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College Football Picks: Predicting Final Scores for Every Game in Week 2

College Football Picks: Predicting Final Scores for Every Game in Week 2

College Football Picks: Predicting Final Scores for Every Game in Week 2

The Week 2 edition of picking every game on the college football schedule is highlighted by a key conference games in the Pac-12 (USC visits Stanford) and the SEC (Georgia at South Carolina) as well as intriguing non-conference showdowns such as Clemson at Texas A&M, Mississippi State at Kansas State and Penn State at Pittsburgh.

Friday, Sept. 7


SMU was one of the more disappointing teams in Week 1, falling behind North Texas 36–0 en route to a 46–23 loss. The Mustangs actually outgained UNT on a per-play basis (6.0 to 5.6) but ran only 43 plays from scrimmage. TCU should roll. TCU 48, SMU 21

Saturday, Sept. 8

Arizona at Houston

Arizona was also a colossal disappointment in Kevin Sumlin’s debut, losing at home to BYU 28–23. Khalil Tate was held to 197 yards passing and 14 yards rushing — not exactly a great start to a Heisman campaign. Houston overcame a sluggish start and beat Rice 45–27. Houston 30, Arizona 27

Duke at Northwestern

Both teams played well in Week 1 wins — Duke at home over Army and Northwestern at Purdue. The Wildcats, with a win, would be one of two teams (assuming Ohio State beats Rutgers) in the nation with two wins over Power 5 teams. Northwestern 27, Duke 21

Eastern Michigan at Purdue

Purdue lost its opener — by four points at home to Northwestern — but may have found its next star. True freshman Rondale Moore rushed two times for 79 yards (including a 76-yard TD) and caught 11 passes for 109 yards. Purdue 41, Eastern Michigan 17

Georgia Tech at South Florida

Blake Barnett was solid at QB in his first start for South Florida, throwing for 305 yards with five TDs and zero INTs in a win over Elon. Georgia Tech rolled to a 41–0 win over Alcorn State. Georgia Tech 30, South Florida 27

Liberty at Army

One year after winning at Baylor in a Week 1 shocker, Liberty dominated Old Dominion on the road with surprising ease, 52–10. Army must regroup after its 34–14 loss at Duke. The Black Knights attempted 21 passes, tied for the most at the school in the past nine seasons. Army 27, Liberty 20

Mississippi State at Kansas State

Kansas State avoided disaster by rallying from a 24–12 deficit entering the fourth quarter to beat South Dakota 27–24. The Wildcats are 1–4 against SEC teams over the last 10 years, with a win over Texas A&M and losses to Vanderbilt, Arkansas (twice) and Auburn. Mississippi State 35, Kansas State 24

Nevada at Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt limited a very good Middle Tennessee offense to seven points in a Week 1 win in Nashville. The Commodores will be tested again this weekend when Nevada — which scored 72 points against Portland State last Friday — makes its first trip to Nashville. Vanderbilt 35, Nevada 24

New Mexico at Wisconsin

Jonathan Taylor opened his sophomore season with 145 yards and two scores in a win over Western Kentucky. Expect more of the same against the Lobos. Wisconsin 47, New Mexico 21

Towson at Wake Forest

Wake Forest recorded a solid win in Week 1, knocking off Tulane 23–17 in overtime thanks to a breakout performance from true freshman quarterback Sam Hartman (378 passing yards, team-high 64 on the ground) and the talented receiving duo of Sage Surratt (11 catches for 150 yards) and Greg Dortch (12 for 149). Wake Forest 48, Towson 14

Western Michigan at Michigan

Michigan limps home after a difficult loss to Notre Dame to face a Western Michigan team that averaged 9.7 yards per play in a 55–42 loss at home to Syracuse. The Wolverines should win with relative ease, but the defense will be tested. Michigan 38, Western Michigan 21

Georgia State at NC State

It wasn’t easy, but NC State survived in Week 1, edging FCS power James Madison 24–13. The Wolfpack did some nice things in the passing game but struggled to run the ball. That will need to improve as the season progresses. NC State 34, Georgia State 7

Holy Cross at Boston College

One week after disposing of one in-state rival — the Eagles pounded UMass 55–21 — Boston College hosts Holy Cross from the FCS ranks. Expect a similar result. Boston College 49, Holy Cross 10

