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College Football Picks: Predicting Every Game in Week 2

Baker Mayfield

Baker Mayfield

The Week 2 edition of picking every game on the college football schedule features some crucial non-conference matchups with national title implications, most notably the Auburn-Clemson game and the Oklahoma-Ohio State showdown in Columbus. Conference play also begins for some, with Stanford and USC kicking off the action in the Pac-12 and Missouri hosting South Carolina in the SEC.

College Football Top 25: Ohio State QB

Thursday, Sept. 7

Idaho State at Utah State

Utah State is dominating the first quarter this season (it had a 10–0 lead at Wisconsin after 15 minutes) but struggling in the final three (outscored 59–0 in Madison). Idaho State is 1–0, with a 37–6 win over Western Oregon. Utah State 28, Idaho State 24

Friday, Sept. 8

Ohio at Purdue

Purdue played well in Jeff Brohm’s debut, dropping a 35–28 decision to Louisville in Indianapolis. The Boilermakers had their issues on defense (Louisville rolled up 524 yards) but enjoyed success in the passing game (David Blough and Elijah Sindelar combined for 293 yards). Ohio had no trouble with Hampton (59–0). Purdue 41, Ohio 27

Oklahoma State at South Alabama

South Alabama hung around in Oxford on Saturday for a half but was overwhelmed in the final two quarters. Oklahoma State was one of the most impressive teams in the opening weekend. The Cowboys are loaded at the skill positions. Oklahoma State 49, South Alabama 13

Saturday, Sept. 9

Buffalo at Army

This will end up being one the best stats of the season: Army scored 64 points and had 513 yards of offense in its win over Fordham without completing a pass. Buffalo held Minnesota to three points in the final three quarters of a 17–7 loss on Thursday night. Army 24, Buffalo 17

Charlotte at Kansas State

Kansas State was dominant on the ground and through the air in its easy win over Central Arkansas. Charlotte lost at Eastern Michigan. Kansas State is far more talented than Eastern Michigan. Kansas State 44, Charlotte 10

Cincinnati at Michigan

It’s a matchup of one of the least impressive teams from Week 1 (Cincinnati struggled with an Austin Peay team that is 1–45 in the last four seasons) against arguably the most impressive team (Michigan dominated Florida). Michigan 41, Cincinnati 0

East Carolina at West Virginia

West Virginia rolled up 592 yards and had only one turnover yet scored only three touchdowns in a 31–24 loss to Virginia Tech. Will Grier was sharp in his first start for the Mountaineers, throwing for 371 yards and three TDs. West Virginia 51, East Carolina 10

Eastern Kentucky at Kentucky

Eastern Kentucky held Western Kentucky to 364 yards in its 31–17 loss in Bowling Green — that’s the fewest the Hilltoppers have had against a team other than Alabama or Vanderbilt since November 2014. The point? This could be a struggle for the Kentucky offense. Kentucky 27, Eastern Kentucky 3

FAU at Wisconsin

Lane Kiffin’s debut at FAU did not go well; the Owls managed only 326 yards in a 42–19 loss at home to Navy. The trip to Madison will be a bigger challenge. Wisconsin 47, FAU 20

Iowa at Iowa State

Iowa’s defensive effort was one of the underrated storylines of Week 1. The Hawkeyes limited Wyoming to 3.3 yards per play — the fewest by the Cowboys since November 2013 — in a 24–3 win in Iowa City. Iowa State avenged last year’s loss to Northern Iowa, topping the Panthers 42–24. UNI, however, threw for 378 yards. Iowa 27, Iowa State 10

Louisville at North Carolina

Louisville’s margin of victory — only seven points — over Purdue is a bit of a concern, but Lamar Jackson did his part. The defending Heisman Trophy winner threw for 378 yards and two TDs and added 107 yards on the ground to lead a Cardinal attack that rolled up 524 yards. Louisville 37, North Carolina 20

Northwestern at Duke

Duke has struggled to score against Northwestern, averaging only 11.5 points in the past two seasons (both losses). The Blue Devils barely broke a sweat in a Week 1 win over NC Central. Northwestern, on the other hand, had to rally to beat Nevada; the Cats trailed 17–10 at the half before outscoring the Wolfpack 24–3 in the final two quarters. Duke 33, Northwestern 30

