Articles By Steven Lassan

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For completely different reasons, Oklahoma and Texas have dominated the headlines in the since last Saturday. And going into Week 3, the Longhorns will have an opportunity to build off last week’s momentum and win over Rice with a tough matchup against California. The Golden Bears boast one of the nation’s top offenses and are off to a 2-0 start. Oklahoma’s win over Tennessee was a huge non-conference boost for the Sooners last Saturday. Bob Stoops’ team returns to Norman this week for a matchup against in-state foe Tulsa, and Oklahoma should move to 3-0 without much trouble. Elsewhere in the Big 12, Texas Tech-Arkansas, Kansas State-Louisiana Tech and Iowa State-Toledo are the three matchups to keep an eye on this weekend.

 

Athlon Sports offers its Week 3 predictions from three editors: Steven Lassan (), David Fox (), and Braden Gall ()

 

Big 12 Week 3 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. California at Texas

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

 

David Fox:

Between parting ways with the AD and reshuffling the offensive responsibilities and personnel, Texas is starting to pull itself together. All that won’t help the Longhorns slow down Cal’s passing game.

California 31­–21

 

Braden Gall:

This is a great battle between a great offensive coach and a great defensive coach. Jared Goff should be successful against a young secondary but Texas has some emotional momentum at home after firing their athletic director. This will go down to the final whistle.

California 31-30

 

Steven Lassan:

Things are looking up for Texas. The offense showed some signs of life against Rice (7.3 ypp), and Steve Patterson was dismissed as the athletic director on Tuesday. Can the Longhorns continue that momentum on Saturday? Stopping California’s high-powered offense will be a challenge for coach Charlie Strong, especially with a young secondary and a pass rush that’s been relatively quiet (three sacks so far). The Golden Bears are vulnerable on defense, but I’ll take Jared Goff and his deep group of receivers to win in Austin.

California 31-27

 

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2. Texas Tech at Arkansas

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN2

 

David Fox:

Against Tech last year, Arkansas rushed for 438 yards and seven TDs while Brandon Allen attempted only 12 passes. For some reason, Arkansas has flipped the script and put more on Allen and the passing game in 2015. Will Bielema get back to basics against Texas Tech?

Arkansas 31–21

 

Braden Gall:

Tech is improved from last year but the defense still has major question marks. Arkansas is reeling after a bad home loss to Toledo but outgained the Rockets by almost 200 yards. Look for the physical play of the Hogs to prevail at home.

Arkansas 38-31

 

Steven Lassan:

Arkansas’ ground attack pounded Texas Tech for 438 yards last season, but the Razorbacks have just 285 rushing yards through the first two games of 2015. And as if last week’s loss to Toledo wasn’t bad enough, top receiver Keon Hatcher is out indefinitely due to a foot injury. Arkansas needs to have a steady diet of Alex Collins on Saturday to keep Texas Tech’s high-powered attack on the sidelines. This one will be closer than it was last season.

Arkansas 38-27

 

3. Iowa State at Toledo

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPNEWS

 

David Fox:

Could Toledo pick up two Power 5 wins? Yes, the Rockets can.

Toledo 21–20

 

Braden Gall:

Can Toledo move to 2-0 against Power 5 opponents this year? Iowa State is nothing special, but the Rockets need to get back up again to win.

Toledo 28-24

 

Steven Lassan:

Toledo scored a huge upset over Arkansas last week – and that was without star running back Kareem Hunt in the lineup. If the Rockets avoid a letdown, they will be 2-0 against Power 5 opponents this season.

Toledo 34-27

 

4. Louisiana Tech at Kansas State

Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FSN

 

David Fox:

Louisiana Tech is a good enough team to give Kansas State trouble, but the Wildcats will find a way, even with the backup QB.

Kansas State 27–13

 

Braden Gall:

The Bulldogs can play with Jeff Driskel and company on offense but Kansas State normally figures out a way to stop a quality offense at home. This could be close, but I'm taking the Cats.

Kansas State 30-20

 

Steven Lassan:

New Kansas State quarterback Joe Hubener was solid in his first start, as the junior completed 12 of 23 passes for 243 yards and led the team with 58 rushing yards. Additionally, the Wildcats have allowed only three points in the first two games of 2015. The competition will get tougher this week, as Louisiana Tech is one of the top teams in Conference USA and feature Florida transfer quarterback Jeff Driskel at quarterback. And after allowing just 49 rushing yards per game through the first two weeks, the Wildcats face a tougher test in stopping Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon. The Bulldogs could make this interesting, but Kansas State finds a way to win.

Kansas State 31-20

 

5. SMU at TCU

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FSN

 

David Fox:

Injuries are taking hold on the TCU defense, SMU is nearly halfway to its touchdown total of 2014. This might not be an upset, but it will be closer than TCU would like.

TCU 42–28

 

Braden Gall:

The Battle for the Iron Skillet has seen and will see better days.

TCU 54-28

 

Steven Lassan:

SMU has made significant strides under new coach Chad Morris, and quarterback Matt Davis could give TCU’s ailing defense a few headaches. However, the Horned Frogs simply have too much offense behind quarterback Trevone Boykin.

TCU 45-20

 

6. Tulsa at Oklahoma

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

 

David Fox:

The average score in this game since 2001 is 48–10, and some of those were good Tulsa teams.

Oklahoma 52–10

 

Braden Gall:

Get the ground game going should be the mantra of Oklahoma in this game. It struggled on the ground against Akron and Tennessee and needs to get Samaje Perine rolling before Big 12 play.

Oklahoma 45-17

 

Steven Lassan:

Tulsa is off to a good start (2-0) under new coach Philip Montgomery. However, the Golden Hurricane will need a perfect game to knock off the Sooners. Oklahoma may start slow after last week’s overtime win over Tennessee, but it’s asking a lot for Tulsa’s defense (5.8 ypp and 32.5 ppg) to limit the Sooners’ offense. Oklahoma’s rushing attack is only averaging 3.2 yards per carry, but the offense will have an opportunity to open up holes on the ground against a Tulsa defense giving up over 260 rushing yards per game.

Oklahoma 45-17

 

7. UTSA at Oklahoma State

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

 

David Fox:

Oklahoma State’s 2–0 start could best be described as “workmanlike.” Here’s another probable win of which you won’t take particular note.

Oklahoma State 35–7

 

Braden Gall:

Mason Rudolph got on track last weekend and the offense should roll once again.

Oklahoma State 45-17

 

Steven Lassan:

UTSA gave Arizona all it could handle in Week 1 but was dominated at home in a 30-3 loss to Kansas State. What should we expect from the Roadrunners in Week 3? Probably an outcome similar to the one in Week 2. Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph threw for 400 yards last Saturday, but the Cowboys might use this game as an opportunity to work on their ground attack (4.5 ypc).

Oklahoma State 41-10

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Big 12 Week 3 Predictions 2015
Post date: Thursday, September 17, 2015 - 11:00
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The took the spotlight last Saturday, as Michigan State-Oregon was the must-see matchup from Week 2. This weekend’s slate doesn’t have a marquee top-10 contest, but there’s plenty of intriguing games around the conference. Nebraska-Miami features two programs with plenty of history, but neither enters this matchup ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. Elsewhere in the Big Ten, Rutgers-Penn State, Northwestern-Duke and North Carolina-Illinois are some of the top games to watch in Week 3.

 

Athlon Sports offers its Big Ten Week 3 predictions from three editors: Steven Lassan (), David Fox (), and Braden Gall ()

 

Big Ten Week 3 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Nebraska at Miami

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ABC/ESPN2

 

David Fox:

The Huskers are trying to find consistency on offense, but the emergence of Terrell Newby, who rushed for 198 yards and accounted for three touchdowns against South Alabama last week, is encouraging. Miami is also trying to figure out how to consistently move the ball. The team that avoids stalled drives will have the upper hand.

Nebraska 28–21

 

Braden Gall:

I have no good feel about this game but like the other Big Ten-ACC tilts this weekend, I like the home team. Joe Yearby and Brad Kaaya are forming a nice 1-2 offensive punch and Nebraska is still trying to find itself.

Miami 40-30

 

Steven Lassan:

Not sure what to expect in this game, as these two teams seem relatively even. Miami’s defense was shaky in the first half against FAU, but the Hurricanes allowed only three points in the final two quarters. Quarterback Brad Kaaya and running back Joseph Yearby is an explosive combination for Miami’s offense. Nebraska’s secondary has allowed 300 yards passing in back-to-back games and will be tested once again on Saturday. The Cornhuskers are going to score their share of points behind quarterback Tommy Armstrong and running back Terrell Newby (198 yards last week). This one is a toss-up.

Miami 38-34

 

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2. Pittsburgh at Iowa

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

David Fox:

Defensive end Drew Ott (arm) and running back LeShun Daniels Jr. (ankle) are iffy with “fairly significant injuries.” Iowa hopes both will be back Saturday. Pitt has its own injury concerns, with running back James Conner out for the season. Pitt plans on rotating its quarterbacks without the security of Conner running the ball.

Iowa 24–14

 

Braden Gall:

Iowa clearly made the right choice at quarterback with C.J. Beathard. This team has looked good in two easy wins — one on the road against an archrival. Pitt has two wins but isn't at full strength and is on the road.

Iowa 31-24

 

Steven Lassan:

Iowa has quietly impressed through the first two weeks of the season, but there’s two potential injury concerns – defensive end Drew Ott and running back LeShun Daniels – for this game. Even though Pittsburgh lost James Conner due to injury, the rushing attack remains strong with Qadree Ollison, Darrin Hall and Chris James. The bigger question for the Panthers – will it be Chad Voytik or Nathan Peterman under center?

Iowa 24-21

 

3. Northwestern at Duke

Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

 

David Fox:

Duke’s Thomas Sirk has been a true dual threat, completing 67.7 percent of his passes while leading the Blue Devils in rushing. Northwestern’s pass defense has been stifling, but the Wildcats haven’t faced a team willing to open up its offense.

Northwestern 31–28

 

Braden Gall:

Love this game. Northwestern's defense is really good and Duke is extremely well coached. I'll take the home team.

Duke 30-24

 

Steven Lassan:

Not only is this a quality under-the-radar matchup of the week between two academic powers, it’s also one of the toughest games to predict. Northwestern has a good win over Stanford, while Duke has dominated two overmatched opponents. The Wildcats have the edge on defense, but I think quarterback Thomas Sirk is a rising star for the Blue Devils, and his play in the second half will be the difference in a tight game.

Duke 27-24

 

4. Illinois at North Carolina

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: ESPN2

 

David Fox:

Illinois has defeated two overmatched opponents by a combined score of 96–3. Time to find out if the Illini are legit. Illinois has played standout defense early this season. That unit will be tested on the road against North Carolina’s spread attack.

North Carolina 35–24

 

Braden Gall:

Illinois has been sneaky good behind the play of quarterback Wes Lunt (although, the ground game hasn't been great). North Carolina rebounded with an easy win over N.C. A&T. This is a great offensive matchup and I'll take the home team in a close one.

North Carolina 41-38

 

Steven Lassan:

Expect plenty of fireworks in this game. Both teams are averaging over 30 points per game and are led by solid quarterbacks in Wes Lunt (Illinois) and Marquise Williams (North Carolina). The Tar Heels have improved on defense under new coordinator Gene Chizik, and I think that’s the difference in this game. Lots of points, but North Carolina makes a critical stop or two in the second half.

North Carolina 38-31

 

5. Rutgers at Penn State

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

David Fox:

After giving up 10 sacks to Temple, Penn State allowed none in Week 2. Never mind the game was against Buffalo; that’s reason to celebrate. Meanwhile, Rutgers was minus-3 in turnover margin in a loss at home to a Washington State.

Penn State 21–14

 

Braden Gall:

This is a conference game? Penn State was better in Week 2 and Rutgers laid a big egg against Washington State. I'll take the home team.

Penn State, 24-20

 

Steven Lassan:

Another week and more bad news for Rutgers. Standout receiver Leonte Carroo is suspended after an off-field incident last Saturday, which means the Scarlet Knights will have to rely more on Janarion Grant and a rushing attack averaging 244.5 yards per game. Additionally, coach Kyle Flood is suspended the next three games after an academic investigation. Penn State’s offensive line played better against Buffalo, and the rushing attack showed some signs of life. The Nittany Lions win this one with their defense.

Penn State 27-10

 

6. WKU at Indiana

Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPNEWS

 

David Fox:

Indiana’s defense keeps opponents in every game. WKU has a prolific offense, one that might be more pass-heavy with running back Leon Allen out. Get ready for a track meet.

Indiana 52–44

 

Braden Gall:

The over-under on total passing yards in this game might be 1,000 yards. Brandon Doughty and Nate Sudfeld is a fantastic matchup and an upset would give Western Kentucky wins over the SEC, Louisiana Tech and the Big Ten.

Western Kentucky, 45-40

 

Steven Lassan:

If you like offense, this is definitely the game to watch on Saturday. The good folks in Vegas have this projected right around the 70 over/under mark, and both offenses scored over 35 points in Week 2. WKU is one of the top Group of 5 teams this season, but the Hilltoppers lost starting running back Leon Allen to a serious knee injury against Louisiana Tech. While Allen will be missed, quarterback Brandon Doughty is capable of winning this game against a young Indiana secondary. Last team with the ball wins?

Indiana 38-34

 

7. Northern Illinois at Ohio State

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ABC/ESPN2

 

David Fox:

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was unhappy with his offensive line against Hawaii. The lackluster performance led to a 20-of-34, 181-yard line by the quarterbacks. The defense proved it could carry the day, which is good news against NIU’s offense.

Ohio State 49–20

 

Braden Gall:

NIU is a good team but isn't good enough hang with the mighty Buckeyes.

Ohio State, 45-10

 

Steven Lassan:

After a short turnaround from the Labor Day victory over Virginia Tech, it was no surprise Ohio State was sluggish in its win over Hawaii. Expect a different Buckeyes’ team in Week 3. But Northern Illinois isn’t a pushover, as the Huskies are one of the favorites in the MAC and is 25-6 over the last three years. Northern Illinois hangs around, but Ohio State just has too much talent.

Ohio State 45-17

 

8. Air Force at Michigan State

Kickoff: Noon ET
TV Channel: ABC

 

David Fox:

A week after planning for Oregon, Michigan State’s defensive staff needs to begin work on Air Force. The Falcons don’t run a pure triple option like Georgia Tech or Navy. Instead, they’ll give the Spartans a more complex scheme to consider.

Michigan State 28–13

 

Braden Gall:

Sparty keeps it rolling.

Michigan State, 38-13

 

Steven Lassan:

This is not the ideal matchup for Michigan State a week after playing Oregon. However, the Falcons lost starting quarterback Nate Romine to injury last Saturday, but new starter Karson Roberts is capable of keeping the offense on track. The Spartans might have some trouble early in adjusting to the option offense. However, the talent on Michigan State’s defense eventually takes over, and the one-two punch of LJ Scott and Madre London at running back wears down the Air Force defense.

Michigan State 40-17

 

9. Virginia Tech at Purdue

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPNU

 

David Fox:

Purdue’s Austin Appleby returned from his collapse against Marshall to go 20-of-34 for 289 yards with four TDs against Indiana State. Now, the hope is that facing the Hokies won’t set him back.

Virginia Tech 28–10

 

Braden Gall:

Purdue is better this year but still not good enough to win games like this. Even at home.

Virginia Tech 31-24

 

Steven Lassan:

I was surprised to see this spread at only six points. Purdue is improving, but I don’t think it has the necessary pieces to upset Virginia Tech on Saturday. New starter Brenden Motley played well (16 of 24, 233 yards) against Furman for the Hokies last week, and faces a Purdue defense giving up 161.5 rushing yards per game. Virginia Tech’s defense will be too much for the Boilermakers.

Virginia Tech 31-13

 

10. South Florida at Maryland

Kickoff: Noon ET
TV Channel: ESPNU

 

David Fox:

Losing at home to a MAC team is not a good look for Maryland and coach Randy Edsall. The Bulls won’t challenge the Maryland secondary like Bowling Green quarterback Matt Johnson did.

Maryland 28–14

 

Braden Gall:

Maryland and Randy Edsall desperately need a win and a home loss to USF might doom him.

Maryland, 34-14

 

Steven Lassan:

Maryland coach Randy Edsall is looking for a spark on offense after last week’s loss to Bowling Green. Caleb Rowe has replaced Perry Hills as the starting quarterback, but the key to the Terrapins’ victory hopes resides with the ground attack. After rushing for 341 yards in the opener, Maryland posted only 156 in Week 2. That has to change this Saturday, especially after USF gave up 278 rushing yards to Florida State. The Bulls are a work in progress on offense, but the defense is good enough to steal this one if Maryland struggles to move the ball.

Maryland 27-20

 

11. UNLV at Michigan

Kickoff: Noon ET
TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

David Fox:

The Wolverines are starting to look like a Jim Harbaugh-coached team, with solid defense and a productive running game. This is a chance for Michigan to further refine that identity.

Michigan 42–7

 

Braden Gall:

Michigan got Jim Harbaugh's first win in impressive defensive fashion last weekend. More defense and more De'Veon Smith.

Michigan, 38-3

 

Steven Lassan:

Michigan’s offense showed some signs of life last week, and the defense dominated Oregon State after giving up a touchdown on the Beavers’ opening drive. The Wolverines should have an easier time this week, as UNLV was crushed by UCLA last Saturday and may be without quarterback Blake Decker.

Michigan 44-7

 

12. Troy at Wisconsin

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

David Fox:

Corey Clement (groin) can’t return fast enough. Wisconsin has rushed for 80 yards in the first half — total, in two games.

Wisconsin 42–7

 

Braden Gall:

Wisconsin rolled big last weekend and will continue to roll.

Wisconsin, 45-17

 

Steven Lassan:

Running back Corey Clement was sidelined due to injury last Saturday, yet Wisconsin easily defeated Miami (Ohio). Expect much of the same for the Badgers in Week 2. Another positive for Wisconsin: Quarterback Joel Stave is off to a good start.

Wisconsin 48-14

 

13. Kent State at Minnesota

Kickoff: Noon ET
TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

David Fox:

If Minnesota is going to have another standout season, the Gophers need Mitch Leidner to build upon his performance late on the road against Colorado State.

Minnesota 35–10

 

Braden Gall:

The Gophers needed some big plays late to leave Fort Collins with a win and should finally be able to roll to an easy win.

