Thank God football is back. After long months of nothing but baseball, hard-hitting football is back, and Week 1 of the college football season did not disappoint. Florida State and Alabama battled it out for about 3 quarters before Alabama finally gained control. Howard pulled off the largest upset in college football history as 45-point underdogs. Liberty knocked off a tough Baylor team. As good as Week 1 was, Week 2 has the chance to be even better.
Here’s a breakdown of the top 5 games to watch for this week in college football:
5. Utah Utes (-1.5) @ BYU Cougars
This is a trap game early in the season for the Utah Utes who are coming in off a 37-16 win over North Dakota. BYU will look to turn around their fortunes after being embarrassed by LSU’s stifling defense in a 27-0 game where they failed to reach Tiger territory. BYU has their second tough game in a row, and it does not get any easier for them next week when they take on #9 Wisconsin. Utah will be led by their offensive trio of QB Tyler Huntley, who tossed for 237 yards and a touchdown on 23-32 passing and ran for 70 more yards and another touchdown, RB Zack Moss who ran for 128 yards and a touchdown, and WR Darren Carrington II who exploded for 127 receiving yards and a touchdown. BYU will be led by QB Tanner Mangum, who is coming off probably the worst game he has ever played. He finished 12-24 for 102 yards and an interception. He posted a QBR of 14.0. BYU finished with -5 rushing yards in their last game which almost doesn’t seem possible. BYU has a long way to go to fix their team, so I give the advantage to Utah who will win by 15+ on the road against their in-state rival.
Prediction: Utah 42-24
4. #15 Georgia @ #24 Notre Dame (-4.0)
This is a critical game for both of these teams. Georgia won their first game against Appalachian State 31-10. Early in that game, starting QB Jacob Eason went down with a left knee injury. He missed the rest of the game after a lethargic start by the Georgia offense. Backup QB Jake Fromm entered the game and immediately made an impact. Georgia scored 3 touchdowns in the rest of the first half en route to an easy win. Georgia RB’s Nick Chubb and Sony Michel each had a great game last week: Chubb ran for 96 yards and 2 touchdowns while Michel added 87 yards and a touchdown.
Facing Georgia this week are the Irish of Notre Dame, who are spending their first week this season in the top 25. Notre Dame had a convincing Week 1 win by defeating the Temple Owls 49-16. Led by QB Brandon Wimbush, the Irish offense exploded last week with three 100-yard rushers. Wimbush was 17/30 for 184 yards and a touchdown while also scrambling for 106 yards and another touchdown. RB Josh Adams had an amazing game rushing for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dexter Williams added 124 yards rushing with 1 more touchdown. Notre Dame will look to continue their rushing success and try to keep climbing up the rankings.
Prediction: Georgia 31-27
3. #14 Stanford @ #6 USC (-6.5)
This is a crucial game for both teams as it features 2 PAC-12 rivals in an early-season divisional matchup. Both teams have a good chance of winning the PAC-12 which makes this game even more crucial. Stanford is coming off an absolute annihilation of Rice, 62-7. QB Keller Chryst led the Cardinal with 253 yards and 2 touchdowns on 14-24 passing. Bryce Love ran for 180 yards on 13 carries with a touchdown. Cameron Scarlett dominated with 3 touchdowns on 59 yards rushing. USC is looking to advance to 2-0 after struggling with Western Michigan before ultimately pulling away in a 49-31 win. QB Sam Darnold entered this season as the Heisman favorite and did not quite live up to the hype in the season opener. He was 23-33 for 289 yards but did not throw a touchdown and tossed 2 interceptions. RBs Ronald Jones II and Stephen Carr combined for 228 yards with 5 touchdowns.
Prediction: USC wins in a tight game 24-23
2. #13 Auburn @ #3 Clemson (-5.0)
In an early top-15 matchup, the Auburn Tigers (1-0) are taking on the Clemson Tigers (1-0) at Death Valley. This will be a tough matchup for Auburn on the road, especially after getting a throw-away game Week 1 against Georgia Southern. Auburn won that game 41-7. QB Jarrett Stidham will need to have a much better game Week 2 if he wants a chance to upset Clemson. Stidham was 14-24 for 185 yards, 1 touchdown, and 1 interception. The Auburn rushing game was strong, as they had two rushers that each ran for 136 yards and a touchdown: Kenyon Johnson and Kam Martin. Clemson had an easy game Week 1 and lived up to the hype. They won easily 56-3 against Kent State. QB Kelly Bryant showed off his potential in this one as he went 16-22 for 236 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. He also ran for 77 yards and a touchdown. Clemson’s offensive line and rushing game looked strong as they ran for 6 touchdowns.
Prediction: Clemson wins easily 38-10 as Auburn shows that they are overrated
1: #5 Oklahoma at #2 Ohio State (-7.0)
For the second straight year, Oklahoma and Ohio State will battle it out in an early season matchup. Last year, Ohio State pulled off the victory thanks to their stifling defense and a solid performance by JT Barrett. This year’s matchup will feature the same potential Heisman quarterbacks as last year in Baker Mayfield and JT Barrett. Oklahoma is coming off a 56-7 thrashing of UTEP. Baker Mayfield had an amazing start to his season going 19-20 for 329 yards and 3 touchdowns. Kyler Murray also came off the bench and went 10-11 for 149 yards and a touchdown. Ohio State struggled in the first half of their opener against Indiana and while they ended up pulling away for a 49-21 victory, things looked dicey for two and a half quarters. JT Barrett finally got some help from his receivers and ended up going 20-35 for 304 yards and 3 touchdowns. JK Dobbins impressed in his first game as a Buckeye running for 181 yards.
Prediction: Ohio State’s talent will eventually overwhelm Oklahoma’s defense en route to a 42-21 win.
Tell us your own predictions in the comments!