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College Football Week 2: Games to Watch

The glut of football grows to obscene levels this weekend with a second helping of college football now piled onto a first of the NFL. With three top 25 match ups, the college game is wasting little time in getting good.

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Lee Corso wearing an over sized elephant head, oddly enough making his nose look more proportionate to his face.

The BYU Cougars throwing a Hail Joe Smith to give the Huskers their first opening day defeat in three decades.

Nick Saban and Alabama crushing yet another highly ranked opponent right out of the gates in an over hyped game. As a result, so begins the inevitable leapfrogging of TCU.

Cardale over J.T.?

What an opening weekend of college football action it was. Week two now syncs up with the start of the NFL season to give football geeks a sportgasm they can no longer contain.

Whose ready for seconds? And. Here. We. Go!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Kansas State Wildcats (1-0) at Texas San Antonio Roadrunners (0-1)

11:00 a.m. (CT) on Fox Sports 1

I know it's hard to believe, but K-State's band getting cute wasn't the biggest story to come out of the Wildcats' opening day victory over South Dakota. Going into the season, sophomore quarterback Jesse Ertz rocketed up the Wildcat depth chart. People around Manhattan were throwing around Collin Klein comparisons. Unlike the superhuman durability of Klein, Ertz lasted one play on Saturday. A five yard carry that ended in his knee unfortunately getting wrecked. Enter Joe Hubener. Not nearly as dynamic as Ertz, he did nothing to get in the way of the Cats' victory, but completed just 50% of his passes en route to a very pedestrian 147 yards.

Larry Coker's UTSA Roadrunners looked very game in their opener on the road against #20 Arizona. Led by quarterback Blake Bogenschutz (322 yards, 2 TDs), the Road Runners showcased a potent offense that put 32 points on, and the scare in, the Arizona Wildcats, who found themselves needing all four quarters to shake what was supposed to be a game one gimme opponent. The Roadrunners continue their tour of generically named mascots this weekend, at home in San Antonio, against a K-State Wildcat team that may be floundering in a state of flux at QB.

My respect for Bill Snyder and the K-State program makes me stop short of calling for an upset here, but this game might be more difficult than K-State expected when the schedule was made. Of course, don't expect Kansas fans to cry if the 'Cats go down here.


Minnesota Golden Gophers (0-1) at Colorado State Rams (1-0)

2:30 p.m. (CT) on CBS Sport Network

I don't know where to even find the CBS Sports Network on the dial, but if you have it you might give this gem of a non-con matchup a watch.

Jim McElwain parlayed the first 10 win season at Colorado State since 2002 into landing the head coaching job at Florida. McElwain's Rams' offense was explosive last year as CSU was flirting with landing a spot in the Fiesta Bowl. In order to keep the offense rolling, CSU brought in as McElwain's replacement, Mike Bobo. A man who - besides having a Dabo Swinney level ridiculous name - spent the last seven years as Mark Richt's offensive coordinator at Georgia. In game one, Bobo's Rams put 65 points on Savannah State. In replacing school record setting passer, Garrett Grayson, sophomore Rams QB Nick Stevens looked more than capable in throwing for 289 yards and 5 TDs.

Minnesota's defense looked up to the task in slowing down TCU last Thursday night. The offense left a lot of points on the field though. Sota's quarterback Mitch Leidner looked weak armed an inaccurate against the Frogs. With a second straight tough non-con opponent, the Gophers are staring at an 0-2 start unless they can get that offense to learn how to finish drives.

Colorado State fancies itself a future invitee to the hodgepodge Big 12. Minnesota wants to move up and become a significant player in the Big 10. In order to do so, both programs need to build on their recent success by winning tough non-con games like this one.


Iowa Hawkeyes (1-0) at Iowa State Cyclones (1-0)

3:45 p.m. (CT) on Fox

Since 2011 this non-con rivalry between Iowa schools has produced some exciting games with an average margin of victory of less than four points. Last year's 20-17 win by the Cardinals in a Blender came on a literal last second field goal. It was one of just two Iowa State wins in 2014.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz can hear Hawkeye fans sharpening their pitchforks as his record of mediocrity over the last four seasons has been compounded by his 1-3 record against the Cyclones during that span. Iowa fans see this as completely unacceptable. They see, treat and talk about Iowa State like they would an inbred cousin.


#19 Oklahoma Sooners (1-0) at #23 Tennessee (1-0)

5:00 p.m. (CT) on ESPN

The first of three monster games between ranked opponents this weekend.

Oklahoma unveiled its recommitment to the Air Raid offense this past Saturday. Texas Tech transfer, Baker Mayfield, let the ball fly all over the field for 388 yards and 3 TDs. Lost in all that chucking was Samaje Perine. As a freshman, Perine ran for 1713 yards. Kansas fans may remember the NCAA record 427 of them he put up against the Jayhawks in 2014. Last Saturday the Sooners didn't even really try to run as they finished the day with barely 100 yards. Of those, Perine had just 33 yards on 11 carries. It will be interesting to see how Oklahoma finds an offensive balance this season.

Meanwhile in Knoxville, 2015 is the hoped for long awaited return to national relevance for Tennessee. Butch Jones, after building up successful programs at Central Michigan and then Cincinnati, in 2014 led Tennessee to its first bowl win since 2007. Crazy to think that last year was one of just two winning seasons in the last seven years at this one time SEC powerhouse, which has averaged just five wins a season during that time. There was a lot of preseason chatter that Tennessee might be a player in the SEC East Divisional race.

In their first game, Tennessee's offense didn't disappoint in piling up 604 yards. Volunteer running backs Alvin Kamara and Jalen Hurd both went for a buck and change and Joshua Dobbs almost did as well. All three runners accounted for 36 of Tennessee's 59 points.

