After the first full week of collegiate action, not much was decided on the national stage, as most of the initial week’s action could be summed up as mismatches. Week number two maintains its share of mismatches as well, but it also features what can be called a national title knockout game, in addition to several other intriguing contests featuring both conference rivals and inter-sectional battles. Let’s take a look of the best matchups that college fans will surely want to make time for this weekend.
GAME OF THE WEEK
(1) Ohio State at (2) Texas
A primetime clash between two of the nation’s top five teams highlights the second week of collegiate action. Last season, these two college football titans battled in one of the year’s greatest contests, with Texas emerging victorious by a score of 25-22, launching the Horns on their way to a national title run. Ohio State was impressive in their first action of the season, as the Buckeyes dismantled a tough Northern Illinois squad 35-12. Ohio State opened up a 28-0 lead after the first play of the 2nd quarter and cruised for the remainder of the afternoon. In the meantime, down in Austin, the Longhorns were manhandling North Texas 56-7 with new QB Colt McCoy accounting for 4 touchdowns in his debut. Let’s look further in-depth into how these two powerhouses matchup against each other.
In command of the Buckeye offense is QB Troy Smith, who when given the time can pick apart opposing secondaries. The Ohio State offensive line looked very strong in the opener, opening up running lanes for Antonio Pittman to chew up chunks of yardage on the ground and giving Smith plenty of time to find his talented receivers. Attacking the OSU offense will be a Texas defensive front that held North Texas to a net total of 8 rushing yards. The Longhorns will need to apply pressure from their stout line in order to allow the UT linebacking corps to attack the Ohio State running game and assist in neutralizing the downfield passing game. One of the most interesting matchups on the evening will be how the Texas secondary handles the speed and explosiveness of Ted Ginn Jr. and the disciplined and precision routes of Anthony Gonzalez. One additional note is that Texas is likely to be without starting cornerback Tarell Brown, who faces a suspension after being arrested on drugs and weapons charges on Monday morning.
Taking control in Texas is redshirt freshman Colt McCoy, who opened the season by tossing 3 touchdowns and running in a 4th in the rout of the Mean Green of North Texas. The Ohio State defensive staff has to be nervous after the Buckeyes surrendered 286 total yards of offense to Northern Illinois’ Garrett Wolfe. Texas will look to take advantage of the inexperienced Buckeyes by using two tailbacks, Selvin Young and Jamaal Charles, to take the pressure off their young QB. If the Horns are able to establish a punishing ground attack, WRs Limas Sweed and Billy Pittman, should have room to roam in the Buckeye secondary. Overall, this has the makings of a second consecutive great game between these two top-notch programs.
OTHER MUST-SEE MATCHUPS
(12) Penn State at (4) Notre Dame
After surviving a tough battle at Georgia Tech, the Irish return to South Bend to open their home season, hosting Penn State. The Irish offense took some time to get on track, but the unit came through when it needed to, especially putting together a critical touchdown drive late in the 1st half and then clinching the game late by not allowing Georgia Tech to get the ball back for one final chance. Brady Quinn will look to take advantage of a relatively inexperienced PSU secondary, utilizing the size of Jeff Samardzija and Rhema McKnight to attack down the field. For the Lions, Anthony Morrelli had a strong debut and has a talented stable of wide receivers at his disposal. In order to win this game, Penn State will need to establish a rushing attack after only logging 76 yards on the ground versus Akron. PSU features one of the best, if not the best, linebacking corps in the nation, and the Lions will look to that unit to apply pressure on Brady Quinn and disrupt the Irish passing game. This should be an exciting return of a rivalry that has not been played since 1992.
Georgia at South Carolina
This contest has all the makings of a defensive slugfest on Saturday night in Columbia, SC. Carolina’s defense looked tremendous against Mississippi State, holding their conference rivals to 161 yards of total offense. Georgia did not exactly light-up Division 1-AA Western Kentucky on offense, as QB Joe Tershinski passed for only 90 yards while Danny Ware rushed for 68 yards. In order to win on Saturday, Georgia will have to improve on their downfield passing attack to open up the running lanes for Ware. USC’s offense also looks like a work in progress as the Gamecocks generated just enough output to earn the win in their opener. RB Cory Byrd led South Carolina in receiving yards on Thursday night, and QB Blake Mitchell must get his wide receivers more involved in the offense to generate enough points to upset Georgia. This is the type of game where whichever team wins the turnover battle is likely to emerge victorious.
Clemson at Boston College
Boston College opened the season on Thursday night and struggled in putting away a gutsy Central Michigan squad, finally ending the contest with a late interception by LB Brian Toal. Clemson performed as expected, hammering an outmanned Florida Atlantic team after struggling in the 1st quarter. One down note for the Tigers is the loss of All-American candidate LB Anthony Waters for the season with a torn ACL. BC will have to work to exploit the now less experienced Tiger LB corps, using the mammoth Eagle offensive line to open up running lanes for L.V. Whitworth and to provide QB Matt Ryan with time to find his receivers. Clemson will likely pound RB James Davis, at BC as Central Michigan found running room against the BC defense. This game has huge early season implications in the ACC’s Atlantic Division.