UT Martin at Ole Miss  

UT Martin will step it up a bit in competition after blanking Clarion University 36–0 in its opener. Ole Miss 47, UT Martin 14

Towson at Maryland

Maryland returns home after recording by far the biggest win of the D.J. Durkin era. The Terps rushed for 263 yards against Texas on a 6.1-yard clip. Towson won its opener, beating Morgan State 10–0. Maryland 33, Towson 7

Jacksonville State at Georgia Tech     

On Monday night, Georgia Tech rushed for 535 yards on 86 attempts … and lost, in double-overtime to Tennessee. In his first career start, junior quarterback TaQuan Marshall rushed for 249 yards (the most by any player in the nation in Week 1) on a school-record 44 carries. Georgia Tech 41, Jacksonville State 17

Wake Forest at Boston College

Wake Forest flexed its muscles against FCS lightweight Presbyterian, rushing for 248 yards and passing for 239 in a 51–7 win. Boston College picked up a nice win on the road, knocking off Northern Illinois 23–20 on Thursday night. The most interesting stat: The Eagles ran 92 offensive plays. Wake Forest 20, Boston College 14

Texas State at Colorado     

Colorado recorded one of the top defensive performances of the weekend, limiting a Colorado State team that scored 58 points in a Week 0 win over Oregon State to three points in a 17–3 victory in Denver. It was a terrific debut for new defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot. Colorado 41, Texas State 10

UAB at Ball State

UAB’s return to football for the first time since 2014 was a success as the Blazers topped Alabama A&M 38–7 before 45,212 at Legion Field. Ball State held Illinois to 216 total yards in Champaign but lost 24–21. Ball State 30, UAB 17

Abilene Christian at Colorado State    

Colorado State has played two Pac-12 teams. The Rams scored 58 points against Oregon State and three points against Colorado. One thing that has been consistent is the passing attack; they’ve thrown for 300-plus in both games. Colorado State 41, Abilene Christian 12

Austin Peay at Miami (Ohio)

Miami had its six-game regular-season winning streak snapped on Saturday with a painful 31–26 loss at Marshall. The Redhawks had 86 offensive snaps (31 more than Marshall) yet were held to three touchdowns. Miami (Ohio) 30, Austin Peay 10

Delaware at Virginia Tech 

One thing we learned in Week 1: Virginia Tech has a quarterback. Redshirt freshman Josh Jackson threw for 235 yards and rushed for 101 — and did not commit a turnover — in the Hokies’ exciting 31–24 win over West Virginia. Virginia Tech 41, Delaware 13

Eastern Illinois at Northern Illinois   

There’s no shame in losing to Boston College at home — as Northern Illinois did last weekend — but that was the type of game this program always seemed to win while it was routinely competing for MAC championships. There’s pressure mounting on Rod Carey. Northern Illinois 33, Eastern Illinois 13

Eastern Michigan at Rutgers      

Thanks to an influx of transfers, Rutgers is stronger at quarterback, running back and wide receiver than a year ago. And the defense, which gave up 37.5 points per game in 2016, did a decent job keeping Washington in check for much of Friday night’s 30–14 loss. Eastern Michigan opened its season with a workmanlike 24–7 win over Charlotte. Rutgers 23, Eastern Michigan 17

Fresno State at Alabama   

During his time as the head coach at Fresno State, Pat Hill’s mantra was “Anybody. Anytime. Anywhere.” Well, I’m not sure even Hill would have wanted to play this game. Good luck to new Bulldog coach Jeff Tedford. Alabama 47, Fresno State 7

Howard at Kent State  

Howard made national headlines in Week 1, knocking off UNLV (a 45-point favorite) in what is the biggest upset in college football history. Another fun note: Howard’s quarterback Caylin Newton, younger brother of Panthers’ star Cam. Can the Bison make it two straight vs. an FBS foe? The guess here is no. Kent State 31, Howard 28

Indiana at Virginia

Indiana showed some positive signs — mostly in the passing game — in its loss to Ohio State on Thursday night. The Hoosiers, who have improved dramatically on defense since Tom Allen’s arrival last season, will not be an easy out in the Big Ten. Virginia took care of business in Week 1 by defeating an FCS opponent — something it failed to do in 2016. Indiana 37, Virginia 30