UCLA at Oklahoma

It was business as usual for Oklahoma in the first game without Baker Mayfield as the Sooners averaged 10.5 yards per play in a 63–14 win over Florida Atlantic. Chip Kelly’s debut at UCLA did not go well — and that’s an understatement. The Bruins lost at home to Cincinnati, barely topping 300 yards of offense in the process. Oklahoma 41, UCLA 13

Air Force at FAU

FAU must regroup from a sobering 63–14 loss at Oklahoma in which the Owls averaged only 4.4 yards per play, the fewest in a game during the Lane Kiffin era. Air Force blanked Stony Brook 38–0 behind a dominant defensive effort that limited the Seawolves to 75 yards on 50 plays. Air Force 33, FAU 31

Portland State at Oregon

Portland State lost in Week 1 to Nevada, 72–19. Now, the Pilots head to Eugene to play another — and better — FBS opponent. This will not go well. Oregon 66, Portland State 0

William & Mary at Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech was one of the most impressive teams in the opening weekend, dominating Florida State in Tallahassee with surprising ease. The Hokies should barely break a sweat in their home opener. Virginia Tech 44, William & Mary 10

Kansas at Central Michigan

These two teams played in Lawrence last season, with CMU recording a 45–27 win and outgaining the Jayhawks 590-to-470. They’ve each played one game this season: Kansas lost at home to Nicholls (and managed only 255 yards of offense) while Central Michigan dropped a 35–20 decision at Kentucky. Seems as though Central Michigan was the better team last year and Central Michigan is the better team this year. Central Michigan 34, Kansas 21

Arkansas State at Alabama

Tua Tagovailoa will make his first start at Bryant-Denny Stadium against an Arkansas State team that was picked by most to win the Sun Belt West Division title. The Red Wolves are a solid team — but they are no match for the mighty Crimson Tide. Alabama 48, Arkansas State 17

Ball State at Notre Dame

Notre Dame made a statement with an impressive win over Michigan Saturday night. The defense, led by first-time coordinator Clark Lea, was outstanding. Ball State is only the second MAC team to play in South Bend in the last eight seasons. Notre Dame 41, Ball State 14 

Buffalo at Temple

Despite losing at home to Villanova in Week 1, Temple finds itself as a 5-point favorite against a pretty good Buffalo team that features star power at quarterback and wide receiver. These teams played six times while Temple was in the MAC, with Buffalo winning the first three and temple winning the final three (including the last two by a combined score of 76–0). Buffalo 27, Temple 23

Colorado at Nebraska

Colorado makes its first trip to Lincoln since 2010, when these two programs last met as members of the Big 12. It should be a challenging debut for Scott Frost, whose Huskers lost the opportunity for a more manageable first game when the date with Akron was postponed due to inclement weather. This is not a great Colorado team, but the Buffaloes have a solid quarterback (Steven Montez) who has played in difficult venues. Nebraska 30, Colorado 27

Howard at Kent State

One year after shocking UNLV as a 45-point underdog, Howard came oh-so-close to pulling off another FCS vs. FBS upset, falling 38–32 at Ohio — the preseason favorite in the MAC. Kent State played well in Sean Lewis’ debut as head coach, losing 31–24 at Illinois. Quarterback Woody Barrett, a former four-star recruit and Auburn Tiger, threw for 270 yards and rushed for 117 in his first game at Kent State. Kent State 34, Howard 30

Memphis at Navy

This is a pivotal early season showdown between two teams that are expected to contend for the AAC West Division title. Navy was drilled by Hawaii 59–41 in Ken Niumatalolo’s homecoming on Saturday night. Now, the Midshipmen return home to face another powerful attack. Memphis had 752 yards of offense in a 66–14 win over Mercer. Memphis 44, Navy 37

Morgan State at Akron

This will be the opener for Akron, which had its game at Nebraska postponed due to inclement weather. Meanwhile, Morgan State lost at home to Towson, 36–10. This looks like an easy win for the Zips. Akron 47, Morgan State 13

Rutgers at Ohio State

Rutgers has scored a total of seven points in the last three games against Ohio State and has been outscored in the four games in the series by a combined score of 195–24. Ohio State 48, Rutgers 13

Georgia at South Carolina

South Carolina quarterback Jake Bentley is in his third year as the starter, and he has an outstanding group of wide receivers at his disposal. So don’t be surprised if South Carolina scores some points against a Georgia defense that isn’t quite settled yet. It’s the other side of the ball that is the concern. Georgia is loaded with playmakers and will put a ton of pressure on what figures to be a middle-of-the-pack SEC defense. Georgia 37, South Carolina 27

