Articles By Steven Lassan

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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

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ACC Week 2 Predictions
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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

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

 

Related:

 

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.

 

Related:

 

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
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/5-college-football-teams-quietly-impressed-week-1
Body:

The first week of every  season always generates overreaction on both sides of the talking point. If a team lost by a bigger margin than expected or struggled, it’s easy to say that team is worse than anticipated. But if a team wins in an upset or is more impressive than the preseason projections expected, the reaction is this team should be better than we thought.

 

There could be some truth in both arguments. However, the real truth rests somewhere in the middle. No team is as good (or bad) as they play in Week 1. After all, it’s just the first game of the season.

 

With overreaction in mind, here are five schools that quietly impressed in Week 1. What does it mean for the rest of the year? We’ll find out.

 

5 CFB Teams That Quietly Impressed in Week 1

 

Duke

David Cutcliffe has transformed Duke into a consistent bowl team, and the Blue Devils are coming off their best two-year stretch (19 wins) in school history. But despite the recent success and 12 returning starters, Duke was picked (by some) near the bottom of the ACC Coastal for 2015. However, if Thursday night’s win over Tulane is any indication of what to expect from this team this fall, Duke should be in the mix for a finish in the top half of the Coastal. The Blue Devils dominated the Green Wave, winning 37-7 thanks to strong performances on both sides of the ball. New quarterback Thomas Sirk completed 27 of 40 passes for 289 yards and two scores and added 68 yards on the ground. The junior also guided the Duke offense to an average of 5.7 yards per play. The defense limited Tulane to just 4.2 yards per play, 25 rushing yards and forced four sacks. The Green Wave did not score until the fourth quarter and managed only two drives longer than 50 yards. Duke still has its share of question marks to answer on the defensive side when it takes on better offenses. However, Thursday night’s showing was a good sign for the Blue Devils.

 

Iowa

We don’t want to overreact to Week 1 with any of the teams on this list, but Iowa has a good shot to be 4-0 headed into its Oct. 3 game against Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes easily dispatched Illinois State – last year’s FCS title runner-up and an upset pick by some in Week 1 – 31-14 on Saturday. C.J. Beathard was picked over Jake Rudock at quarterback to generate more big plays for an offense that ranked seventh in the conference in scoring last season. So far, so good. Beathard led Iowa’s offense to an average of 6.2 yards per play and passed for 221 yards on 15 completions. The Hawkeyes held the Redbirds to just 231 total yards, 14 first downs and generated 10 tackles for a loss.

 

NC State

The Wolfpack ended 2014 by winning four out of their last five games, and coach Dave Doeren’s team picked up where they left off in the opener. NC State handled Troy 49-21 on Saturday with an impressive showing by both sides of the ball. The Wolfpack defense gave up a few big plays, but held the Trojans to 13 first downs, 1 of 9 on third-down attempts and forced two turnovers. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett was almost perfect, completing 21 of 23 throws for 196 yards and two scores. Additionally, Matt Dayes, Reggie Gallaspy and Jaylen Samuels picked up the ground attack with Shadrach Thornton suspended. NC State generated 251 rushing yards and scored five scores on the ground. 

 

Ole Miss

As expected, Ole Miss had zero trouble in its opener, dominating UT Martin in a 76-3 rout on Saturday afternoon. The quarterback position was under the spotlight throughout the offseason, and all three quarterbacks vying for the job in fall camp performed well. Chad Kelly took the first snap over DeVante Kincade and Ryan Buchanan and finished with 211 passing yards and two scores on just nine completions. Kelly also added a touchdown run in the third quarter. The former Clemson and junior college quarterback has solidified his place at the top of the depth chart since spring ball, and the Rebels also showcased some punch on the ground in Week 1. Four players rushed for at least 50 yards, with the offense averaging 9.4 yards per rush against the Skyhawks. Yes, the quality of opponent has to be considered, but there were some positive signs for the Ole Miss offense in Week 1.

 

West Virginia

One of the weekend’s most overlooked performances has to be West Virginia’s 44-0 victory over Georgia Southern. While beating a team from the Sun Belt may not seem like a big deal, the Eagles are one of the preseason favorites in the league and nearly defeated NC State and Georgia Tech in 2014. The Mountaineers dominated from the start, never allowing Georgia Southern’s offense to get on track. West Virginia’s defense limited the Eagles to 74 yards in the first half, forced five turnovers and limited their rushing attack to just 3.4 yards per carry. In addition to a dominant showing on defense, the Mountaineers had zero trouble moving the ball on Georgia Southern. Dana Holgorsen’s group averaged 8.2 yards per play, which was the first time West Virginia eclipsed over eight yards a play since 2012. Quarterback Skyler Howard completed 16 of 25 passes for 359 yards, while receivers Shelton Gibson (3 for 130 yards, 1 TD) and Jovon Durante (3 for 121 yards, 1 TD) impressed as pass catchers.

 

Six Teams from the Group of 5 Ranks

 

Appalachian State

The Mountaineers picked up where they left off last season, and as expected, easily handled Howard (49-0). The Week 2 test against Clemson will be an interesting game to watch.

 

Hawaii

Is this Norm Chow’s best team since taking over as head coach? Possibly. USC transfer quarterback Max Wittek guided the Rainbow Warriors to a 28-20 upset over Colorado in Week 1.

 

New Mexico

Mississippi Valley State isn’t the best judge of where New Mexico is, but the Lobos have enough pieces to push for a bowl this season.

 

USF

We will have a better idea of where USF stands in Week 2 against Florida State, but the Bulls’ new offense averaged 7.7 yards per play, while the defense held Florida A&M to 182 total yards (2.5 ypp).

 

UNLV

One of the weekend’s most overlooked games might have been Northern Illinois’ 38-30 win over UNLV. Again, it’s the opener so we have to be cautious with observations, but the Rebels – projected to be one of the worst teams in the nation – nearly knocked off last year’s MAC champion. That’s a good start for new coach Tony Sanchez.

 

UTSA

Yes, the Roadrunners lost to Arizona, but for a team returning just three starters, UTSA gave the Wildcats all it could handle in a 42-32 defeat.

Teaser:
5 College Football Teams That Quietly Impressed in Week 1
Post date: Wednesday, September 9, 2015 - 09:30
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/predictions-every-college-football-game-week-2
Body:

Week 2 of the 2015 season kicks off on Thursday night with WKU hosting Louisiana Tech in a potential preview of the Conference USA Championship in December. The slate continues on Friday with Utah hosting Utah State and Miami traveling to FAU. On Saturday, Michigan State-Oregon, Oklahoma-Tennessee and LSU-Mississippi State round out the key games for Week 2.  

 

Conference Predictions for Week 2

 

 

College Football Week 2 Predictions
 Steven
Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

Mark

Ross

John

Gworek

La. Tech at

WKU

Miami at 

FAU

Utah State at

Utah

USF at 

Florida State

Army at

UConn

Houston at

Louisville

BGSU at

Maryland

Oregon State at

Michigan

Buffalo at 

Penn State

Indiana State at

Purdue

Jacksonville State at

Auburn

Western Illinois at

Illinois

Kansas State at 

UTSA

Miami, Ohio at

Wisconsin

Presbyterian at

Charlotte

Appalachian State at

Clemson

Wake Forest at 

Syracuse

Howard at 

Boston College

UMass at 

Colorado

Sacramento State at

Washington

Liberty at 

West Virginia

UTEP at 

Texas Tech

Monmouth at 

CMU

Tulane at

Ga. Tech

Hawaii at 

Ohio State

Wash. State at

Rutgers

Notre Dame at

Virginia

Furman at

Va. Tech

Fresno State at

Ole Miss

Step. F. Austin at

TCU

Georgia at 

Vanderbilt

Minnesota at

Colorado State

Austin Peay at

Southern Miss

Murray State at

NIU

MTSU at

Alabama

Toledo at

Arkansas

E. Illinois at

Northwestern

EMU at

Wyoming

Iowa at 

Iowa State

SDSU at

California

Pittsburgh at 

Akron

NC Central at

Duke

North Carolina A&T at

North Carolina

EKU at

NC State

Oklahoma at

Tennessee

WMU at

Georgia Southern

Delaware State at

Kent State

East Carolina at

Florida

Missouri at

Arkansas State

Memphis at

Kansas

Ball State at

Texas A&M

Arizona at

Nevada

Norfolk State at

Old Dominion

Nicholls State at

ULM

Prairie View A&M at

Texas State

C. Southern at

Troy

North Texas at

SMU

NW State at

ULL

Marshall at

Ohio

Kentucky at

South Carolina

Lamar at

Baylor

Central Arkansas at

Okla. State

FIU at

Indiana

Oregon at

Michigan State

S. Alabama at

Nebraska

Rice at 

Texas

Idaho at

USC

Temple at

Cincinnati

Tulsa at 

New Mexico

Georgia State at

NMSU

LSU at

Miss. State

Boise State at

BYU

SJSU at

Air Force

UCF at

Stanford

UCLA at 

UNLV

Cal Poly at

Arizona State

 

Teaser:
Predictions for Every College Football Game in Week 2
Post date: Tuesday, September 8, 2015 - 13:17
Path: /college-football/virginia-tech-rb-jc-coleman-wears-gold-watch-against-ohio-state
Body:

Virginia Tech running back J.C. Coleman made quite a fashion statement during Monday night’s game against Ohio State.

 

Normally, jerseys or helmets are the choice for making a fashion statement, but Coleman wore a gold watch – yes a gold watch – while playing the Buckeyes.

 

The image was captured on Twitter by a couple of users:

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, September 7, 2015 - 20:32
Path: /college-football/ohio-state-buckeyes-vs-virginia-tech-hokies-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

The first week of the 2015 season concludes with a marquee matchup on Monday night, as Ohio State begins its run at back-to-back national championships with a trip to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech. In addition to beginning the quest for another national title, the Buckeyes have revenge on their mind. The Hokies upset Ohio State 35-21 in Week 2 last season.

 

The Buckeyes won’t be at full strength for this matchup, as four players were suspended earlier this offseason for the opener. Standout end Joey Bosa and receivers Dontre Wilson, Jalin Marshall and Corey Smith were suspended for violation of team rules. Bosa is the biggest loss out of this group, but the three receivers will be missed. With Ohio State missing a few experienced options in the receiving corps, converted quarterback Braxton Miller will be a key piece of the passing attack on Monday night.