Problem was Bowling Green put up 30 points themselves due to Falcons' QB Matt Johnson absolutely shredding the Vols' pass defense for 424 yards. Could be an even longer day for them with Mayfield and the Sooners coming to town.

This one has all the makings of a good old fashion barn burner. Stoops and his Sooners like taking swipes at the overblown status of the SEC. Last year in Norman, Oklahoma dismantled Tennessee 34-10. This year Tennessee would love to return the favor on their home field. Both teams need this game for the good of their wounded national prestige.


Memphis Tigers (1-0) at Kansas Jayhawks (0-1)

6:00 p.m. (CT) on ESPN 3

In 2014 the Memphis Tigers came out of nowhere to finish #25 in the polls with a record of 10-3 after a shootout victory over BYU in the Miami Beach Bowl. A game most remembered for the bench clearing brawl that erupted after the Tigers won the game in double OT.

It was the first winning season at Memphis since 2007, and the first double digit winning season in the program's 55 year history. In 2015 Memphis seems to have picked up right where they left off as the Tigers absolutely mud stomped Missouri State 63-7 last Saturday. Memphis had a 28 point lead before most Tiger fans had even taken their seats. That's terrible news for the Jayhawks who went down 31-7 against South Dakota State before the second quarter was 12 minutes old.

Tigers' senior QB Paxton Lynch basically got the night off after a quarter of play, as if this game was an NFL preseason tilt. The Tigers ran for 317 yards as they did all they could to mercifully kill the clock and the Bears' suffering. The Tigers have nothing really to fear in the Jayhawks. Kansas fans would just like to see if their new offense can put up numbers against an FBS opponent.

Side note about Memphis fans. I'm looking forward to hanging out with them again. Probably my favorite opposing fans I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. I was in St. Louis back in November of 2009 when the 'Hawks played the Tigers in basketball. At our hotel and at the arena, Memphis fans were nothing but great people who knew how to have a good time.

With that being said, I'll be wearing my 2008 basketball national championship t-shirt to this football game. Forgive me. I have to. It's all we 'Hawk fans have to gloat about in this one. "Got it! With two seconds! Unbelievable!"


#7 Oregon Ducks (1-0) at #5 Michigan State Spartans (1-0)

7:00 p.m. (CT) on ABC

The first game between top 10 teams of this young 2015 season.

Up in East Lansing, Spartan coach Mark Dantonio has put together the quietest powerhouses in all of college football. Michigan State has won 11+ games in four of the last five seasons. The Spartans have won four straight bowl games. Over the last two seasons they have gone 24-3, and posted back to back top five finishes. All this success and a top five ranking in the 2015 preseason polls has Spartan fans legitimately talking national title for the first time since the mid 1960s. If Sparty posts a win over the Oregon Ducks this weekend, it won't matter what TCU and Baylor do against their creampuff opponents, the voters will jump MSU over both of them and into the #3 spot in the next batch of top 25 polls.

As Lee Corso would say though, "Not so fast my friend." Last season Oregon gave Michigan State one of its two losses, and did so in embarrassing fashion. Yes, that was in Eugene, and yes that was with Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota at QB, but the Ducks are still armed with one of the most explosive offenses in the nation. Their new quarterback, Vernon Adams Jr, is a pretty damn good run pass threat himself.

Oregon's offense is fine. Their defense, however, gave up 42 points to the Eastern Washington Eagles in their first game of the season. It is possible that Oregon was looking past Eastern Washington to this game against the Spartans. But if the Ducks' D had their hands full against the Eagles' Jordan West, they might have fits against Michigan State senior passer Connor Cook.


#14 LSU Tigers (0-0) at #25 Mississippi State Bulldogs (1-0)

8:15 p.m. (CT) on ESPN

Uncooperative weather robbed LSU of its tune up game to start the season. Instead the Tigers have to jump right in against a ranked SEC opponent with a Heisman calibur quarterback.

Dak Prescott looked like his dangerous self in his Bulldogs' bully bait game against Southern Miss. Last season it was against the then #8 ranked LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge that Mississippi State started its unreal October run from unranked to #1 in the nation. This year the Tigers are coming to Starkville to have their ears bludgeoned by all those Bulldog fans and their strange cowbells. "I've got a fever. And the only prescription is more cowbell!"

Mississippi State lost a lot of talent from their 2014 team. The Tigers - on paper, as the cliché goes - look like the better team. But this one is on the road, and the paper Tigers are coming in cold. In the brutal SEC West Division, if LSU wants to remain relevant in the division title race, they can ill afford to drop this game.


#20 Boise State Broncos (1-0) at BYU Cougars (1-0)

9:15 p.m. (CT) on ESPN 2

If you've got it in you, stay up to watch this excellent far west nightcap.

Boise State long ago passed BYU as the mid major darling of the western Rockies, but LaVell Edwards Stadium is no easy place to play.

For the second straight season, BYU lost their star quarterback, Taysom Hill, for the year...

Freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum came on as Hill's  replacement and saved the day with a hero throw that left 70,000 Husker fans pining for Bo Pelini. Being a freshman at BYU is different than at most schools. Due to serving time on a mission, I'm pretty sure Mangum is 35 now. But I may have to check my facts on that one...

One fact that doesn't need checking is that Mangum is from Idaho and was recruited hard by the Broncos. They could have used him last Friday night as sophomore Bronco quarterback, Ryan Finley, played like absolute crap in helping Boise almost piss away a home game against former Broncos' coach Chris Petersen's Washington Huskies.

One of these two teams very well could be the non power five conference rep invited to a big time bowl game by season's end.


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