Minnesota, 34-10

 

Steven Lassan:

This was probably overlooked by most last week, but Kent State allowed -33 yards in a win over Delaware State. Yes, that’s correct. Minnesota survived Colorado State’s upset bid last Saturday, and the Golden Gophers should have a much easier time against Kent State. Quarterback Mitch Leidner has not thrown an interception in his last five starts for Minnesota.

Minnesota 38-7

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Big Ten Week 3 Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 17, 2015 - 10:30
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After a strong performance in Week 1, the took its share of hits in Week 2. Auburn needed overtime to defeat Jacksonville State, Arkansas lost to Toledo and Tennessee blew a 17-0 lead to Oklahoma in a 31-24 two-overtime loss. The focus in Week 3 shifts to conference play, as the top four matchups in the SEC this week feature games between league rivals. Ole Miss-Alabama is the top game for Week 3, but there’s no shortage of intrigue between Auburn-LSU, Florida-Kentucky and Georgia-South Carolina.

 

Athlon Sports offers its SEC Week 3 predictions from four editors: Steven Lassan (), David Fox (), Mitch Light () and Braden Gall ()

 

SEC Week 3 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Ole Miss at Alabama

Kickoff: 9:15 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

In what likely will be the first competitive game of the year for the Rebels, look for Alabama to put the pressure on quarterback Chad Kelly — particularly if he’s missing the protection of left tackle Laremy Tunsil for a third consecutive game.

Alabama 42–24

 

Braden Gall:

Both teams are loaded on defense. Both teams have some question marks under center. Both teams have playmakers on offense. But one team is at home and is likely taking the revenge angle personally after what happened between these two last season. Roll Tide.

Alabama, 34-24

 

Steven Lassan:

Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly has been sharp through the first two games of the season, but this will be his toughest test so far. The Crimson Tide’s defense is allowing only 4.05 yards per play, and there are encouraging signs for the secondary, as this group has yet to allow a pass of 30 yards or more. Of course, those numbers will be tested against Kelly and receiver Laquon Treadwell. Stating the obvious here, but Ole Miss needs to stop running back Derrick Henry and force the Crimson Tide to win this one through the air. It’s a lot to ask the Rebels to go into Tuscaloosa and win.

Alabama 27-20

 

Mitch Light:

Chad Kelly, the Rebels’ new quarterback, and been incredibly efficient, completing 72.5 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and one interception while leading the nation with 13.9 yards per attempt. The opponent this week will offer far more resistance and the environment will be far more hostile, but Ole Miss is one of the few teams in the nation that features the top-end talent to beat Alabama in Tuscaloosa.

Ole Miss 31–27

 

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2. Auburn at LSU

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: CBS

 

David Fox:

Auburn’s defense hasn’t played to its full potential, in part because of absences of Carl Lawson and Tray Matthews. More concerning are the five interceptions so far form Jeremy Johnson. LSU’s offense looked all too familiar — the Tigers accounted for only 71 passing yards on nine completions. On the bright side, Leonard Fournette was terrific, rushing for 159 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries. He’ll be too tough for Auburn to slow down.

LSU 17–13

 

Braden Gall:

LSU is playing better football, is at home and is playing with revenge on their mind after a horrible showing on The Plains last fall. If Brandon Harris can offer some sort of balance, the cajun Tigers will top the BBQ Tigers.

 

Steven Lassan:

Plenty of intrigue here. Auburn has not played like a top-10 team this season and barely survived last week’s matchup against Jacksonville State. However, coach Gus Malzahn’s team was a little shorthanded, as end Carl Lawson and safety Tray Matthews did not play. The Tigers should be in better shape on defense for the trip to Death Valley - assuming Lawson and Matthews are able to go - but the offense still has its share of concerns, especially with quarterback Jeremy Johnson. LSU also has question marks about its passing game, but running back Leonard Fournette can carry this team to a win. This is a tough one to call.

LSU 24-20

 

Mitch Light:

We aren’t quite ready to jump off the Jeremy Johnson bandwagon, but maybe it’s time to admit that we shouldn’t have had the Tigers’ first-year starting quarterback No. 8 on our preseason Heisman list. 

LSU 21-16

 

3. Florida at Kentucky

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

UK’s run game has been outstanding so far at 6.0 yards per carry, but expect quarterback Patrick Towles to test a Florida secondary that could be without All-America cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III.

Kentucky 24–17

 

Braden Gall:

The whole world is picking the Cats to end their 29-year losing streak against Florida. So this is dangerous but Kentucky is improving as a team and is at home. Commonwealth will be rocking and Patrick Towles gives this team stability under center.

Kentucky, 31-30

 

Steven Lassan:

Kentucky has lost 28 consecutive matchups to Florida, but the Wildcats have a good shot at ending that streak in 2015. The Gators weren’t sharp in a win over East Carolina and needed a late interception to secure the victory. This one is a tossup, but I’ll take Florida’s defense to keep Kentucky running back Boom Williams in check, while the Gators’ offense takes advantage of a Wildcats’ defense giving up 6.01 yards per play.

Florida 27-24

 

Mitch Light:

Kentucky took a big step last weekend, snapping a 22-game road losing streak with its win at South Carolina. Can the Wildcats make it 2–0 in the SEC? The guess here is no. Florida’s defense — even if Vernon Hargreaves III doesn’t play — will be the difference.

Florida 21-17 

 

4. South Carolina at Georgia

Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Georgia is far from ready to contend for the SEC championship, particularly at quarterback where Greyson Lambert started 0-for-7 against Vanderbilt. The Bulldogs still have Nick Chubb. That should be the difference maker — provided this isn’t the kind of out-of-nowhere loss Georgia has suffered in recent years.

Georgia 31–14

 

Braden Gall:

Georgia is a much better team and South Carolina is dealing with some serious injuries, including starting quarterback Connor Mitch. But this game is always weird, low-scoring and close.

Georgia, 27-17

 

Steven Lassan:

The South Carolina-Georgia series has seen some strange matchups in recent years. But everything on Saturday night suggests an easy win for the Bulldogs. Sure, Georgia has its share of concerns at quarterback, but the defense and rushing attack will be too much for a South Carolina team starting a former walk-on (Perry Orth) at quarterback and ranks 13th in the SEC in rush defense.

Georgia 31-13

 

Mitch Light:

Greyson Lambert is 2–0 as a starter but has yet to quiet the concerns that Georgia will be good enough at the quarterback position to win an SEC championship. South Carolina isn’t thinking about winning a league title; the Gamecocks, fresh off of a loss at home to Kentucky, is simply trying to avoid an 0–2 start in the league.  

Georgia 28-10

 

5. Texas Tech at Arkansas

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN2

 

David Fox:

Against Tech last year, Arkansas rushed for 438 yards and seven TDs while Brandon Allen attempted only 12 passes. For some reason, Arkansas has flipped the script and put more on Allen and the passing game in 2015. Will Bielema get back to basics against Texas Tech?

Arkansas 31–21

 

Braden Gall:

Tech is improved from last year but the defense still has major question marks. Arkansas is reeling after a bad home loss to Toledo but outgained the Rockets by almost 200 yards. Look for the physical play of the Hogs to prevail at home.

Arkansas, 38-31

 

Steven Lassan:

Arkansas’ ground attack pounded Texas Tech for 438 yards last season, but the Razorbacks have just 285 rushing yards through the first two games of 2015. And as if last week’s loss to Toledo wasn’t bad enough, top receiver Keon Hatcher is out indefinitely due to a foot injury. Arkansas needs to have a steady diet of Alex Collins on Saturday to keep Texas Tech’s high-powered attack on the sidelines. This one will be closer than it was last season.

Arkansas 38-27

 

Mitch Light:

Arkansas passed the ball on 53 of its 84 snaps in last week’s loss to Toledo. Expect the Hogs to get back to what they do best — run the ball — with Texas Tech coming to town. 

Arkansas 37-24

 

6. UConn at Missouri

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

If Missouri is going to stun the SEC again, Maty Mauk needs to be more consistent. In his last 12 games, Mauk has completed 49.6 percent of his passes and averaged 166.6 yards passing. Meanwhile, Mizzou’s run game is lost without Russell Hansbrough, who will miss this game with an ankle sprain.

Missouri 28–14

 

Braden Gall:

Maty Mauk and the SEC speed along both lines of scrimmage gives Mizzou the easy win.

Missouri 40-17

 

Steven Lassan:

UConn is making progress under coach Bob Diaco, and the Huskies are catching Missouri at a good time. The Tigers won’t have running back Russell Hansbrough available due to injury, and the offense averaged only 4.1 yards per play in last week’s win against Arkansas State. However, even though the Huskies are improved and Missouri is a little shorthanded, coach Gary Pinkel’s team finds a way to pull away in the second half for a comfortable victory.

Missouri 31-10

 

Mitch Light:

The good news: Connecticut is 2–0. The bad news: Those two wins have come against Villanova and Army West Point, both at home, by a total of 10 points. Missouri has struggled offensively en route to its 2–0 start, but the Tigers have been very strong on the defensive side of the ball. 

Missouri 28-10

 

7. Nevada at Texas A&M

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

The Aggies’ offense is rolling, which is not great news for a Nevada team that just gave up 570 yards and 7.4 yards per play to Arizona at home last week.

Texas A&M 49–17

 

Braden Gall:

Texas A&M is just tuning up for a nasty SEC schedule.

Texas A&M, 50-20

 

Steven Lassan:

A bad week for Nevada coach Brian Polian is only going to get worse on Saturday. Polian – who was on Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin’s first staff in College Station – was fined $10,000 by the school after two unsportsmanlike penalties in last week’s loss to Arizona. The Wolf Pack has some firepower on offense, but it’s asking a lot for this team to win at Kyle Field. Expect Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray to have their share of highlights in this one.

Texas A&M 48-13

 

Mitch Light:

Few teams have been as impressive through two weeks than the Aggies. Nevada, a solid team from a solid league, will provide a decent test, but A&M should win this game by at least two touchdowns. 

Texas A&M 41–23

 

8. Northwestern State at Mississippi State

Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

This might be a good week for Mississippi State to figure out who can lead in the run game.

Mississippi State 42–14 

 

Braden Gall:

#HailState.

Mississippi State 45-10

 

Steven Lassan:

Mississippi State’s second-half rally fell short against LSU last Saturday. The Bulldogs shouldn’t need a comeback to win this one, as coach Dan Mullen’s team should cruise to an easy victory. But here’s the real challenge for Mississippi State: Back-to-back road dates await, starting with a trip to Auburn next Saturday, followed by a date at Texas A&M on Oct. 3.

Mississippi State 48-10

 

Mitch Light:

His supporting cast isn’t nearly as strong, but Dak Prescott is off to a strong start to his senior season. He will put up some big numbers against the Demons from Northwestern State. 

Mississippi State 41-13

 

9. Western Carolina at Tennessee

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPNU

 

David Fox:

The Vols shouldn’t have much trouble, but they need to bounce back from a double dose of bad news: the collapse against Oklahoma and losing star defender Curt Maggitt to a hip injury.

Tennessee 49–14

 

Braden Gall:

Tennessee needs to get lots of young bodies onto the field on both sides of the ball to be ready for Florida, Arkansas, Georgia and Alabama — the next four following this one.

Tennessee 45-10

 

Steven Lassan:

Tennessee should be eager to erase the disappointment of last week’s collapse to Oklahoma. Western Carolina is the perfect opponent to work out the kinks before a road trip to Florida.

Tennessee 48-7

 

Mitch Light:

Tennessee is still recovering from last week’s emotional loss to Oklahoma. Good thing the Catamounts — who lost to The Citadel last week — are next on the docket.

Tennessee 47-6

 

10. Austin Peay at Vanderbilt

Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

To his credit, Derek Mason is sticking with quarterback Johnny McCrary, who has thrown five interceptions. Austin Peay will help the sophomore build confidence.

Vanderbilt 35–10

 

Braden Gall:

Derek Mason is treating this as an SEC game... as he should. Because he needs every win he can get.

Vanderbilt, 34-7

 

Steven Lassan:

Vanderbilt has improved in coach Derek Mason’s second season, but wins will be tough to come by this year. This Saturday won’t be problem, as Austin Peay is the easiest opponent on the schedule for the Commodores in 2015.

Vanderbilt 45-3

 

Mitch Light:

Vanderbilt leads the SEC with 165 offensive plays through two games. The Commodores, however, are only averaging 4.76 yards per play — and that ranks last in the league. 

Vanderbilt 38-0

Teaser:
SEC Week 3 Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 17, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/acc-week-3-predictions-2015
Body:

The still has its share of one-sided matchups on the slate for Week 3, but there’s a handful of contests with national appeal. Notre Dame begins life without Malik Zaire this Saturday, as DeShone Kizer makes his first start under center against Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have been one of the nation’s most impressive teams through the first two weeks of 2015. Elsewhere in the , Clemson travels to Louisville for a showdown on Thursday night, while Florida State travels to Chestnut Hill to take on Boston College on Friday night. Miami hosts Nebraska in an intriguing non-conference affair that should see its share of points.

 

Athlon Sports offers its Week 3 predictions from three editors: Steven Lassan (), David Fox (), and Braden Gall ()

 

ACC Week 3 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Georgia Tech at Notre Dame

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NBC

 

David Fox:

The Yellow Jackets’ offense is rolling, and Paul Johnson wouldn’t mind sticking it to Notre Dame defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder, who wasn’t keen on the option when he succeeded Johnson at Georgia Southern. That, and Notre Dame is down four starters with injuries since the preseason.

Georgia Tech 35–24

 

Braden Gall:

Tech is really, really good and Justin Thomas is the best quarterback Paul Johnson has ever had. Notre Dame will be extremely physical too but is relying on a new starter DeShone Kizer — who isn't nearly as mobile as Malik Zaire. This could be a playoff elimination game and I'm taking the road team.

Georgia Tech 34-30

 

Steven Lassan:

Georgia Tech hasn’t faced much competition through the first two weeks of the season, but the Yellow Jackets have been very impressive. Notre Dame is battle tested after games against Texas and Virginia. However, is this game where the injuries catch up to Brian Kelly’s team? Interested to see how DeShone Kizer performs in his first start, as well as the Fighting Irish’s defense against the Yellow Jackets’ option attack.

Georgia Tech 31-27

 

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2. Clemson at Louisville

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

The sense of optimism around the Cardinals has slowed. Louisville is giving up 100 more yards rushing per game than last season. That's before facing Clemson.

Clemson 38–20

 

Braden Gall:

Louisville hasn't gotten off to the start it has hoped for but the competition has excellent. Clemson hasn't been tested but has rolled big. The Cardinals play well at home on Thursday nights traditionally, but I'm taking the Tigers.

Clemson 38-24

 

Steven Lassan:

We should find out a little more about Clemson on Thursday night. The Tigers have been sharp in two games, but Louisville is the best team they will face so far. The Cardinals have already started two different quarterbacks and could turn to a third – Kyle Bolin – on Thursday night. However, the bigger question for both teams is how the offensive lines perform. The edge here goes to Clemson behind quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Clemson 27-24

 

3. Nebraska at Miami

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ABC/ESPN2

 

David Fox:

The Huskers are trying to find consistency on offense, but the emergence of Terrell Newby, who rushed for 198 yards and accounted for three touchdowns against South Alabama last week, is encouraging. Miami is also trying to figure out how to consistently move the ball. The team that avoids stalled drives will have the upper hand.

Nebraska 28–21

 

Braden Gall:

I have no good feel about this game but like the other Big Ten-ACC tilts this weekend, I like the home team. Joe Yearby and Brad Kaaya are forming a nice 1-2 offensive punch and Nebraska is still trying to find itself.

Miami 40-30

 

Steven Lassan:

Not sure what to expect in this game, as these two teams seem relatively even. Miami’s defense was shaky in the first half against FAU, but the Hurricanes allowed only three points in the final two quarters. Quarterback Brad Kaaya and running back Joseph Yearby is an explosive combination for Miami’s offense. Nebraska’s secondary has allowed 300 yards passing in back-to-back games and will be tested once again on Saturday. The Cornhuskers are going to score their share of points behind quarterback Tommy Armstrong and running back Terrell Newby (198 yards last week). This one is a toss-up.

Miami 38-34

 

4. Florida State at Boston College

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Friday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Boston College tends to play Florida State tough, and this is not the Jameis Winston Seminoles. BC will threaten to upset before FSU finishes the job.

Florida State 27–21

 

Braden Gall:

The Noles struggle consistently in Chestnut Hill, and Everett Golson hasn't been the playmaker Jimbo Fisher envisioned. Boston College has rolled to two easy wins but won't be able to stop Dalvin Cook.

Florida State 35-21

 

Steven Lassan:

The competition has been low, but Boston College’s defense has been dominant through the first two weeks of the season. The strength of the Eagles’ defense is up front, and this will be a tough matchup for Florida State running back Dalvin Cook. This game should be controlled by the defenses, leaving it up to whichever quarterback makes enough plays in the second half.

Florida State 24-20

 

5. Illinois at North Carolina

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: ESPN2

 

David Fox:

Illinois has defeated two overmatched opponents by a combined score of 96–3. Time to find out if the Illini are legit. Illinois has played standout defense early this season. That unit will be tested on the road against North Carolina’s spread attack.

North Carolina 35–24

 

Braden Gall:

Illinois has been sneaky good behind the play of quarterback Wes Lunt (although, the ground game hasn't been great). North Carolina rebounded with an easy win over N.C. A&T. This is a great offensive matchup and I'll take the home team in a close one.

North Carolina 41-38

 

Steven Lassan:

Expect plenty of fireworks in this game. Both teams are averaging over 30 points per game and are led by solid quarterbacks in Wes Lunt (Illinois) and Marquise Williams (North Carolina). The Tar Heels have improved on defense under new coordinator Gene Chizik, and I think that’s the difference in this game. Lots of points, but North Carolina makes a critical stop or two in the second half.

North Carolina 38-31

 

6. Pittsburgh at Iowa

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

David Fox:

Defensive end Drew Ott (arm) and running back LeShun Daniels Jr. (ankle) are iffy with “fairly significant injuries.” Iowa hopes both will be back Saturday. Pitt has its own injury concerns, with running back James Conner out for the season. Pitt plans on rotating its quarterbacks without the security of Conner running the ball.

Iowa 24–14

 

Braden Gall:

Iowa clearly made the right choice at quarterback with C.J. Beathard. This team has looked good in two easy wins — one on the road against an archrival. Pitt has two wins but isn't at full strength and is on the road.