North Carolina at East Carolina

East Carolina is a 16.5-point underdog at home to a North Carolina team that managed 301 total yards in a defeat at Cal last week. That’s what happens when you open the season with a loss at home to an FCS team. North Carolina 34, East Carolina 14

Wagner at Syracuse

Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey was one of three players to rush for at least 200 yards in the opening week of the season. He is poised for a big senior season … if he can stay healthy. Syracuse 51, Wagner 13

ETSU at Tennessee

First-year ETSU coach Randy Sanders brings the Buccaneers to Knoxville to face his alma mater. Last week, Sanders recorded the first win of his career, a 28–7 victory over Mars Hill. It’s Jeremy Pruitt’s turn to break into the win column this week. Tennessee 44, ETSU 7

Lamar at Texas Tech

One of these teams scored 70 points in a Week 1 win. Hint: It wasn’t Texas Tech. Lamar rushed for 402 yards and threw for 193 in a 70­–7 victory over Kentucky Christian. The Cardinals won’t enjoy as much success this week. Texas Tech 44, Lamar 20

Southern Illinois at Ole Miss

Ole Miss was one of the most impressive teams in Week 1. Jordan Ta’amu was terrific at quarterback, and junior college transfer Scottie Phillips rushed for 204 yards in the Rebels’ 47–27 win over Texas Tech in Houston. Ole Miss 47, Southern Illinois 24

Iowa State at Iowa

Iowa State’s recent emergence under Matt Campbell has added some juice to this rivalry. Iowa has won the last three in the series, but Iowa State, surprisingly, has won two of the last three in Iowa City. Iowa 24, Iowa State 20

North Dakota at Washington

Washington returns home after a difficult loss in Atlanta to Auburn in one of the marquee games of Week 1. There might be a bit of a hangover — but it won’t matter. Washington 40, North Dakota 13

Appalachian State at Charlotte

With the possible exception of Washington, Appalachian State was the most impressive team in a losing effort in Week 1. The Mountaineers rallied to take a late lead over Penn State in State College before losing in overtime. There won’t be nearly as much drama this week. Appalachian State 37, Charlotte 13

Massachusetts at Georgia Southern

Georgia Southern is one of two teams in the nation that attempted fewer than 10 passes in Week 1. UMass, in two games, has attempted 62 passes. I think we call that contrasting styles. Georgia Southern 33, UMass 31

Maryland at Bowling Green

Maryland is a 16-point favorite on the road coming off its impressive win against Texas. Bowling Green is good enough (I think) to make this interesting if the Terps aren’t ready to play. Maryland 34, Bowling Green 17

Savannah State at Miami (Fla.)

Miami should have no problem picking up its first win of the season against a Savannah State team that lost at UAB 52–0 last week. This is a colossal mismatch. Miami 49, Savannah State 0

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South Carolina State at UCF

New coach. Same results. UCF rolled up 652 yards on a 9.3-yard average in a 56–17 win over UConn last Friday night. UCF 61, South Carolina State 13

Youngstown State at West Virginia

Week 1 was not kind to Bo Pelini and the Penguins. Youngstown State lost at home to Butler, a non-scholarship FCS team that plays in the Pioneer League. West Virginia gives scholarships. A lot of them. West Virginia 49, Youngstown State 7

Eastern Kentucky at Marshall

Marshall used a strong performance (272 passing yards, two TDs) from redshirt freshman quarterback Isaiah Green to edge Miami (Ohio) for the second straight season. Marshall 37, Eastern Kentucky 10

Baylor at UTSA

Baylor will be seeking to avenge last year’s 17–10 loss at home to UTSA in the second game of the Matt Rhule era. Baylor 28, UTSA 13

Clemson at Texas A&M

It’s another round of Jimbo Fisher vs. Dabo Swinney, but this time Fisher is the boss at Texas A&M after making the move from Florida State. The Aggies might not be the best team Clemson plays in 2018, but Kyle Field will no doubt be the most difficult environment the Tigers will deal with. Clemson 31, Texas A&M 17