 

Related:

 

This is only the second meeting between Ohio State and Virginia Tech. The only previous matchup between these two teams? The oft-discussed 35-21 matchup in Columbus last season.

 

Ohio State at Virginia Tech

 

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Monday)

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Ohio State -14

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Cardale Jones or J.T. Barrett versus Virginia Tech’s Secondary

Who will take the first snap of the year for Ohio State? That’s been the big question since the end of the national championship win over Oregon, as the Buckeyes had three candidates in the mix before Braxton Miller decided to move to receiver. With Miller changing positions, the two-man battle between Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett continued into the fall. There’s been little out of fall practice to suggest which quarterback is in the lead. However, there’s a good chance both quarterbacks play on Monday night. And regardless of who starts or plays, this won’t be an easy matchup. Virginia Tech’s defense is arguably one of the best in the nation and held the Buckeyes to just 4.8 yards per play last season. With Marshall, Wilson and Smith sidelined, who will step up to win one-on-one battles in the passing attack? Keep an eye on the matchup between Virginia Tech cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson against Ohio State receivers Michael Thomas and Miller. 

 

2. Ezekiel Elliott versus Virginia Tech’s Front Seven

In last year’s matchup, Virginia Tech’s defense held Elliott to just 32 yards and one score on eight attempts. Additionally, Ohio State’s offensive line had trouble containing the Hokies’ defensive line in pass protection and allowed seven sacks. The Buckeyes’ offensive line significantly improved after the loss to Virginia Tech last season and is one of the best in the nation in 2015. Will this unit and Elliott have better success against the Hokies on Monday night? This should be the matchup to watch, as the Virginia Tech defensive front has two ends capable of wreaking havoc off the edge (Dadi Nicolas and Ken Ekanem) and talented tackles in Corey Marshall and Luther Maddy. Elliott finished 2014 by running for at least 200 yards in each of his last three games. Will he pickup where he left off? Or will Virginia Tech win the battle at the point of attack?

 

3. Virginia Tech’s Offense

There’s no question Virginia Tech has one of the best defenses in the nation. But contending for the ACC Championship resides on how much the offense will improve after a sluggish 2014 campaign. The Hokies averaged only 24.1 points per game and just 4.7 yards per play in ACC games. While last year wasn’t overly successful, eight starters are back, including quarterback Michael Brewer and three starters up front. Will this group take a significant step forward? Ohio State’s defense won’t have Bosa coming off the edge, but there’s no shortage of talent in the front seven. Linebackers Darron Lee and Joshua Perry are among the nation’s best, and the Tyquan Lewis and Sam Hubbard are slated to pickup the slack at defensive end for Bosa. If Virginia Tech is able to contain the Ohio State pass rush, will its young receivers – Cam Phillips, Isaiah Ford and tight end Bucky Hodges – win one-on-one matchups against a good secondary? And don’t forget about running back J.C. Coleman. The senior emerged as the clear No. 1 option in the ground attack at the end of last season, recording at least 95 yards in each of his final four games.

 

Final Analysis

 

This is one of the toughest games on Ohio State’s 2015 schedule. Blacksburg isn’t an easy to place to play, and the Hokies should have confidence after last season’s win in Columbus. Regardless of who starts at quarterback, the biggest concern for Ohio State has to be its ability to block Virginia Tech’s defensive line and the receiving corps against a good secondary. Expect the Hokies to win their share of battles up front and limit some of the big plays for the Buckeyes. Converted quarterback Braxton Miller is the x-factor here. However, keeping Ohio State’s offense under wraps for four quarters is too much to ask. Elliott eventually finds running room in the second half, and the Buckeyes leave Blacksburg with a hard-earned victory.

 

Prediction: Ohio State 30, Virginia Tech 20
Teaser:
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Virginia Tech Hokies Preview and Prediction 2015
Post date: Monday, September 7, 2015 - 09:00
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-1-2015
Body:

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 1

 

10.5: Baylor’s Average Yards Per Play Against SMU

As expected, Baylor’s offense didn’t miss a beat with Seth Russell under center. The Bears scored 56 points, accumulated 723 overall yards and set a school record by averaging 10.5 yards per play against the Mustangs. Russell’s final stat line was also impressive, averaging 25.1 yards per completion on 30 attempts and hitting on five passing plays of 40 yards or more.

 

Related:

 

9: Sacks Generated by Texas A&M Against Arizona State

Texas A&M’s offseason hire of John Chavis as its new defensive coordinator was arguably the best in the nation. And the Aggies wasted no time showcasing how much the addition of Chavis will mean to this group. Texas A&M wreaked havoc against the line of scrimmage all night against Arizona State, recording a whopping nine sacks and 14 tackles for a loss in the 38-17 victory over the Sun Devils. The Aggies struggled in recent years at giving up big plays, but Chavis’ group allowed only two of 20 yards or more to the Sun Devils. Texas A&M’s defensive effort was arguably one of the best performances of Week 1. 

 

8-8: Record by College Football’s New Coaches for 2015 in Week 1

College football’s new coaches had a mixed bag of success in Week 1. Interim coach Bill Cubit guided Illinois to an easy 52-3 win over Kent State, while Gary Andersen (Oregon State), Pat Narduzzi (Pittsburgh), Tom Herman (Houston), Lance Leipold (Buffalo), Mike Bobo (Colorado State) propelled their teams to wins over FCS opponents. Jim McElwain (Florida) and Philip Montgomery (Tulsa) were victorious against FBS foes, while Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), Chad Morris (SMU), Mike Riley (Nebraska), Paul Chryst (Wisconsin), Neal Brown (Troy), David Beaty (Kansas), Tony Sanchez (UNLV) and John Bonamego (Central Michigan) lost their debuts with their new teams. 

 

Related:

 

351: Passing Yards by UCLA Freshman QB Josh Rosen

As a true freshman making his first start for a Pac-12 title contender, all eyes were on Josh Rosen in Week 1. The freshman isn’t short on confidence or ability, and Rosen was sharp in UCLA’s 34-16 victory over Virginia. He completed 28 of 35 passes for 351 yards and three scores. In addition to becoming the first true freshman to start at quarterback for UCLA in a season opener, Rosen also set single-game records for a freshman in completions, attempts and passing yardage. 

 

10: Sacks Allowed by Penn State Against Temple

Penn State’s offensive line was considered the weak link for this team last season. With better depth and the addition of junior college recruit Paris Palmer at left tackle, improvement was expected in 2015. However, Saturday’s matchup against Temple showed the Nittany Lions still have a lot of work to do in the trenches. Quarterback Christian Hackenberg was sacked 10 times, and the Owls generated 11 tackles for a loss. Additionally, Penn State never managed more than 19 yards on each of its last 12 drives.

 

Related:

 

29: Nebraska’s Streak of Wins in Openers Ends at 29

Nebraska’s 29-game winning streak in season openers was the best mark in the nation, but that run ended in stunning fashion on Saturday afternoon. BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum connected with Mitch Mathews on a 42-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass on the game’s final play to knock off the Cornhuskers 33-28. Florida now owns the nation’s longest winning streak in openers with a streak of 26 consecutive victories after defeating New Mexico State on Saturday night. 

 

7.8: Stanford QB Kevin Hogan’s Average Yards Per Completion

After a solid three-game finish to 2014, hopes were high for Stanford’s offense to pickup where it left off. However, the Cardinal managed only 240 total yards against Northwestern, averaging a paltry 3.9 yards per play. While blame has to be shared at each level on the offense, more big plays are needed out of the passing attack. Hogan connected on 20 of 35 throws for 155 yards and one interception, averaging just 7.8 yards per completion. Additionally, the longest passing play from Stanford was just 16 yards in Saturday’s loss. 

 

Related:

 

20: Points Scored by Texas in Last Three Games Under Charlie Strong

Texas finished 2014 ranked ninth in the Big 12 in scoring offense by averaging a paltry 21.4 points a game. While major improvement wasn’t expected this year, the Longhorns were expected to take a step forward on offense. However, if Saturday night’s game against Notre Dame is any indication, Texas’ offense is an even bigger concern than it was at the end of 2014. The Longhorns managed only three points against the Fighting Irish and have just 20 over their last three games. Additionally, Texas averaged 3.1 yards per play against Notre Dame and generated only two plays of 20 yards or more. Needless to say, coach Charlie Strong and coordinator Shawn Watson have a lot of work to do to get this unit on track.

 

233: Maryland CB William Likely’s Punt Return Yards Against Richmond

Likely set a Big Ten single-game record with 233 punt return yards in Maryland’s 50-21 victory over Richmond. The junior scored on a 67-yard return in the fourth quarter and finished Saturday’s action with a 29.1 average on punt returns. Likely is one of the Big Ten’s top defensive backs, but he’s also solidifying his place among the nation’s best on returns.

 

12-1: The SEC’s Record in Week 1

After a sluggish bowl season, the SEC had its share of doubters and took plenty of criticism in the preseason. While it’s only Week 1 and there’s plenty to be decided in the next few months, the SEC turned in a strong opening performance. Vanderbilt was the only SEC team to lose its opener, while LSU’s matchup against McNeese State was canceled due to weather. Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina, and Texas A&M headlined the weekend action from this league, scoring key non-conference victories at neutral sites. 

Teaser:
10 Amazing College Football Stats from Week 1 2015
Post date: Sunday, September 6, 2015 - 11:37
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oregon Ducks, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/eastern-washington-linebacker-takes-cheap-shot-oregon-qb-vernon-adams
Body:

Vernon Adams made offseason headlines after deciding to transfer from Eastern Washington to Oregon. While a move from the FCS to FBS ranks is rare, Adams certainly has the talent to be an All-Pac-12 quarterback this season.

 

But there was a little awkwardness to the season opener, as Adams took on his former team. And there was a scary moment for the senior quarterback, as Adams was leveled on a late hit in the second half.

 

While it’s tough to judge intent, this certainly looks like a cheap shot against Adams by a former teammate.

Teaser:
Eastern Washington Linebacker Takes a Cheap Shot at Oregon QB Vernon Adams
Post date: Saturday, September 5, 2015 - 23:28
Path: /college-football/byu-defeats-nebraska-33-28-last-second-hail-mary-touchdown-pass
Body:

Nebraska’s 29-game winning streak in season openers ended in surprising fashion on Saturday. With just a second left (and the final play of the game), BYU backup quarterback Tanner Mangum connected with receiver Mitch Mathews on a Hail Mary touchdown pass to score a 33-28 upset in Lincoln.

