a potential championship team from a top five power conference, but they also managed to steal a page from Auburn’s spell book, the “Kick Six”. Nice job, Houston.
Don’t take the loss too hard Oklahoma fans, teams can rebound from an early loss (e.g. Alabama from last year, Ohio State the year before, etc.) and still win a title.
I wonder if the other teams in the Big12 want to add Houston to the conference?
Texas upsets Notre Dame in overtime
Great win for Texas and Charlie Strong.
Though you are down Notre Dame fans, rest easy knowing that a couple of wins against a few unranked opponents and your beloved Irish will vault back into the top 5.
Auburn plays Clemson tough
Auburn has a solid defense this year. What a surprise. On the other side of the ball; however, the offense is in danger of underperforming by a wide margin. For the first time, I am worried about Gus Malzahn. Alternating two quarterbacks can work under the right circumstances, but Malzahn decided to play three quarterbacks. It looked like a merry-go-round: one quarterback in, the other one out. Repeat. Heck, there was one play where the running back took the shotgun snap, spun 360 degrees, and then ran into the line for a minimal gain. Auburn ran that play more than once with no variation (e.g. hand off to the quarterback for a throw down the field). Maybe they were saving the variations for upcoming games. It looked like a circus. Hopefully, Malzahn ditches the circus.
Same old LSU offense
Speaking of circus, Les Miles was on his way out last year until he outmaneuvered the decision makers at LSU by rallying the fan base. Oh, and he made promises that change was on the way regarding LSU’s dull offensive schemes. Sure, Les…Sure…Last week’s offensive scheme against Wisconsin didn’t look any different. LSU had no answer when Wisconsin stacked the middle of the line to keep running back Leonard Fournette from running between the tackles. The few long games Fournette experienced were runs he bounced outside. Why not throw more quick outlet passes to their playmaking receivers as they did on the one offensive touchdown they scored in the game? However, no one should discount the effort of the Wisconsin team, though. They controlled the inside gaps and forced LSU to put the game in the hands of Brandon Harris, which LSU did not want to do.
Well, that’s a wrap — enjoy week 2, everyone. May your team win unless they are playing mine.
Categories: College football