Oregon at Fresno State
The Ducks had one of the top performances on Saturday in their 48-10 total domination of Stanford. The Quack attack offensive unit tore through the Cardinal defense, compiling 534 yards of offense with RB Jonathan Stewart rambling for 168 yards and 2 touchdowns while the Duck defense shutdown a talented Cardinal attack. Fresno State will counter with Dwayne Wright and will look for him to pound away at the Oregon defensive front. Wright is coming off an impressive first week as he ran for 158 yards and 3 touchdowns in a Fresno win over conference rival Nevada. Fresno State is always a tough non-conference opponent, evidenced by last year’s tough losses, 37-34 to Oregon and 50-42 to USC. The Ducks will need to duplicate last week’s effort to go into Fresno and emerge with a win.
Air Force at (11) Tennessee
This game is generating interest for a couple of reasons: the dramatic class of styles and to see how the Volunteers react after their huge win over California. Tennessee looked tremendous in their 35-18 total dismantling of an excellent Cal team. QB Erik Ainge returned to prior form as he tossed 4 touchdown passes, and the Vol defense squashed any hopes of a Cal comeback. Air Force always presents a major challenge as they continue to run the wishbone offense, and Tennessee will need to adjust their defensive game plan rather quickly to attack the Falcon offense. The Air Force defense has had its struggles in recent years, and with the Vol offense full of confidence, Tennessee could put major points on the board. This is the definition of sandwich game as Tennessee plays host to Florida next weekend.
GAMES OF INTEREST
Minnesota at California - Saturday 6:00 PM CDT
Gophers were impressive in their opening week shutout of Kent State, while California crumbled in their opener at Tennessee. Can the Bears rebound and get refocused in their home opener?
Oregon State at Boise State - Thursday 6:30 PM CDT
This was a thriller at Oregon State last year with the Beavers squeaking out a win at home in Corvallis. Boise is as tough at they come on their home turf, and this is the type of games that the Broncos need to dominate if they are serious about earning a BCS bid.
Texas Tech at UTEP - Saturday 8:00 PM CDT
UTEP held on to survive against San Diego State, while Tech cruised over SMU. Expect plenty of offensive fireworks in this in-state battle.
Nevada at Arizona State - Saturday 9:00 PM CDT
The Sun Devils struggled in their home opener versus Division 1-AA neighbor Northern Arizona. If ASU plays the same against a talented Nevada squad, an upset could be in the making.
Arizona at (7) LSU - Saturday 5:30 PM CDT
Zona needed a 48-yard field goal with one second remaining to knock of BYU, while LSU was cruising over Louisiana-Lafayette. Arizona has a tough defense that will need to play above its head for the Cats to score the upset in Death Valley.
UNLV at Iowa State - Saturday 6:00 PM CDT
The Rebel offense is much improved and will provide an inexperienced Cyclone defense with a major test. ISU survived a thriller in 3 OT’s versus Toledo in their first action of the season.
Mississippi at Missouri - Saturday 11:30 AM CDT
Mississippi's offense looks much improved versus last year’s unit. Missouri will get its first test after dismantling 1-AA foe Murray State.
Illinois at Rutgers - Saturday 11:00 AM CDT
The Scarlet Knights were very impressive in their gutsy win at UNC. Rutgers is looking to avenge last year’s loss to Illinois after blowing a huge lead in the 2nd half.
Idaho at Washington State - Saturday 2:45 PM CDT
Washington State ran into a buzz saw at Auburn, while Idaho played very tough in a 27-17 loss on the road at Michigan State. This is an interesting rivalry as the schools are located only 8 miles apart from each other.
Tulsa at Brigham Young - Saturday 3:00 PM CDT
Cougars are coming off a tough loss on the road at Arizona. Tulsa will need to have their offense in high gear to overcome a stingy BYU defense on the road.
Washington at (15) Oklahoma - Saturday 2:30 PM CDT
Sooners struggled in their opener, surviving UAB 24-17. Coach Stoops will be looking for a much better effort against an improved Washington squad.
Colorado at Colorado State - Saturday 4:00 PM CDT
This game is huge for Colorado after the Buffaloes suffered the most embarrassing loss of the opening weekend, falling 19-10 to Division 1-AA foe Montana State. This game could set the table for a very long season for the Colorado faithful in Boulder.
Virginia Tech at North Carolina - Saturday 11:00 AM CDT
Tar Heels are coming off a tough loss at home to Rutgers, while Virginia Tech ran through the motions in blasting 1-AA opponent Northeastern.