 

Check out BYU’s touchdown pass on the final play to upset the Cornhuskers:

Teaser:
BYU Defeats Nebraska 33-28 on Last-Second Hail Mary Touchdown Pass
Post date: Saturday, September 5, 2015 - 19:28
Path: /college-football/bowling-green-defensive-lineman-mike-minns-loses-shoe-fakes-injury-get-timeout
Body:

Bowling Green defensive lineman Mike Minns had a little problem during Saturday’s game against Tennessee. With the Volunteers up 14-3 in the first quarter and driving for another score, Minns lost his shoe on first down and had to fake an injury to get a timeout.

 

Needless to say, this has to be one of the more humorous moments of Week 1, as Minns had to use a little acting to get the timeout. And as the video shows, Tennessee coach Butch Jones didn’t appear to be too happy.

Teaser:
Bowling Green Player Loses Shoe, Fakes Injury to Get Timeout
Post date: Saturday, September 5, 2015 - 16:55
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Oregon Ducks, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/oregon-unveils-new-yellow-helmets-week-1-matchup-against-eastern-washington
Body:

New helmets and uniforms are nothing new for Oregon, but the Ducks continue to come up with awesome color and design combinations.

 

For Saturday night’s matchup against Eastern Washington, Oregon has unveiled a new yellow helmet, which features gray wings on the side. The helmet also features a gray facemask.  

 

Here is the full image of Oregon’s helmets and uniforms for Saturday night: 

 

 

 

Teaser:
Oregon Unveils New Yellow Helmets for Week 1 Matchup Against Eastern Washington
Post date: Saturday, September 5, 2015 - 15:10
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Virginia Cavaliers, News
Path: /college-football/virginia-unveils-new-white-helmets-week-1-matchup-against-ucla
Body:

Virginia opens the 2015 season on the West Coast, taking on UCLA on Saturday afternoon. And judging by the photos from pregame warmups, the Cavaliers have a new helmet for their Week 1 matchup.

 

This photo from from the Rose Bowl shows the new helmets:

 

Teaser:
Virginia Unveils New White Helmets for Week 1 Matchup Against UCLA
Post date: Saturday, September 5, 2015 - 14:52
Path: /college-football/marshall-thundering-herd-vs-purdue-boilermakers-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

College football’s opening weekend continues on Sunday with Marshall looking to score a non-conference victory and respect for Conference USA in a matchup against Purdue. The Boilermakers rank near the bottom of most preseason power polls in the Big Ten, but coach Darrell Hazell heads into his third season in West Lafayette with optimism thanks to 16 returning starters.  

 

Marshall was one of the top Group of 5 programs last season but a late-season loss to WKU ended any hopes of playing in a New Year’s Six bowl. The Thundering Herd is among the favorites to win Conference USA once again this season, but prolific four-year starter Rakeem Cato must be replaced at quarterback. While Cato will be missed, Marshall is still a touchdown favorite for Sunday’s contest.

 

On the other sideline, it’s critical for Purdue to take a step forward in 2015. Hazell’s team increased its win total from one in 2013 to three last season. The Boilermakers still have several question marks to answer, but there’s a young core to build around and hope to push for five or six wins this season.

 

Purdue and Marshall have met only one previous time. The Boilermakers defeated the Thundering Herd 51-41 in 2012.

 

Purdue at Marshall

 

Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET (Sunday)

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

Spread: Marshall -7

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. New Marshall QB Michael Birdsong

Rakeem Cato leaves big shoes to fill in Huntington. In four years as the starter for the Thundering Herd, Cato threw for 14,079 yards and 131 scores. James Madison transfer Michael Birdsong won the job in the spring, and the junior should keep the offense on track. As a freshman with James Madison in 2013, Birdsong threw for 2,728 yards and 22 scores. With a solid offensive line, one of the top Group of 5 running backs in Devon Johnson leading the way on the ground, and a talented receiving corps at his disposal, Birdsong won’t have to carry the offense on his own. However, this won’t be easy matchup. The Boilermakers return two starters in the secondary, including All-Big Ten candidate Frankie Williams. Birdsong’s first start with the Thundering Herd should be a good barometer test and provide the coaching staff with an idea of where this offense is after losing Cato.

 

2. Offensive Improvement at Purdue?

Purdue’s offense has struggled to get on track under Hazell, ranking near the bottom of the league in scoring offense in back-to-back seasons. With nine starters back, how much improvement will this unit show in 2015? Austin Appleby has settled into the starting role and is supported by a veteran offensive line and promising young running backs in Markell Jones and D.J. Knox. Marshall’s defense was vulnerable against the run last season (53rd nationally) and the pass rush is a concern. Will all of the experienced pieces start to come together for Purdue?

 

3. Stopping Marshall RB Devon Johnson

Johnson’s path to a place among the nation’s best running backs has been an interesting one. After two years as a tight end, Johnson was converted to running back and finished 2014 with 1,767 yards and 17 scores. The most impressive part of Johnson’s 2014 campaign has to be his 8.6 yards per carry, which was the best in the nation among running backs with at least 200 carries. Purdue struggled to stop the run last season, allowing 192.1 yards per game. Additionally, starting end Gelen Robinson is suspended. With Marshall breaking in a new quarterback, Johnson should be slated for a heavy workload to take the pressure off of the new signal-caller. Can Purdue keep Johnson in check?

 

Final Analysis

 

There’s no question Cato will be missed, and the passing attack will be a work in progress until Birdsong gets a few starts under his belt. However, the Thundering Herd offense can lean on Johnson, and the defense should make just enough plays to pull out a close win. Purdue is improving, and an upset here wouldn’t be a surprise. But the Boilermakers also have question marks on both sides of the ball as well, and the homefield advantage swings this one slightly in favor of Marshall.

 

Prediction: Marshall 31, Purdue 27
Teaser:
Marshall Thundering Herd vs. Purdue Boilermakers Preview and Prediction 2015
Post date: Saturday, September 5, 2015 - 10:00
Path: /college-football/texas-am-aggies-vs-arizona-state-sun-devils-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

Offensive fireworks are expected on Saturday night in Houston, as Texas A&M and Arizona State clash in one of Week 1’s must-see matchups. The Aggies and Sun Devils were mentioned throughout the offseason as dark horse candidates to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff. A win on Saturday night would provide an early boost for one team’s early playoff resume, but both programs have question marks and personnel concerns that won’t be answered or solidified until a few games into this season.

 

Arizona State is a program on the rise behind coach Todd Graham. The Sun Devils won the Pac-12 South title in 2013 and have claimed back-to-back 10-win seasons. And the arrow on this program continues to point up, as Arizona State is picked by many to win the Pac-12 South. Similar things can be said about Texas A&M. The Aggies have won 28 games over the last three years and made a splash in the offseason by hiring John Chavis away from LSU to coordinate the defense. With a favorable schedule and a promising core of young talent, Texas A&M could be poised to make a move in the SEC West.

 

This is the first meeting between Texas A&M and Arizona State. Additionally, this is the only matchup between a SEC and Pac-12 team this season.

 

Texas A&M vs. Arizona State (Houston)

 

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Texas A&M -3.5

 

1. Texas A&M’s Defense

Coach Kevin Sumlin’s hire of John Chavis to coordinate the Texas A&M defense was one of the best assistant moves of the offseason. The Aggies have lagged on defense since joining the SEC, but Chavis is one of the best in the nation and should turn this unit around in the next few years. Improvement should be noticeable in 2015, especially if Chavis finds a way to eliminate some of the big plays allowed in the secondary. In 13 games last season, the Aggies surrendered 14 plays of 40 yards or more. Changes were made to improve the pass defense, as converted running back Brandon Williams is penciled in at one cornerback spot, and junior college transfer Justin Evans is expected to start at strong safety. While the coverage has to get better, the success of this unit still rests in the front seven. Ends Daeshon Hall, Myles Garrett and Qualen Cunningham should generate a pass rush against Arizona State’s offensive line, which is breaking in two new starters at the tackle positions. But how will the linebackers perform if A.J. Hilliard and Otaro Alaka sit out due to injury? Keep an eye on the health of the linebackers, as well as the overall progression of this group on Saturday night.

 

2. Arizona State’s Dynamic Offense

Arizona State’s offense has a couple of new faces stepping into key roles, but don’t expect this unit to slow in terms of production. New quarterback Mike Bercovici shined in limited action for the Sun Devils after Taylor Kelly missed a couple of games due to injury last season. The receiving corps is revamped, but converted running back D.J. Foster and UCLA transfer Devin Lucien should provide Bercovici with plenty of options. With Foster moving to receiver, the focus at running back shifts to Demario Richard and Kalen Ballage – two players on the verge of a breakout year. The skill talent and quarterback position should be a strength for Graham’s offense, but there’s concern up front with new starters and left and right tackle. Bercovici isn’t as mobile as Kelly was, which means protection is critical to attacking the Texas A&M secondary. There’s a lot of promise for Arizona State’s offense, and Saturday night’s matchup is the first look at Bercovici and Foster in their new roles.

 

3. Kyle Allen Versus Arizona State’s Aggressive Defense

It’s no secret Graham and coordinator Keith Patterson will be aggressive with their defensive approach. Last season, Arizona State forced 27 turnovers, generated 39 sacks and 98 tackles for a loss. However, an aggressive approach also lends itself to big plays. The Sun Devils ranked 12th in the Pac-12 by allowing 40 plays of 30 yards or more last season. Texas A&M quarterback Kyle Allen is one of the SEC’s rising stars, and the sophomore showed progress over the final few games of 2014. The former five-star recruit held off touted freshman Kyler Murray in the fall and could have an All-SEC season at the controls of one of the league’s top offenses. Can Allen find time to throw against the Sun Devils’ pass rush? Will the Aggies mix in the run more this year? If Allen has time to throw, his receiving corps is among the best in the nation and should find a way to hit on big plays against an Arizona State secondary that allowed 27 plays of 30 yards or more in 2014.

 

Final Analysis

 

This one should be high in entertainment value and points. Both offenses are capable of generating big plays, and the defenses should make their share of stops or turnovers. Don’t be surprised if the last team with the ball wins on Saturday night. Getting Chavis to call the defensive signals was a huge boost for Texas A&M. Combine Chavis’ arrival with the growth of Allen this offseason, and the Aggies should have just enough to knock off the Sun Devils in Week 1.