Middle Tennessee at Syracuse   

Former Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer returns to the Carrier Dome as the defensive coordinator at Middle Tennessee. He has a tough task this weekend — slowing down a Syracuse offense that is now in its second season under Dino Babers’ tutelage. Syracuse 37, Middle Tennessee 24

Villanova at Temple    

Geoff Collins had a tough debut at Temple; the Owls were torched by Notre Dame for 606 yards in a 49–16 loss in South Bend. It could be a long season. Temple 21, Villanova 17

Old Dominion at Massachusetts 

UMass has the dubious distinction of being the only FBS team in the nation with an 0–2 record, with losses to Hawaii and Coastal Carolina. It could be 0–3 after this weekend. Old Dominion 33, Massachusetts 24

Pittsburgh at Penn State

Pittsburgh gave up 418 total yards to Youngstown State — including 311 in the air — in its overtime win. Good luck stopping Penn State, one of the most dynamic offensive teams in the nation. Penn State 44, Pittsburgh 24.

Savannah State at Appalachian State

On the 10-year anniversary of its landmark win at Michigan, Appalachian State was unable to recapture the magic in Athens, Ga., last weekend. The level of competition will not be as great in Week 2. Appalachian State 33, Savannah State 10

San Jose State at Texas    

Losing at home to Maryland wasn’t exactly what Texas had in mind when it hired Tom Herman to succeed Charlie Strong. The Longhorns, who actually did some nice things on offense in defeat, will break into the win column this weekend. Texas 44, San Jose State 14

TCU at Arkansas

We don’t know too much about either team yet after each cruised to wins over overmatched opponents in Week 1. So I’ll go back to the Athlon Sports preseason rankings; Arkansas was No. 29, TCU No. 32. Go with Arkansas, at home. Arkansas 28, TCU 24

Tulane at Navy

Don’t expect a lot of completed passes in the league opener for these two AAC West teams. Navy went 3-of-10 in its impressive win over FAU; Tulane actually hit double-digits, connecting on 10-of-15 in a victory over Grambling. Navy 38, Tulane 20

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Western Michigan at Michigan State  

Western Michigan proved that there might be life after P.J. Fleck as it battled USC deep into the fourth quarter (the game was 35–31 USC with under 5:00 to play) before losing 49–31. Michigan State got off to a sluggish start but eventually pulled away from Bowling Green. Brian Lewerke looked good at QB. Michigan State 30, Western Michigan 20

Alabama A&M at Vanderbilt

It was a bit under the radar, but Vanderbilt was very impressive in its 28–6 Week 1 win at Middle Tennessee. The Commodores scored on their first three possessions and cruised to the easy win. Vanderbilt 42, Alabama A&M 0

Central Michigan at Kansas

It’s not a good sign for Central Michigan that it needed double-overtime to beat Rhode Island (one of the worst FCS teams last season) at home in Week 1. Oh, URI also threw six interceptions! Kansas took care of business in Lawrence, beating SE Missouri State 38–16. Kansas 28, Central Michigan 14

Gardner-Webb at Wyoming

Josh Allen and the Wyoming offense struggled in a showcase game at Iowa, managing only 233 yards in a 24–3 loss in Iowa City. Yards and points should be easier to come by against Gardner-Webb. Wyoming 38, Gardner-Webb 13

Indiana State at Tennessee       

It’s a short week for Tennessee, which outlasted Georgia Tech in double overtime on Monday night in Atlanta. Good thing the Vols don’t need much time to prepare for Indiana State. Tennessee 49, Indiana State 13

Louisiana at Tulsa

The Tulsa defense deserves a break after facing arguably the nation’s top offense in Oklahoma State. Louisiana survived a scare from SE Louisiana, stopping a two-point conversion in the final minute (and returning that conversion for a score) to win 52–49. Tulsa 55, Louisiana 30

Nebraska at Oregon

Should Nebraska fans be worried that the Huskers’ defense — under the watch of new coordinator Bob Diaco — gave up 497 yards to Arkansas State, including 22 plays of 10 yards or more? Yes, they should. Oregon 49, Nebraska 34   

Hawaii at UCLA

UCLA’s task this weekend: Keep its focus after recording one of the most improbable wins in college football history. Hawaii is good enough to make the Bruins sweat — but probably not good enough to pull off the upset in the Rose Bowl. UCLA 37, Hawaii 21

