By RahimAli Merchant
What a historical weekend it was for College football this weekend. If you missed it, Joel’s article can give you a quick recap. Along with those games, there were others worth keeping an eye on, some of which were not mentioned in the previous article.
We will look at the games that are must watch, and of course the teams who are set to bounce back from a tough loss. I’ll also give the games of interests and the potential upset.
Top 25 vs. Top 25:
4 Ohio State versus 15 TCU
For Ohio State, this is the biggest matchup they have faced so far this season. This will be the third and final game without head coach Urban Meyer, as he is set to return to the team after serving his three-game suspension. Ohio State’s first two games were nothing more than blow out wins by the Buckeyes. Ohio State beat Oregon State (77-31) and Rutgers (52-3), and now face TCU in a battle-tested non-conference top 25 matchup.
TCU has beaten Southern University (55-7) and SMU (42-12) heading into this matchup, and they could be a considerable favorite to knock off Ohio State from the top 5 before Urban Meyers returns. TCU could also take control of the Big 12 conference and jump ahead in the rankings, but do they have what it takes to beat Ohio State? As much as I would love to see TCU knock Ohio State flat, I don’t think they can do it.
7 Auburn versus 12 LSU
We expected to see Auburn where they are as they took care of business early when they held off Washington 21-16 in a top 10 matchup in week one of the season. They then took care of Alabama State (63-9), as expected. Now they have more significant competition in the SEC West. Don’t want to take away any credit from the Washington Huskies and their performance against Auburn, but the SEC has shown their dominance over the rest of the football world.
For LSU, they surprised us all by manhandling the ACC’s Miami (33-17). There were many questions left to be answered about LSU and their offense. Coach Ed Orgeron looks to be the answer to all the problems that LSU has had in the SEC over the past years, and an upset win over Auburn may prove to be the biggest win of the season so far. LSU and Auburn both still have more tough opponents to face like Mississippi State, Georgia, and Alabama, but this is one game to keep an eye on, as it may play a huge part in the SEC championship and playoff picture.
17 Boise State versus 24 Oklahoma State
Boise State has always been one of the best teams in a non-power five conference. They have given us a lot of memorable moments over the years with the blue turf and “statue of liberty” play in the Fiesta Bowl from the 2006 season as they went on to beat OK State’s in-state rival, Oklahoma. Boise also beat TCU in the Fiesta Bowl in 2009, that is the bowl game of the Boise State Broncos. This year, they have already started off hot with wins over Troy (56-20) and UConn (62-7), and now look to continue to prove they deserve a spot in the playoffs.
Oklahoma State is looking to beat the Broncos and send them back to their blue farm of a field. Oklahoma State has won their first two games of the season with ease against teams they were supposed to beat, like Missouri State (58-17) and South Alabama (55-13). With a win over Boise State, they will keep their chances of winning the conference alive, although it won’t last long anyway. I believe the Broncos will continue to prove to the committee that they and other teams like them deserve to get a chance at the playoffs.
Bounce Back Games:
2 Clemson versus Georgia Southern
No, Clemson didn’t lose, but they had their hands full with SEC’s Texas A&M (28-26) in a game that was decided on an interception by Clemson’s defense as A&M was attempting to tie the game off a two-point conversion. Georgia Southern should be a blowout win, and is much needed for Clemson to remain No. 2 in the rankings. Let’s be honest, Georgia should be ranked over them anyways.
22 USC versus Texas
As expected, USC took their first loss of the season against conference rival, Stanford (17-3). This after struggling to break away from UNLV in week one, which resulted in a 43-21 victory. They need this win over Texas to keep their hopes alive in the conference and playoff.
Texas was on the bounce back list last week after losing to Maryland (34-29) in week one. They didn’t bounce back like they should’ve against Tulsa, winning 28-21. This causes concern for both teams in what everyone remembers as the best Rose Bowl National Championship game ever. Since that National Championship win by Texas over USC, neither side has been the same, and there is no saying when they ever will be.
Texas A&M versus Louisiana Monroe
Texas A&M came so close to a tie with Clemson that would’ve forced overtime. A two-point conversion short of that upset now has A&M on the bounce back list. A&M beat Northwestern State 59-7 in week one, and will need to take care of LA Monroe this week. After this game, eight of their last nine games will be against conference rivals, including seven straight, with the first one being Alabama.
Louisiana Monroe is currently undefeated after winning nail-biters against Southern Miss (21-20) and Southeastern Louisiana (34-31). Of course, we don’t think Louisiana Monroe actually has a chance in this game, do they? Texas A&M will bounce back nicely as they get ready for the toughest part of their season.
Georgia Tech versus Pittsburgh
This is a bounce-back game for both teams, and this is one of the more critical games for these two ACC teams who are just now kicking off into their conference play.
For Georgia Tech, they shut out Alcorn State (41-0) in week 1 before losing to South Florida (49-38) last week. This was the first time since 1996 that Georgia Tech lost to an AAC team. After this game with Pittsburgh, Georgia Tech has four top 25 teams left to face, and every win will matter. Next week, Georgia Tech will have to face Clemson and then face Virginia Tech, Miami, and Georgia later on in the season.
For Pittsburgh, they beat Albany (33-7) in week 1 before getting embarrassed by Penn State (51-6) last week. This was one of five possible teams who are ranked in the top 25 that Pitt will have to face this season. Like Georgia Tech, this is the first ACC game of the season for Pitt, and they still have to face Miami, Virginia Tech, Notre Dame, and UCF later on in the season. Who will come out on top?
Games of Interest:
23 Arizona State versus SDSU:
Arizona State is out to prove they are ready to take over the Pac-12, and with their win last week over the ranked Michigan State, they could do just that. Head Coach Herm Edwards has gotten this team where they are now. The week one opponent, UTSA, was just the start of things to come as they won 49-7. Against Michigan State, it came down to a final field goal to determine the winner, Arizona State won 16-13 as time expired. Can Arizona State be an actual threat in the Pac-12? If they can make it past San Diego State University, their next opponents will be the Washington Huskies!
5 Oklahoma versus Iowa State:
Oklahoma has handled their opponents with ease so far this season; they haven’t lost a beat, even though they lost QB Baker Mayfield and TE Matt Andrews to the NFL last season. Oklahoma has also lost one more player this season, RB Rodney Anderson. That’s why this game is of interest this week. Oklahoma beat Florida Atlantic 63-14 and UCLA 49-21, but now it’s time to hope their talented backfield can fill the void that will be left by Anderson.
Iowa State has only played one game so far this season due to the first game being postponed because of the weather, and they lost their only game to Iowa. We don’t expect much from the Cyclones in football, but this may be a closer game than many of us might think.
Due to inclement weather, several games along the coast of the Atlantic ocean were either canceled or postponed. All games featured a ranked team facing a team that is capable of upsets, or at least putting these games on the interest list, which I originally had until the news come out.
13 Virginia Tech versus East Carolina: Postponed
14 West Virginia versus North Carolina State: Canceled
18 UCF versus North Carolina: Canceled