Iowa 31-24

 

Steven Lassan:

Iowa has quietly impressed through the first two weeks of the season, but there’s two potential injury concerns – defensive end Drew Ott and running back LeShun Daniels – for this game. Even though Pittsburgh lost James Conner due to injury, the rushing attack remains strong with Qadree Ollison, Darrin Hall and Chris James. The bigger question for the Panthers – will it be Chad Voytik or Nathan Peterman under center?

Iowa 24-21

 

7. Northwestern at Duke

Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

 

David Fox:

Duke’s Thomas Sirk has been a true dual threat, completing 67.7 percent of his passes while leading the Blue Devils in rushing. Northwestern’s pass defense has been stifling, but the Wildcats haven’t faced a team willing to open up its offense.

Northwestern 31–28

 

Braden Gall:

Love this game. Northwestern's defense is really good and Duke is extremely well coached. I'll take the home team.

Duke 30-24

 

Steven Lassan:

Not only is this a quality under-the-radar matchup of the week between two academic powers, it’s also one of the toughest games to predict. Northwestern has a good win over Stanford, while Duke has dominated two overmatched opponents. The Wildcats have the edge on defense, but I think quarterback Thomas Sirk is a rising star for the Blue Devils, and his play in the second half will be the difference in a tight game.

Duke 27-24

 

8. Virginia Tech at Purdue

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPNU

 

David Fox:

Purdue’s Austin Appleby returned from his collapse against Marshall to go 20-of-34 for 289 yards with four TDs against Indiana State. Now, the hope is that facing the Hokies won’t set him back.

Virginia Tech 28–10

 

Braden Gall:

Purdue is better this year but still not good enough to win games like this. Even at home.

Virginia Tech 31-24

 

Steven Lassan:

I was surprised to see this spread at only six points. Purdue is improving, but I don’t think it has the necessary pieces to upset Virginia Tech on Saturday. New starter Brenden Motley played well (16 of 24, 233 yards) against Furman for the Hokies last week, and faces a Purdue defense giving up 161.5 rushing yards per game. Virginia Tech’s defense will be too much for the Boilermakers.

Virginia Tech 31-13

 

9. Central Michigan at Syracuse

Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

 

David Fox:

Turnovers helped ‘Cuse, down to a backup QB, get a lopsided win over Wake last week.

Syracuse 28–21

 

Braden Gall:

Cuse gets its third win in three tires over CMU, matching its season total last year.

Syracuse 31-24

 

Steven Lassan:

It’s early, but this is a must-win game for Syracuse’s bowl hopes. True freshman quarterback Eric Dungey has played well since replacing an injured Terrel Hunt under center. Central Michigan gave Oklahoma State trouble in the opener, but Syracuse avoids the upset here.

Syracuse 30-20

 

10. NC State at Old Dominion

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: American Sports Network

 

David Fox:

I’m not sure why NC State is playing AT Old Dominion or AT South Alabama next week. Anything to make this paltry September schedule seem interesting.

NC State 35–10

 

Braden Gall:

The nation's leading rusher (Ray Lawry) will battle with Jacoby Brissett and NC State at home — which is interesting but unlikely to be close.

NC State 45-24

 

Steven Lassan:

NC State has looked good through the first two weeks of the season, but the competition level has been questionable. The theme continues on Saturday. Old Dominion running back Ray Lawry leads the nation with an average of 219 rushing yards per game in 2015. However, the Wolfpack have one of the ACC’s top backfields and are getting Shadrach Thornton back from a two-game suspension.

NC State 40-17

 

11. Wake Forest at Army

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: CBS Sports Network

 

David Fox:

Wake’s run game is still a mess, averaging 1.4 yards per carry last week. Army ran only 41 plays last week against UConn.

Wake Forest 21–14

 

Braden Gall:

Wake Forest needs a rebound after a tough road conference loss to Cuse last week. Army is one game it should win.

Wake Forest 30-20

 

Steven Lassan:

Wake Forest had a 17-13 halftime lead over Syracuse last week, but the Demon Deacons couldn’t overcome three turnovers. Regardless, this is an improved team in coach Dave Clawson’s second year. Army’s triple option is tough to stop on a short week to prepare, but the strength of Wake Forest’s defense rests with its front seven.

Wake Forest 27-20

 

12. William & Mary at Virginia

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

 

David Fox:

The Cavaliers’ brutal September schedule may get them only one win. This is it.

Virginia 31–14

 

Braden Gall:

Virginia's only break in the first month is a win. Finally.

Virginia 40-17

 

Steven Lassan:

Virginia has faced one of the toughest two-game stretches to start 2015. Things should be a little easier for the Cavaliers on Saturday.

Virginia 38-7

Teaser:
ACC Week 3 Predictions 2015
Post date: Thursday, September 17, 2015 - 09:30
Path: /college-football/rutgers-coach-kyle-flood-suspended-three-games-and-fined-50000
Body:

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood has been after an investigation into academic rule violations. The news about Flood’s suspension was first reported by NJ.com’s Keith Sargeant.

 

Flood will miss Saturday’s game against Penn State and will sit out the Scarlet Knights’ games against Kansas and Michigan State. Running backs coach Norries Wilson will serve as the interim coach for the next three games. Flood will return for Rutgers’ Oct. 17 matchup against Indiana.

 

An before the season after NJ.com reported the fourth-year coach sent an e-mail to a faculty member regarding the status of one his players – Nadir Barnwell. The cornerback’s status was in question for 2015 due to academics. The contents of the e-mail to the faculty member have not been released, but academic support about the status of the player.

 

Flood was on the hot seat entering last season but guided Rutgers to an 8-5 record in its Big Ten debut. The Scarlet Knights are off to a 1-1 start in 2015.

 

Teaser:
Rutgers Coach Kyle Flood Suspended Three Games
Post date: Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - 15:51
Path: /college-football/clemson-tigers-vs-louisville-cardinals-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

and enter Thursday night’s critical early-season showdown with a completely different outlook through the first two weeks of the season. The Tigers are off to a fast 2-0 start thanks to convincing wins over Wofford and Appalachian State, while the Cardinals are just one of four Power 5 teams without a win so far. Louisville has a significant edge in strength of schedule over Clemson, as there’s no shame in losing to Auburn and Houston.

 

While the first two weeks of the season has brought significantly different fortunes for these two programs, Thursday night is a new opportunity. Clemson is considered by some to be the frontrunner in the ACC, but Louisville is by far the toughest opponent coach Dabo Swinney’s team has played in 2015. On the other sideline, even though the Cardinals are 0-2, this is the ACC opener for both teams. A win against the Tigers would eliminate some of the bad feelings from the 0-2 start and keep Louisville in the mix to win the Atlantic Division.

 

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Thursday night’s matchup is only the second meeting between these two teams. Last year’s game was the first contest between Clemson and Louisville on the gridiron.

 

Clemson at Louisville

 

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Clemson -6

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Louisville’s Quarterbacks

Two games, two different starters at quarterback for Louisville. Where will the quarterback carousel end on Thursday night? Could true freshman Lamar Jackson make his second start of the season? Will Reggie Bonnafon return to the starting role after not playing against Houston? Or is the third game Kyle Bolin’s opportunity to take the controls of Louisville’s offense? Or can Will Gardner – seven starts in 2014 – recover from a rib injury to start? Jackson is a dynamic dual-threat option, but he has three picks on 47 attempts and rushed for only 16 yards against Houston before Bolin was inserted into the lineup. In limited action against the Cougars, Bolin threw for 157 yards on 10 completions. Bolin’s experience isn’t limited to just this year, as he saw extensive action against Kentucky in 2014 and started the Belk Bowl against Georgia. Even if Bolin starts, could coach Bobby Petrino have a package of plays for Jackson?

 

2. Battle in the Trenches

Rebuilding the offensive line was a theme among contenders in the ACC this preseason. Florida State, Clemson, Louisville, Virginia Tech and Miami all entered the opener with question marks about the offensive line. So far, both units for Clemson and Louisville have experienced their share of ups and downs, as the Tigers have allowed five sacks, while the Cardinals have surrendered six. And oddly enough, both teams are averaging 4.2 yards per carry. The similarities between these two teams in the trenches continues with freshmen starting at left tackle. For Louisville, Geron Christian protects the blindside, while Deshaun Watson has touted recruit Mitch Hyatt anchoring the left side. There are a lot of similarities between these two groups, and both units will be tested on Thursday night. Louisville’s front seven is among the best in the ACC, and Clemson is loaded with promising young talent in a rebuilding year. Can the Tigers protect Watson to give him time to throw to an explosive receiving corps? Will Louisville’s line clear the way for running back Brandon Radcliff to take some of the pressure off of the starter at quarterback? The play in the trenches should have a huge impact on which team emerges with the victory.

 

3. Clemson’s Rebuilt Defense

So far, so good for coordinator Brent Venables. Clemson’s defense returned only two starters from a defense that ranked first nationally by limiting opponents to just 4.03 yards per play in 2014. Through two games, the Tigers are holding opposing offenses to just 3.8 yards per play, have allowed only 20 points, forced four turnovers and generated 20 tackles for a loss. The pass rush – only two sacks so far – is a concern, but there’s plenty of room to improve this area as the year progresses with a handful of freshmen cracking the two-deep for this game. While Appalachian State’s offense is one of the best in the Sun Belt, Louisville should be a better gauge of where Clemson’s defense stands in 2015. Even with James Quick and Jamari Staples sidelined due to injury, the Cardinals have talented playmakers on the outside in Jaylen Smith, Ja’Quay Savage, Traveon Samuel and tight end Micky Crum. Additionally, running back Brandon Radcliff is averaging 4.4 yards per carry in 2015 after rushing for 737 yards in 2014. A road test against a Louisville offense coming off 24 points against Auburn and 31 against Houston should provide Venables with more insight on just how quickly this defense is rebuilding after losing several key players from the dominant 2014 group.

 

Final Analysis

 

It’s only Week 3, but this is a critical showdown in the ACC Atlantic. Additionally, this game will provide better insight into Clemson’s rebuilding effort, as well as Louisville’s quarterback situation. The home crowd and front seven on defense should help the Cardinals in their upset bid. However, Louisville won’t win this game if it continues to lose turnovers (six so far this year) and struggles to block Clemson’s defensive line. While the Tigers are also dealing with their share of new faces in the lineup, the difference in this game has to be sophomore quarterback Deshaun Watson. This one won’t be decided until the fourth quarter, but Watson delivers with the game on the line to give Clemson a close victory.

 

Prediction: Clemson 27, Louisville 24
Teaser:
Clemson Tigers vs. Louisville Cardinals Preview and Prediction 2015
Post date: Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - 13:00
All taxonomy terms: Arkansas Razorbacks, College Football, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/bills-coach-rex-ryan-takes-shot-arkansas-coach-bret-bielema-over-scheduling
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Last week was a tough one for Arkansas coach Bret Bielema. The Razorbacks’ coach in Ohio State’s schedule after Week 1, and of course, after Arkansas’ loss to Toledo on Saturday.

 

On Wednesday, Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan took a jab at Bielema over scheduling when asked if he wished the Patriots were in another division. 

 

Teaser:
Bills Coach Rex Ryan Takes a Jab at Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema Over Scheduling
Post date: Wednesday, September 16, 2015 - 12:55
Path: /college-football/old-dominion-unveils-awesome-alternate-helmet-week-3-game-against-nc-state
Body:

Old Dominion has a huge home game this Saturday, as NC State visits Foreman Field in Week 3. It’s rare for a Power 5 team to play a Group of 5 opponent on the road, so this will be a good opportunity for coach Bobby Wilder to showcase his program.

 

And what better way to mark an important home game than with an alternate helmet?

 

Old Dominion released these helmets yesterday for the Week 3 matchup against NC State: 

Teaser:
Old Dominion Unveils an Awesome Alternate Helmet for Week 3 Game Against NC State
Post date: Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - 12:05
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Quarterbacks are always under heavy scrutiny for all 128 teams, and the pressure only increases in big-time matchups. While it’s still very early in the 2015 season, there are a handful of teams with critical matchups in Week 3. Whether it’s a conference contest, a non-conference matchup or a player looking to solidify his place at the top of the depth chart, Week 3 is a key Saturday for some quarterbacks to make a statement for their team in the national landscape or just to see where they stack up within the conference.

 

Here’s a look at 10 quarterbacks to watch in critical spots for Week 3’s action:

 

10 QBs Looking for a Statement Performance in Week 3

 

Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska – at Miami (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)

Armstrong has the most career starts of any quarterback on this list. However, question marks surrounded the junior in 2015, as new coach Mike Riley tweaked Nebraska’s offense to more of a pro-style approach. Would Armstrong fit in the new scheme? That was the preseason question surrounding the Cornhuskers and Armstrong. But through two weeks, those questions have been erased. The junior is completing 63.4 percent of his passes, averaging 13.1 yards per completion and has only one interception on 71 attempts. After a last-second loss in the opener against BYU, Nebraska rebounded with an easy win over South Alabama. However, Saturday’s game against Miami will be a tough test on the road, as Armstrong faces a secondary that has allowed only one passing score (yes, questionable competition) and has limited quarterbacks to a 51.1 completion percentage through two games. So far, Armstrong’s transition to the offense has been seamless. And a clutch performance against the Hurricanes would be a good way to build confidence and continue to show why Armstrong could be one of the nation’s most improved passers this year.

 

Related:

 

Jake Coker, Alabama – Ole Miss (Saturday, 9:15 p.m. ET)

With one of the nation’s top defenses and rushing attacks in place, Alabama doesn’t need an elite playmaker at quarterback. Sure, it would be nice, but the Crimson Tide just needs their quarterback to eliminate mistakes and get the ball in space to their playmakers. After throwing for 213 yards and a score against Wisconsin in the opener, Coker wasn't as sharp against MTSU, completing 15 of 26 for 214 yards, one touchdown and one interception. There’s certainly room to improve for Coker heading into Saturday night’s game versus Ole Miss. The Rebels are the best defense Alabama has seen so far in 2015, but Coker could solidify his place at the top of the depth chart and eliminate some of the question marks surrounding this position in Tuscaloosa with a steady performance on Saturday night.

 

Will Grier, Florida – vs. Kentucky (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)

Treon Harris or Grier? That’s the key question facing new coach Jim McElwain once again this week. Harris started the opener against New Mexico State, while Grier got the nod against East Carolina in Week 2. Both quarterbacks have looked sharp at times, but will one emerge as the clear starter? Kentucky’s secondary features a true freshman (Chris Westry) starting at one cornerback spot, and this unit has allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 63.2 percent of their passes so far this year. Will Grier make a clear claim for the job against the Wildcats? Or will Harris continue to make this decision a tough one for McElwain?

 

Related:

 

Brandon Harris, LSU – vs. Auburn (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)

There’s no doubt LSU is going to win a lot of games on the strength of its defense and rushing attack. However, for the Tigers to make the jump to contend for the SEC West title in 2015, the passing game has to improve after struggling mightily in 2014. The opener against McNeese State was canceled due to weather, but Harris showed promise by completing 9 of 14 passes for 71 yards in a road win at Mississippi State. He also rushed for 48 yards and five carries, and most importantly, tossed zero interceptions. Auburn should be a good test for Harris, as new coordinator Will Muschamp has this unit on the right track, and the Tigers have allowed only one play of 30 yards or more. With end Carl Lawson and safety Tray Matthews expected back from injury, Auburn’s defense should be at full strength on Saturday afternoon.

 

Jerrod Heard, Texas – vs. California (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET)

Texas ran only 38 plays against Rice, so it’s tough to evaluate the offense under new play-caller Jay Norvell. However, Heard showed flashes of promise, completing 4 of 7 passes for 120 yards and two scores, while leading the team with 96 yards on the ground. Although Heard has to develop as a passer, his running ability could be a difference maker for a young Texas offense. California has one of the nation’s best offenses, so the Longhorns will have to score a few points to keep up with the Golden Bears. Is Heard ready to take another step forward in his development?

 

Jeremy Johnson, Auburn – at LSU (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)

High expectations surrounded Johnson this preseason, but the junior is off to a slow start. Through two games, Johnson is completing 60.4 percent of his throws and has 373 passing yards and three scores. However, Johnson isn’t the runner that last year’s starter Nick Marshall was (only 18 yards so far) and has tossed five interceptions on 53 picks. Additionally, Johnson has only two passing plays of 30 yards or more (tied for seventh in the SEC) and just a single pass connection of 40 yards or more. Big plays are a staple of Auburn’s offense under coach Gus Malzahn, but the Tigers are lagging in that department so far. With a trip to LSU ahead this Saturday, Johnson has a chance to shake off the slow start and get back on track before the heart of SEC play.

 

Chad Kelly, Ole Miss – at Alabama (Saturday, 9:15 p.m. ET)

Kelly has earned high marks for his first two performances in an Ole Miss uniform, but Saturday night’s matchup against Alabama will be his toughest of 2015. After transferring to Oxford from the junior college ranks (after a stint at Clemson), the junior was picked over Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade as the starter this offseason. Kelly completed 9 of 15 passes for 211 yards and two scores in the opener against UT Martin and followed that up with an even better performance against Fresno State. Kelly passed for 346 yards and four scores on 20 completions against the Bulldogs and also added a score on the ground. Through two weeks, Kelly is tied for 11th nationally in passes of 30 yards or more nationally (five) and has three completions of 50 yards or more. The junior’s ability to stretch the field only adds to the explosiveness of this group and could be the missing piece in Ole Miss’ quest to win the SEC West in 2015.

 

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DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame – vs. Georgia Tech (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET)

Kizer was placed into a difficult role for his first taste of extended action. Prior to Saturday’s appearance against Virginia, Kizer had just one career pass attempt (Week 1). But after Malik Zaire went down with a season-ending ankle injury, Kizer stepped into the spotlight and completed 8 of 12 passes for 92 yards and two scores. The biggest throw of Kizer’s day was a 39-yard strike to Will Fuller with 12 seconds left, which was just enough for Notre Dame to earn a 34-27 victory. The redshirt freshman should benefit from a full week of snaps with the No. 1 offense, and the strong supporting cast in South Bend should ease his transition into the starting lineup. If Kizer delivers with a strong performance in Week 3, the concerns about the offense without Zaire should quiet – at least for one week.