Weber State at California

California recorded one of the more impressive wins (relative to expectations) in Week 1, knocking off North Carolina in Chapel Hill thanks in part to the strong play of first-time starting quarterback Ross Bowers. Weber State is also 1–0 after its 76–0 win over Montana Western. California 34, Weber State 20

Alabama State at Troy

Troy was better than expected on defense but struggled offensively (215 total yards) in a 24–13 loss at Boise State in a battle of top Group of 5 teams. Coach Neal Brown would like to see his team flex its offensive muscles this week. Troy 47, Alabama State 13

Marshall at NC State

NC State had 49 more offensive plays and twice as many offensive yards yet still lost its opener to South Carolina, 35–28. This is still a very good team that will be a threat in the ACC Atlantic Division. NC State 37, Marshall 20

New Hampshire at Georgia Southern

Georgia Southern was manhandled on both sides of the ball in its Week 1 loss at Auburn. It’s doubtful that New Hampshire has the same type of athletes as Auburn. Georgia Southern 28, New Hampshire 21

South Dakota at Bowling Green

South Dakota scored 77 points in its Week 1 win over Drake. Bowling Green gave up exactly 77 points twice last season (to Memphis and Ohio State). The point? There isn’t one. Bowling Green 30, South Dakota 28

Arkansas-Pine Bluff at Akron

This visit from Arkansas-Pine Bluff is sandwiched between two “buy” games for Akron — last week’s loss at Penn State and a Week 3 (likely) loss at Iowa State. Akron 33, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 3

Auburn at Clemson

Auburn was arguably the most impressive team in the nation … if you are only looking at box scores. The Tigers outgained Georgia Southern 535-to-78, allowing an average of 1.5 yards per rush and 0.9 yards per passing attempt. The story for Clemson was the play of quarterback Kelly Bryant, who completed 16-of-22 passes for 236 yards and added 77 yards on the ground in the first game of the post-Deshaun Watson era. Clemson 27, Auburn 21

Nicholls at Texas A&M

Texas A&M must regroup after its stunning come-from-way-ahead loss at UCLA on Sunday night. Nicholls doesn’t figure to pose too much of a challenge … but don’t forget that this team lost by only two points at Georgia last season. Texas A&M 47, Nicholls 17

North Texas at SMU

Both teams cruised to Week 1 victories, with SMU topping Stephen F. Austin 58–14 and North Texas rolling past Lamar 59–14. This is a game that the Mustangs cannot afford to lose. SMU 38, North Texas 24

South Carolina at Missouri

The Battle of Columbia will feature two of the top quarterbacks in the SEC (Missouri’s Drew Lock and South Carolina’s Jake Bentley) as well as a host of exciting talent at the other skill positions. Defensive stops will be at a premium. Missouri 37, South Carolina 34

Southern at Southern Miss

Southern Miss, the top defensive team (statistically) in Conference USA last season, opened 2017 with a strong effort, limiting Kentucky to 254 yards in a 24–17 loss to Kentucky. Southern scored only 14 points last week (in a win over South Carolina State). Southern Miss 30, Southern 7

Toledo at Nevada

Nevada flirted with an upset in Evanston (the Wolfpack led Northwestern deep into the fourth quarter) before losing 31–20. Still, it was a decent first game for new coach Jay Norvell. Toledo, as expected, pounded Elon. Toledo 41, Nevada 38

UNLV at Idaho

UNLV rushed for 344 yards, threw for 220 and averaged 8.4 yards per play against an FCS opponent … and lost, as a 45-point favorite. Not exactly the start Tony Sanchez was looking for in Year 3. Idaho should be very good on offense this fall but was held to 28 points in a Week 1 win over Sacramento State. Idaho 37, UNLV 27

Alcorn State vs. FIU

Butch Davis’ return to the sidelines didn’t go well last week as FIU lost to UCF 61–17 in Orlando. The venue for this game against Alcorn State has switched from Miami to Birmingham, Ala., due to Hurricane Irma. FIU 30, Alcorn State 17

Mississippi State at Louisiana Tech

The SEC went 2–0 in road games in Week 1, with Vanderbilt winning at Middle Tennessee and Kentucky beating Southern Miss in Hattiesburg. Mississippi State’s visit to Louisiana Tech might be the most challenging of the three. Tech lost plenty of firepower from last year’s team but is still the overwhelming pick to win the C-USA West Division. Mississippi State 28, Louisiana Tech 21

