After a crazy first week of the college football season, Week 2 promises to be calmer.
No two Associated Press Top 25 teams face each other, and only a single squad in this group is playing on the road. That doesn’t mean there won’t be upsets, but they will be even bigger shocks if they do happen.
Here is a look at the full slate of games with predictions and a breakdown of a few matchups that stand out among the rest.
Top Games to Watch
Syracuse vs. Louisville
There were several blowouts in Week 1, but few teams were able to match Louisville’s impressive 70-14 domination of Charlotte.
While you can question the idea of running up the score against a weaker opponent, the fact is the Cardinals did most of their damage in the first half before taking out the starters. Phil Steele of ESPN noted how well the starting quarterback performed:
Lamar Jackson did just about everything he wanted in Week 1 and showed why he could be in for a big year.
On the other hand, Syracuse did its best to turn heads in its first game under new head coach Dino Babers. The former Bowling Green head coach brought his fast-paced offense to his new team, helping the Orange earn a 33-7 win over Colgate.
Eric Dungey had impressive numbers on his own at quarterback, finishing 34-of-40 for 355 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Syracuse and Colgate had similar times of possession, but the Orange ended up with 25 more plays and 411 more yards from scrimmage.
Using this upbeat tempo against Louisville will keep the defense off guard and allow the squad to keep things close on the scoreboard. The Cardinals should still pull out the win, but it will be a close one on Friday night.
TCU vs. Arkansas
Both teams are 1-0 heading into Week 2, but neither win will go down as a proud moment.
Arkansas struggled at home against Louisiana Monroe and needed a late touchdown to pull ahead for the 21-20 win.
TCU also needed some late scores to secure a win, but the contest against South Dakota State had a much different feel. The two sides seemingly forgot how to play defense, as it ended up being a 59-41 win for the Horned Frogs.
“I wasn’t really happy with anything defensively last week,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said after the game, per Grant McGalliard of the Dallas Morning News. He added that his team “didn’t tackle well.”
Tackling could be an even bigger issue against Arkansas, a team that loves to run the ball. Rawleigh Williams III didn’t have a great showing in Week 1 with 96 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries, but he is capable of posting big numbers if he has room to run.
The key for both teams will be avoiding turnovers. The Razorbacks’ Austin Allen had two interceptions in his debut, while Kenny Hill also had two picks in his first game with the Horned Frogs. The Texas A&M transfer did have five touchdowns, but it won’t be as easy against an SEC defense.
A couple of plays could decide this game, but if things go right, Arkansas can pull off the rare upset in Week 2.
Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech
There will be a lot of pressure on these teams as they get set to compete in front of what will likely be the largest set of fans ever at a college football game.
Jimmy Hyams of WNML noted the expected attendance at Bristol Motor Speedway:
Let’s just hope the fans are treated to a better offensive performance than what Tennessee provided in Week 1. The matchup against Appalachian State resulted in six points through the first three quarters before the Volunteers were able to tie it up with a 67-yard touchdown. They finally survived in overtime when Jalen Hurd recovered a fumble in the end zone.
Virginia Tech looked better, although it played against much weaker competition. The Hokies defeated Liberty 36-13 and ended up with both 200 yards passing and rushing. The challenge will be to keep it going against what will be a significantly stronger defense.
Jerod Evans had a fine debut, but can he succeed against an attacking team with 160,000 fans watching in the stands?
The side that can handle the pressure better will be able to escape with a notable win.
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Source: Bleacher Report-CFB News