 

Prediction: Texas A&M 34, Arizona State 31
Teaser:
Texas A&M Aggies vs. Arizona State Sun Devils Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, September 4, 2015 - 13:30
Path: /college-football/auburn-tigers-vs-louisville-cardinals-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

The Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic in Atlanta is once again host to one of the opening weekend’s best matchups, as Louisville and Auburn meet in a huge non-conference game. This ACC-SEC matchup is the second meeting between these two leagues in Week 1, with South Carolina edging North Carolina 17-13 on Thursday night.

 

The Cardinals finished 9-4 in coach Bobby Petrino’s return to Louisville and open 2015 looking to push Florida State and Clemson for the ACC Atlantic title. On the other sideline, Auburn hopes to rebound into playoff contention after an 8-5 mark last season. Fixing the defense was a priority for coach Gus Malzahn, and new coordinator Will Muschamp should help this unit take a significant step forward in 2015.

 

Related:

 

Louisville and Auburn have played only one previous time. The Cardinals and Tigers met in 1974 in Birmingham, with Auburn winning 16-3 at Legion Field.

 

Louisville vs. Auburn (Atlanta)

 

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: CBS

Spread: Auburn -10.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Louisville’s Quarterback Battle

Louisville coach Bobby Petrino isn’t tipping his hand at quarterback, as four players – Reggie Bonnafon, Kyle Bolin, Will Gardner and Lamar Jackson – were separated by an or on the first depth chart. While Petrino isn’t giving Auburn any clues to his starter, all signs point to Bonnafon or Gardner taking the first snap. Bonnafon showed promise as a true freshman in 2014, completing 61 of 120 passes for 864 yards and five scores. He also added 164 yards and five touchdowns on the ground. Bonnafon’s mobility should be a valuable asset for Louisville, as its offensive line is the biggest question mark, and the sophomore is facing an improved Auburn pass rush with the return of end Carl Lawson from a torn ACL. Assuming Bonnafon gets help from his offensive line, big plays could be there against the Tigers’ secondary. In 13 games last season, Auburn surrendered nine plays of 40 yards or more. Can the Cardinals find a new big-play threat to replace DeVante Parker? That’s just another subplot to the intrigue surrounding Louisville’s offense on Saturday. The guess here is Bonnafon takes the first snap, but will he play the entire game if the offense sputters?

 

2. Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson

Jeremy Johnson has just two career starts under his belt, but the hype machine for the junior wasn’t tempered in the offseason. Johnson has been mentioned as a Heisman candidate, and the limited sample size suggests why the junior could lead Auburn to a playoff spot. In seven appearances last season, Johnson threw for 436 yards and three scores. The Montgomery native is a physically impressive quarterback at 6-foot-5 and 240 pounds with a huge arm. Coach Gus Malzahn’s offense is also one of the nation’s most explosive attacks, which should give Johnson plenty of opportunities to shine this year. Of course, it doesn’t hurt his cause All-America candidate Duke Williams is back at receiver. Will Johnson live up to the hype this season? Saturday’s matchup against a good Louisville defense is a huge barometer test.

 

3. Louisville’s Defense

The matchup between Johnson and Louisville’s secondary is among Week 1’s most intriguing battles. The Cardinals have four new starters in the defensive backfield, including Georgia transfers Josh Harvey-Clemons and Shaq Wiggins. Will this secondary pickup where last year’s group ended? Having a stout front seven should take some of the pressure off of Louisville’s pass defense. The Cardinals own one of the top defensive lines in the ACC, and the linebacking corps is arguably the league’s best with Keith Kelsey and James Burgess leading the way. Can this unit carry the team in this game? With Louisville’s offense breaking in new starters up front and at receiver, the defense has to lead the way and keep Petrino’s team in this game. While Johnson and the passing attack will receive most of the pregame attention, Auburn’s offensive line and rushing attack is also among the SEC’s best. If the Cardinals win the battle up front and force Johnson into obvious passing situations, the pass rush will have opportunities to disrupt the Tigers’ attack. Junior college recruit (and former TCU) defender Devonte Fields is a name to watch in pass-rush situations.

 

Final Analysis

 

Louisville’s defense versus Auburn’s offense is the matchup to watch on Saturday afternoon. The Cardinals have more than enough on defense to hang around, but can they force a turnover or two to give their building offense a chance? Regardless of whether Bonnafon or Gardner starts, Louisville has to take pressure off its quarterbacks with a successful ground attack. Will the offensive line hold up against Auburn’s defensive front? That’s a key question to be answered on Saturday. Johnson and the Tigers’ offense is held in check in the first half against the Cardinals’ salty defense, but Auburn has too much firepower and wins in the fourth quarter.

 

Prediction: Auburn 31, Louisville 20
Teaser:
Auburn Tigers vs. Louisville Cardinals Preview and Prediction 2015
Post date: Friday, September 4, 2015 - 12:30
Path: /college-football/boise-state-broncos-vs-washington-huskies-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

Washington coach Chris Petersen returns to familiar surroundings on Friday night, as the Huskies take on Boise State in one of the top matchups from Week 1. Petersen guided the Broncos to 92 wins from 2006-13 and left to take over for Steve Sarkisian prior to the 2014 season. Petersen’s debut wasn’t quite the year most expected (8-6), and the Huskies are in rebuild mode with only eight returning starters this fall.

 

On the other sideline, Bryan Harsin was tapped to replace Petersen, and the former Boise State quarterback and assistant is off to a great start after guiding the program to a 12-2 record and a Fiesta Bowl win last season. Despite breaking in a new quarterback and running back to replace Jay Ajayi, the Broncos are projected by most to be the top Group of 5 team in 2015.

 

Washington and Boise State have played three times, with the Huskies holding a 2-1 edge. The last meeting between these two programs came in 2012, and this will be the Huskies’ first trip to the blue turf for a regular season matchup.

 

Washington at Boise State

 

Kickoff: 10:15 p.m. ET (Friday)

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Boise State -13

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Who Starts for Washington at Quarterback?

Washington ended fall camp with three players locked into a tight battle for the starting job. True freshman Jake Browning, redshirt freshman K.J. Carta-Samuels and junior Jeff Lindquist battled all offseason for the No. 1 spot, and a clear frontrunner did not emerge prior to game week. Browning has the most talent, but Carta-Samuels and Lindquist bring more mobility to the offense, which could be a valuable asset behind a revamped offensive line. Regardless of which quarterback takes the first snap, they will be going against a tough Boise State defense and a raucous home crowd in Albertsons Stadium. This is not the ideal scenario for breaking in a new quarterback.

 

2. Ryan Finley’s First Start at QB/New RB for Boise State

Boise State usually has no trouble reloading at quarterback. Will that be the case once again in 2015? With Grant Hedrick departing, Finley is set to make his first start for the Broncos on Friday night. In limited action last season, Finley completed 12 of 27 passes for 161 yards and two scores. The Arizona native is surrounded by a strong supporting cast up front and has proven weapons in Thomas Sperbeck and Shane Williams-Rhodes to target in the passing attack. Similar to the quarterback spot, finding the next standout at running back usually doesn’t present many headaches for Boise State. While Jay Ajayi’s production (1,823 yards) will be missed, there are capable candidates in the mix. Jeremy McNichols is the frontrunner for carries, followed by Stanford transfer Kelsey Young and Devan Demas. Who will emerge as the clear No. 1? Or will this be a committee approach?

 

3. Washington’s Revamped Defense

An overlooked aspect of Washington’s offseason has to be the new faces stepping in on defense after the departures of standouts Shaq Thompson (LB), Danny Shelton (NT), Hau’oli Kikaha (DE/LB) and Andrew Hudson (end). That’s a lot of key pieces to replace in one offseason from a group that allowed 24.8 points per game in 2014. This unit returns four starters for 2015, including standout safety Budda Baker. But the front seven must be revamped, and the Huskies lost virtually their entire pass rush with the departures of Kikaha, Hudson and Shelton. While this unit must be revamped, there is talent in the mix – it’s just inexperienced. Will this unit quickly find the right mix? Or will the Huskies’ defense struggle on the road at Boise State?

 

Final Analysis

 

Chris Petersen and his return to Boise State will get most of the attention in this game. While Petersen seems to be the right coach for Washington, it’s going to take some time to rebuild the depth chart after heavy offseason departures. And it certainly doesn’t help the Huskies’ upset bid to enter this matchup with uncertainty at quarterback. Washington has too many new faces to win this one, but this team will get better as the year progresses. Finley and McNichols turn in a solid performance in their debut, and the Broncos begin their run to another New Year’s Six bowl game with 14-point victory.

 

Prediction: Boise State 34, Washington 20
Teaser:
Boise State Broncos vs. Washington Huskies Preview and Prediction
Post date: Friday, September 4, 2015 - 10:15
Path: /college-football/cincinnati-unveils-alternate-uniforms-celebrate-100th-year-nippert-stadium
Body:

Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium is one of college football’s oldest playing venues, and after a year away due to renovations, the Bearcats are set to return to campus in 2015. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Nippert Stadium, Cincinnati and Under Armour unveiled a new alternate uniform on Thursday.

 

The red jerseys aren't drastically different, but the helmets are unique. 

 

Needless to say, these are pretty interesting:

Teaser:
Cincinnati Unveils Alternate Uniforms to Celebrate 100th Year of Nippert Stadium
Post date: Thursday, September 3, 2015 - 18:25
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/predictions-college-football-every-game-week-1
Body:

The 2015 season officially begins on Thursday, Sept. 3 and it's time to put aside the preseason predictions and pick the upcoming slate of action. The Week 1 schedule starts with a neutral site affair between North Carolina and South Carolina in Charlotte, and the opening night action concludes in Hawaii as the Rainbow Warriors host Colorado.

 

Several marquee games dot the schedule for Week 1, including Texas A&M-Arizona State, Louisville-Auburn, Boise State-Washington and Virginia Tech-Ohio State on Monday night.

 

Each week, Athlon Sports’ editors will pick every game in the FBS ranks. Follow us on Twitter: ()

 

Conference Predictions for Week 1

 

 

College Football Week 1 Predictions

 

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

Mark

Ross

John

Gworek

UNC vs. 