Oklahoma at Ohio State

Baker Mayfield and the Oklahoma offense are eager to avenge last year’s convincing loss at home to Ohio State. The Sooners averaged a season-low 5.9 yards per play in that game, and Mayfield completed only 53 percent of his passing attempts — his only game under 60 percent. Ohio State is inexperienced in the secondary but dominant on the defensive front. If Oklahoma can protect Mayfield, this game could go down to the wire. Ohio State 30, Oklahoma 27

Chattanooga at LSU

LSU was arguably the most dominant defensive team in the nation in Week 1. Its opponent, BYU, had only 38 offensive plays and did not cross the 50-yard line. LSU 41, Chattanooga 10    

Georgia at Notre Dame

With Jacob Eason sidelined with an injury, Georgia is turning to true freshman Jake Fromm at quarterback for this rare trip out of the Southeast. Fromm, a highly touted recruit, will lean on a strong running game and his deep crop of tight ends as he navigates his way through his first start. The key for Georgia will be to slow down Notre Dame’s potent running attack. Georgia 21, Notre Dame 20

Montana at Washington

Washington struggled a bit in its opener at Rutgers before pulling away in the second half for a 30­­–14 win. Myles Gaskin had only seven rushing attempts but was a factor in the passing game, catching five passes for 79 yards and one TD. Washington 38, Montana 10

New Mexico State at New Mexico

New Mexico State opened its season with a 37–31 loss at Arizona — a nice showing for the Aggies even if the final score was a bit misleading (ASU led 37–19 midway through the fourth quarter). New Mexico has won four of the last five in the series (but lost last season in Las Cruces). New Mexico 31, New Mexico State 28

Rice at UTEP

Both teams are 0–1 with lopsided losses to top-15 teams (Rice lost to Stanford in Australia and UTEP lost at Oklahoma). Both teams had fewer than 250 yards of offense and both teams gave up more than 650 yards. UTEP 28, Rice 24

UTSA at Baylor

This will be the season-opener for UTSA, which had its Week 1 game with Houston cancelled. Baylor probably wishes it didn’t play last week; the Bears lost at home to Liberty despite averaging 8.3 yards per play. Baylor 44, UTSA 27

Western Kentucky at Illinois

It was an underwhelming offensive performance by Western Kentucky (by the Hilltoppers’ lofty standards) in Mike Sanford’s debut as head coach. WKU had “only” 364 yards in a 31–17 win over Eastern Kentucky. That’s quite a bit more, however, than Illinois had in its three-point win over Ball State. The Illini were held to 216 total yards, including only 71 on the ground, in the alarmingly close win. Western Kentucky 31, Illinois 27

Stanford at USC

Stanford boasts an outstanding offensive line and one of the nation’s top running backs in Bryce Love. USC gave up 263 rushing yards at home to Western Michigan last weekend. Not a good sign. Stanford 24, USC 23 

Minnesota at Oregon State

Oregon State was hoping to take the next step in Year 3 under Gary Andersen. The early results aren’t promising: The Beavers lost in Week 0 at Colorado State (and gave up 58 points to a team that scored three the next week) and struggled last Saturday in a 35–32 win over Portland State. Minnesota 24, Oregon State 20   

Utah at BYU

Last week, BYU became the first team since 2011 to have fewer than 100 yards of offense and fewer than 40 snaps in a game. Not surprisingly, the Cougars didn’t score a point; they didn’t even cross the 50-yard line in the 27–0 loss to LSU. Utah 21, BYU 14       

Boise State at Washington State

Washington State snapped a two-game losing streak to FCS foes with a 31–0 win over Montana State in Week 1. Now, Boise State comes to town. The Broncos were great on defense but underwhelming on offense in a solid 11-point win over Troy. They will need more offensive production to win in Pullman. Washington State 34, Boise State 24

Houston at Arizona

Houston’s season starts one week later than expected due to Hurricane Harvey. The Cougars’ No. 1 priority in Tucson: Stop the run. Arizona rushed for 506 yards in a 62–24 win over Northern Arizona. Arizona 30, Houston 27

San Diego State at Arizona State        

Arizona State survived a bit of a scare in its opener but held on to beat New Mexico State 37–31. The alarming stat from the game: ASU allowed seven sacks, the most in the nation in Week 1. San Diego State 31, Arizona State 30