Florida A&M at Troy

Troy was humbled in Week 1, losing at home to Boise State 56–20 in an intriguing battle of two quality (or so we thought) Group of 5 teams. The Trojans should still be one of the top teams in the Sun Belt — they just aren’t nearly as good as Boise State. Troy 37, Florida A&M 10

Indiana State at Louisville

There’s no shame in losing to Alabama, but it was a bit concerning that Louisville was handled with such ease. The Cardinals should have no problem with Indiana State, but it remains to be seen how competitive this team will be in the first year of the post-Lamar Jackson era. Louisville 47, Indiana State 10

ULM at Southern Miss

Both teams opened with FCS opponents. Southern Miss beat Jackson State 55–7. ULM edged SE Louisiana. Go with the home team that won big in Week 1. Southern Miss 34, ULM 18

SE Louisiana at LSU

The Tigers return to Baton Rouge fresh off an impressive win over Miami (Fla.). Ed Orgeron’s club has one week to relax with a road trip to Auburn looming. LSU 44, SE Louisiana 10

Southern at Louisiana Tech

Louisiana Tech’s schedule takes a dramatic turn after this visit from Southern. The Bulldogs’ next three games: at LSU, at North Texas, vs. UAB. Louisiana Tech 38, Southern 7

UT Martin at Middle Tennessee

The average sore of Middle Tennessee’s last three games against FCS opponents: 62–7. Middle Tennessee 62, UT Martin 7

Texas Southern at Texas State

Everett Withers has four wins in two-plus seasons as the boss at Texas State. Two of those four have come against FCS opponents. Texas State 27, Texas Southern 17

UAB at Coastal Carolina

There’s not much to read into the Week 1 performances of either of these teams. UAB, as expected, dominated Savannah State (52–0), and Coastal Carolina, as expected, had trouble at South Carolina (lost 49–15). UAB is well-positioned for a run at the West Division title in Conference USA, while Coastal Carolina appears to be one of the weaker teams in the Sun Belt. Simply put: UAB is the much better team. UAB 34, Coastal Carolina 18

Wyoming at Missouri

Wyoming has lost 13 straight games against Power 5 opponents dating back to the 2008 season. Missouri 41, Wyoming 17

Samford at Florida State

Florida State not only needs a big win over Samford, but the Seminoles also need to look good doing so after the Week 1 disaster at home against Virginia Tech. Florida State 47, Samford 0

Alabama State at Auburn

Auburn, which topped Washington in a huge Week 1 showdown, gets to take a deep breath this week before LSU comes to down next week. Auburn 45, Alabama State 0

Arkansas at Colorado State

Colorado State has allowed more than 1,200 yards of offense through two games — losses at home to Hawaii and to Colorado in Denver. The Hogs lack elite playmakers at the skill positions but shouldn’t have too much trouble moving the ball. Arkansas 38, Colorado State 17

FIU at Old Dominion

Old Dominion, quietly, had a very disappointing effort in Week 1. The Monarchs, expected to be a factor in the C-USA West race, lost at home to Liberty 52–10. FIU also lost at home but was far more respectable in a 10-point defeat to Indiana. FIU 33, Old Dominion 30

Fresno State at Minnesota

Fresno State scored 79 points on 486 yards in a Week 1 win over Idaho. That’s a pretty strong points-to-yards ratio. Minnesota overcame a sluggish start and beat New Mexico State with ease. This is a fun non-conference game. Minnesota 24, Fresno State 23

Maine at Western Kentucky

This is an important game for Western Kentucky, which is already 0–1 and has to play three of its next four on the road. The Hilltoppers cannot afford to slip up against an FCS foe. Western Kentucky 35, Maine 17

Incarnate Word at North Texas

North Texas ran 94 plays, rolled up 529 yards of offense and drilled regional rival SMU 46–23 in a very impressive opener to the 2018 season. This is a really good team. North Texas 51, Incarnate Word 14

Kentucky at Florida

Kentucky will be searching for its first win over Florida since 1986 and its first win over the Gators in Gainesville since 1979. It’s not going to happen in 2018. The question is: Can the Wildcats keep things interesting? Florida 30, Kentucky 14

Utah at Northern Illinois

Utah makes its first trip east of the Mississippi River since playing — and beating — Michigan in Ann Arbor in September 2014. Northern Illinois played well defensively in its loss at Iowa last week but really struggled to get anything going offensively. Utah 30, Northern Illinois 13

