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Outrageous College Football Predictions for Week 2


Week 1 of the 2016 college football season turned out to be pretty much everything we expected and then some. We saw upsets, close calls and dominant performances by some dominant programs. We also saw a fair amount of outrageousness.

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That won't stop in Week 2, and as always, I'm right here to give you an idea of some of the outrageousness you can expect as we head into the weekend.

Outrageous College Football Predictions for Week 2

UCF upsets Michigan

UCF head coach Scott Frost knows how to win football games, literally at every level. His Knights pitched a shutout (albeit against an FCS school) in the season opener and looked like a very confident team in doing so. The difference in caliber of athletes between UCF and Michigan is probably not a big as the causal fan might assume. I like Central Florida's underrated athleticism and depth on offense to keep the Michigan D on its heels all day. On the other side of the ball, don't be shocked if that same athleticism limits Michigan's big plays through the air and renders the Wolverines relatively one-dimensional. UCF is playing with house money, and the longer the Knights keep this one close, the more confident they'll become on their way to the biggest upset of this young season.

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Northwestern starts the year 0-2

After losing a heartbreaker at home against Western Michigan to open the season, Pat Fitzgerald's crew has to pick up the pieces and prepare for yet another solid-yet-underrated opponent. Illinois State is one of the very best FCS programs in the country, and they aren't afraid to go toe-to-toe with a middle-of-the-road Power Five team (which Northwestern is). The Redbirds' running back-receiver combo of George Moreira and Anthony Warrum will be one of the better offensive duos the Wildcats face all season. I expect Illinois State to come out swinging early while Northwestern tries its hardest to simply out-muscle the visitors. By the time the Wildcats figure out that their strategy isn't working and decide they need to open up the offense, they'll be well on their way to 0-2.

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UCLA starts the year 0-2

A lot of people had the Bruins as a dark-horse contender for the College Football Playoff — and some still do. The overtime loss to Texas A&M put a damper on things to begin the year, but it also exposed some weaknesses of Jim Mora's team. Texas A&M provided the blueprint for disrupting UCLA's passing attack and throwing off the Bruins' timing routes. Look for UNLV head coach Tony Sanchez — a sneaky-good X's and O's guy — to put his Rebels in position to do the same. On the other side of the ball, UNLV features an offense that is more than comfortable getting into a shootout with Josh Rosen and company. Rebels starting quarterback Johnny Stanton (transfer from Nebraska) didn't need to throw the ball much last weekend, but when he did, he was deadly accurate. Having one of the nation's top receivers in Devonte Boyd to target can't hurt. Expect a high-scoring affair with the boys from Sin City coming out on top in this one.

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The SEC runs the table (sort of)

Week 1 was not great for the SEC, and as a result, the haters and trolls (myself included) were out in full force. They'll have very little fodder this weekend, as the conference's slate looks a bit less challenging than last week's. Of the non-conference games involving SEC teams, only Tennessee-Virginia Tech, Arkansas-TCU and LSU-Jacksonville State (I'll get to that one later) should be anything close to dicey. Look for Tennessee to have learned from its scare against Appalachian State and come away with a sound win over the Hokies. As far as Arkansas, I like Bret Bielema to have TCU's spread attack scouted perfectly, leading to a Razorback upset. The SEC's only losses will come courtesy of head-to-head matchups within the conference.

LSU barely escapes with a win against Jacksonville State

Just like Northwestern, the Tigers will try to bounce back from a demoralizing loss by taking on one of the best teams from the FCS. Jacksonville State has the horses to make this one more than interesting, especially on defense. I'm not calling for the outright upset, but the Tigers will be pushed to their limits in this one, with their depth being the difference in a one-score game.

College Football Top 25: LSU

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.