Week 2 always settles a lot more than Week 1 in college football because it begins to put those opening games into perspective.
For example, Ohio State’s somewhat narrow win over Notre Dame doesn’t look quite as good after the Irish lost – in South Bend, no less – to Marshall. Florida is not back yet (which was silly to even suggest after one game under a new coach) and that makes the Pac-12 look even worse than it did last week. It did not help that the conference lost all three games against the Big 12, SEC and the Air Force tho it did score a W against the Big 10.
And if you want to have a chance to beat Bama, schedule a start time of 11 a.m.
Of course, some things are confirmed in Week 2, such as Scott Frost being a disaster at Nebraska. After losing to Clay “Helton-Skelter” (he’s at Georgia Southern now, not USC) the Huskers had enough and fired him on Sunday, eating an an extra $7.5 million in the process to get rid of him before an October date would have reduced his buyout. Texas A&M again proved it is still a when-are-all-those-recruits-going-to-start-winning-like-Bama-and-Georgia over-rated team.
Now onto this week’s games. All time Pacific because The Prognosticator lives in San Diego.
Oklahoma at Nebraska, (9 a.m., FOX)
Possibly feeling impending doom against their long-time – and once-traditional Thanksgiving weekend – rival, the Shuckers removed Frost from his scorching hot seat and have begun the exhausting search for his replacement. One, they hope, who can win at Nebraska’s traditional level. Bob Stoops is being mentioned as a potential replacement and would it not be interesting if – just after he passed Paul “Bear” Bryant for most wins at Kentucky – he would leave after a spat about UK being more of a basketball school than a football one, just like Bryant. That would not be the case at Nebraska. This turmoil and distraction leading into this game would seem to have the makings of a rout as if the Boomers were playing Kent State rather than NU. Teams always rise up the week after a coach is fired, tho, and the Prognosticator expects the Shuckers to do the same. They just don’t have anywhere near the defense to hold off the offensive storm when those Oklahoma touchdowns come sweepin’ down the plain. Winner: Oklahoma
Georgia at South Carolina (9 a.m., ESPN)
College Football’s Best Rivalry That Nobody Knows About – this game traditionally goes down to the wire often with did-you-see-that plays and even the occasional upset – is worth keeping an eye on, certainly when the Nebraska-OU game turns uncompetitive. Dawgs QB Stetson tries to hang his hat on his first road test of the season while QB Rattler tries to stay composed at what again might be the nation’s nastiest D. The Cocks’ fans are very game whenever a hated opponent comes into the Caboose and this will be a backyard brawl for the Dawgs. Winner: Georgia
South Alabama at UCLA (11 a.m., Pac-12)
If UCLA wins a game in an empty Rose Bowl with nobody there to see it, did it really happen? Less than 50,000 people have watched the Baby Bears so far and tickets for this game are going for $6 on StubHub. But hey don’t just blame the Trampolines; fans are livid that Michigan pulled out of a scheduled game last week, forcing the team to face Alabama State rather than going on a road trip to Ann Arbor. Meanwhile, Big Blue hosted horrible Hawaii with predictable results. Winner: UCLA
Cal at Notre Dame (11:30 a.m., NBC)
The Domers are in dire straights. The new coach is 0-2 (0-3 if you count last year’s bowl game) and fans are having horror flashbacks to Gerry Faust. They were outplayed and out-coached by Marshall and have no offense outside of running the ball up the middle. Into the sacred grounds of Notre Dame Stadium come the parent Bears of the California university system and while they are not like a bunch of gutty grizzles they may treat the hosts like a free lunch at a campsite. Surely the Irish will go down fighting this season. If not the only echos going through campus will be past boos from the Faust era. Winner: Notre Dame
BYU at Oregon (12:30 p.m., FOX)
The Cougs, as the Prognosticator predicted, beat Baylor last week in a game that could have knocked two teams out of the playoffs. You see, the Bears are out and if they beat Oklahoma State later in the season that will likely eliminate the Pokies by default. Isn’t college football wonderful!. Well, it is until the 12-team playoff ruins the best regular season in sports. For the Quackers, will this game be the good Bo Nix or the bad Bo Nix? At the very least, it will provide us with a decent measuring stick for BYU considering Georgia blew out Oregon and that now is the elite standard, like it or not. The visiting Felines could be a bit worn out from their late-night double OT win and that might be just enough for the home team to waddle out of Autzen with the W. Winner: Oregon