S. Carolina

FIU at 

UCF

Elon at 

Wake Forest

VMI at 

Ball State

Okla. State at

CMU

Stony Brook at

Toledo

Alcorn State at

Georgia Tech

Villanova at 

UConn

WKU at 

Vanderbilt

Michigan at 

Utah

TCU at 

Minnesota

Ohio at 

Idaho

Southern Utah at

Utah State

Duke at 

Tulane

UTSA at 

Arizona

N. Hampshire at

SJSU

UC Davis at

Nevada

Ab. Christian at

Fresno State

Colorado at 

Hawaii

Charlotte at

Georgia State

Michigan State at

W. Michigan

Fordham at 

Army

Baylor at 

SMU

Rhode Island at

Syracuse

Weber State at

Oregon State

Kent State at 

Illinois

Washington at

Boise State

ULM at

Georgia

Richmond at

Maryland

Norfolk State at

Rutgers

Illinois State at

Iowa

South Dakota State at

Kansas

Stanford at 

Northwestern

UT Martin at 

Ole Miss

Colgate at 

Navy

Wofford at

Clemson

Maine at

Boston College

Youngstown State at

PIttsburgh

Portland State at

Wash. State

Old Dominion at

E. Michigan

Louisville at

Auburn

Penn State at

Temple

UTEP at

Arkansas

BYU at 

Nebraska

SHSU at

Texas Tech

Virginia at 

UCLA

Wagner at

Rice

Howard at

App. State

Presbyterian at

Miami, Ohio

FAU at

Tulsa

Albany at 

Buffalo

Morgan State at

Air Force

Southern Illinois at

Indiana

SE Missouri State at

Missouri

BGSU vs. 

Tennessee

Savannah State at

Colorado State

North Dakota at

Wyoming

Grambling State at

California

Bethune-Cookman at

Miami

Troy at 

NC State

Gardner Webb at

South Alabama

Towson at 

East Carolina

UL Lafayette at 

Kentucky

Arizona State vs.

Texas A&M

Florida A&M at

South Florida

Southern at 

Louisiana Tech

Jackson State at 

MTSU

Akron at

Oklahoma

Alabama A&M at

Cincinnati

Missouri State at

Memphis

South Dakota at

Kansas State

NMSU at

Florida

Texas at

Notre Dame

Georgia Southern at

West Virginia

McNeese State at

LSU

UNLV at

N. Illinois

Texas State at

Florida State

Wisconsin vs.

Alabama

Northern Iowa at 

Iowa State

E. Washington at 

Oregon

Tennessee Tech at

Houston

Miss. Valley State at

New Mexico

San Diego at 

SDSU

Miss. State at

Southern Miss

Arkansas State at

USC

Purdue at

Marshall

Ohio State at

Virginia Tech

 

 

Teaser:
Predictions for Every College Football Game in Week 1
Post date: Thursday, September 3, 2015 - 12:30
Path: /college-football/pac-12-2015-week-1-predictions
Body:

The has its share of one-sided matchups in Week 1, but the conference also boasts intriguing games with Boise State-Washington, Oregon-Eastern Washington, Utah-Michigan and Texas A&M-Arizona State. Stanford is a dark horse pick to get to the College Football Playoff, but the Cardinal opens 2015 with a tricky road test at Northwestern.

 

Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams faces his former team (Eastern Washington) in his first start with the Ducks, which also happens to be the first game in the post-Marcus Mariota era. With a game against Michigan State up next, Adams has a chance to get acclimated to his new teammates and offense in live action.

 

On Thursday, the Pac-12 takes center stage with Michigan traveling to Utah, and Colorado visits Hawaii to close out the first night of action.

 

Athlon Sports offers its Pac-12 Week 1 predictions from three editors: Steven Lassan (), David Fox () and Mitch Light ().

 

Pac-12 Week 1 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Arizona State vs. Texas A&M

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Mike Bercovici could have an easy time against the Texas A&M secondary … provided his line can keep Myles Garrett from getting up field. 

Arizona State 35–28

 

Steven Lassan:

Easily one of the weekend’s most intriguing games and should be no shortage of fireworks between these two offenses. An underrated matchup to watch is the Arizona State offensive line against Texas A&M’s defense – under new coordinator John Chavis – with Myles Garrett coming off the edge. The Sun Devils will land their share of big plays, but the Aggies score a key non-conference win.

Texas A&M 34-31

 

Mitch Light:

John Chavis takes over an A&M defense that allowed a staggering 509.5 points per game against SEC opponents last season. The Aggies will be tested by strong-armed Arizona State quarterback Mike Bercovici. 

Arizona State 34-31

 

2. Michigan at Utah

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

 

David Fox:

I’m not sure if Utah can contend in the Pac-12 South, but Devontae Booker, that defense and the home field advantage will help the Utes steal a game or two.

Utah 24–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Jim Harbaugh’s debut. Not much else needs to be said for the must-see value of this one. Wouldn’t expect a ton of points on Thursday night, as both teams are solid on defense and enter the season with question marks on offense. Utah’s defense is the difference in this matchup.

Utah 23-20

 

Mitch Light:

Michigan outgained the Utes 308-to-286 and held Devontae Booker to 34 yards on 11 carries in a 26–10 loss at home last season. The Wolverines will need to duplicate that defensive effort. 

Michigan 24-20

 

3. Washington at Boise State

Kickoff: 10:15 p.m. ET (Friday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Washington’s defense is rebuilding. So is Boise State’s backfield. I’ll throw my lot in with the Broncos. 

Boise State 35–28

 

Steven Lassan:

Chris Petersen returns to Boise with a young Washington team. Who will start at quarterback for the Huskies? Interested to see if Jake Browning gets the nod over K.J. Carta-Samuels and Jeff Lindquist. The Broncos are the top Group of 5 team this year, but they are breaking in a new quarterback and starting running back. However, Boise State’s defense is more than enough to win this Friday night matchup.

Boise State 34-20

 

Mitch Light:

Chris Petersen will get it done at Washington, but the program might take a small step back in Year 2. Boise State continues to rule the Mountain West and should open the season with a nice win against the Pac-12. 

Boise State 31-23

 

4. Stanford at Northwestern

Kickoff: Noon ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Stanford will have a lopsided advantage in the trenches and has the more experienced quarterback. The Wildcats could go 0-for-the-Bay Area the last two openers. 

Stanford 28–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Intriguing matchup between two academic powers. Lots of intrigue on both sides, as Northwestern breaks in a talented new quarterback (Clayton Thorson), and Stanford looks to build off last year’s late momentum. The 12-point spread seems too high.

Stanford 27-20

 

Mitch Light:

Stanford has emerged as a dark horse College Football Playoff contender by some college football observers — including one of my colleagues at Athlon Sports. I disagree. 

Northwestern 24-20

 

5. Eastern Washington at Oregon

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: (Pac-12 Networks)

 

David Fox:

How often does a transfer start his first game with a new team against his old team? Vernon Adams will be under pressure in this one. 

Oregon 49–21

 

Steven Lassan:

There’s no shortage of storylines here, as new Oregon starter (and Marcus Mariota’s replacement) Vernon Adams makes his first start against his former team. With a trip to East Lansing against Michigan State next week, this is a critical game for Adams and the Ducks’ offense to get on track. Oregon keeps rolling with Adams under center.

Oregon 48-20

 

Mitch Light:

The real test for Vernon Adams and the Ducks will come in Week 2 when they visit Michigan State, but this game is loaded with intrigue. An upset is highly unlikely, but don’t be surprised if this is a bit closer than expected. 

Oregon 44-27

 

6. Virginia at UCLA

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: FOX

 

David Fox:

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen’s first start comes against a team rebuilding the pass rush. 

UCLA 35–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Last year’s matchup was closer than most anticipated (28-20). Virginia’s defense can keep this one close for a while, but will the offense provide enough of a spark behind new starter Matt Johns to pull off the upset? All eyes will be on true freshman quarterback Josh Rosen for UCLA.

UCLA 31-17

 

Mitch Light:

UCLA’s 28–20 win in Charlottesville last season was far more difficult than expected. The Bruins, who will be starting true freshman Josh Rosen at quarterback, won’t have to work quite as hard this time around. 

UCLA 34-20

 

7. Colorado at Hawaii

Kickoff: 1 a.m. ET (Thursday night/Friday morning)

TV Channel: CBS Sports Network

 

David Fox:

This is actually an interesting late-night game. Well-traveled USC transfer Max Wittek might give the Warriors a chance, and those late games at Hawaii are always tricky.

Colorado 28–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Colorado is trending in the right direction, and a win over Hawaii would be a good way to bolster the bowl hopes in 2015. Intriguing quarterback battle between Sefo Liufau (Colorado) and USC transfer Max Wittek (Hawaii). Be sure to set the DVR for this one.

Colorado 38-24

 

Mitch Light:

Mike McIntyre appears to have things moving in the right direction at Colorado, but wins might be tough to come by in the difficult Pac-12 South. This is a an opportunity for the Buffs to steal a road win.

Colorado 38-27 

 

8. Arkansas State at USC

Kickoff: 11 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

 

David Fox:

Offseason drama gives way to a talented team that should be more than a match for Arkansas State. 

USC 42–10

 

Steven Lassan:

Red Wolves have some firepower on offense, but USC simply has too much on both sides of the ball. Keep an eye on the defensive line as it looks to find Leonard Williams' replacement.

USC 45-17

 

Mitch Light:

USC boasts as much top-end talent as any team in the college football. We’ll find out if the Trojans have the depth and coaching to contend for a national championship. 

USC 38-10

 

9. UTSA at Arizona

Kickoff: 10 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

 

David Fox: 

UTSA has zero returning starters on offense. That seems tough to do.

Arizona 42–10

 

Steven Lassan:

Last year’s meeting in San Antonio went down to the wire (26-23). Don’t expect a repeat this season. UTSA returns only three starters, while Arizona is loaded with firepower on offense and one of the nation’s top defenders in linebacker Scooby Wright.

Arizona 45-13

 

Mitch Light:

The veteran Roadrunners put a scare into Arizona last year in Week 2, falling 26–23 at the Alamodome. Almost all of the key personnel are gone for UTSA. This will not be close. 

Arizona 41-10

 

10. Portland State at Washington State

Kickoff: 2 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

 

David Fox:

Washington State will start better than it did last year when the Cougars lost to Rutgers and Nevada. Wazzu’s first win in 2014 was, incidentally, over Portland State 59–21. 

