Tennessee-Virginia Tech At Bristol Speedway The Highlight In A Non-Spectacular Weekend
Welcome to Week 2 of the Pigskin Prognosticator!
After an opening weekend of great matchups this week we’re left with the likes of Florida State-Charleston Southern, Clemson-Troy and Texas A&M-Prairie View (I’ve heard of directional schools – Southeast Louisiana, for example – but how about one that describes its landscape!?).
And if you look at what happened strictly in the first games as what will happen the rest of the season you’re apt to come up with the conclusion that Alabama will steamroll the SEC all the way to the playoffs, that Clemson is nowhere the team it showed in last year’s National Championship, that Florida State is going to be really tough to beat, Texas is the best team in the Big 12 but one game does not a season make, Notre Dame won’t ever win a championship under Brian Kelly and that Michigan and Ohio State will again remain a mystery until November.
But, of course, things are never what they seem on the surface in college football.
All times PT
UTAH STATE at USC (11 a.m., Pac-12 Network)
Troy fell off the horse last week – and got stomped on by a bunch of angry elephants – and while that loss was bad enough the Trojans now face an even bigger issue. Specifically, where exactly is this program right now? Is there really a 46-point gap between it and the nation’s elite teams? Is the talent level simply not as good and deep as everyone thought? Or worse yet, is Clay Helton in hopelessly over his head?
If the third possibility is the case then the Trojans should pull the ripcord immediately and be the first in line to get on their knees to beg Tom Herman of Houston to come and save this thing. These questions won’t get answered against Utah State (or Troy sure hopes they don’t) but with Stanford looming, the Trojans need to look deep inside the heart of Troy. Winner: USC
WESTERN KENTUCKY at ALABAMA (12:30 p.m., ESPN2)
The Hilltoppers quite literally stumbled out of the gate last week (creating a social media sensation of the video) and now must top another hill in the mountain that is the Crimson Tide. From the ground, it must be like trying to scale the Himalayas; heck USC didn’t even make it to base camp last week.
But the directional visitors should take solace in the fact that Bama traditionally stumbles around like an uncomfortable elephant in the second game after a big opening-day win. And the Hilltoppers can throw the ball (for 500+yards last week, in fact). I
n the end, the Tide won’t be nearly as impressive as it was last week but it doesn’t have to be, for Hottie Toddie time is next week. Winner: Alabama
ARKANSAS at TCU (4 p.m., ESPN)
With all the big games last weekend, these two teams were able to kind of hide under the covers. And that was a good thing. The Croakers nearly choked on a bowl of Jackrabbits soup from South Dakota State and the Hogs were nearly eaten alive by Cajuns from Louisiana Tech. TCU is not just fighting for its own recognition but that of its entire conference because Baylor has been handcuffed (literally), Oklahoma once again staggered when it was expected to strut and you can’t really rely on Texas just because it beat another over-rated Notre Dame team.
On the other side of the field, is Arkansas starting slow to start the season really what “Being Brett Bielema” is all about (other than having a way-too hot wife, I mean really, how did THAT happen!?). Play this game in November and the result would be different. But it’s September. Winner: TCU
VIRGINIA TECH vs. TENNESSEE (5 p.m., ABC, Bristol Motor Speedway)
After being given Liberty last week, the Gobblers fan their feathers in this week’s biggest game against the Rocky Tops from East Tennessee. It’s the biggest game because of the venue, a NASCAR track two hours from Knoxville.
And if Butch Jones wilts under the pressure of Neyland Stadium what will he do in front of 150,000 people and a prime-time audience?
Turn as orange as his jacket?
The Hokies are playing Beamer-less ball for pretty much the first time since they were Virginia Polytechnic Institute (and their nickname was indeed the Gobblers).
But you can bet your lunch pail they will be trying to run circles around the beleaguered Vols. Still, the Prognosticator feels it will be the Hokies that will be gobbled up when the checkered flag falls on this one. If not, then Jones will be gobbled up by the frustrated faithful on Rocky Top. Winner: Tennessee
UNLV at UCLA (5 p.m., Pac-12 Network)
Thins aren’t exactly rosey in Bruins Nation, either. Against Texas A&M, the Baby Bears seemed unaware that a football game lasts four quarters, coming out charging at the start and waking from hibernation at the end. They spent the rest of the time looking like lost cubs, but then when you’re not getting any direction from the parents, it’s not an unexpected reaction. Fortunately, the Trampolines have a history of bouncing back up and somehow manage to put bad games behind them as if they were simply a bad one-night stand. The next thing you know, they are picking up the prettiest girl at the party.
This week offers no beauty queen but the Rebels will be looking pretty good to the Bruins. Winner: UCLA
CAL at SAN DIEGO STATE (7:30 p.m., CBSSSN)
The Big Bears are back from their Sydney side up opener and now head to another sunny coastal destination. But this won’t be quite the relaxed vacation that U of Hawaii made that Australia trip, for the hosts here are ready to spear anything that comes their way.
The Aztecs can do it, too for they have a few warriors on the roster. Keep your eyes on running back and punt returner D.J. Pumphrey, who will be as pumped up as his name for this one. Cal likes to throw the ball as if were a hot potato and SDSU likes to hang onto it as if it were a sacred gem.
This contrast of styles could make for a close one but in the end the Berkley Boys will escape with a few scars but also a win. Winner: Cal