Penn State at Auburn (12:30 p.m., CBS)
If James Franklin thought the officiating was bad last year in Happy Valley – and he did, including the time he was forced to punt on third down – then wait until he gets a load of what awaits him in the Toughest Place To Play In College Football. Phantom flags for pass interference and holding, head-scratching ball placements on critical downs and even brain-fade calls (just ask Arkansas) are the norm there rather than the exception for opposing teams. Piled onto that is the rabid shaker-shaking fans and the strange things that seem to befall opponents. Even a good team team can easily lose its composure. Fortunately for Franklin, the Bryan Bunglers have but two occasional offensive threats, the wildly unpredictable quarterback who goes by his first two initials (T.J.) and the perplexingly underused running back whose name is Tank. There is a huge temptation to go with the frenzied Felines crowd but the fact of the matter is, Auburn is just not good enough under Harsin to do it. Winner: Penn State
Louisiana-Monroe at Alabama (1 p.m., SEC Network)
The last non-conference team to beat Alabama in the regular season is – gasp – Louisiana Monroe. That came in 2007, Nick Saban’s fist year when the program was just learning how to win. The current Crimson Tiders are certainly getting a refresher course this week after the most mistake-prone game in the Saban era. The team didn’t commit any penalties and the receivers suddenly remembered they are on scholarship to get open and catch passes in the fourth quarter comeback against Texas but that’s not playing to The Standard. This will be an easy win but how well this team plays the rest of the year could be determined by how the Tide plays in this game. Winner: Alabama
Mississippi State at LSU (3:30 p.m., ESPN)
The Air Raiders would rather than pass than run – even on second and short – and last week had Arizona defenders running all over the desert to try to stop them. It was a futile effort. This week they wil have Brian Kelly seeking more than a fake Cajun accent; he will also be looking for defensive solutions. The State Dogs are actually better on defense than offense, too. Kelly’s feel-good rout of Southern is history now so lose this one and he will be feeling the heat of Bengal Tiger fans as much as the heat of the bayou. Winner: Mississippi State
Michigan State at Washington (4:30 p.m., ESPN)
On the heels of one mediocre Pac-12 team from the same state (Washington State) beating a mediocre team from the Big 10 (Wisconsin) the U-Dubers try to do the same at the stadium by the lake. Sparty is still sharpening his weapons under Mel Tucker, who briefly coached in the Pac-12 before bolting from Colorado during a boosters dinner. The Huskies are still trying to find their way under new head coach Kalen DeBoer and it’s impossible to measure what progress they might be making after having only played Kent State and Portland State. The early-season schedule against state-named schools continues and, just a hunch here, so does a win. Winner: Washington
Miami at Texas A&M (6 p.m., ESPN2)
Perhaps one of these days, the big hats with the big bucks will realize that paying $90 million to Jimbo Fisher was not worth the investment. After all, the only time Jimbo has won was when he had a crab legs-stealing quarterback. Aggies signal caller Haynes King may be capable of walking into a grocery store without swiping anything but he needs some sticky-fingered receivers if he’s ever going to get the ball moving toward the end zone. Perhaps stubborn Jim will replace him with the LSU transfer quarterback who beat him last year. This seems like an ideal time for Mario Crystal-ball to put “the U” back in Miami but not if he keeps up his habit of sitting on small second-half leads and playing not to lose. Doing that in Kyle Field would weaken the Hurricanes to a harmless rain shower and could well save A&M’s season. Winner: Texas A&M
Fresno State at USC (7:30 p.m., FOX)
Troy keeps marching along and despite a reputation of being a West Coast version of Appalachian State as Giant Killers, the upstate ‘Dogs don’t have the chops necessary to pull off an upset. The Prognosticator is still not sure how many Conquests that Troy will have but with the Ducks and Domers down, only Utah (which of course lost to a so-so Florida team) might stand in the way of, dare I say it, the playoffs. Winner: USC