Virginia at Indiana

This is a quality non-conference game between two Power 5 teams that are coming off solid showings in Week 1. Indiana won 34–17 in Charlottesville last year. Make it two straight for the Hoosiers. Indiana 38, Virginia 30

Western Illinois at Illinois

Illinois avoided disaster, rallying to beat Kent State by seven points last Saturday. The Fighting Illini should improve to 2–0 — for the second straight season — when the Leathernecks come to town this weekend. Illinois 37, Western Illinois 14

Cincinnati at Miami (Ohio)

Luke Fickell’s rebuild took a big step forward with a 26–17 win at UCLA last weekend. Sure, this is not a very good UCLA team, but it’s still a great win for the Bearcats. This week, they make the short trip to take on a big rival. UC, surprisingly, has won 12 straight in the series. Cincinnati 27, Miami 20

Nicholls at Tulane

Both teams went into overtime against an FBS opponent in Week 1. Nicholls won at Kansas. Tulane lost to Wake Forest. Tulane really needs to win this game. Tulane 30, Nicholls 20

New Mexico State at Utah State

New Mexico State is one of three teams in the nation that has two losses (joining Rice and Colorado State). The Aggies aren’t likely to break through this week. Utah State played very well in a seven-point loss at Michigan State on Friday night. Utah State 37, New Mexico State 17

Penn State at Pittsburgh

We all remember what happened the last time these two teams played in Pittsburgh — the Panthers won 42–39 — but don’t forget that last year Penn State rolled to a 33–14 victory at Beaver Stadium. It won’t be as easy this time around, but the Nittany Lions — who boast the better roster — will record their first win at Pitt since 1998. Penn State 31, Pittsburgh 23

South Alabama at Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State was one of four teams nationally that topped 700 yards last week and the only team to hit the 400-yard rushing, 300-yard passing plateaus. Oklahoma State 51, South Alabama 13

Southern Utah at Oregon State

Oregon State scored 31 points and had 392 yards of offense against Ohio State. Not bad. The problem: Ohio State had 77 points and 721 yards. Oregon State 41, Southern Utah 13

Tulsa at Texas

Few teams in American need a win as badly as Texas. Tulsa won’t be a gimme, but the Longhorns should improve to 1–1. Texas 40, Tulsa 20

USC at Stanford

Can Bryce Love, who shockingly rushed for only 29 yards on 18 carries against San Diego State, get on track against a USC defense that allowed 308 rushing yards (on a 7.2-yard average) to UNLV last week? Stanford 30, USC 24

Sacramento State at San Diego State

San Diego State held Stanford to 50 yards rushing last week. That’s the good news. The bad news: The Cardinal threw for 332 and cruised to a 31–10 win in Palo Alto. San Diego State 38, Sacramento State 10


It was a brutal debut for Dana Dimel at UTEP. The Miners lost at home to Northern Arizona 30–10 and managed only 229 yards of offense. UNLV 38, UTEP 7

California at BYU

This is a great opportunity for BYU to open with back-to-back wins over Pac-12 teams, which would be a nice turnaround after the Cougars went 0–4 against Power 5 teams last year — and looked bad doing so. California recorded a nice win over North Carolina, but the Bears have some serious issues on offense. BYU 20, California 14

Connecticut at Boise State

Boise State flexed its muscles with a dominating 56–20 win at Troy. Connecticut was pounded at home by UCF, 56–17. This won’t be close. Boise State 56, Connecticut 20

Michigan State at Arizona State

Herm Edwards’ debut went about as well as possible; Arizona State dominated UTSA 49–7, and the Sun Devils showed significant star power at quarterback (Manny Wilkins), running back (Eno Benjamin) and wide receiver (N’Keal Harry). Michigan State, on the other hand, was not impressive in its 38–31 Week 1 win over Utah State. I smell upset. Arizona State 30, Michigan State 27

San Jose State at Washington State

San Jose State’s season got off to a difficult start; the Spartans lost at home to UC Davis, 44–38, allowing 589 yards of offense. This will not go well for Brent Brennan’s team. Washington State 51, San Jose State 10

Rice at Hawaii

Hawaii has emerged as arguably the biggest surprise in the nation, winning its first two games outright as a double-digit underdog — at Colorado State and at home vs. Navy. Rice’s defense is no match for the powerful Rainbow Warrior attack. Hawaii 41, Rice 20

College Football Week 2 Preview