Washington State 49–20

 

Steven Lassan:

The Cougars knocked off Portland State 59-21 last season. It won’t be close this time around either. Good opportunity for quarterback Luke Falk to build confidence before a road trip to Rutgers next week.

Washington State 51-17

 

Mitch Light:

Washington State led the nation in passing by more 100 yards per game — a staggering difference between the No. 1 (477.7 ypg) and No. 2 (374.3 ypg) teams in the nation. All the Cougars need is a running game and a defense.  

Washington State 41-17

 

11. Grambling State at California

Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

 

David Fox:

A nice stat-padding game for Jared Goff. 

Cal 48–14

 

Steven Lassan:

California’s high-powered offense should have no trouble putting points on the board in this one.

California 52-13

 

Mitch Light:

Expectations are high at California in Year 3 of the Sonny Dykes era. If the Bears can fortify what was an alarmingly bad passing defense, a bowl game is well within reach.

California 63-10

 

12. Weber State at Oregon State

 Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Friday)

TV Channel: Pac-12 Networks

 

David Fox:

Gary Andersen won’t have a ton of wins to savor in Year One. This could be one of them. 

Oregon State 35–14

 

Steven Lassan:

Gary Andersen’s tenure in Corvallis should get off to a good start. The quarterback battle is worth watching, as the Beavers expect to play at least two freshmen (Seth Collins and Marcus McMaryion).

Oregon State 40-10

 

Mitch Light:

Gary Andersen is a proven winner who has enjoyed success at Utah State and Wisconsin. However, his first season at Oregon State will be a challenge. Anything but a last-place finish in the Pac-12 North should be considered a success. 

Oregon State 28-13

Teaser:
Pac-12 2015 Week 1 Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 3, 2015 - 11:00
Path: /college-football/sec-2015-week-1-predictions
Body:

The bowl season wasn’t kind to the , but just like every other team in the nation, all 14 teams in college football’s No. 1 conference are 0-0 and looking to start the year with a victory.

 

A couple of marquee non-conference matchups lead the way in the Week 1 slate for the SEC. In Atlanta, Auburn takes on Louisville, while Texas A&M and Arizona State meet in Houston for an anticipated high-scoring affair. Auburn has playoff aspirations, and this matchup against Louisville should be a good barometer test for coach Gus Malzahn and coordinator Will Muschamp on how far the defense has progressed in one offseason.

 

Elsewhere in the SEC this week, South Carolina-North Carolina and Vanderbilt-WKU play on Thursday night. Tennessee travels to Nashville to take on Bowling Green, and Mississippi State takes an in-state road trip to Southern Miss on Saturday night.

 

Athlon Sports offers its SEC Week 1 predictions from three editors: Steven Lassan (), David Fox () and Mitch Light ().

 

SEC Week 1 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Louisville vs. Auburn (Atlanta)

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: CBS

 

David Fox:

Among Bobby Petrino, Todd Grantham, Gus Malzahn and Will Muschamp, a ton of the coaches in this game have crossed paths at one time or another. 

Auburn 31–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Easily one of the best games of Week 1 and a great matchup of Auburn’s offense versus Louisville’s defense. The Cardinals should present some problems for the Tigers at the line of scrimmage, but quarterback Jeremy Johnson hits a few plays in the second half to secure the victory.

Auburn 31-20

 

Mitch Light:

Auburn will turn to Jeremy Johnson, who has completed 73.1 percent of his passes with 11 TDs and two INTs in 11 career games. He will be tested by a Louisville defense that has been rebuilt by impact transfers. 

Auburn 27-20

 

2. Arizona State vs. Texas A&M (Houston)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

This game could set up as a shootout. Arizona State will be the team that can make the critical stop or force the crucial turnover.

Arizona State 35–28

 

Steven Lassan:

Easily one of the weekend’s most intriguing games and should be no shortage of fireworks between these two offenses. An underrated matchup to watch is the Arizona State offensive line against Texas A&M’s defense – under new coordinator John Chavis – with Myles Garrett coming off the edge. The Sun Devils will land their share of big plays, but the Aggies score a key non-conference win.

Texas A&M 34-31

 

Mitch Light:

John Chavis takes over an A&M defense that allowed a staggering 509.5 yards per game against SEC opponents last season. The Aggies will be tested by strong-armed Arizona State quarterback Mike Bercovici. 

Arizona State 34-31

 

3. Wisconsin vs. Alabama (Arlington)

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ABC

 

David Fox:

Is it possible that quarterback could be a liability for Alabama? Guess we’ll find out.

Alabama 31–14

 

Steven Lassan:

Great name value in this matchup, but it’s tough to find a reason why Wisconsin can win this one. The Crimson Tide should be able to hold the Badgers’ rushing attack in check, which adds a lot of pressure on quarterback Joel Stave and an inexperienced receiving corps. Alabama won’t name a starter at quarterback until kickoff, but it shouldn’t matter which signal-caller takes the first or a majority of snaps this week.

Alabama 34-13

 

Mitch Light:

Alabama has concerns at quarterback and is inexperienced at wide receiver … but still has far more talent than Wisconsin. 

Alabama 28-13

 

4. North Carolina vs. South Carolina (Charlotte)

Kickoff: 6 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

South Carolina’s defense was abysmal last year, and I’m not sure what they’ve got on offense besides Pharoh Cooper. At least we know UNC can score.  

UNC 28–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Not sure what to expect in this one. North Carolina has one of the ACC’s best offenses, and Gene Chizik was hired to improve a struggling defense. South Carolina picked Connor Mitch as its starting quarterback, but he has only six career pass attempts. The Gamecocks also struggled mightily on defense last year.

South Carolina 31-27  

 

Mitch Light:

South Carolina lacks proven playmakers other than Pharoh Cooper. North Carolina is loaded with offensive weapons. North Carolina 37-30

 

5. Bowling Green vs. Tennessee (Nashville)

Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

Can Tennessee live up to the hype? The Volunteers might have to play through some nerves as they start the season. Tennessee 35–17

 

Steven Lassan:

Tennessee has momentum on its side entering coach Butch Jones’ third season. The Volunteers are heavy favorites here, but Bowling Green has enough firepower to make this one interesting for a half. Keep an eye on Falcons’ quarterback Matt Johnson returning to the lineup after missing most of last season with a hip injury.

Tennessee 38-17

 

Mitch Light:

Quarterback Matt Johnson returns to the Bowling Green lineup after missing all but one game with an injury last season. He will lead an offense that is good enough to score some points on Tennessee’s talented but young defense. Tennessee 41-22

 

6. WKU at Vanderbilt

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

Western Kentucky put up points on just about everyone last season. Derek Mason’s life won’t get any easier if his first game at DC is a showcase for WKU QB Brandon Doughty. 

WKU 35–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Vanderbilt needs this one. After a 3-9 debut, the pressure is already building on coach Derek Mason. WKU’s offense is explosive and is going to give the Commodores all they can handle. Expect Vanderbilt to use a heavy dose of running back Ralph Webb to avoid to the upset.

Vanderbilt 34-31

 

Mitch Light:

Vanderbilt is a home underdog to high-powered Western Kentucky. The Commodores will have a new look on defense now that head coach Derrick Mason is calling the shots. The plan: Put a ton of pressure on WKU quarterback Brandon Doughty.

Vanderbilt 38-30

 

7. Mississippi State at Southern Miss

Kickoff: 10 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

 

David Fox:

Mississippi State will go as far as Dak Prescott can take the Bulldogs. 

Mississippi State 28–10

 

Steven Lassan:

Southern Miss is getting better under coach Todd Monken and hopes an infusion of transfers brings improvement to a defense that allowed 35.4 points a game last season. The Golden Eagles might hang around for a half, but Mississippi State won’t lose this one behind quarterback Dak Prescott.

Mississippi State 38-13

 

Mitch Light:

The Bulldogs make the short trip to Hattiesburg with a chip on their shoulder. Despite winning 10 games a year ago, most — including Athlon Sports — are picking Mississippi State to finish last in the SEC West. This, of course, is not a league game, but the Dogs will be eager to play well in Week 1.

Mississippi State 31-7

 

8. UL Lafayette at Kentucky

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPNU

 

David Fox:

Kentucky will be overlooked in Week 1, but this is a big test for a team hoping to return to the postseason. 

Kentucky 31–13

 

Steven Lassan:

This is a must-win game for Kentucky if it wants to go bowling. UL Lafayette running back Elijah McGuire is one of the top players in the Group of 5 ranks. Ragin’ Cajuns hang around, but Wildcats pull away late.

Kentucky 34-17

 

Mitch Light:

Kentucky’s march to bowl eligibility begins with a tough test against one of the Sun Belt’s top teams. UL Lafayette has won exactly nine games in each of the last four seasons. The Cats will have to earn this one. 

Kentucky 34-17

 

9. UTEP at Arkansas

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPNU

 

David Fox:

Two grinding teams will try to keep possessions low. Arkansas, though, will run away with it. 

Arkansas 35–14

 

Steven Lassan:

These two teams are similar in style of play – strong offensive line and rushing attack – but there’s a clear edge in talent. Razorbacks continue the momentum from end of 2014 with an easy win on Saturday.

Arkansas 45-13

 

Mitch Light:

Arkansas’ rushing attack gets all the headlines, but UTEP boasts a quality running back of its own. Junior Aaron Jones rushed for 1,321 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2014. 

Arkansas 44-14

 

10. ULM at Georgia

Kickoff: Noon ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

Nick Chubb might be your Heisman front runner by the end of September. Of the first three opponents, ULM (86th in yards allowed per play) had the best rush defense. 

Georgia 42–14

 

Steven Lassan:

ULM has a good defense, but the offense is a work in progress. Bulldogs simply have too much defense and a deep stable of running backs to carry the workload on offense. Greyson Lambert earning the starting quarterback job over Brice Ramsey came as a surprise. How well will the Virginia transfer perform in his first game with the Bulldogs?

Georgia 44-13

 

Mitch Light:

Virginia transfer Greyson Lambert makes his first start at Georgia, but Nick Chubb is the main man for the Bulldogs’ attack. As a freshman, Chubb led the SEC with 7.1 yards per carry and averaged 172.9 yards over his final seven games against FBS foes. 