 

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Nathan Peterman, Pittsburgh – at Iowa (Saturday at 8 p.m. ET)

Peterman isn’t guaranteed the starting job, as coach Pat Narduzzi is playing coy with the depth chart as a road trip to Iowa awaits the Panthers in Week 3. Last year’s starter Chad Voytik was outplayed by Peterman against Akron last Saturday. While Voytik completed 6 of 8 passes for 32 yards, Peterman was 12 of 17 for 148 yards and a score. Through two weeks of action, Voytik has a small edge in attempts (22 to 21), but Peterman has 209 passing yards to 104. Additionally, Peterman is averaging a healthy 14.9 yards per completion. It wouldn’t be a surprise if both quarterbacks played on Saturday night. However, will Peterman build off last week’s performance and claim the job outright?

 

Darius Wade, Boston College – Florida State (Friday, 8 p.m. ET)

Boston College has thoroughly dominated its first two opponents, but the schedule gets significantly tougher this Friday, as defending ACC champion Florida State visits Chestnut Hill. The Eagles have the defense and rushing attack to pull off the upset over the Seminoles, but is Wade ready to stretch the field to prevent the Seminoles’ defense from stacking the box? The sophomore played sparingly against Howard and threw for 155 yards against Maine. Without question, this is Wade’s toughest assignment of 2015. The sophomore doesn’t necessarily have to throw for 300 yards for Boston College to win, but this is a good opportunity for the dual-threat sophomore to see just how far along he is in his development.   

Teaser:
10 College Football Quarterbacks That Could Make a Statement in Week 3
Post date: Tuesday, September 15, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army Black Knights, Army West Point Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UConn Huskies, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/10-amazing-college-football-stats-week-2-2015
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Numbers and statistics are a huge part of . Every Sunday, reading updated box scores and stats is like Christmas for fans and media members. Some stats like total offense and total defense are overrated, but each help paint a picture for a team or particular game.

 

Whether the stats are historic, advanced or just an observation from a box score, Athlon Sports brings the most intriguing, important, historic and bizarre stats from around the weekend of college football action:

 

10 Amazing College Football Stats from Week 2

 

11: Total Yards Allowed by Boston College Against Howard

As expected, Boston College had no trouble with Howard in Week 2. The Eagles thoroughly dominated the Bison on both sides of the ball. The offense accumulated 76 points, averaged 8.8 yards per play and recorded 347 rushing yards. But the most impressive effort from Saturday’s game has to be the defense. Howard managed only 11 total yards of offense, with five drives in the first half resulting in negative yardage.

 

Related:

 

4: Key Notre Dame Players Out for the Year Due to Injury

The injury bug has hit Notre Dame hard this season. The Fighting Irish was considered by some to be a playoff contender, but coach Brian Kelly’s team has a lot to overcome if it wants to be one of the four teams playing for a national championship. Starting quarterback Malik Zaire was lost for the year with an ankle injury against Virginia, which means Notre Dame will enter Week 3 with a new starting backfield after running back injury against Texas. Additionally, defensive tackle Jarron Jones and defensive back Shaun Crawford suffered season-ending knee injuries prior to the first game. That’s four key players missing from coach Brian Kelly’s team after two games.

 

22: Kentucky’s Road Losing Streak in SEC Play Ends in South Carolina

Kentucky’s rebuilding effort under third-year coach Mark Stoops and its bowl hopes for 2015 got a huge boost with a 26-22 win over South Carolina on Saturday night. The victory in Columbia snapped a 22-game losing streak for the Wildcats in SEC play. This will be an intriguing team to watch over the next few weeks, as the Wildcats host Florida and Missouri before a matchup against Eastern Kentucky, followed by a home date against Auburn on Oct. 15.

 

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2: Touchdowns Scored by Ole Miss DT Robert Nkemdiche on Offense in 2015

Who knows how much time Nkemdiche will spend on offense once the Rebels hit SEC play, but the defensive tackle already has two touchdowns through two games. Nkemdiche caught a 31-yard touchdown pass in the 76-3 win over UT Martin in the opener and scored on a one-yard plunge against Fresno State in Week 2. Nkemdiche’s two touchdowns are more than two teams – Akron and North Texas – have scored so far in 2015.

 

17-0: Tennessee’s Largest Blown Lead in a Home Loss in School History

With a 17-0 lead in the second quarter, everything pointed to a Tennessee victory against Oklahoma. However, the Sooners rallied in the second half and clinched a win after Zack Sanchez intercepted Joshua Dobbs’ pass in the second overtime. The 17-point comeback by Oklahoma was the largest blown lead in a home loss in school history for the Volunteers.

 

Related:

 

2: Wins by MAC Teams Against Power 5 Opponents

MACtion was in full effect on Saturday, as two teams – Bowling Green and Toledo – scored upset wins over Power 5 opponents. The Falcons’ explosive offense accumulated 692 total yards against the Terrapins, while quarterback Matt Johnson passed for 491 yards and six scores in the upset. Toledo contained Arkansas’ powerful ground attack to just 103 yards and limited the Razorbacks to just three points in four red zone trips in the second half.

 

1988: Eastern Michigan’s Last Non-Conference Road Win

Eastern Michigan is one of the toughest jobs in the nation, but second-year coach Chris Creighton seems to have the program on the right track. After a close loss to Old Dominion in the opener, the Eagles won 48-29 at Wyoming on Saturday, which was the program’s first non-conference road victory since 1988.

 

0-10: Mountain West’s Non-Conference Record in Week 2

It was a forgettable weekend of action for the Mountain West. Air Force – in a conference matchup against San Jose State – was the league’s only winner, as the Mountain West went 0-10 in non-conference games. The losses weren’t unexpected according to the Vegas spreads, but the conference missed an opportunity to score key victories. Boise State’s 35-24 loss to BYU is a small setback for the Broncos’ hopes of being the top Group of 5 team this season, while Nevada and Colorado State were unable to take advantage of a home matchup against a Power 5 opponent.

 

2: Last-Minute Wins on Fourth Down Touchdown Passes by BYU

Two games, two last-minute wins by Hail Mary touchdown passes. That’s quite a way for BYU to open the season. After Tanner Mangum hit Mitch Mathews for a 42-yard score on the final play of the opener against Nebraska, the Cougars’ offense delivered once again versus Boise State on Saturday night. Mangum connected with Mitchell Juergens for a 35-yard score on fourth down with less than a minute remaining to give BYU a 28-24 lead over the Broncos. The Cougars later added an interception return to win 35-24.

 

412: Combined Rushing Yards by Dalvin Cook and Joseph Yearby

, and this duo had two of the top rushing performances in the ACC in Week 2. Cook carried the Florida State offense against USF by recording 266 yards and three touchdowns on 30 attempts. Yearby rushed for 146 yards and a score in Miami’s 44-20 victory over FAU. Both players averaged at least eight yards per carry and are two of the nation’s biggest rising stars at running back.

Teaser:
10 Amazing College Football Stats from Week 2 2015
Post date: Sunday, September 13, 2015 - 12:02
Path: /college-football/tennessee-coach-butch-jones-tells-oklahoma-lb-eric-striker-have-some-damn-class
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Oklahoma staged a furious second-half rally against Tennessee on Saturday, as the Sooners defeated the Volunteers 31-24 in Knoxville. But the on-field action wasn't the only part of Saturday's game that was noteworthy.

 

Oklahoma linebacker Eric Striker is one of the Sooners’ top defenders and attracted plenty of interest from Tennessee and coach Butch Jones for his . The Volunteers reportedly used those comments as motivation. 

 

Considering how Saturday night’s game ended (overtime) and the second-half comeback, there was plenty of celebrating on the Sooners’ part. And needless to say, Jones had a few choice words for Striker (as Oklahoma was celebrating on the field) after the game:

Teaser:
Tennessee Coach Butch Jones Wants Oklahoma LB Eric Striker to Have Some Class
Post date: Saturday, September 12, 2015 - 23:26
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Florida Gators, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/florida-coach-jim-mcelwain-goes-running-back-kelvin-taylor
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Penalties or mental errors drive coaches crazy. On Saturday night, Florida coach Jim McElwain exploded on Kelvin Taylor after he was assessed a 15-yard penalty for a throat-slash gesture against East Carolina.

 

Here’s McElwain’s reaction on the sidelines after the penalty:

Teaser:
Florida Coach Jim McElwain Goes Off on Running Back Kelvin Taylor
Post date: Saturday, September 12, 2015 - 22:39
Path: /college-football/southern-miss-coach-todd-monken-isnt-happy-fan-attendance-against-austin-peay
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Southern Mississippi is in the middle of a rebuilding effort under third-year coach Todd Monken. However, Monken made it clear after Saturday’s win over Austin Peay: He is not happy with the fanbase.

 

As expected, the Golden Eagles had an easy win over Austin Peay, but the program only drew around 23,000 in attendance.

 

After the game, Monken went on a rant to let fans he was not happy with the attendance:

Teaser:
Southern Miss Coach Todd Monken Isn't Happy With Fan Attendance Against Austin Peay
Post date: Saturday, September 12, 2015 - 20:20
Path: /college-football/notre-dame-qb-malik-zaire-suffers-ankle-injury-against-virginia
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quarterback Malik Zaire suffered a significant ankle injury during Saturday’s game against Virginia. Zaire was injured during the third quarter on a rush attempt for the Fighting Irish and was replaced by DeShone Kizer.

 

Prior to the injury, Zaire completed 7 of 18 passes for 115 yards and one touchdown and rushed for 87 yards and one score. The sophomore was carted to the locker room to examine the injury. Zaire’s injury is a huge loss for Notre Dame, as Kizer and true freshman backup Brandon Wimbush have little experience.

 

After the game, coach Brian Kelly indicated Zaire will miss the rest of the 2015 season with a fractured ankle.

 

Kizer is a redshirt freshman with just one career pass attempt entering Saturday’s game.

 

Here’s a look at Zaire’s injury:

Teaser:
Notre Dame QB Malik Zaire Suffers Ankle Injury Against Virginia
Post date: Saturday, September 12, 2015 - 18:11
Path: /college-football/southern-miss-ball-boy-scared-td-cannon
Body:

Being a ball boy for a college football team can be a dangerous task. Just ask the staff at Southern Miss.

 

On Saturday, a Southern Miss ball boy got quite the scare after one of the Golden Eagles’ touchdowns against Austin Peay.

 

Shortly after Southern Miss scored, the cannon was fired, and the ball boy was a little too close to the explosion.

  

Teaser:
Southern Miss' Ball Boy is Scared by TD Cannon
Post date: Saturday, September 12, 2015 - 17:32
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oregon Ducks, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/oregon-unveils-new-combat-duck-helmets-game-against-michigan-state
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Oregon has some of college football’s best uniforms, but the Ducks unveiled an awesome alternate helmet for Saturday night’s showdown against Michigan State.

 

The helmet features the Duck logo on a white background to complete the all-white look for Oregon.

 

Check out the Ducks’ alternate helmet, along with its uniforms for Saturday night’s matchup:

Teaser:
Oregon Unveils New Pro Combat Duck Helmets for Game Against Michigan State
Post date: Saturday, September 12, 2015 - 15:01
Path: /college-football/lsu-tigers-vs-mississippi-state-bulldogs-preview-and-prediction-2015
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and open SEC play with one of ’s must-see matchups on Saturday night in Starkville. The SEC West is the toughest division in the nation, as all seven teams enter Week 2 ranked in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll. While there’s still a lot to be decided in this division over the next few months, Saturday’s matchup is a good barometer test for both teams.

 

For LSU, it’s a chance to show improvement in the passing game. The Tigers aren’t hurting for talent, but the offense can’t be one-dimensional again. And this is also the first look at coach Les Miles’ team after the opener against McNeese State was canceled due to weather. Mississippi State lost a handful of key players from last season’s 10-win team, yet this program is positioned for a quick reload. Quarterback Dak Prescott is one of the nation’s best, and there’s promising talent in the program waiting to emerge on both sides of the ball.

 

Related:

 

LSU and Mississippi State have played 108 times, with the Tigers holding a 71-34-3 series edge. The Bulldogs ended LSU’s 14-game winning streak in this series last season, defeating the Tigers 34-29 in Baton Rouge in the SEC opener for both programs.

 

LSU at Mississippi State

 

Kickoff: 9:15 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: LSU -4

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. LSU QB Brandon Harris

LSU’s passing game struggled mightily last season. The Tigers averaged only 162.9 yards per game, while Brandon Harris and Anthony Jennings combined for just seven passing scores in SEC contests. Harris has the edge in talent over Jennings, and after spending most of 2014 as a backup, the sophomore earned his place at the top of the depth chart this offseason. Will this move spark the LSU passing attack? Harris has one of the SEC’s best receiving corps at his disposal and a solid offensive line leading the way. The supporting cast isn’t a concern. A road start in the SEC is no easy assignment, but coordinator Cam Cameron can ease Harris into the game with a heavy dose of running back Leonard Fournette. While all eyes will be on the stat column for Harris, it’s important to remember that he doesn’t need huge statistical totals. The sophomore just needs to make timely throws and eliminate any turnovers or mistakes. Mississippi State’s secondary features talented cornerbacks in Will Redmond and Taveze Calhoun, so this will be a good test of just how far Harris has progressed since 2014.

 

Related:

 

2. Mississippi State’s Run Defense

Despite losing tackles P.J. Jones and Kaleb Eulls and end Preston Smith, Mississippi State’s defensive line entered 2015 in good shape. Tackle Chris Jones is the headliner for this unit, as the junior is a rising star and could be one of the league’s top linemen by the end of 2015. A.J. Jefferson and Ryan Brown are experienced options off the edges and combined for three tackles for a loss in the opener against Southern Miss. The linebacking corps lost Benardrick McKinney and Matt Wells, but Beniquez Brown, Zach Jackson and Richie Brown are a solid trio for coordinator Manny Diaz to build around. Additionally, the Bulldogs held the Golden Eagles to 102 rushing yards and just 2.8 yards per carry last week. This group passed its first test last Saturday, but the going gets a little tougher in Week 2. LSU running back Leonard Fournette is one of the nation’s best and averaged 5.4 yards per carry in limited action against the Bulldogs last season. Considering the question marks for the Tigers in the passing game, Mississippi State should load the box and force Harris to win. But if Fournette has success on early downs and limits long-yardage situations for Harris, that’s a bad sign for the Bulldogs’ defense.

 

3. Mississippi State QB Dak Prescott

While LSU has an advantage at several positions for Saturday night’s matchup, the best player on the field is on the Mississippi State sideline: Quarterback Dak Prescott. In last year’s game, Prescott completed 15 of 24 passes for 268 yards and two scores and rushed for 105 yards and a touchdown. LSU has one of the best defensive backfields in college football, and a revamped offensive line, as well as a new cast of talented and versatile weapons at running back surround Prescott. Adding to the uncertainty of this game is LSU’s defensive scheme, which has changed under new coordinator Kevin Steele. The senior is capable of carrying Mississippi State to a win on Saturday night, and it’s clear the Bulldogs need his “A” game.

 

Final Analysis

 

Revenge is on LSU’s mind after Mississippi State stunned the Tigers in Death Valley last season. But both teams enter this matchup with question marks. The Bulldogs had a solid opener against Southern Miss, but coach Dan Mullen’s team wasn’t overly impressive. LSU’s opener was canceled, so it’s hard to know just how far the offense has progressed under Brandon Harris. While Harris is the x-factor here, this game is still decided in the trenches, and the Tigers have an edge up front. Fournette delivers in the fourth quarter to give LSU a 1-0 start in SEC play this year.

 

Prediction: LSU 24, Mississippi State 20
Teaser:
LSU Tigers vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs Preview and Prediction 2015
Post date: Friday, September 11, 2015 - 12:45
Path: /college-football/tennessee-volunteers-vs-oklahoma-sooners-preview-and-prediction-2015
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and meet in Knoxville on Saturday evening for an intriguing Week 2 non-conference matchup, with this game also serving as a good barometer test for two programs looking to get back on track. Oklahoma was expected to be a playoff contender in 2014, but the Sooners slipped to 8-5. Bob Stoops wasted no time addressing his team's biggest problems, revamping his coaching staff and changing the offensive scheme back to an Air Raid approach. Tennessee is trending in the right direction under coach Butch Jones, and a win against Oklahoma would be another piece the rebuilding puzzle on Rocky Top.

 

Both teams earned victories in Week 1, but both programs are looking for improvement. Tennessee’s defense struggled against Bowling Green, while Oklahoma’s revamped offense started slow against Akron. While this game doesn’t factor into either team’s conference championship hopes, this is an excellent opportunity for both programs to gauge where they are after two weeks.

 

Related:

 

Tennessee and Oklahoma have played three previous times, with the Sooners owning a 2-1 edge. Oklahoma won last year’s matchup 34-10 in Norman.

 

Oklahoma at Tennessee

 

Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Oklahoma -1.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Tennessee’s Secondary

Tennessee’s secondary was torched in last week’s win over Bowling Green, and this unit will be tested once again. The Volunteers’ defensive backs gave up 433 passing yards and two touchdowns to the Falcons, while allowing five plays of 30 yards or more. This unit has been hit with a few injuries this preseason, but Oklahoma’s passing attack has all of the necessary components to take advantage. New quarterback Baker Mayfield is a good fit in the new Air Raid attack and finished the opener with 388 passing yards and three scores. Receiver Sterling Shepard is one of the best in college football and is a tough one-on-one matchup for the Volunteers. Will cornerback Cam Sutton spend most of his snaps on Shepard? Even if Tennessee finds a way to contain Shepard, the Sooners have other options to target, including Jarvis Baxter (five catches in his first game with the Sooners), Durron Neal, Dede Westbrook and Mark Andrews as key weapons in the passing attack. Additionally, running back Joe Mixon showcased his playmaking ability out of the backfield by catching three balls for 115 yards and a touchdown. Stopping any passing attack has to start in the trenches with a good pass rush. While Tennessee’s secondary doesn’t share the entire blame for last week’s performance, this group has to play better if the Volunteers want to improve to 2-0.

