2013 NCAAF Week 2 Weekend Preview

September 6, 2013

Thanks to a solid performance by the Clemson offense last weekend, I was able to best Trent in the head-to-head prediction game for a second consecutive season. Unfortunately for Trent, he becomes not only the first but one of the only possible people whom I can say I beat twice in this game.

Because it’s only been one week it isn’t difficult to keep up with, but the overall records now stand:

K. Becks: 4-1

Guests: 3-2

This week, Trent’s younger brother Matt will take me on in the prediction game. I’m excited for the games because as you’ll find out, Matt and I have a lot of different thoughts on the marquee matchups this weekend.

Last weekend was fairly tame considering the number of heavyweight matchups, but the intensity will pick up slightly with a few more big games in Week 2.

Here is a list of my top five games to watch this weekend, as well as five more to keep an eye on.

5 Games to Pay Attention to This Weekend

#12 Florida at Miami (Saturday, 12 PM ET)

The Gators face an extremely tough task in their second game of the year when they travel to Coral Gables to take on in-state rival Miami, which may be flying under the radar a bit considering that the Hurricanes have yet to crack the Top 25. We’ll find out for sure just how good Miami’s supposedly improved defense is against a Florida team that struggled a bit in Week 1.

I’m not surprised that it happened, but the Gators did not look dominant against Toledo at home last weekend. What I was surprised about is that Florida put up just 24 points against a Toledo defense that is annually one of the most porous squads in the country. Jeff Driskel was not particularly impressive against a team that even he should have had success against, and the task of finding a complement to the running game won’t be any easier against Miami’s pass defense. If Florida is to win this game, it looks like it’s going to be in a grind-it-out style similar to many of its 2012 contests.

The only problem for the Gators is that I don’t think it’s going to happen. The Hurricanes are ready for this game, and despite the Week 1 opponent being Florida Atlantic, Miami took control of the game early and didn’t relent. I see the Hurricanes coming out with an offensive attack that Florida cannot match and beating the Gators at home.

My Pick: 31-27 Miami

Matt’s Take: Florida vs. Miami will be no contest. Florida will run away with this game and have their subs in during the fourth quarter.

Florida 42, Miami 14

Toledo at Missouri (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

As referenced earlier, Toledo did a nice job hanging with Florida in Gainesville last weekend. Now the Rockets will get a second shot at taking down an SEC squad when they travel to Columbia to take on the Missouri Tigers. The Tigers are not nearly as highly regarded as the Gators, but the final score of this game may surprise people that watched the Toledo/Florida matchup.

Missouri had trouble last season finding its offensive groove in the ultra-competitive SEC, but the Tigers had no trouble dispatching FCS opponent Murray State last weekend, posting 58 points in an easy victory. James Franklin passed for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns, which is a bad sign for a Toledo defense that did all right against a Florida team with a subpar passing game but may struggle against a team that can expose its weaknesses in the secondary. However, the story for Missouri could be the emergence of a potent two-headed attack in the run game with Henry Josey and Russell Hansbrough. If those two can penetrate the Rockets defense as well as Franklin, it could be a long game for Toledo.

I like the Rockets to keep this game interesting, but Missouri may have a very successful day offensively. Toledo must be up to the challenge of stopping a more complete offense than Florida, and I just don’t know if they have the personnel. I’ll take the Tigers at home in this one, but it could be high scoring.

My Pick: 38-28 Missouri

Matt’s Take: Toledo represents the MAC conference and makes a statement with a big win over Missouri.

Toledo 21, Missouri 17

#6 South Carolina at #11 Georgia (Saturday, 4:30 PM ET)

Some of the more over reactive fans in Bulldog Country are again calling for Mark Richt’s job, but quite frankly that is just ridiculous. Richt’s team was going to make it a good game against Clemson, but in addition to being at home the Bulldogs were at a disadvantage, having to replace so many defensive starters from last year’s team and expected to stop one of the best offenses in the nation. Unfortunately for Richt, there is a good chance he could fall to 0-2 for the second time in three years, because there are two very strong teams in the state of South Carolina this season.

If Georgia expects to bounce back against the Gamecocks, then the offense needs to give Aaron Murray some help. Murray was simply trying to do too much last weekend, and unfortunately the call from the sidelines might be to try to do just that. Despite the fact that the Bulldogs will be going up against Jadeveon Clowney, the running game will need to dictate the offensive pace for Georgia. If Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall can cause problems (and Gurley proved he can, rushing for 174 yards last weekend), Murray can really hurt South Carolina’s secondary.

This game should be nearly as exciting as Georgia’s game last weekend, but with a similar result. Aaron Murray cannot do everything by himself, and I’m just not sure if the Bulldogs’ coaching staff wants to admit it. Plus, South Carolina will look less sluggish in this one and we’ll see the true impact of Clowney on defense.