Georgia 41-13

 

11. New Mexico State at Florida

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

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

Treon Harris can prove why he held onto the starting job.

Florida 49–14

 

Steven Lassan:

Treon Harris gets the nod over Will Grier as Florida’s starting quarterback, but it won’t matter which signal-caller takes the first snap. The Gators should control this one from the start and open the Jim McElwain era with an easy win.

Florida 47-10

 

Mitch Light:

The Gators will play two quarterbacks in Jim McElwain’s debut. Both should have success against a New Mexico State team that ranked 116th in the nation in total defense in 2014. 

Florida 51-0

 

12. McNeese State at LSU

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

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

McNeese has former Kansas State quarterback Daniel Sams. LSU could be starting Brandon Harris. I’m still trying to figure out who has the QB advantage. 

LSU 35–10

 

Steven Lassan:

New quarterback Brandon Harris has an opportunity to build some confidence against McNeese State. Tigers should control this one from the opening snap.

LSU 45-9

 

Mitch Light:

Brandon Harris takes over an LSU offense that is desperate for adequate quarterback play. If he can deliver, this team has enough talent to contend in the SEC West. 

LSU 41-7

 

13. UT Martin at Ole Miss

Kickoff: Noon ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

I’m looking forward to seeing the Chad Kelly-Laquon Treadwell connection. 

Ole Miss 42–10


Steven Lassan:

Chad Kelly’s debut for Ole Miss makes this one worth a watch on Saturday. Rebels win easily.

Ole Miss 45-10

 

Mitch Light:

Led by a star-studded junior class, the Rebels have the talent to contend in the brutal SEC West. In the opener, all eyes will be on quarterback Chad Kelly.  

Ole Miss 34-11

 

14. Southeast Missouri State at Missouri

Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: SEC Network

 

David Fox:

Missouri’s young defensive line is worth watching here. Otherwise…

Missouri 42–7

 

Steven Lassan:

Look for quarterback Maty Mauk and his revamped receiving corps to work out a few kinks against Southeast Missouri State.

Missouri 40-7

 

Mitch Light:

The two-time defending SEC East champs being their season with a visit from an FCS foe for the fourth straight season. The Tigers won the last three by an average of 38.7 points. 

Missouri 48-10

Teaser:
SEC 2015 Week 1 Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 3, 2015 - 10:15
Path: /college-football/big-ten-2015-week-1-predictions
Body:

The ended the 2014 season in the spotlight with Ohio State’s national championship victory over Oregon, and the conference opens 2015 with two marquee games on Thursday night. Michigan travels to Salt Lake City to take on Utah in coach Jim Harbaugh’s debut, while playoff contender TCU makes the trek to Minnesota.

 

While both matchups are among the best of the weekend, the Ohio State-Virginia Tech showdown on Monday night is the most interesting contest of the Big Ten’s opening slate. Will the Buckeyes begin their title defense with a revenge victory over the Hokies? Or will the Hokies' defense lead the way for another upset?

 

Athlon Sports offers its Big Ten Week 1 predictions from three editors: Steven Lassan (), David Fox () and Mitch Light ().

 

Big Ten Week 1 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Ohio State at Virginia Tech

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Monday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox: 

Virginia Tech’s win last year is eons ago. J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones have won the biggest of big games and will again in Blacksburg.

Ohio State 28-20

 

Steven Lassan:

This is the best game of Week 1, and so many intriguing questions will be answered. Who will start at quarterback for Ohio State? How will the defense perform with end Joey Bosa suspended? How much of an impact will Braxton Miller make at receiver? The Hokies’ defense should keep them in this game, but will the offense consistently move the ball or avoid big mistakes?

Ohio State 30-20

 

Mitch Light:

In last year’s loss to Virginia Tech at home, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett completed 9-of-29 passes with three interceptions. It’s safe to say Ohio State will get better play at the quarterback position this time around.

Ohio State 27-13

 

2. Michigan at Utah

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

 

David Fox: 

Jim Harbaugh may have won the offseason, but he’s going to need solid offensive line play to win his debut at Michigan. That’s been in short supply.

Utah 24–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Jim Harbaugh’s debut. Not much else needs to be said for the must-see value of this one. Wouldn’t expect a ton of points on Thursday night, as both teams are solid on defense and enter the season with question marks on offense. Utah’s defense is the difference in this matchup.

Utah 23-20

 

Mitch Light:

Michigan outgained the Utes 308-to-286 and held Devontae Booker to 34 yards on 11 carries in a 26–10 loss at home last season. The Wolverines will need to duplicate that defensive effort. 

Michigan 24-20

 

3. BYU at Nebraska

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ABC

 

David Fox:

Nebraska’s 29-game season-opener winning streak might end if we see the same Taysom Hill we saw at the start of last season.

BYU 28–24


Steven Lassan:

This game isn’t generating the attention Ohio State-Virginia Tech or Louisville-Auburn are this week, but there’s intrigue here. BYU quarterback Taysom Hill is back after missing most of 2014 with a leg injury, and Nebraska opens the Mike Riley tenure looking to extend its winning streak in openers (29 consecutive victories).

Nebraska 31-27

 

Mitch Light:

Nebraska has won 29 straight openers, the longest such streak in the nation. The Huskers will make it 30 — but it won’t be easy.  

Nebraska 27-24

 

4. Wisconsin vs. Alabama (Arlington)

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ABC

 

David Fox:

Wisconsin’s normally stout offensive line is a question this year. Alabama will have a major edge.

Alabama 31–14

 

Steven Lassan:

Great name value in this matchup, but it’s tough to find a reason why Wisconsin can win this one. The Crimson Tide should be able to hold the Badgers’ rushing attack in check, which adds a lot of pressure on quarterback Joel Stave and an inexperienced receiving corps. Alabama won’t name a starter at quarterback until kickoff, but it shouldn’t matter which signal-caller takes the first or a majority of snaps this week.

Alabama 34-13

 

Mitch Light:

Alabama has concerns at quarterback and is inexperienced at wide receiver … but still has far more talent than Wisconsin. 

Alabama 28-13

 

5. TCU at Minnesota

Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Trevone Boykin’s Heisman bid gets an early test in a rematch against the Minnesota secondary.

TCU 28–14

 

Steven Lassan:

Minnesota’s secondary could give TCU’s passing attack fits early on. However, can the Golden Gophers’ offense find enough firepower to match the Horned Frogs? Unlikely. TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is the difference in this game.

TCU 34-17

 

Mitch Light:

Minnesota lost its two top offensive players in running back David Cobb and tight end Maxx Williams. The Gophers simply don’t have enough firepower to knock off the Frogs. 

TCU 30-13

 

6. Stanford at Northwestern

Kickoff: Noon ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Clayton Thorson is the future at quarterback for Northwestern. The Wildcats have to show signs they can turn things around, but it’s going to be tough against that Stanford D.

Stanford 28–21

 

Steven Lassan:

Interesting matchup between two academic powers. Lots of intrigue on both sides, as Northwestern breaks in a talented new quarterback (Clayton Thorson), and Stanford looks to build off last year’s late momentum. The 12-point spread seems too high.

Stanford 27-20

 

Mitch Light:

Stanford has emerged as a dark horse College Football Playoff contender by some college football observers — including one of my colleagues at Athlon Sports. I disagree. 

Northwestern 24-20

 

7. Michigan State at Western Michigan

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Friday)

TV Channel: ESPNU

 

David Fox:

Western Michigan is a recruiting powerhouse (for a MAC team, relatively speaking). This could be a signature moment P.J. Fleck’s team. Could be.

Michigan State 38–17

 

Steven Lassan:

P.J. Fleck is a rising star in the coaching ranks, and a trip to Kalamazoo adds to the intrigue for the Broncos. However, the Spartans are balanced on offense, and the defense should do a good job of containing Western Michigan running back Jarvion Franklin.

Michigan State 34-17

 

Mitch Light:

The Broncos are vastly improved under P.J. Fleck, but they will have a tough time knocking off the mighty Spartans from East Lansing. 

Michigan State 38-21

 

8. Penn State at Temple

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Christian Hackenberg and P.J. Walker combined for six interceptions in this game last year. This game has to be better, right?

Penn State 24–14

 

Steven Lassan:

How much has Penn State’s offensive line improved since last season? That’s the big question in coach James Franklin’s second year. Led by standout linebacker Tyler Matakevich, Temple’s defense can present problems for the Nittany Lions.

Penn State 27-17

 

Mitch Light:

Temple is the home team, but there figures to be far more Penn State fans in this intriguing opener. Last year, the Nittany Lions scored 30 points — the most by James Franklin’s team in the regular season — in a win over Temple. 

Penn State 28-13

 

9. Purdue at Marshall

Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET (Sunday)

TV Channel: Fox Sports 1

 

David Fox:

Purdue may play a road game at Marshall only to get clobbered by its former offensive coordinator, Bill Legg.

Marshall 31–21

 

Steven Lassan:

The Boilermakers hope to show improvement in coach Darrell Hazell’s third season, but this team is nearly a touchdown underdog against Marshall. The Thundering Herd picked James Madison transfer Michael Birdsong to replace prolific four-year starter Rakeem Cato at quarterback. Even though Cato will be missed, Birdsong has a strong supporting cast to lean on, including running back Devon Johnson.

Marshall 31-27

 

Mitch Light:

Darrell Hazell is 4–20 in two seasons, and his team is a 7.5-point underdog in a Week 1 game against a team from Conference USA. 

Marshall 28-23

 

10. Illinois State at Iowa

Kickoff: Noon ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

David Fox:

Former Indiana quarterback Tre Roberson was tremendous for FCS runner-up Illinois State last season. Iowa should be worried. 

Illinois State 35–31.

 

Steven Lassan:

Former Indiana quarterback Tre Roberson leads an Illinois State team coming off a loss in the FCS Championship last year. This is a dangerous Week 1 opponent for Iowa. Hawkeyes avoid the upset.

Iowa 34-27

 

Mitch Light:

The Hawkeyes host one of the most powerful FCS teams in the nation. My advice to Kirk Ferentz: Don’t lose this game. 

Iowa 34-21

 

11. Kent State at Illinois

Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET (Friday)

TV Channel: Big Ten Network

 

David Fox:

I’m actually kind of interested to see Illinois respond to Tim Beckman’s firing.