 

2. Oklahoma’s Defense Against Tennessee’s Rising Stars

The Volunteers have arguably one of the nation’s best trio of rising stars on offense. Joshua Dobbs picked up where he left off in 2014 with a strong performance against Bowling Green, throwing for 205 yards and two scores on 15 completions and rushing for 89 yards and a touchdown on 12 carries. Running backs Alvin Kamara and Jalen Hurd each eclipsed 100 yards in last week’s win over the Falcons. This duo will test an Oklahoma front seven that allowed 138 rushing yards to Akron in Week 1. The Sooners have one of the nation’s top linebacking corps, but the line entered the season with a few question marks. Will Oklahoma’s front seven contain the one-two punch of Kamara and Hurd on the ground? And if the Sooners are able to slow the rushing attack, will this secondary limit Dobbs’ through the air? After all, Oklahoma surrendered 24 plays of 30 yards or more last season, and the defensive backs have a lot to prove this fall – especially against a solid group of Tennessee receivers.  

 

3. Oklahoma’s Ground Attack

While most of the attention in Week 1 was devoted to the revamped scheme and quarterback Baker Mayfield, lost in the box score was just 100 yards on 33 rushing attempts against Akron. While the Zips have one of the better front sevens in the MAC, the Sooners need more production from the rushing attack to win in Knoxville. Redshirt freshman Joe Mixon showed his big-play ability with a 76-yard catch and run for a score. In addition to Mixon’s emergence, Oklahoma still has Samaje Perine (only 33 yards in the opener) and Alex Ross (20 yards in Week 1). This is one of the best backfields in the nation, but the Sooners have a young offensive line. Can this group generate a push against the Volunteers’ defensive line? Tennessee defensive tackle Danny O’Brien was suspended indefinitely, but this unit is led by standout end Derek Barnett, with talented freshmen Shy Tuttle and Kahlil McKenzie in place as rising stars in the middle.

 

Final Analysis

 

The Sooners and Volunteers enter this matchup with question marks on both sides of the ball. However, both teams should have a better idea of where they stand after Saturday night’s meeting in Neyland Stadium. Oklahoma’s passing attack should give Tennessee’s secondary trouble, and the backfield should have a better performance than it did in last week’s win over Akron. The Volunteers should be able to move the ball on the Sooners’ defense as well, so this matchup could be a high-scoring affair. The homefield advantage certainly helps Tennessee, and the emerging one-two punch of Hurd and Kamara will be tough for Oklahoma to contain. This one is a tossup, but a slight edge goes to the Sooners.

 

Prediction: Oklahoma 34, Tennessee 30
Teaser:
Tennessee Volunteers vs. Oklahoma Sooners Preview and Prediction 2015
Post date: Friday, September 11, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/oregon-ducks-vs-michigan-state-spartans-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

and meet on Saturday night in one of ’s most anticipated non-conference matchups of 2015. The Ducks and Spartans played last season in Eugene, with Oregon rallying from a 24-18 halftime deficit to win 46-27. The scene shifts to East Lansing this year, and both teams will look a little different at kickoff on Saturday night.

 

Oregon lost quarterback Marcus Mariota to the NFL, and the Ducks have a few new faces stepping into the lineup on the defensive side. Michigan State’s offense returned mostly intact, starting with quarterback Connor Cook and a stout offensive line. The defense suffered the biggest losses, as coordinator Pat Narduzzi left to be the head coach at Pittsburgh, and the secondary lost standout cornerback Trae Waynes and safety Kurtis Drummond.

 

Related:

 

While there’s plenty of time for playoff positioning, this game is critical in bolstering the resume for both teams. A loss certainly doesn’t end either Oregon or Michigan State’s playoff hopes, but a win could be a huge addition to the resume or serve as a potential tiebreaker for rankings in early December.

 

This will be the sixth all-time matchup between Michigan State and Oregon. The Ducks have a 3-2 edge in the series.

 

Oregon at Michigan State

 

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ABC

Spread: Michigan State -3.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Vernon Adams vs. Michigan State’s Defense

Vernon Adams inherited big shoes to fill when he transferred to Oregon from Eastern Washington to replace Marcus Mariota. And the pressure on the senior only increased after a late arrival to Eugene after finishing his last class in August. While there’s a significant difference between FCS defenses and Michigan State’s unit, Adams showcased his talent in last week’s win over the Eagles. The senior completed 19 of 25 passes for 246 yards and two scores and added 94 yards on the ground. However, the real test begins on Saturday night. Adams is taking on a Michigan State defense that surrendered 365 passing yards in the opener against Western Michigan, but this unit has ranked among the best in the nation in recent years. The Spartans have one of the best defensive lines in college football, headlined by end Shilique Calhoun and rising star tackle Malik McDowell. Oregon hopes to counter the strength in the trenches with Adams’ mobility and utilizing the playmakers in space. If Adams and a loaded Ducks’ receiving corps finds its rhythm early, that’s a bad sign for a Michigan State secondary after it allowed five passing plays of 20 yards or more against Western Michigan last Friday. Will Adams pass his first test? Or will the Spartans control the line of scrimmage and prevent the senior from making big plays downfield? Keep an eye on how much Adams uses his mobility early.

 

2. Connor Cook vs. Oregon’s Secondary

Oregon will land its share of big plays in the passing game, but the Ducks won’t win in East Lansing if the defense doesn’t play better than it did last week against Eastern Washington. Although the Eagles have a dynamic offense, Oregon’s pass defense was gashed for 438 yards and five scores and allowed four plays of 30 yards or more. Will the Ducks tighten their coverage this week? Michigan State senior quarterback Connor Cook is one of the nation’s best, but he misfired a few times in last Friday’s win over Western Michigan. Cook completed 15 of 31 passes for 256 yards and two scores. Contributing to Cook’s misfires in the opener is a receiving corps that had to replace two of its top targets from last season. The Spartans aren’t short on playmakers, as Aaron Burbridge, DeAnthony Arnett and Macgarrett Kings Jr. and tight end Josiah Price are talented options for Cook. Considering Oregon’s struggles against the pass last week, will the Ducks try to generate more pressure on Cook? That’s another challenging task against one of the best offensive lines in college football. Oregon may have to bend and give up its share of yards, while limiting Michigan State’s points in the redzone.  

 

3. The Other Playmakers

Both teams are loaded with playmakers outside of the quarterback position. Who steps up on Saturday night? While Adams and Cook will carry the offenses, keep an eye on the x-factors in this game. Oregon running back Royce Freeman posted 180 yards and three scores against Eastern Washington last Saturday. However, running room could be limited against Michigan State’s rugged front seven. If Freeman has success early, that’s a good sign for Oregon’s offense. And the Ducks are loaded with options at receiver, including Bralon Addison (three catches in his return from ACL surgery), Dwayne Stanford and Byron Marshall. The Spartans had to replace running back Jeremy Langford this offseason, but the rushing attack hasn’t missed a beat. LJ Scott led the team with 77 yards in the opener, while Madre London and Gerald Holmes each recorded at least 50 yards. All of the attention will be on Cook and Adams, but the other playmakers will factor prominently into the outcome of this top 10 matchup.

 

Final Analysis

 

Both offenses – especially the quarterbacks – will land their share of big plays in this game. Oregon’s secondary is a major concern after last week’s performance against Eastern Washington, and Michigan State features a balanced attack to keep the Ducks from focusing too much on the pass. A road start in East Lansing is a huge opportunity for Adams to showcase his talent on the national stage. The senior is a dynamic playmaker and should have his share of big plays against a revamped Michigan State secondary. However, this will be the best defense he has played in his collegiate career. The Spartans’ advantage in the trenches shows in the second half, as the Michigan State’s offense establishes the run and keeps Oregon’s offense on the sidelines. And the depth on the defensive line slows Adams just enough for the Spartans to get revenge for last year’s loss.

 

Prediction: Michigan State 38, Oregon 30
Teaser:
Oregon Ducks vs. Michigan State Spartans Preview and Prediction 2015
Post date: Friday, September 11, 2015 - 10:30
Path: /college-football/pac-12-week-2-predictions-2015
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For the most part, Week 1 was a forgettable weekend of action for the . Utah scored a good win over Michigan on Thursday night, but Stanford lost to Northwestern, Washington State had a bad loss to Portland State, Colorado lost to Hawaii and Arizona State was defeated by Texas A&M.

Luckily for the Pac-12, this Saturday has a few opportunities to rebound. Oregon takes on Michigan State in the biggest game for Week 2, Washington State heads to the East Coast for a winnable game against Rutgers, while USC, UCLA, Arizona State and Washington should win big in non-conference matchups.

 

Athlon Sports offers its Pac-12 Week 2 predictions from four editors: Steven Lassan (), David Fox (), Mitch Light () and Braden Gall ()

 

Pac-12 Week 2 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Oregon at Michigan State

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ABC

 

David Fox:

Both defenses gave their fans reason to worry in matchups with directional schools — Oregon against Eastern Washington and Michigan State against Western Michigan. Michigan State over time has shown more reason for us to believe in the Spartans. New Ducks QB Vernon Adams had a nice debut, but Connor Cook is playing the part of a trusty veteran who has been in the system for four years.

Michigan State 31–21

 

Braden Gall:

Revenge, playoff implications, playing at home and a veteran quarterback gives Michigan State a slight edge against an Oregon team that allowed 549 yards in the opener to an FCS foe. Can Vernon Adams take the beating Michigan State's defense is sure to enforce? Connor Cook is the difference. Michigan State 37-30

 

Steven Lassan:

The best game of Week 2. Lots of intrigue here, as new Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams takes on his toughest opponent in Michigan State, while the Spartans have revenge on their mind after last year’s loss in Eugene. The Ducks’ secondary was torched by Eastern Washington last week, and that’s a big concern with Connor Cook up next.

Michigan State 38-30

 

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Mitch Light:

It was only one game, but Oregon has to be concerned about a defense that gave up 491 yards (and 6.4 per play) in a 61–42 win over Eastern Washington. 

Michigan State 37-33

 

2. Utah State at Utah

Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET (Friday)

TV Channel: ESPN2

 

David Fox:

Utah has won 13 of the last 14, and Utah State had enough trouble putting away Southern Utah last week.

Utah 24–7

 

Braden Gall:

Chuckie Keeton vs. that Utah defense should be fun to watch. Hopefully, he survives. Utah is too strong at the point of attack. Utah 23-17

 

Steven Lassan:

Week 1 went significantly different for these two teams. Utah State struggled to get by Southern Utah, while Utah picked up a solid win over Michigan. The Aggies need a big performance from quarterback Chuckie Keeton and his offensive line against a solid Utes’ defense.

Utah 27-17

 

Mitch Light:

Utah State has made impressive strides in recent years but has lost 13 of its last 14 to Utah, including seven straight in Salt Lake City. 

Utah 27-24

 

3. Oregon State at Michigan

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: ABC

 

David Fox:

The loss to Utah revealed Michigan still has a host of problems on offense. Oregon State is in even deeper trouble than Michigan.

Michigan 28-14

 

Braden Gall:

The defense was excellent and the offense identified a few nice players in Jake Butt, Amara Darboh and De'Veon Smith but the rest of the Michigan offense needs to develop. Oregon State was solid in its debut but Weber State isn't The Big House. Michigan wins in its home opener. Michigan 24-10

 

Steven Lassan:

A matchup between two of the best head coach hires for 2015. Jim Harbaugh’s first home game should be a relatively easy win for the Wolverines. Oregon State freshman quarterback Seth Collins is a dynamic playmaker, but the Beavers are in rebuild mode under coach Gary Andersen.

Michigan 31-10

 

Mitch Light:

Michigan will reward the home folks with the first win of the Jim Harbaugh era. Oregon State isn’t overly talented, but freshman Seth Collins was impressive in his debut (152 yards rushing, 92 yards passing with two TDs). 

Michigan 28-13

 

4. Washington State at Rutgers

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPNU

 

David Fox:

Rutgers is a different team with the pass-catch tandem of Chris Laviano and Leonte Carroo. Not necessarily a good team, but a different one.

Rutgers 35–28

 

Braden Gall:

One team lost as a 31-point favorite to an FCS school and the other's athletic department is an episode of Law and Order. Take the Knights at home. Rutgers 35-31

 

Steven Lassan:

Both teams are dealing with some turmoil, albeit for two different reasons. Rutgers has an ongoing investigation about coach Kyle Flood, and four defensive backs were kicked off the team last week. Washington State is reeling after last Saturday’s surprise defeat against Portland State. This one should see its share of fireworks between the two offenses.

Washington State 38-34

 

Mitch Light:
Washington State lost at home, 24–17, to FCS foe Portland State in Week 1. Not a good start for Mike Leach. Things aren’t going great at Rutgers, either, but at least the Scarlet Knights won their first game. 

Rutgers 33-30

 

5. UMass at Colorado

Kickoff: 2 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

 

David Fox:

UMass didn’t play in Week 1. Colorado probably wishes it hadn’t. Now the Buffs face another solid quarterback and passing game.

Colorado 28–24

 

Braden Gall:

Nothing will be easy for the Buffaloes but this is one of few games they should win this fall. Colorado 38-30

 

Steven Lassan:

Upset alert? The Minutemen nearly defeated the Buffaloes last season and are a better overall team in 2015. Expect a close one, but Colorado should find a way to erase last week’s disappointment against Hawaii to edge UMass.

Colorado 34-31

 

Mitch Light:
Colorado has returned to the mainland after a tough loss at Hawaii on Thursday night. UMass has yet to play. I smell upset. 

UMass 34-30
 

6. San Diego State at California

Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

 

David Fox:

Jared Goff faces a tricky Rocky Long defense. An interesting storyline, but Cal should win.

Cal 38–24

 

Braden Gall:

This is one of the games against a quality mid-major program that Cal has to win easily if it wants to prove it belongs in the national conversation again. Jared Goff is awesome and he needs to eliminate the Aztecs quickly to make a statement. Cal 48-20

 

Steven Lassan:

San Diego State’s defense is one of the best from the Group of 5 ranks, but I’m not sure the Aztecs will be able to generate enough offense outside of running back Donnel Pumphrey to win this one.

California 38-17

 

Mitch Light:
California leads the nation in passing (471 yards) after one week of action. 

California 37-21
 

7. Arizona at Nevada

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: CBS Sports Network

 

David Fox:

Arizona’s defense was lost once Scooby Wright went down last week against UTSA. The Wildcats will need to learn to live without him for the next few weeks.

Arizona 35–24

 

Braden Gall:

The Wildcats gave up a lot of yards and points in the opener to UTSA and Nevada hasn't had issues scoring historically. Give me Arizona but RichRod's bunch better be focused. Arizona 38-28

 

Steven Lassan:

The Wolf Pack defeated the last Pac-12 opponent (Washington State) to visit Reno. Going on the road to face a Group of 5 opponent always has the potential to be a trap game, but the Wildcats – even with linebacker Scooby Wright sidelined – won’t be upset.

Arizona 38-24

 

Mitch Light:

Arizona gave up 525 yards of total offense to a UTSA team that returned zero starters. That could be an issue going forward. 

Arizona 38-33

 

8. UCF at Stanford

Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

 

David Fox:

Two teams are trying to bounce back from deflating season-opening losses. Stanford’s defense will keep the Cardinal ahead in this game. Will the defense have any life to it?

Stanford 21–14

 

Braden Gall:

Both teams were upset in Week 1 and Stanford needs to prove its performance was just a fluky early kickoff, opening weekend walk through. Otherwise, this team is in trouble. Kevin Hogan needs to play with some pride here. Stanford 27-3

 

Steven Lassan:

After Week 1 losses, there’s urgency on both sidelines for this one. Points will be at a premium between these two teams, as Stanford and UCF combined for just 20 points last week. The Cardinal shows some life on offense, while the defense holds the Knights in check.

Stanford 31-13

 

Mitch Light:

Stanford must regroup after its surprisingly lethargic performance at Northwestern. The Cardinal looked good on their first drive of the day — which ended in a field goal — but struggled to move the ball the rest of the day, ending with 240 total yards. 

Stanford 21-13

 

9. UCLA at UNLV

Kickoff: 10:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: CBS Sports Network

 

David Fox:

UCLA’s quarterback was in high school this time last year. So was UNLV’s head coach. Other than that, the two teams don’t have a ton of similarities.

UCLA 42–20

 

Braden Gall:

What does the D-Line look like without Eddie Vanderdoes and how quickly can this O-Line come together? UCLA 40-17

 

Steven Lassan:

UCLA is the second Pac-12 team to hit the road against a Group of 5 opponent on Saturday. UNLV showed improvement in coach Tony Sanchez’s debut last week, but the Bruins have too much firepower on offense and talent on defense to slip in Las Vegas. How will quarterback Josh Rosen follow his impressive debut against Virginia?

UCLA 45-13

 

Mitch Light:

UCLA freshman Josh Rosen was one of the breakout stars of the opening weekend. UNLV lost its opener, 38–30 at Northern Illinois, but the Rebels look to be much improved under first-year coach Tony Sanchez. 

UCLA 37-20

 

10. Idaho at USC

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

 

David Fox:

USC may like to brag that it doesn’t play FCS teams. The Trojans play Idaho instead.

USC 52–7

 

Braden Gall:

What? USC 55-10

 

Steven Lassan:

This one will be ugly. USC was sharp in its opener and won’t have much trouble with the Vandals.

USC 55-10

 

Mitch Light:

USC was impressive in its 55–6 win over Arkansas State, but the Trojans did give up 401 yards of offense. Not a big deal in such a decisive win, but it’s something to watch. 

USC 51-0

 

11. Cal Poly at Arizona State

Kickoff: 11 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

 

David Fox:

Arizona State goes from facing the Texas A&M Air Raid to the Cal Poly triple option. That’s probably not fun.

Arizona State 35–17

 

Braden Gall:

The Sun Devils need an easy win after that performance in Houston last weekend. Arizona State 41-17

 

Steven Lassan:

The Sun Devils take some frustration out on Cal Poly after last week’s loss to Texas A&M.

Arizona State 48-17

 

Mitch Light:

It’s a long season, but Arizona State was a bit underwhelming in its loss to Texas A&M in Houston. 

Arizona State 43-13

 

12. Sacramento State at Washington

Kickoff: 2 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

 

David Fox:

Freshman quarterback Jake Browning has a chance to get back into a groove against an FCS team.

Washington 27–10

 

Braden Gall:

Any signs of life on offense would be a positive step in the right direction for Chris Petersen's bunch. One of few easy wins for the Huskies this year. Washington 31-10

 

Steven Lassan:

True freshman quarterback Jake Browning is going to be a good one for coach Chris Petersen. The Huskies break into the win column this week.

Washington 40-10

 

Mitch Light:

Sacramento State was outgained by 254 yards in a 41–20 loss to Eastern Oregon last week. Washington will break through and pick up win No. 1. 

