College Football Week 2: Previews and predictions

Week 1 of the 2015 college football season was full of dramatic wins and big plays.

From the Northwestern Wildcats upsetting Stanford to BYU winning on a Hail Mary pass again to Ohio State beating its chest as it dominates from the top of the mountain, the first week of college football was all you could ask for.

Most of the match-ups in Week 2 could be considered cupcake games, but you never want to take your eyes off of them.

With that being said, let’s take a look at the top matchup from each conference that we will witness this weekend.

ACC: Houston at Louisville

The Cardinals showed some promise late in the opening game against Auburn, but had they never gotten down so much in the first place, they may be 1-0 instead of 0-1 right now. True freshman Lamar Jackson showed off when he replaced Reggie Bonnafon in the second quarter.

This week, Louisville welcomes the always dangerous Houston Cougars.

Wide receiver Demarcus Ayers was electric as he went for 120 yards through the air and 44 more on the ground. Running back Greg Ward Jr. had a terrific game in Week 1 as well, rushing for 101 yards and two touchdowns.

This game could come down to who has the ball last, but I think Jackson will be ready to lead his Cardinals to a big victory on Saturday.

Louisville wins, 41-24

American Athletic Conference: Central Florida at Stanford

Both of these teams have A LOT to prove in Week 2.

Stanford was upset by Northwestern, 16-6, while Central Florida fell to Florida International, 15-14. The Cardinal need to come out and have a big game if they want to erase the ugly loss to the Wildcats from peoples’ minds. The Knights are no slouches, though, as Justin Holman looks to build off of his 234 yard, two touchdown performance.

On the other side of the ball, Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan, who has looked very good in seasons past, had a dismal performance against Pat Fitzgerald’s club last week. He only threw for 155 yards and no touchdowns with an interception. Hogan is going to be motivated this week as the Cardinal gets back to work. T

his could be another long week for them if they get off to another slow start, however, I believe David Shaw will have his team ready.

Stanford wins, 24-10

Big 12: No. 19 Oklahoma at No. 23 Tennessee

In what could be the game of the week, the Sooners travel to Knoxville to take on the Tennessee Volunteers. Both teams played very well en route to big margin victories in Week 1.

Baker Mayfield led the Sooners with 388 yards and three touchdowns through the air. He connected with Joe Mixon for 115 yards and a touchdown, so that duo could be a problem.

For the Volunteers, there is a lot on the line.

Many people have picked them as the SEC East champion this year, so they want to prove they belong. It was all about the running backs in Week 1, after Alvin Kamara and Jalen Hurd rushed for 144 yards and 123 yards respectively. Kamara had two touchdowns, while Hurd had three on the day.

This could prove to be a huge problem for the Sooners, but I don’t think their defense can slow down Mayfield enough to pull out the win.

Oklahoma wins, 38-27

Big Ten: No. 7 Oregon at No. 2 Michigan State

Our first top ten match-up of the season comes from East Lansing, Michigan.

The Spartans looked rather impressive in their Week 1 victory, thanks mostly in part to running back Madre London. He only rushed for 59 yards on the day, but his two touchdowns pushed the Spartans to victory. London paired with Connor Cook’s throwing ability is going to be key if the Spartans want to emerge victorious and keep their spot in the top five.

Vernon Adams looked very good for the Ducks in their victory over FCS power and former home to Adams, Eastern Washington. He threw for 246 yards a two touchdowns, while running for 94. Royce Freeman was also big for the Ducks as he ran for 180 yards and three touchdowns.

The biggest story, however, was Adams going down with a head injury after a cheap shot late in the game. He says he will be alright, so that could be a big reason why the Ducks win this game.

Oregon wins, 42-37

Conference USA: Florida International at Indiana

I nearly picked the Golden Panthers to win over UCF last week, so I certainly won’t be missing on another upset opportunity in Week 2.

Quarterback Alex McGough looked good for the Golden Panthers in Week 1, throwing for 260 yards and two touchdowns. Ron Turner has done an impressive job with this team helping them get turned around and they now want to compete for the conference championship.

The Hoosiers are certainly missing Tevin Coleman, but Jordan Howard did show some promise for Indiana. The team barely snuck past FCS team Southern Illinois, so I don’t see how they can make a case to win this week.

The Golden Panthers get another upset.

Florida International wins, 28-23

MAC: Marshall at Ohio

Tiquan Lang is certainly one of the biggest names to watch this week. The 5-foot-8 Thundering Herd defensive back stormed onto the college football scene as the returned two Austin Appleby interceptions for touchdowns against Purdue last Sunday. He made a case for being one of the top corners in the 2016 NFL Draft and he should have another great week against the Bobcats.

Lang should match up with Brendan Cope this week. Cope had a great game, going for 129 yards and a touchdown in the team’s 45-28 win over Idaho.

It really comes down to who wins that match-up in the slot and I think Lang can get the best of Cope.

Marshall wins, 34-27

Mountain West: No. 22 Boise State at BYU

The Cougars lost Taysom Hill for the season due to injury again last week, but they still managed to sneak a rather big upset win over Nebraska on the road.

Tanner Mangum stepped in for Hill after he went down in the third quarter and led the Cougars to victory on a last-second Hail Mary. Nick Kurtz is going to have to have another big game like he did if BYU wants to create another upset.

The Broncos escaped with an ugly win over the Washington Huskies and they will need much more production out of Ryan Finley if the team wants to avoid an upset this week. Running back Jeremy Nichols showed some promise as he rushed for 89 yards and two touchdowns.

That certainly won’t be enough this week and I think the Cougars come away with another huge win.

BYU wins, 28-25

PAC-12: Utah State at Utah

The Utes proved that they weren’t a cupcake with a rather dominant win over Michigan. Their defense dominated Jake Rudock all night long as they intercepted three passes with Justin Thomas returning one for a touchdown.

Special teams played a huge role in the Aggies’ 12-9 win over Southern Utah. The team blocked an extra point and returned it for two points in the early stages of the game. Then, a late 88-yard punt return for a touchdown by Andrew Rodriguez gave his team the lead as the Aggies escaped with the win.

The Aggies are going to need much more from one-time Heisman candidate Chuckie Keeton if they want to win this rivalry game.

Utah wins, 35-14

SEC: No. 14 LSU at Mississippi State

The only conference match-up on our list will probably be the only big blowout. The Tigers’ game against McNeese State was canceled due to inclement weather, making them the only Power Five conference team to not play a game last week.

Needless to say, the team is going to be ready to hit the field.

The Bulldogs looked pretty haphazard in their late game against Southern Miss last Saturday. The Golden Eagles haven’t been good in about five years, so that game should have been over by halftime, but it wasn’t.

Mississippi State had to pull away late in the fourth quarter to win the game, so I don’t think they will be able to do enough to win against the Tigers.

LSU wins, 35-7

Sun Belt: Appalachian State at No. 10 Clemson

The Tigers dominated in their Week 1 win over Wofford, so the Mountaineers don’t want to join their former Southern Conference foes in defeat this week. Appalachian State looked impressive in their 49-0 win over Howard as Taylor Lamb threw for 209 yards and three touchdowns. He is going to have be spot on this week if they want to pull out the upset.

Deshaun Watson lived up to his preseason hype as he went for 194 yards and two touchdowns through the air in just three quarters last week. It was the Tigers’ dominant defensive play that won them the game. They forced three different quarterbacks to make appearances in the game and all three of them did poorly.

The Tigers might be on upset alert this week, but they will likely find a way to pull through at the end.

Clemson wins, 40-21

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports

Mack Brown: Don’t blame for state of Texas program
Mack Brown: Don’t blame for state of Texas program