Illinois 27–14

 

Steven Lassan:

There are a lot of distractions for the Fighting Illini right now after coach Tim Beckman was dismissed last week. However, I’m not sure Kent State has enough to pull off the upset.

Illinois 38-20

 

Mitch Light:

Just a hunch: The Fighting Illini will rally behind interim coach Bill Cubit and take out their frustrations on the Golden Flashes. 

Illinois 41-9

 

12. Richmond at Maryland

Kickoff: Noon ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Perry Hills’ journey back to the starting QB job after a two-year absence is an interesting storyline. 

Maryland 27–17

 

Steven Lassan:

With only nine returning starters and young talent stepping into the starting lineup, 2015 is shaping up as a rebuilding year for coach Randy Edsall. However, the Terrapins still have enough to win this one. Perry Hills is worth watching after he edged Caleb Rowe for the starting quarterback job this fall.

Maryland 34-13

 

Mitch Light:

Perry Hills earned the starting assignment at quarterback over preseason favorite Caleb Rowe. He takes over an offense that lost some key weapons at wide receiver. 

Maryland 33-13

 

13. Southern Illinois at Indiana

Kickoff: 4 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPNEWS

 

David Fox:

Indiana has a chance to start 4–0. Will it be enough to save Kevin Wilson?

Indiana 35-17

 

Steven Lassan:

Quarterback Nate Sudfeld is back at full strength after missing most of last season with a shoulder injury. That’s good news for an Indiana team poised to challenge for a bowl bid in 2015.

Indiana 44-17

 

Mitch Light:

Conventional wisdom suggests Kevin Wilson will need to get Indiana to a bowl game to save his job. It will be tough for the Hoosiers to get to six wins without a victory in Week 1. 

Indiana 44-16

 

14. Norfolk State at Rutgers

Kickoff: Noon ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: ESPNEWS

 

David Fox:

What a miserable week for Rutgers with an academic scandal and suspensions. The Scarlet Knights will need to savor this week.

Rutgers 28–13

 

Steven Lassan:

It seems the question marks about Kyle Flood and an ongoing investigation into the academic handling of a player will continue into next week. Even though it’s a distraction, it won’t matter much on Saturday afternoon. Interested to see how well LSU transfer Hayden Rettig plays at quarterback for the Scarlet Knights.

Rutgers 45-10

 

Mitch Light:

Kyle Flood begins his fourth season in the middle of an academic scandal at Rutgers. Will the distractions affect his team’s performance? Stay tuned.

Rutgers 37-13

Teaser:
Big Ten 2015 Week 1 Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 3, 2015 - 10:00
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Week 1 of the 2015 Big 12 season isn’t filled with must-see matchups. But there are a few games on the schedule to move the needle, including Texas-Notre Dame and TCU-Minnesota. Will the Longhorns improve in coach Charlie Strong’s second season? A win in South Bend would be a good place to start. Big 12 frontrunners TCU and Baylor are both on the road in Week 1, but both teams are double-digit favorites.

 

A few Big 12 teams have to be on upset alert this weekend. West Virginia hosts a dangerous Georgia Southern squad, while Iowa State plays in-state FCS foe in a must-win game for coach Paul Rhoads. New Kansas coach David Beaty inherited a massive rebuilding project, and Saturday’s game against South Dakota State is probably the only winnable game on the schedule this year. 

 

Athlon Sports offers its Big 12 Week 1 predictions from three editors: Steven Lassan (), David Fox () and Mitch Light ().

 

Big 12 Week 1 Game Power Rankings & Predictions

 

1. Texas at Notre Dame

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

TV Channel: NBC

 

David Fox:

Expect some nasty defense in this one. Notre Dame has the experience on defense and a functional offense, making this an easy pick for the Irish.  

Notre Dame 24–10

 

Steven Lassan:

Great matchup in terms of name value. How far has Texas improved this offseason under coach Charlie Strong? This is a great barometer test for the Longhorns. Quarterback play for both teams will be under the spotlight with Malik Zaire (Notre Dame) and Tyrone Swoopes (Texas).

Notre Dame 27, Texas 17

 

Mitch Light:

Texas struggled last season, but it wasn’t the fault of the defense. The Horns ranked No. 2 in the Big 12 in total defense and No. 1 against league opponents. This could be a struggle for the Irish.

Notre Dame 20-13

 

2. TCU at Minnesota

Kickoff: 9 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

Minnesota’s secondary had one of the better games against Trevone Boykin last season. If the Gophers had an above average offense, this would be more of a contest.

TCU 27–13

 

Steven Lassan:

Minnesota’s secondary could give TCU’s passing attack fits early on. However, can the Golden Gophers’ offense find enough firepower to match the Horned Frogs? Unlikely. TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is the difference in this game.

TCU 34-17

 

Mitch Light:

Minnesota lost its two top offensive players in running back David Cobb and tight end Maxx Williams. The Gophers simply don’t have enough firepower to knock off the Frogs. 

TCU 30-13

 

3. Georgia Southern at West Virginia

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

TV Channel: FSN

 

David Fox:

For what’s supposed to be a good defense West Virginia got gashed in the run game A LOT last year. Does that worry anyone else?

West Virginia 27–17

 

Steven Lassan:

Georgia Southern is a dangerous opponent for West Virginia. The Eagles lost by one to NC State and by four to Georgia Tech last season. Starting quarterback Kevin Ellison is sidelined due to a suspension, but backup Favian Upshaw is a capable option. Having all offseason to prepare for Georgia Southern’s offense should benefit the Mountaineers. Keep an eye on the young West Virginia receivers and quarterback Skyler Howard.

West Virginia 38-24

 

Mitch Light:

Georgia Southern boasts one of the most potent running games in the nation but will be without standout QB Kevin Ellison, who is out with a suspension.

West Virginia 34-27

 

4. Baylor at SMU

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Friday)

TV Channel: ESPN

 

David Fox:

A neat game for head coaches who worked their way from Texas high schools to being offensive masterminds. Unfortunately, it won’t be close.

Baylor 56–14

 

Steven Lassan:

Chad Morris is the right coach for SMU, and the Mustangs will be better in 2015. However, Baylor simply has too much firepower. Expect a big debut from quarterback Seth Russell.

Baylor 51-17

 

Mitch Light:

This might end up looking like a decent win for the Bears if Chad Morris can work some magic in Year 1 at SMU.

Baylor 41-17

 

5. Northern Iowa at Iowa State

Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: Cyclones.tv

 

David Fox:

Iowa State has lost back-to-back season openers against FCS teams and could make it three in a row. 

Northern Iowa 17–14

 

Steven Lassan:

This isn’t a guaranteed win for Iowa State. Northern Iowa knocked off the Cyclones in 2013 and lost by eight to Iowa last season. Getting receiver Quenton Bundrage back, along with better luck in the health department on the offensive line should help Iowa State in 2015. The Panthers make it interesting, but Iowa State avoids the upset.

Iowa State 27, Northern Iowa 20 

 

Mitch Light:

The Cyclones have lost two of the last four to their friends from Cedar Falls. This is a game Paul Rhoads cannot afford to lose.

Iowa State 24-20 

 

6. Akron at Oklahoma

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: PPV

 

David Fox:

I’m ready to see the Baker Mayfield-Samaje Perine-Lincoln Riley dynamic at work.

Oklahoma 42–10

 

Steven Lassan:

Akron has a handful of talented transfers from Power 5 programs, but the Sooners should win this one with ease. With a road trip to Tennessee up next, it’s a good opportunity for new coordinator Lincoln Riley and quarterback Baker Mayfield to build confidence in the offense.

Oklahoma 48-17

 

Mitch Light

Former Texas Tech walk-on Baker Mayfield is running the show for new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley at OU. Akron continues to improve under Terry Bowden’s watch, but the Zips aren’t good enough to win in Norman. Oklahoma 43-20

 

7. Oklahoma State at Central Michigan

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: ESPNU

 

David Fox:

Every now and then Oklahoma State plays a weird road game. Every now and then, that road game bites the Cowboys (a 41–23 loss at Troy in 2007). That won’t happen here. 

Oklahoma State 31–10

 

Steven Lassan:

I’m interested to see how much sophomore quarterback Mason Rudolph has progressed for Oklahoma State since the end of last season.

Oklahoma State 41-20

 

Mitch Light:

Mount Pleasant will be rocking with Oklahoma State coming to town. Too bad Dan LeFevour isn’t under center for the Chips.

Oklahoma State 48-10

 

8. Sam Houston State at Texas Tech

Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FSN

 

David Fox:

Might be time to get to know Sam Houston State coach K.C. Keeler, who has played in eight national championship games (FCS and Division III), winning one. His up-tempo offense will give new Texas Tech DC David Gibbs a test.

Texas Tech 41–21

 

Steven Lassan:

The Bearkats – ranked as a top-five FCS team – could be a pesky opponent for the Red Raiders. Will it be Davis Webb or Patrick Mahomes at quarterback for Texas Tech? The guess here is Mahomes starts and delivers a solid performance, while the defense shows progress under coordinator David Gibbs.

Texas Tech 50-24

 

Mitch Light: 

Sam Houston State lost 56–0 last September at LSU in its only game against an FCS opponent. Texas Tech has more than enough weapons to score 50 as well. 

Texas Tech 50-20

 

9. South Dakota State at Kansas

Kickoff: Noon ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: FSN

 

David Fox:

If Kansas wins one game this season, this will be it.

Kansas 27–10

 

Steven Lassan:

This is the best shot Kansas has at winning a game in 2015.

Kansas 27-20

 

Mitch Light:

David Beaty begins his tenure as the boss at Kansas with arguably the least-talented Power 5 conference team in the nation.

Kansas 21-17

 

10. South Dakota at Kansas State

Kickoff: 7:10 p.m. ET (Saturday)

TV Channel: K-StateHD.tv

 

David Fox:

Kansas State wised up and played one of the lesser Dakotas after losing to North Dakota State two years ago.

Kansas State 28–10

 

Steven Lassan:

Bill Snyder’s team is a bit of a mystery with Jesse Ertz replacing Jake Waters at quarterback. South Dakota went 2-10 last year and shouldn’t provide too many problems for the Wildcats.

Kansas State 45-10

 

Mitch Light:

Kansas State has to find some answers on offense to be a threat in the Big 12 this season. 

Kansas State 31-7

Teaser:
Big 12 Week 1 Predictions
Post date: Thursday, September 3, 2015 - 09:45

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