WEEK ONE IN REVIEW
Five FCS teams knocked off their bigger brother on Saturday. The most stunning loss happened in Lawrence, Kansas, where Nicholls State beat Kansas in overtime 26-23. The Colonel’s used a four yard touchdown run by Chase Fourcade to cap off the stunning victory. The loss by the Jayhawks prompted an immediate response from Kansas Athletic Director Jeff Long. “We all expected a different outcome Saturday but I continue to support our student-athletes and coaches and ask all Jayhawks to do the same,” Long said. “Our evaluation of the program is ongoing without a predetermined timeline.” Head Coach David Beaty is in his fourth season with Kansas and is just 3-34. U C Davis dropped San Jose State 44-38. Villanova defeated Temple in a battle of two Philadelphia schools. Northern Arizona embarrassed UTEP 30-10 and East Carolina fell to North Carolina A&T 28-23.
Emotion always plays a big part in college sports and we saw that first hand in College Park, Maryland. Interim head coach Matt Canada had his team sky-high for the season opener with Texas. Maryland has dedicated its season to offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who collapsed on the practice field on May 29 and died two weeks later of heat stroke. It was the second straight season opening win over Tom Herman’s Texas Longhorns.
I was eagerly awaiting the debut’s of several head coaches in the SEC and PAC-12. The results were pretty much as expected. Five SEC coaches made their debut. Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Arkansas and Florida all feasted on FCS opponents and enjoyed big wins. Jeremy Pruitt and his Tennessee Volunteers were blasted by West Virginia 40-14. It was a far different result in the PAC-12, where five additional coaches made their debut. Unlike their SEC counterparts, each PAC-12 club played FBS opponents. Oregon’s Mario Cristobal and Arizona State’s Herm Edwards enjoyed a victory cigar. Oregon State, Arizona and UCLA, all hit the loss column. The Bruins loss was particularly ugly for head coach Chip Kelly. The Cincinnati Bearcats upset the Bruins 26-17. The Bruins lost starting quarterback Wilton Speight to a back injury. In my PAC-12 preview I called for a 3-9 campaign for UCLA, and received quite a bit of flack. The Bruins are simply a team in search of identity. Kelly looked like a “Deer in the headlights”, as he walked the sidelines. The Bruins are a 31 point underdog to Oklahoma this Saturday. How the mighty have fallen!
PLAY OF THE WEEK
WHAT TO WATCH IN WEEK TWO
Week two of the college football season is usually littered with lopsided matchups. This is once again the case this season, as 30 games will feature a FBS home team facing a FCS school. We have just two top 25 matchups. Stanford will travel to USC, while Georgia makes the short trek to South Carolina. I think both these games should be very entertaining and will surely provide us with plenty of answers, about all four squads.
I’ll be very interested to see how Miami, Florida State and Michigan bounce back from very lackluster performances in week one. All three play a week opponent this week and should roll to easy victories. My favorite game on this weekends card, will be the battle in College Station, Texas. Clemson will invade Kyle Field, looking to make a statement to the pollsters. Dabo Swiney and Jimbo Fisher have been fierce rivals in the ACC. Swiney has won three straight matchups against Fisher. If you’re looking for a couple of under the radar matchups, I have two for you. Fresno State will travel to the Twin cities, to take on Minnesota. The Bulldogs could be a player in the NON-Power five. South Florida will host Georgia Tech. The Bulls are another sleeper team to keep an eye on. I have predictions on all these games below. Keep an eye on Kansas this Saturday. The Jayhawks may need a win to keep head coach David Beaty’s job.
THIS WEEKS FEATURED GAMES
No.3 GEORGIA (1-0) AT No.24 SOUTH CAROLINA (1-0) This will be a huge test for South Carolina. Many think the Gamecocks are ready for the task at hand. Both teams tuned for this SEC opener with easy wins. This is Will Muschamp’s best team since he became head coach in 2016. The Gamecocks are better on both sides of the ball and have fourteen starters back. Georgia head coach Kirby Smart will attempt to have a balanced offense to keep the Gamecock defense honest. D’ Andre Swift should have a big day running behind what could be the best offensive line in the country. The Gamecocks kept this game very close last year, despite having several key performers miss this contest. I expect this game to play out similarly, with the same result. BULLDOGS SCRATCH AND CLAW THEIR WAY TO A WIN 26-20.