Washington 41-10

Teaser:
Pac-12 Week 2 Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 10, 2015 - 11:30
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The was in the spotlight in ’s first week of 2015, as Jim Harbaugh’s debut with Michigan was a huge television hit on Thursday night, and Ohio State capped the weekend with a victory over Virginia Tech. The conference is back in the spotlight once again for Week 2, as Michigan State-Oregon is the weekend’s must-see game in college football. The Ducks knocked off the Spartans last season, but Michigan State is favored this Saturday.

 

Outside of East Lansing, there are a handful of games with intrigue in the conference. Indiana needs a win over FIU to bolster its bowl hopes, Rutgers hosts Washington State, Michigan takes on Oregon State and Iowa-Iowa State meet for the Cy-Hawk Trophy.

 

Athlon Sports offers its Big Ten Week 2 predictions from four editors: Steven Lassan (), David Fox (), Mitch Light () and Braden Gall ()

 

Big Ten Week 2 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Oregon at Michigan State

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ABC

 

David Fox:

Both defenses gave their fans reason to worry in matchups with directional schools — Oregon against Eastern Washington and Michigan State against Western Michigan. Michigan State over time has shown more reason for us to believe in the Spartans. New Ducks QB Vernon Adams had a nice debut, but Connor Cook is playing the part of a trusty veteran who has been in the system for four years.

Michigan State 31–21

 

Braden Gall:

Revenge, playoff implications, playing at home and a veteran quarterback gives Michigan State a slight edge against an Oregon team that allowed 549 yards in the opener to an FCS foe. Can Vernon Adams take the beating Michigan State's defense is sure to enforce? Connor Cook is the difference. Michigan State 37-30

 

Steven Lassan:

The best game of Week 2. Lots of intrigue here, as new Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams takes on his toughest opponent in Michigan State, while the Spartans have revenge on their mind after last year’s loss in Eugene. The Ducks’ secondary was torched by Eastern Washington last week, and that’s a big concern with Connor Cook up next.

Michigan State 38-30

 

Mitch Light:

It was only one game, but Oregon has to be concerned about a defense that gave up 491 yards (and 6.4 per play) in a 61–42 win over Eastern Washington. 

Michigan State 37-33

 

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2. Iowa at Iowa State

Kickoff: 4:45 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

 

David Fox:

The rivalry game actually carries some weight for the respective futures of coaches Kirk Ferentz and Paul Rhoads. Iowa has a big-time defensive difference maker in Drew Ott and the makings of a competent offense. Edge: Hawkeyes.

Iowa 34–21

 

Braden Gall:

One of the more underrated rivalries in the country has gone the way of the Cyclones and Paul Rhoads more times than not recently. Both offenses played well in Week 1 and Jack Trice is also underrated. Iowa's balance on offense gives the CyHawk Trophy to the Hawkeyes. Iowa 30-24

 

Steven Lassan:

A rivalry matchup in Week 2 is certainly welcomed to help spice up a pedestrian slate of games. Iowa State has won three out of the last four games in this series, but I think the Hawkeyes take this one on Saturday.

Iowa 27-20

 

Mitch Light:

Iowa showed nice balance last week, rushing for 210 and throwing for 221 in its 31–14 win over FCS power Illinois State. 

Iowa 24-20

 

3. Oregon State at Michigan

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: ABC

 

David Fox:

The loss to Utah revealed Michigan still has a host of problems on offense. Oregon State is in even deeper trouble than Michigan.

Michigan 28-14

 

Braden Gall:

The defense was excellent and the offense identified a few nice players in Jake Butt, Amara Darboh and De'Veon Smith but the rest of the Michigan offense needs to develop. Oregon State was solid in its debut but Weber State isn't The Big House. Michigan wins in its home opener. Michigan 24-10

 

Steven Lassan:

A matchup between two of the best head coach hires for 2015. Jim Harbaugh’s first home game should be a relatively easy win for the Wolverines. Oregon State freshman quarterback Seth Collins is a dynamic playmaker, but the Beavers are in rebuild mode under coach Gary Andersen.

Michigan 31-10

 

Mitch Light:

Michigan will reward the home folks with the first win of the Jim Harbaugh era. Oregon State isn’t overly talented, but freshman Seth Collins was impressive in his debut (152 yards rushing, 92 yards passing with two TDs an zero INTs). Michigan 28-13​

 

4. Washington State at Rutgers

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPNU

 

David Fox:

Rutgers is a different team with the pass-catch tandem of Chris Laviano and Leonte Carroo. Not necessarily a good team, but a different one.

Rutgers 35–28

 

Braden Gall:

One team lost as a 31-point favorite to an FCS school and the other's athletic department is an episode of Law and Order. Take the Knights at home. Rutgers 35-31

 

Steven Lassan:

Both teams are dealing with some turmoil, albeit for two different reasons. Rutgers has an ongoing investigation about coach Kyle Flood, and four defensive backs were kicked off the team last week. Washington State is reeling after last Saturday’s surprise defeat against Portland State. This one should see its share of fireworks between the two offenses.

Washington State 38-34

 

Mitch Light:

Washington State lost at home, 24–17, to FCS foe Portland State in Week 1. Not a good start for Mike Leach. Things aren’t going great at Rutgers, either, but at least the Scarlet Knights won their first game. 

Rutgers 33-30

 

5. Minnesota at Colorado State

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: CBS Sports Network

 

David Fox:

Minnesota’s standout secondary faces a Biletnikoff finalist in Rashard Higgins. Which quarterback can make plays in this game?

Colorado State 28–24

 

Braden Gall:

Upset alert for the Gophers after Mike Bobo's quality debut for the Rams. However, the defense is too much for Colorado State as Jerry Kill's bunch rarely overlooks an opponent. Minnesota 24-10

 

Steven Lassan:

Solid under-the-radar matchup in Fort Collins this Saturday, as Minnesota’s standout secondary takes on one of the nation’s top receivers in Rashard Higgins. Defense certainly isn’t the issue for the Golden Gophers, but the offense needs to play better to win the Big Ten West. Keep an eye on promising running back Rodney Smith in this one.

Minnesota 27-24

 

Mitch Light:

This is not an easy trip for Jerry Kill and the Gophers. Colorado State averaged 8.7 yards per play in its win over Savannah State. 

Minnesota 24-20

 

6. Bowling Green at Maryland

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

Braden Gall:

A sneaky upset alert here for the Terps despite all of the points last week. The Terps running game is the difference, however, after the Falcons were gashed last weekend by Tennessee. Maryland 40-35

 

Steven Lassan:

Bowling Green is a dangerous opponent for the Terrapins. As last week’s loss to Tennessee showed, the Falcons can score (30 points) and averaged 6.5 yards per play. Maryland’s secondary should do just enough to keep Bowling Green’s high-powered passing attack in check, while the offense leans on Brandon Ross to wear down the Falcon defense in the fourth quarter.

Maryland 34-31

 

Mitch Light:

Bowling Green threw for 424 yards and averaged 8.7 yards per passing attempt in last week’s 59–30 loss vs. Tennessee in Nashville. Maryland will have to score a bunch of points to win this game. 

Bowling Green 41-37

 

7. Hawaii at Ohio State

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

David Fox:

The Buckeyes get Joey Bosa, Jalin Mashall, Corey Smith and Dontre Wilson back from suspension. Good luck, Hawaii.

Ohio State 49–10

 

Braden Gall:

Poor, poor Hawaii. Ohio State 59-3

 

Steven Lassan:

Might be a sluggish start in the works for both teams, as Hawaii is making the long trip to the mainland, while Ohio State has a short turnaround from playing Virginia Tech. Even if the Buckeyes have a slow start, this won’t be close in the fourth quarter. 

Ohio State 52-17

 

Mitch Light:

Hawaii recorded a nice win for embattled coach Norm Chow, topping Colorado 28–20 last Thursday night. The win streak will end at one. 

Ohio State 44-13

 

8. Buffalo at Penn State

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: ESPN2

 

David Fox:

Penn State’s offensive line can’t get much worse than last week’s 10-sack effort against Temple. Then again, we said that about the offensive line last season. Buffalo has a solid veteran quarterback who will make this closer than it should be.

Penn State 21–17

 

Braden Gall:

Arguably the worst opening weekend in the nation can only get better for Penn State, right? Block someone, PSU, anyone. Penn State 30-10

 

Steven Lassan:

After last week’s offensive debacle against Temple, it will be interesting to see what changes coach James Franklin makes to jumpstart this group. The offensive line has to play better, but quarterback Christian Hackenberg also shares part of the blame. Buffalo made one of the offseason’s best coaching hires by getting Lance Leipold from Wisconsin-Whitewater, and the Bulls were impressive in their opener against Albany. Buffalo keeps this one interesting until the fourth quarter.

Penn State 27-17

 

Mitch Light:

Penn State will be eager to bounce back after last week’s debacle against Temple. The natives will not be pleased if the Lions struggle to beat Buffalo. 

Penn State 27-6

 

9. South Alabama at Nebraska

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

David Fox:

Nebraska hasn’t started 0–2 since 1957, and it should stay that way. The Huskers should roll.

Nebraska 41–14

 

Braden Gall:

Nebraska gets back on track after the Week 1 heartbreaker. Nebraska 38-10

 

Steven Lassan:

Nebraska should be able to take out some of its frustration from last week’s last-second loss to BYU in Saturday’s matchup against South Alabama. Mike Riley breaks into the win column in his second game with the Cornhuskers.

Nebraska 40-13

 

Mitch Light:

Nebraska is still smarting from losing its opener to BYU on the final play of the game. The Huskers will bounce back against a South Alabama team that is coming off a 10-point win over Gardner-Webb. 

Nebraska 48-3

 

10. FIU at Indiana

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

David Fox:

Indiana’s 48–47 win over Southern Illinois came down to a stopped two-point conversion, and this week’s opponent, FIU, is coming off a road upset of UCF. The Hoosiers’ hopes for a quick start to the season just got a little tougher.

Indiana 42–35

 

Braden Gall:

FIU pulled off the improbable upset over UCF last week and Indiana couldn't stop air in it's opener. That said, give me Nate Sudfeld and company to outscore FIU. Indiana 38-30

 

Steven Lassan:

Indiana avoided a costly upset last week, and the Hoosiers could have their hands full with a FIU team that knocked off UCF last week. The Panthers are improving on offense behind promising quarterback Alex McGough, but the defense – led by standout cornerback Richard Leonard – held the Knights to 14 points last week. Indiana’s defense has to take a step forward if this team wants to get to a bowl.

Indiana 34-27

 

Mitch Light:

Ron Turner and the Panthers had a nice win at UCF last week. Indiana had to make a stop on a two-point conversion to beat Southern Illinois. 

FIU 27-20

 

11. Miami (Ohio) at Wisconsin

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: ESPNU

 

David Fox:

Miami ended its 16-game losing streak but still hasn’t defeated an FBS team since Oct. 27, 2012 and hasn’t defeated a Power 5 team since 2007 (Syracuse).

Wisconsin 42–14 

 

Braden Gall:

I am willing to bet Wisconsin rushes for more than 40 yards in this game. Badgers big in their home opener. Wisconsin 42-14

 

Steven Lassan:

Running back Corey Clement might be limited due to injury, but it shouldn’t matter. The Badgers build a little confidence in quarterback Joel Stave with an easy win.

Wisconsin 45-13

 

Mitch Light:

The Badgers were manhandled by a superior Alabama team last weekend in Arlington, Texas. Wisconsin will have the physical advantage in this matchup. 

Wisconsin 41-11

 

12. Eastern Illinois at Northwestern

Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPNEWS

 

David Fox:

Eastern Illinois lost 33–5 to Western Illinois. Northwestern just beat Stanford. The old Northwestern might flirt with an upset.

Northwestern 35–7

 

Braden Gall:

Tony Romo isn't walking through that door. Northwestern big. Northwestern 34-10

 

Steven Lassan:

Northwestern continues its momentum from the Week 1 victory against Stanford with an easy win over Eastern Illinois. Interested to see how much quarterback Clayton Thorson progresses this Saturday.

Northwestern 38-7

 

Mitch Light:

EIU, which lost its opener 33–5 at Western Illinois, is still looking for its first touchdown of the season. Northwestern only scored one touchdown in Week 1, but it was enough to knock off Stanford. 

Northwestern 37-7

 

13. Indiana State at Purdue

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: ESPNEWS

 

David Fox:

How will Austin Appleby come back from his collapse at Marshall last week? The answer will determine if Purdue can stay competitive this season.

Purdue 38–28

 

Braden Gall:

Purdue lost a tough one at Marshall but there were signs of life. Get this one, Boilers. Purdue 37-21

 

Steven Lassan:

Purdue showed some improvement in its opener against Marshall, but the Boilermakers gave away four turnovers, including two interceptions returned for scores. Purdue should break into the win column this week.

Purdue 38-17

 

Mitch Light:

Purdue did some good things in its loss on Sunday to Marshall. This team is improved but might have trouble making a move in the Big Ten West. 

Purdue 38-21

 

14. Western Illinois at Illinois

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

Braden Gall:

Wes Lunt is out of the game at halftime again. Illinois 42-13

 

Steven Lassan:

Bill Cubit’s debut was a success, as the Fighting Illini easily dispatched Kent State. Expect another big day from quarterback Wes Lunt as Illinois improves to 2-0.

Illinois 45-10

 

Mitch Light:

It seems as though the Fighting Illini enjoy playing for interim coach Bill Cubit. The 52–3 win over Kent State was very impressive.

Illinois 48-10

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Big Ten Week 2 Predictions
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The didn’t pickup a key non-conference win in any of its marquee matchups, and the league slate for Week 2 isn’t full of enticing games. Notre Dame-Virginia is arguably the best matchup this Saturday, and the Fighting Irish are a heavy favorite over the Cavaliers. Elsewhere in the ACC this week, Louisville turns to true freshman Lamar Jackson at quarterback against Houston, while Florida State hosts South Florida in Everett Golson’s second start under center for the Seminoles.

 

Wake Forest-Syracuse is the only league matchup on the schedule in Week 2.

 

Athlon Sports offers its ACC Week 2 predictions from four editors: Steven Lassan (), David Fox (), Mitch Light () and Braden Gall ()

 

ACC Week 2 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Notre Dame at Virginia

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ABC

 

David Fox:

The start of Virginia’s schedule may be tougher than the Cavaliers anticipated as UCLA’s Josh Rose and Notre Dame’s Malik Zaire quickly take charger of their respective quarterback positions. The Cavs will look to shut down Notre Dame’s weakened run game, but the Irish defense could be dominant.

Notre Dame 31–13

 

Braden Gall:

Virginia isn't all that bad but made Josh Rosen look like a Heisman Trophy candidate last week. This is a game where Notre Dame should do what it wants on both sides of the ball if it wants to be taken seriously in the playoff conversation. Notre Dame 34-13

 

Steven Lassan:

It’s a light slate of games in the ACC when Notre Dame-Virginia is the No. 1 matchup. The Cavaliers’ brutal non-conference slate continues against a Fighting Irish team with momentum on their side after last week’s win over Texas. Virginia’s defense keeps it close for a half, but will the offense generate enough points?

Notre Dame 30-13

 

Mitch Light:

The Cavs’ ridiculously tough non-conference schedule continues with a home date against Notre Dame. Last week, they faced one of the nation’s top young players in UCLA true freshman quarterback Josh Rosen. Now, they play a Fighting Irish team that dominated Texas in every phase. 

Notre Dame 30-14 

 

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2. Houston at Louisville

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

 

David Fox:

Prepping for Gus Malzahn, Houston coach Tom Herman and the Clemson offense in the first three weeks has to be tough on Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. Underwhelming quarterback play has to be tough on Bobby Petrino. Upset alert?

Louisville 21–17

 

Braden Gall:

Louisville's defense is better than advertised, and Tom Herman put up big numbers in his debut for Houston. Look for the Cardinals to pull away late in a battle of former Big East and C-USA rivals. Louisville 31-17

 

Steven Lassan:

This matchup is an intriguing, under-the-radar game in Week 2. Louisville lost its opener against Auburn, but true freshman quarterback Lamar Jackson is a future star under coach Bobby Petrino. New Houston coach Tom Herman had a successful debut, and dual-threat quarterback Greg Ward will give Louisville’s defense a few problems.

Louisville 34-20

 

Mitch Light:

A rebuilt Louisville defense limited a powerful (we think) Auburn offense to 327 total yards. That bodes well for the rest of the season — beginning with this week’s game against Houston. 

Louisville 33-17

 

3. USF at Florida State

Kickoff: 11:30 a.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

USF has won six total games in 2013-14 by a combined margin of 26. The Bulls beat Florida A&M in their opener by 48. They’re better but not good enough to challenge Florida State.

Florida State 42–14

 

Braden Gall:

Florida State started slow last week but Everet Golson rallied the troops. Much of the same this time around. Florida State 40-13

 

Steven Lassan:

Both quarterbacks in this matchup – Florida State’s Everett Golson and USF’s Quinton Flowers – were sharp last week. While Flowers is a promising player for the Bulls, the Seminoles are the better overall team, and Golson should continue to progress with another week of learning coach Jimbo Fisher’s offense.

Florida State 38-13

 

Mitch Light:

The Bulls take on a team from Tallahassee for the second straight week. Florida State will be far more formidable than the Rattlers from Florida A&M. 

Florida State 38-10

 

4. Appalachian State at Clemson

Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

 

David Fox:

Appy State’s run of seven consecutive wins, including two shutouts, ends here.

Clemson 49–10

 

Braden Gall:

The depth for Clemson was impressive in Week 1 and I expect more of the same in Week 2. Just keep Deshaun Watson healthy, please. Clemson 51-10

 

Steven Lassan:

This is Clemson’s last tune-up before the ACC opener against Louisville next Thursday. Appalachian State should be a better test for the Tigers than Wofford, as the Mountaineers enter this matchup on a seven-game winning streak. Clemson will miss receiver Mike Williams (sidelined with a neck injury), but there’s plenty of playmakers to keep this offense performing at a high level.

Clemson 41-17

 

Mitch Light:

Appalachian State rolled up 663 yards — 376 on the ground, 287 through the air — in a Week 1 win over Howard. Don’t expect similar results when they visit the home of Howard’s Rock. 

Clemson 41-13 

 

5. Wake Forest at Syracuse

Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

 

David Fox:

Syracuse quarterback Terrell Hunt is out for the season with a torn Achilles. He’ll be replaced by a freshman. In a matchup of the two worst teams in the ACC, that’s huge.

