Week one of the college football season is in the books with a few surprises. Baylor losing to Liberty was ugly. The Georgia Tech-Tennessee game was a great game to watch. I must say I thought Yellow Jackets’ head coach Paul Johnson made the right choice going for two in double overtime even though it did not work. Alabama flexed its muscles against FSU and is the one team I feel confident in predicting as a playoff team. The loss of Deondre Francois for the season could be devastating for the Seminoles. I would not be surprised to see the Noles with three or four losses this year. Florida’s offensive woes seem to have followed them into yet another season making many question if offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier should be replaced. Rumors are starting to surface that Steve Spurrier might be open to the idea of calling plays for the Gators. If that is true, McElwain might want to give that some serious consideration. The Texas and Texas A&M losses were tough on a region already buckling from a hurricane. Aggie head coach Kevin Sumlin needs some big wins to keep his job. What will this week hold for college football fans? Here are some of the biggest games of week two.
Auburn-Clemson: Auburn is a popular pick as a surprise playoff team. Clemson is the reigning champions but must face life after Deshaun Watson. Transfer quarterback Jarrett Stidham is expected to be the savior for Auburn. This will be a matchup of two supposed heavyweights. I’ll go way out on limb here and pick the Tigers. Just kidding. I am not convinced that Stidham is going to just walk in and suddenly be the answer for Auburn. I think Auburn will be better but championship level. I will go with the Tigers that are not also War Eagles. Clemson by double-digits.
Oklahoma-Ohio State: This should be another great game. Oklahoma wants revenge for the thumping they received at home last year at the hands of the Buckeyes. Oklahoma quarterback and probable Heisman Trophy candidate, Baker Mayfield, had an exceptional game last week against UTEP going 19 of 20 for 329 yards and 3 TDs. Buckeye running back JK Dobbins had 181 yards on 29 carries against Indiana. I have little doubt that the Sooners will score on Ohio State. The question is whether the Oklahoma defense can handle JT Barrett and company. Look for a back and forth game with Oklahoma finding a way to win late in the game.
Stanford-USC: The common consensus is that Sam Darnold is the best college quarterback in the nation right now. He did not play like that in week one, throwing two interceptions. Stanford running back Bryce Love ran for 180 yards in their first game. Stanford thumped Rice in Australia while USC struggled against Western Michigan giving up 31 points before pulling away. I expect the Cardinal to show up with a stout defense and make Darnold earn everything he gets in this game. USC probably has more overall talent. I like Stanford in this game to shock those penciling in USC as a playoff team.
Georgia-Notre Dame: Last but certainly not least the local team heads north to face the Irish in South Bend Indiana. The Bulldogs lost starting quarterback Jacob Eason for at least a few weeks with an injury Saturday against Appalachian State. True freshman Jake Fromm looked good in relief in that game but it is different when the opposing team now has film on you and is preparing for you to be the starter. I think Fromm will prove to be a better quarterback than Eason in the long run but true freshmen tend to make freshmen mistakes and Fromm is likely to do that a few times if he is needed to play a large portion of the season. Still, I think Georgia has enough in place to handle Notre Dame behind Fromm. Touchdown Jesus may be celebrating Nick Chubb much of the game. Bulldogs win this one by a touchdown.
Florida and Miami have both cancelled their games this week in preparation for Hurricane Irma. This has been a stormy beginning to the season. Football is almost life and death here in the south but people’s lives are more important. Take a moment to pray for those in Irma’s path and those already suffering in Irma’s wake. After this week, conference play will crank up for most teams and we will start to see real separation in the pretenders and contenders. Then it will get real fun. If we can stop having hurricanes.