No.17 USC (1-0) AT No.10 STANFORD (1-0) This is the premier battle out west. Both teams enter 1-0 and looking to make a statement in the PAC-12. I was surprised by what I thought was a weak offensive performance by the Cardinal in their win over San Diego State. Heisman hopeful Bryce Love was held to just 29 yards on 18 carries. The Trojans meanwhile looked sharp in a season opening win over UNLV. True freshman JT Daniels got the nod at quarterback for the Trojans and played well tossing for 282 yards and one touchdown. The Cardinal will provide a stern test for the young gunslinger. The Cardinal will be seeking double-revenge, after dropping two games to the Trojans last year. KJ Costello will be the difference in this game. His leadership will carry the Cardinal to victory. TREE FALLS ON TROJANS 28-24.
No.2 CLEMSON (1-0) AT TEXAS A&M (1-0) This is the premier matchup this weekend. Dabo Swiney and Jimbo Fisher are no strangers to one another. The two have squared off in each of the past eight years, going 4-4 head to head. Swiney plans to play both Trevor Lawrence and Kelly Bryant. Both played last week for the Tigers and both looked sharp. The Tigers have edges on offense, defense and special teams. The Aggies will counter with their home field advantage. Clemson will be the highest ranked non-conference opponent to ever play at Kyle Field. The Tigers should be focused, and will be wanting to impress the pollsters. TIGERS SCORE EARLY AND OFTEN, 35-17
MISSISSIPPI STATE (1-0) AT KANSAS STATE (1-0) Head coach Joe Moorhead delivered a message to Nick Fitzgerald in week one, when he suspended his star quarterback. Fitzgerald watched as his understudy Keytaon Thompson account for seven touchdowns in a rout of Stephen F. Austin. “I think Nick handled (the suspension) extremely well,” Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead said. “He worked to give our defense a very good look. He was very mature during the week during meetings and on the field. On game day, he was a vocal presence on the sideline and a great resource for K.T. being out there in just his second start.” Meanwhile, the Wildcats needed 15 fourth quarter points to squeak past South Dakota 27-24. The Bulldog defensive front will shut down the running game of the Wildcats, forcing Bill Snyder’s squad to hit the airwaves. That’s a recipe for disaster. Fitzgerald will be chomping at the bit, to show his head coach what he can do under center. FITZY BACK IN THE SADDLE, 42-14.
FRESNO STATE (1-0) AT MINNESOTA (1-0) True freshman walk-on quarterback Zack Annexstad led the Gophers to an opening 48-10 win over New Mexico State. Annexstad beat out three other competitors for the job. Head coach PJ Fleck loves the confidence of his new pupil. After an early turnover Annexstad had this to say to his coach. “I think we’re going to be all right.” Fleck said. “Usually it’s me telling people, `Hey, you’re going to be OK.’ That’s his personality. It’s different, and I like it.” Fresno State will give the Gophers all they can handle. Jeff Tedford’s squad is loaded with quality athletes led by dual-threat quarterback Marcus McMaryion. The Bulldogs are a very underrated team and will be fun to watch all season. I’ll back the more experienced road team in this clash. ANOTHER SET OF BULLDOGS BULLY THE RODENTS, 33-21
SUPER SIX PACK………… SIX GAMES, SIX WORDS, SIX PICKS
KANSAS (0-1) AT CENTRAL MICHIGAN (0-1) Jayhawks rushed for 1.8 yards per carry versus Nicholls. CHIPPEWAS SCALP HAWKS 37-28.
LIBERTY (1-0) AT ARMY (0-1) Cadets threw 21 passes last week. Five will do the trick this week. RUN BABY RUN 41-21.
DUKE (1-0) AT NORTHWESTERN (1-0) This is one of the better games this weekend. COIN FLIP SAYS TAILS, CATS 23-20.
KENTUCKY (1-0) AT No.25 FLORIDA (1-0) Gators have won 31 straight games in series. MAKE IT 32 IN A ROW 35-21.
IOWA STATE (0-0) AT IOWA (1-0) The battle for the Iowa corn Cy-Hawk series goes tooooo……….. HAWKEYES 24-21.
No.13 PENN STATE (1-0) AT PITTSBURGH (1-0) Nittany Lions we’re slapped upside the face Saturday. PANTHERS WILL PAY THE PRICE, 31-14.