Wake Forest 24–17

 

Braden Gall:

This might be the only chance for either team to get a win in the ACC. Cuse is at home but without it's starting quarterback. Give me John Wolford on the road. Wake Forest 28-24

 

Steven Lassan:

This is the first conference game of the year in the ACC. And the winner of this one probably avoids the cellar in the Atlantic. Syracuse lost quarterback Terrel Hunt last week, but freshman Eric Dungey played well. Wake Forest’s offense also showed signs of life in Week 1.

Wake Forest 24-20

 

Mitch Light:

Both teams feasted on overmatched FCS foes in Week 1. Syracuse, however, lost the services of quarterback Terrel Hunt, who is sidelined with a torn Achilles tendon. Freshman Eric Dungey will make his first start against a stout Wake Forest defense. 

Wake Forest 17-7

 

6. Miami at FAU

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Friday)

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

 

David Fox:

A nice game for those of us appreciate bizarre road trips and all things Howard Schnellenberger, the architect of both programs. FAU was done in by four turnovers in an OT loss to Tulsa last week.

Miami 38–31

 

Braden Gall:

The Howard Schnellenberger Bowl SHOULD be an "easy" win for The U. Miami 38-20

 

Steven Lassan:

The Hurricanes make the short trip to Boca Raton for this one, as FAU hopes to pull off the upset as a 17-point underdog. The Owls have a talented quarterback in Jaquez Johnson, but I’m not sure the defense will be able to slow Miami’s offense. Quarterback Brad Kaaya won’t have Stacy Coley or Braxton Berrios to throw to, but the Hurricanes pull away in the second half.

Miami 38-17

 

Mitch Light:

FAU gave up 618 yards (7.2 per play) in last week’s overtime loss at Tulsa. The Owls will have a tough time slowing down Brad Kaaya & Co.

Miami 47-24

 

7. Pittsburgh at Akron

Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

 

David Fox:

Pittsburgh lost to Akron at home last season. By 11. The Panthers get Tyler Boyd back but lost James Conner for the season. They may get revenge here, but the long-term prospects are questionable.

Pittsburgh 21–14

 

Braden Gall:

No James Conner, no problem for Pitt. At least, not this week against the Zips. Qadree Ollison and Tyler Boyd are more than enough. Pitt 34-17

 

Steven Lassan:

The Zips stunned Pittsburgh at Heinz Field last season. Another upset coming? Possibly. Akron’s defense is solid, but the offense struggled mightily against Oklahoma last week. Even though running back James Conner is out for the year, the Panthers should be able to run the ball, and receiver Tyler Boyd is back from suspension this Saturday.

Pittsburgh 31-20

 

Mitch Light:

Pittsburgh has the nation’s second-leading rusher — but it’s not James Conner, who was lost for the season with a torn ACL. Redshirt freshman Qadree Ollison stepped in and rushed for 207 yards on 16 carries against Youngstown State last week. 

Pittsburgh 37-24

 

8. Tulane at Georgia Tech

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

 

David Fox:

Don’t overthink it: Georgia Tech won its opener 69–6. Tulane lost its opener 37–7.

Georgia Tech 41–14

 

Braden Gall:

Tulane was terrible against Duke and Georgia Tech is virtually unstoppable on the ground. Tech please. Georgia Tech 51-14

 

Steven Lassan:

The Yellow Jackets were very impressive last Thursday. Of course, the opponent – Alcorn State – had a lot to do with the outcome. Expect Georgia Tech to dominate once again, as coach Paul Johnson’s team gets another tune-up before next week’s showdown against Notre Dame.

Georgia Tech 45-10

 

Mitch Light:

Tulane was overmatched at home in a Week 1 loss at home to Duke. Now, the Green Wave hit the road to face a potent Georgia Tech ground attack. The Yellow Jackets have one more tune-up before they head to Notre Dame. 
Georgia Tech 48-13

 

9. Eastern Kentucky at NC State

Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

 

David Fox:

Eastern Kentucky is one of the better teams in the FCS, but NC State shouldn’t have a ton of trouble.

NC State 41–20

 

Braden Gall:

Jacoby Brissett, Jacoby Brissett and more Jacoby Brissett. NC State 42-17

 

Steven Lassan:

The Wolfpack cruised in their Week 1 victory against Troy. Coach Dave Doeren’s team continues the momentum with an easy win over Eastern Kentucky. With matchups against Old Dominion and South Alabama up next, we won’t find out much about NC State until the Oct. 3 game against Louisville.

NC State 45-7

 

Mitch Light:

Jacoby Brissett was outstanding in the Pack’s 49–21 win over Troy, completing 21-of-23 for 196 yards, two TDs and no interceptions.

NC State 38-17

 

10. Furman at Virginia Tech

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

 

David Fox:

The Hokies need to find out of Brenden Motley can pass.

Virginia Tech 21–10

 

Braden Gall:

The Paladins are no match for Tech (more specifically its defense) even without Michael Brewer. Virginia Tech 28-3

 

Steven Lassan:

With Michael Brewer out indefinitely with a collarbone injury, Brenden Motley will start at quarterback for the Hokies. However, freshmen Chris Durkin and Dwayne Lawson may also see snaps. Either way, Virginia Tech wins big this Saturday.

Virginia Tech 41-3

 

Mitch Light:

Virginia Tech’s season took an unfortunate turn when quarterback Michael Brewer went down with a broken collarbone. Brenden Motley will do his best to keep the ship afloat until Brewer returns. 

Virginia Tech 28-0

 

11. North Carolina A&T at North Carolina

Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

 

David Fox:

How will Marquise Williams recover from a disastrous game against South Carolina?

North Carolina 41–21

 

Braden Gall:

Marquise Williams needs and will get a bounce back game after a lot of summer hype. His play against South Carolina cost his team a win. North Carolina 50-17

 

Steven Lassan:

Marquise Williams and the rest of North Carolina’s offense gets back on track after a sluggish performance against South Carolina

North Carolina 50-13

 

Mitch Light:

Mistakes in the red zone cost UNC last Thursday night against South Carolina. Marquise Williams can’t make those mistakes if this team is going to be a factor in the ACC Coastal Division. 

North Carolina 48-3

 

12. North Carolina Central at Duke

Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

 

David Fox:

Duke won’t get to a bowl by playing Ohio State in the non-conference.

Duke 38–10

 

Braden Gall:

Duke is always going to be sneaky good and the non-conference schedule should afford a bunch of easy wins. Duke 42-10

 

Steven Lassan:

The Blue Devils were quietly impressive in their Week 1 blowout win over Tulane. The momentum keeps rolling here against North Carolina Central.

Duke 48-10

 

Mitch Light:

Duke topped 200 yards rushing and 300 yards passing in its win at Tulane last weekend. Expect more of the same.

Duke 48-10

 

13. Howard at Boston College

Kickoff: 1 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

 

David Fox:

With Maine and Howard, Boston College has two de facto exhibition games before Florida State next week.

Boston College 38–7

 

Braden Gall:

Where is Howard again? Boston College 41-7

 

Steven Lassan:

Boston College shouldn’t have much trouble here after Howard was soundly defeated by Appalachian State last week. Another opportunity for the Eagles to get their revamped offensive line and quarterback Darius Wade valuable game reps.

Boston College 41-7

 

Mitch Light:

Boston College plays its second FCS foe of the young season when Howard — the same team that gave up 663 yards to App State — visits Chestnut Hill. 

Boston College 38-0

Teaser:
ACC Week 2 Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 10, 2015 - 10:30
Path: /college-football/sec-week-2-predictions-2015
Body:

The flips the calendar to conference matchups a little earlier than other leagues this season, as three league contests dot the schedule for Week 2. LSU-Mississippi State, Kentucky-South Carolina and Georgia-Vanderbilt should be a good indicator of where all six teams stand. But the headliner in the SEC this week is in Knoxville, as Tennessee hosts Oklahoma. Can the Volunteers continue their momentum under coach Butch Jones with a big non-conference victory?

 

Auburn, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Alabama, Florida and Arkansas are heavy favorites this Saturday.

 

Athlon Sports offers its SEC Week 2 predictions from four editors: Steven Lassan (), David Fox (), Mitch Light () and Braden Gall ()

 

SEC Week 2 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Oklahoma at Tennessee

Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Tennessee’s looking to make a big-time statement, but the Volunteers might not have the depth in the secondary to pull it off. Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield was that impressive in Week 1.

Oklahoma 38–28

 

Braden Gall:

The first ever trip inside Neyland Stadium for Oklahoma will be as good an atmosphere as any game this season. Both teams are ranked, both offenses are loaded with playmakers and both lines of scrimmage have questions. Baker Mayfield will try to exploit a Vols secondary that got torched for 424 yards last week, while the Sooners will try to stop a Vols offense that rolled up 399 yards of offense. It's back and forth and very close. Give me the Vols in a tight one. Tennssee 38-35

 

Steven Lassan:

This matchup has to be one of the most intriguing games of Week 2. The Sooners’ revamped offense got off to a slow start last week, but quarterback Baker Mayfield finished with 388 passing yards and three scores. Mayfield’s performance and the development of Oklahoma’s receivers is critical, especially when you consider Tennessee allowed 433 passing yards against Bowling Green last week. This is also a good barometer test for the Volunteers as they look to continue the momentum behind coach Butch Jones’ rebuilding effort.

Oklahoma 31-27

 

Mitch Light:

Oklahoma took to the air in its first game under new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, a Mike Leach disciple with roots at Texas Tech. The Sooners threw the ball on 54.5 percent of their offensive plays in their 41–3 win over Akron; last year, they attempted a pass on only 40.1 percent of their snaps. With Tennessee’s struggles defending the pass last week against Bowling Green, expect another pass-happy plan of attack from Riley and the OU coaching staff. Oklahoma 33-30

 

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2. LSU at Mississippi State

Kickoff: 9:15 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Dak Prescott dominated in this game a year ago and will need to do so again, given Mississippi State’s personnel losses on offense since last season. LSU’s opener was cut short and canceled. Is that an edge for Mississippi State or LSU? We say Mississippi State.

Mississippi State 24–17

 

Braden Gall:

LSU has won seven straight and 11-of-12 since 1984 in Starkville. Having their game cancelled last week probably hurts Brandon Harris' development but LSU's running game should be way too much for a defense that is totally reworked under new coordinator Many Diaz. Dak Prescott will be great but he can't do it alone. Geaux Tigers. LSU 27-23

 

Steven Lassan:

LSU’s opener was canceled due to weather, so this will be our first look at the Tigers this season. How much has quarterback Brandon Harris progressed since the end of 2014? That’s the big question. Winning in Starkville isn’t easy, especially with Dak Prescott guiding the Bulldogs’ offense. I’ll take LSU’s defense to get one late stop that shifts this game in favor of Les Miles’ team.

LSU 24-20

 

Mitch Light:

Brandon Harris’ only start last season against an SEC opponent was a disaster; he completed 3-of-14 passes for 52 yards in a 41–7 loss at Auburn in early October. The reports in preseason camp were all positive, but Harris — now a sophomore — will have to prove himself to a skeptical fan base that is growing frustrated by the program’s inconsistency at the quarterback position under Les Miles.

LSU 24-20

 

3. Kentucky at South Carolina

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

The South Carolina defense would like to replicate last week’s key stats — three interceptions, four sacks — against Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles. The Wildcats, though, have the balanced attack that could give South Carolina trouble.

South Carolina 31–27

 

Braden Gall:

This is a huge game for both teams in the SEC East pecking order. The Carolina defense showed marked improvement last weekend in a win over North Carolina. Kentucky gave up a lot of points and yards to a quality ULL team last week. Both got good wins and both need this one badly, but I'll take the home team. South Carolina 30-27

 

Steven Lassan:

Intriguing matchup. Neither team played particularly well in the opener, and there’s an injury concern with South Carolina quarterback Connor Mitch. Kentucky’s bowl hopes would get a boost with a win here, but the defense has to play better after struggling in the opener. This one is essentially a toss-up game, so I’ll go with the home team.

South Carolina 31-27

 

Mitch Light:

Both teams won in Week 1, but neither staff had to be overly pleased. South Carolina was sluggish on offense (17 points against UNC), and Kentucky let a 23-point lead in the second half evaporate before scoring late to beat UL-Lafayette.

Kentucky 27-24 

 

4. Georgia at Vanderbilt

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: CBS

 

David Fox:

Vanderbilt beat Georgia on the Bulldogs’ last trip to Nashville in 2013. That seems like eons ago. Vandy’s new defense may give Georgia trouble, but the ‘Dores can’t score.

Georgia 31–10

 

Braden Gall:

The Dawgs should win easily but have struggled in Nashville historically. This Dores defense wasn't the problem in the loss to Western Kentucky and should provide a great early barometer for Georgia's new starting quarterback Greyson Lambert. Georgia 37-13

 

Steven Lassan:

Even though Vanderbilt came up short in the opener against WKU, coach Derek Mason’s team showed improvement off last year’s 3-9 mark. While the Commodores are better, it’s going to take a lot to knock off Georgia. The Bulldogs win this one with defense and the ground attack.

Georgia 34-13

 

Mitch Light:

Vanderbilt limited Western Kentucky to 246 yards in Week 1 but lost the game due to its inability to convert in the red zone. Georgia barely broke a sweat in a dominating win over ULM. 

Georgia 27-10

 

5. Toledo at Arkansas

Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

The Rockets had a top-20 rush offense and rush defense last season, but they’ll be without star tailback Kareem Hunt, who is suspended for two games. If the Razorbacks continue to be the balanced offense they showed in the opener, this could be a lopsided finish.

Arkansas 38–10

 

Braden Gall:

Brandon Allen was spectacular last weekend but the level of competition was highly questionable. The Rockets are better but only slightly — and certainly won't be able to hang with the Hogs along the line of scrimmage. Arkansas 35-7

 

Steven Lassan:

Arkansas was sharp in its opener, as quarterback Brandon Allen completed 14 of 18 passes for 308 yards in guiding the offense to an average of 9.1 yards per play. Toledo’s opener against Stony Brook was canceled due to weather, and the Rockets won’t have their best offensive weapon in running back Kareem Hunt.

Arkansas 41-17

 

Mitch Light:

Toledo’s Kareem Hunt, the nation’s leading returning rusher (1,631 yards in 2014), will miss this game due to a suspension. That’s a big blow to the Rockets’ upset hopes. 

Arkansas 40-17

 

6. Missouri at Arkansas State

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

 

David Fox:

Mizzou still has to work out the kinks on offense. Of Missouri’s 10 pass catchers against Southeast Missouri State, eight were freshmen and sophomores.

Missouri 31–13

 

Braden Gall:

The Red Wolves are the team to beat in the Sun Belt, but Maty Mauk will be too much. Missouri 34-17

 

Steven Lassan:

Arkansas State didn’t play well in its opener at USC, but it should be a different story this week. The Red Wolves are at home, and the offense still has plenty of firepower behind quarterback Fredi Knighten. Missouri does have two notable players injured in center Evan Boehm and running back Russell Hansbrough. The Tigers win, but Arkansas State can make it interesting.

Missouri 34-20

 

Mitch Light:

Missouri was impressive in a 34–3 win over SE Missouri State last week, but quarterback Matty Mauk completed only 12-of-22 passes. A low completion percentage has been an issue throughout his career. 

Missouri 31-13

 

7. East Carolina at Florida

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN2

 

David Fox:

Florida will allow its quarterback competition to continue for another week after Treon Harris, who earned the Game 1 start, and Will Grier were nearly perfect in the opener against New Mexico State. Florida is facing East Carolina for the second time in three games after defeating the Pirates 28–20 in last season’s Birmingham Bowl.

Florida 38–14

 

Braden Gall:

This isn't a vintage ECU team and Florida showed signs of life on offense last week, scoring more than 60 points and posting more than 600 yards of offense - even if it was against New Mexico State. Florida 38-17

 

Steven Lassan:

A rematch of last year’s Birmingham Bowl. The Gators were sharp in their opener against New Mexico State, but it’s tough to read too much into that victory. The quarterback battle is worth monitoring, as Will Grier and Treon Harris are expected to share snaps once again. East Carolina could hang around for a quarter on Saturday night, but this team lost its starting quarterback late in fall practice and won by eight in its opener against Towson.

Florida 41-13

 

Mitch Light:

ECU received a bit of a scare in the opening week before surviving for a 28–20 win over Towson. This should be relatively stress-free for the Gators. 

Florida 44-17

 

8. MTSU at Alabama

Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

Nick Saban says he’s going on “feel” for his quarterback. Jake Coker (15-of-21, TD against Wisconsin) and Cooper Bateman (7-of-8) have to feel good after seeing action in the opener. Alabama may have one more game of tryouts before Ole Miss.

Alabama 42–10

 

Braden Gall:

Roll Damn Tide. Alabama 45-7

 

Steven Lassan:

Jake Coker was solid in his debut, but a big test looms next week against Ole Miss. MTSU should be a good opportunity for Coker and this offense to work out some of the kinks. Assuming the score is out of hand as expected, how many quarterbacks will play for the Crimson Tide?

Alabama 45-10

 

Mitch Light:

Middle Tennessee, quarterbacked by the head coach’s son (Brent Stockstill), was one of three teams nationally to score 70 points in Week 1. The guess here is that won’t happen this week in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama 41-14 

 

9. Ball State at Texas A&M

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPNU

 

David Fox:

Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray will both see work again. Will Kevin Sumlin stick with one or the other or go with a two-QB plan?

Texas A&M 49–14

 

Braden Gall:

Look for more pressure from the John Chavis defensive line and big plays from youngsters Christian Kirk and Kyler Murray. Texas A&M 51-20

 

Steven Lassan:

Texas A&M’s defense looked great in the opener against Arizona State. Now the offense has a chance to flex its muscles against a Ball State defense that allowed 36 points to VMI last Thursday.

Texas A&M 50-17

 

Mitch Light:

Texas A&M was one of the more impressive teams in the first week of the season, beating Arizona State by 21 points in Houston. Ball State gave up 547 yards in a win vs. VMI. This will not end well for the Cardinals. 

Texas A&M 48-10

 

10. Fresno State at Ole Miss

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN2

 

David Fox:

This isn’t a vintage Fresno State squad, but the Bulldogs are still a step up from the UT Martin team Ole Miss beat by 73 points on Saturday afternoon.