My Pick: 27-23 South Carolina

Matt’s Take: Georgia just came off of a devastating loss last week against Clemson. I expect a pissed off football team with Todd Gurley running like a mad man. Javedeon Clowney seems injured and out of shape. I believe he will be exposed this week as the Georgia O-Line dominates and gives Aaron Murray time in the pocket to make passes with precision.

Georgia 31, South Carolina 24

#15 Texas at BYU (Saturday, 7 PM ET)

LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah is not an easy place to come away with a victory if you’re the opposing team, and that’s what No. 15 Texas will try to do this weekend after destroying a weak New Mexico State team in the season opener. BYU has had troubles offensively the past few seasons, but defensively they still appear to be strong. Expect a battle of opposite strengths in this one.

Defensively, the Longhorns should be fine. The Cougars have had trouble finding a quarterback with strong passing abilities ever since John Beck graduated, which makes them fairly predictable offensively. However, BYU will give the Texas offense its most difficult test of its early season slate. David Ash looked improved last weekend, but will need to avoid turning the ball over if the Longhorns don’t want to engage in a nail biter.

If Ash takes care of the football, the Longhorns should be fine. But should is a relative term; this game will probably still be fairly close if BYU’s tendency to play up to its opponent happens.

My Pick: 27-17 Texas

Matt’s Take: Last week Texas struggled and it seems Mac Brown can’t figure out the problem with this team. BYU comes out knowing this is their championship and wins the game. Texas offense will struggle to score and the defense will eventually give out.

BYU 28, Texas 13

#14 Notre Dame at #17 Michigan (Saturday, 8 PM ET)

If you’re a fan of matchups that might have a bearing on the national championship picture, then the South Carolina/Georgia matchup is your game of the week. If you’re simply a fan of exciting football, then this is your pick for that title. Michigan and Notre Dame will be playing under the lights in the Big House on Saturday, and we all know what happened last time these two teams met under those circumstances. While it’ll be hard to top the 2011 edition of this rivalry, don’t be surprised if it comes close.

If Michigan wants to beat the Fighting Irish, the passing game is going to have to look a little better than it did last weekend. Devin Gardner threw two interceptions to only one touchdown against a team that he should have torched, which isn’t exactly the biggest confidence booster heading into a game like this. Notre Dame is surely going to set the tone of this game defensively, and every first down that the Wolverines can achieve will be precious. Turning the ball over to allow the Fighting Irish a chance to score valuable points could cripple the home team.

This game may look a lot like last year’s matchup between these two teams, only Notre Dame may not be quite as dominant defensively. The Wolverines will reveal a lot of variety in the running game thanks to strong depth at the running back position, which will help them in a close game immensely. This one should come down to the wire, but I’ll take Michigan at home.

My Pick: 17-13 Michigan

Matt’s Take: This is the game of the week. For now this is the second to last time Michigan and Notre Dame will be facing off for awhile. The money hungry Notre Dame refuses to join a conference and wants to dictate their schedule. Brian Kelly called this game “not a traditional rivalry.” These comments were ignorant and will make the Irish pay for trying to justify their cancellation of this game from future schedules. Michigan will use their home field advantage and a primetime game to propel themselves to a victory that comes down to the end. Brian Kelly will be nailed with rough questions afterward and will be put through some scrutiny for his comments.

Michigan 17, ND 14

5 More to Flip To

Bowling Green at Kent State (Saturday, 12 PM ET)

With tailback Dri Archer questionable, this game could be a lot more difficult for the Golden Flashes. Plus, Bowling Green looked strong in Week 1.

Western Kentucky at Tennessee (Saturday, 12:21 PM ET)

Some believe head coach Bobby Petrino gives the Hilltoppers a decent chance to pull off the upset against the Volunteers, but saying that makes it seem like Butch Jones isn’t a good coach himself. This one is more about talent on the field, but it could still be interesting.

San Diego State at #3 Ohio State (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

Ohio State didn’t look all that impressive against Buffalo, but San Diego State wasn’t too impressive, either…losing 40-19 to FCS (yes, that’s correct) opponent Eastern Illinois.

West Virginia at #16 Oklahoma (Saturday, 7 PM ET)

The Sooners must play an in-conference opponent early, but they are at home and blanked UL-Monroe 34-0 last weekend. Turns out that Trevor Knight idea was pretty good, after all.

San Jose State at #5 Stanford (Saturday, 11 PM ET)

This matchup was way too close for comfort last year if you’re a Cardinal fan. Stanford will begin its quest for a national title against the Spartans again and must find a way to slow down quarterback David Fales.

If you would like to become a guest prognosticator like Trent did this week, please let me know in one of the following ways: email me at kbecks@aroundthecorn.com, send me a message on Around The Corn’s Facebook page, post a comment under this article or send me a tweet @KBecks_ATC. Opportunities to become a guest prognosticator will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Thanks everyone.

– K. Becks

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