Ole Miss 42–7

 

Braden Gall:

This isn't a vintage Bulldogs team, and Ole Miss might be as good as its been in 50 years. Ole Miss 40-10

 

Steven Lassan:

Fresno State has pulled a few upsets against Power 5 opponents in previous years. However, don’t expect it to happen here as the Bulldogs are rebuilding. New Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly was impressive in his debut and should build on that performance in Week 2.

Ole Miss 45-13

 

Mitch Light:

Ole Miss averaged 10.3 yards per play against UT Martin. That is very good. 

Ole Miss 44-10

 

11. Jacksonville State at Auburn

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

Jeremy Johnson should have a much more efficient game after going 11-of-21 with three interceptions against Louisville.

Auburn 56–7

 

Braden Gall:

I doubt Jeremy Johnson looks as bad this weekend. Auburn 49-13

 

Steven Lassan:

Expect the Tigers to use this matchup to get quarterback Jeremy Johnson back on track before next week’s game at LSU. Jacksonville State is a good FCS team, but Auburn simply has too much talent for this one to be close.

Auburn 48-10

 

Mitch Light:

It’s too early to panic, but Auburn’s offense was surprisingly underwhelming in Week 1. The Tigers averaged 5.3 yards per play, and quarterback Jeremy Johnson was intercepted three times. Yes, Louisville was a tough first test, but the expectations are always high for a Gus Malzahn offense. 

Auburn 44-17

Teaser:
SEC Week 2 Predictions 2015
Post date: Thursday, September 10, 2015 - 10:15
Path: /college-football/big-12-week-2-predictions-2015
Body:

The ’s Week 2 slate is relatively light on interesting matchups. However, the Oklahoma-Tennessee contest should compensate for a schedule featuring a couple of blowout wins by teams against FCS opponents. Outside of the Volunteers-Sooners meeting on Rocky Top, Iowa State-Iowa is the other must-see matchup from the Big 12 in Week 2.

 

In addition to the on-field action, all eyes will be on Texas as the Longhorns look to rebound after a dismal performance against Notre Dame. Will new play-caller Jay Norvell make a difference?

 

Athlon Sports offers its Big 12 Week 2 predictions from four editors: Steven Lassan (), David Fox (), Mitch Light () and Braden Gall ()

 

Big 12 Week 2 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Oklahoma at Tennessee

Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Tennessee’s looking to make a big-time statement, but the Volunteers might not have the depth in the secondary to pull it off. Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield was that impressive in Week 1.

Oklahoma 38–28

 

Braden Gall:

The first ever trip inside Neyland Stadium for Oklahoma will be as good an atmosphere as any game this season. Both teams are ranked, both offenses are loaded with playmakers and both lines of scrimmage have questions. Baker Mayfield will try to exploit a Vols secondary that got torched for 424 yards last week, while the Sooners will try to stop a Vols offense that rolled up 399 yards of offense. It's back and forth and very close. Give me the Vols in a tight one. Tennessee 38-35

 

Steven Lassan:

This matchup has to be one of the most intriguing games of Week 2. The Sooners’ revamped offense got off to a slow start last week, but quarterback Baker Mayfield finished with 388 passing yards and three scores. Mayfield’s performance and the development of Oklahoma’s receivers is critical, especially when you consider Tennessee allowed 433 passing yards against Bowling Green last week. This is also a good barometer test for the Volunteers as they look to continue the momentum behind coach Butch Jones’ rebuilding effort.

Oklahoma 34-31

 

Mitch Light:

Oklahoma took to the air in its first game under new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, a Mike Leach disciple with roots at Texas Tech. The Sooners threw the ball on 54.5 percent of their offensive plays in their 41–3 win over Akron; last year, they attempted a pass on only 40.1 percent of their snaps. With Tennessee’s struggles defending the pass last week against Bowling Green, expect another pass-happy plan of attack from Riley and the OU coaching staff. Oklahoma 33-30

 

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College Football Podcast: Week 2 Preview



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2. Iowa at Iowa State

Kickoff: 4:45 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

 

David Fox:

The rivalry game actually carries some weight for the respective futures of coaches Kirk Ferentz and Paul Rhoads. Iowa has a big-time defensive difference maker in Drew Ott and the makings of a competent offense. Edge: Hawkeyes.

Iowa 34–21

 

Braden Gall:

One of the more underrated rivalries in the country has gone the way of the Cyclones and Paul Rhoads more times than not recently. Both offenses played well in Week 1 and Jack Trice is also underrated. Iowa's balance on offense gives the CyHawk Trophy to the Hawkeyes. Iowa 30-24

 

Steven Lassan:

A rivalry matchup in Week 2 is certainly welcomed to help spice up a pedestrian slate of games. Iowa State has won three out of the last four games in this series, but I think the Hawkeyes take this one on Saturday.

Iowa 27-20

 

Mitch Light:

Iowa showed nice balance last week, rushing for 210 and throwing for 221 in its 31–14 win over FCS power Illinois State. 

Iowa 24-20

 

3. Rice at Texas

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Longhorn Network

 

David Fox:

Rice is 1–40 against Texas since 1965, yet the Owls are (realistically) thinking upset. Charlie Strong will have to do more than change playcallers if that happens.

Texas 21–14

 

Braden Gall:

If the offense, under the new direction of Jay Norvell, doesn't do something (anything) against Rice, then maybe the issues in Austin are bigger than previously imagined. And no Rice band? Who's fault is that? Texas 35-10 

 

Steven Lassan:

I’m not sure the switch to Jay Norvell as the play-caller over Shawn Watson is going to drastically help the Texas offense. But not having to play Notre Dame this week will help Norvell’s transition to the coordinator role. The Longhorns ease some of the pressure on Charlie Strong.

Texas 30-13

 

Mitch Light:

All eyes will be on the Texas offense, which made the move to Jay Norvell as the offensive coordinator after a dismal showing at Notre Dame. But the Horns’ defense — so stout last year — is also on notice after getting torched for 527 yards in South Bend. 

Texas 28-14

 

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4. UTEP at Texas Tech

Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

 

David Fox:

Arkansas put up passing yards against UTEP. Who knows what Texas Tech can do? The Red Raiders defense, it seems, needs to force turnovers to keep the team afloat.

Texas Tech 49–38

 

Braden Gall:

Patrick Mahomes II was 425 yards of excellence last week and the offense should be firing on all cylinders once again. But can Kliff Kingsbury do something with that defense? Texas Tech 47-24

 

Steven Lassan:

The good for Texas Tech last week: Patrick Mahomes threw for 425 yards and four scores. The bad: The defense allowed 6.5 yards per play. The Red Raiders should take a step forward on defense this week, while Mahomes delivers another big performance.

Texas Tech 48-27

 

Mitch Light:

Texas Tech gave up 637 yards to Sam Houston State in David Gibbs’ first game as the Red Raiders’ defensive coordinator. That’s the bad news. The good news? As usual, a Gibbs-led defense forced a bunch of turnovers. In this case, it was four — and that ended up being the difference in the game.  

Texas Tech 44-40

 

5. Kansas State at UTSA

Kickoff: Noon ET

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

 

David Fox:

UTSA put up 525 yards and 32 points last week. With or without Scooby Wright for the Wildcats, that’s impressive. Kansas State, down to its backup quarterback, should be worried.

Kansas State 24–20

 

Braden Gall:

The Roadrunners put up some yards last week in a loss to Arizona. Kansas State is on its backup QB already. However, the Wildcats will still win big. Kansas State 34-20

 

Steven Lassan:

Kansas State lost starting quarterback Jesse Ertz (likely out for the year) last week, which means Joe Hubener steps into the No. 1 spot. Despite returning only three overall starters, UTSA played well in a road loss to Arizona last week.

Kansas State 34-13

 

Mitch Light:

UTSA, which lost almost every key contributor from last year’s disappointing four-win team, was surprisingly effective in Week 1 — even in defeat. The Roadrunners outgained Arizona 525-to-392 in a 42–32 loss in Tucson. This might not be as easy as most Wildcat fans would like. 

Kansas State 33-27

 

6. Memphis at Kansas

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

 

David Fox:

Memphis hasn’t defeated a Power 5 team on the road since Ole Miss in 2004. Should it count against this Kansas squad?

Memphis 35–21

 

Braden Gall:

The Tigers are good enough to go into Lawrence and roll. Pride probably keeps that from happening for Kansas, but the Jayhawks still won't win. Memphis. Memphis 31-21

 

Steven Lassan:

Credit Kansas for mounting a comeback against South Dakota State last week, but the schedule is only going to get tougher from here. 0-12 is a real possibility.

Memphis 38-20

 

Mitch Light:

Kansas is a 13.5-point underdog at home to Memphis — not a good sign for the Jayhawks going forward. David Beaty’s team did show signs of life in Week 1, gaining 576 yards in the loss to South Dakota State.

Memphis 34-32

 

7. Liberty at West Virginia

Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Root Sports

 

David Fox:

West Virginia’s shutout of Georgia Southern, led by five takeaways, was mighty impressive. Do Turner Gill and Liberty have any answer?

West Virginia 41–7

 

Braden Gall:

That WVU defense is much better than people think. Shutting out Georgia Southern is no easy feat. Sorry, Liberty. West Virginia 42-3

 

Steven Lassan:

West Virginia looked sharp in its opener against Georgia Southern, and the Mountaineers keep rolling this week against Liberty.

West Virginia 41-10

 

Mitch Light:

West Virginia was quietly impressive in Week 1, pitching a 44–0 shutout over Georgia Southern. GSU was missing standout QB Kevin Ellison — the only returning player who threw for 200-plus yards and rushed for 100-plus yards per game last season — but this was still an outstanding performance by the WVU defense. 

West Virginia 41-10

 

8. Stephen F. Austin at TCU

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

 

David Fox:

TCU should be able to get some of its imperfections cleaned up against SFA.

TCU 52–10

 

Braden Gall:

The Horned Frogs won't be nearly as jittery in this game as they were against Minnesota. TCU big. TCU 51-13

 

Steven Lassan:

Injuries are a concern for TCU coach Gary Patterson, as linebacker Sammy Douglas was ruled out for the year and end James McFarland may miss the rest of the season as well. It won’t matter much this Saturday. Horned Frogs win this one easily.

TCU 52-7

 

Mitch Light:

TCU will be eager to flex its muscles after a relatively lethargic win at Minnesota last week. 

TCU 51-13

 

9. Lamar at Baylor

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FSN

 

David Fox:

Nothing to see here.

Baylor 49–7

 

Braden Gall:

Ouch. Baylor 61-7

 

Steven Lassan:

Another week, another monster offensive performance coming for Baylor.

Baylor 60-10

 

Mitch Light:

Baylor will score lots of points. 

Baylor 58-14

 

10. Central Arkansas at Oklahoma State

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FSN

 

David Fox:

Oklahoma State will go 2–0 against “Central” schools. This one will be easier than the matchup against Central Michigan last week.

Oklahoma State 35–14

 

Braden Gall:

A lackadaisical performance against Central Michigan didn't have Pokes faithful very happy last weekend but that shouldn't be an issue this time around. Oklahoma State 49-13

 

Steven Lassan:

The Cowboys’ offense was a little sluggish in the opener against Central Michigan. The guess here is that changes in a big way against Central Arkansas.

Oklahoma State 52-7

 

Mitch Light:

Central Arkansas lost its opener at Samford, 45–16. This should not be close. 

Oklahoma State 58-10

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Big 12 Week 2 Predictions
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New quarterbacks were under the spotlight in the first week of the 2015 season. UCLA’s Josh Rosen stole the spotlight with 351 yards against Virginia, as the true freshman garnered one of the top performances by a quarterback in Week 1. But the success of new signal-callers wasn’t limited to true freshman, as transfers Vernon Adams (Oregon), Everett Golson (Florida State) and Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) shined in their debut with new teams.

 

With the influx of new starters across the nation, Athlon set out to rank the debuts for the quarterbacks. An important note: We only considered freshmen in their first game, transfers or quarterbacks that had only one start at their current school for this ranking. Quarterbacks like Jeremy Johnson, Skyler Howard, Patrick Mahomes, Mike Bercovici and Deshaun Watson had too many starts to be considered for this list.

 

College Football's Top 15 New QB Debuts from Week 1

 

1. Josh Rosen, UCLA

It’s not often the performance matches the hype when it comes to freshman quarterbacks in their first start. However, Rosen met and exceeded a lot of expectations on Saturday. In a 34-16 win over Virginia, the true freshman completed 28 of 35 passes for 351 yards and three scores.

 

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2. Malik Zaire, Notre Dame

Zaire entered the 2015 season with one start under his belt (Music City Bowl) and high expectations. After edging Everett Golson for the starting job in the spring, Zaire continued his breakout season with a sharp performance in the opener against Texas. He completed 19 of 22 throws for 313 yards and three scores and rushed for 16 yards. Additionally, five of Zaire’s completions went at least 20 yards or more.

 

3. Seth Russell, Baylor 

New quarterback, same story on offense for Baylor. The Bears scored 56 points against SMU, set a school record with 10.5 yards per play average and recorded seven plays of 40 yards or more. Russell completed 15 of 30 passes for 376 yards and five scores and added 59 yards and one touchdown on the ground.

 

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4. Vernon Adams, Oregon

Against his former team (Eastern Washington), Adams showed why he’s one of the impact transfers for 2015. The senior completed 19 of 25 passes for 246 yards and two scores and ranked second on the team with 94 rushing yards. Adams aced his first test. But the hard part comes up on Saturday, as the Ducks travel to East Lansing to take on Michigan State.

 

5. Everett Golson, Florida State

Golson’s first game at Florida State started with a weather delay, followed by a slow start in the first half. The Notre Dame transfer was eased into the offense by coach Jimbo Fisher and completed 7 of 9 passes for 74 yards through the first two quarters. But Golson finished strong, throwing for 302 yards and four touchdowns on 19 completions. Golson also connected on five passing plays of 20 yards or more and two of 30 yards or more. 

 

6. Jeff Driskel, Louisiana Tech 

Driskel was a big-time recruit but never managed to have consistent success at Florida. With one year of eligibility left, Driskel transferred for an opportunity to start at Louisiana Tech and the early reviews are positive. The senior passed for 274 yards and four scores in an efficient 12 of 15 performance against Southern. He also added one rushing score and 15 yards on three attempts. 

 

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7. Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma 

Oklahoma’s offense started slow in the first half against Akron, but Mayfield and new coordinator Lincoln Riley eventually got on track. Mayfield – a Texas Tech transfer – completed 23 of 33 passes for 388 yards and three scores. The junior was sharp in his opener, but the going gets tougher on Saturday against Tennessee. 

 

8. Clayton Thorson, Northwestern

Thorson’s numbers aren’t quite as impressive as some of the other names on this list, but the redshirt freshman was going against a stingy Stanford defense and delivered a solid all-around performance. Thorson completed 12 of 24 passes for 105 yards and rushed for 68 on eight attempts, including a 42-yard score in the first half that gave Northwestern the lead for good against the Cardinal.

 

9. Lamar Jackson, Louisville

Electric. That’s the easiest way to describe Jackson after his impressive debut against Auburn. The true freshman completed 9 of 20 passes for 100 yards and added 106 rushing yards and a score on 16 carries. Jackson’s mobility is a huge asset with Louisville revamping its offensive line, and the true freshman has already supplanted Reggie Bonnafon as the team’s starter for Week 2.

 

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10. Jake Coker, Alabama

Alabama’s quarterback battle took a few twists and turns, but the post-spring favorite – Coker – eventually took the first snap against Wisconsin. The defense and rushing attack is always going to lead the way for the Crimson Tide, so Coker doesn’t have to carry the offense. However, Coker was steady in his first start for Alabama, completing 15 of 21 passes for 213 yards and one score.

 

11. Chad Kelly, Ole Miss

Kelly is the x-factor for Ole Miss if it wants to contend in the SEC West this season. The junior college product (and former Clemson passer) started his career in Oxford on a high note in Week 1, throwing for 211 yards and two scores on nine completions. Also, two of Kelly’s completions went for 50 yards or more.

 

12. Max Wittek, Hawaii 

Wittek completed only 19 of 38 passes in the opener, but he threw for three scores and was a key cog in Hawaii’s 28-20 upset over Colorado. The USC transfer should give the Rainbow Warriors a good shot to get bowl eligible in 2015.

 

13. Thomas Sirk, Duke 

Duke coach David Cutcliffe is known as one of the best quarterback gurus in college football, and his next pupil (Sirk) was solid in his debut against Tulane. The junior completed 27 of 40 passes for 289 yards and two scores and added 68 rushing yards on 15 carries. Sirk is primed for a breakout year for the Blue Devils.

 

14. Tanner Mangum, BYU 

Mangum’s numbers weren’t as impressive as some of the other quarterbacks on this list, but the Idaho native delivered in the clutch for the Cougars. With BYU trailing 28-27, Mangum connected with Mitch Mathews for a 42-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass to upset the Cornhuskers in Lincoln. With Taysom Hill out for the rest of the year, Mangum – a four-star recruit – should be a solid fill-in for BYU.

 

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15. Nick Stevens, Colorado State 

The competition – Savannah State – wasn’t overly difficult, but Stevens was sharp in Saturday’s 65-13 win. In coach Mike Bobo’s first game with the Rams, Stevens completed 20 of 28 passes for 289 yards and five scores. He will face a tougher test in Week 2 with Minnesota visiting Fort Collins on Saturday.

 

Other Debuts Considered: C.J. Beathard, Iowa; Ahmad Bradshaw, Army West Point; Brent Stockstill, MTSU; Greyson Lambert, Georgia; Will Grier, Florida; Garrett Smith, ULM; Tyler Stewart, Nevada; Kyler Murray, Texas A&M; Quinton Flowers, USF; Jake Rudock, Michigan; Eric Dungey, Syracuse; Bryant Shirreffs, UConn; Blake Bogenschutz, UTSA; Drew Lock, Missouri; Cody Clements, South Alabama; Brooks Haack, ULL; Cameron Coffman, Wyoming; Seth Collins, Oregon State, Jake Browning, Washington, Ryan Finley, Boise State; Nate Romine, AFA, Kenny Potter, SJSU; Darius Wade, Boston College; Laviano/Rettig, Rutgers; Michael Birdsong, Marshall; Joe Hubener, Kansas State; Shuler Bentley, ODU

Teaser:
College Football's Top 15 Quarterback Debuts of 2015
Post date: Wednesday, September 9, 2015 - 10:00

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