2014 NCAAF Week 2 Weekend Preview

September 6, 2014

I have a lot of apologizing to do.

First, I want to apologize to the readers whom I promised a Week 1 Weekend Preview. Next, I want to apologize to my dad, who took the time to make picks as the guest prognosticator for this weekend. While I’ll have an abbreviated post, it isn’t up to the standards that I normally hold for myself. Expect to see him back as the guest later this season to make up for that.

Finally, I want to apologize again to all the readers, in advance, for any weekend that I simply do not have enough time to publish a Weekend Preview post. Things are exciting and new for me these days, but I’m also extremely busy. Unfortunately, I have to have my priorities in place.

I doubt that very many people will have time to read this article before the games get underway today, but the main reason I decided to throw something together is so that the head-to-head picks can start. This weekend’s guest is my dad.

So 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

#14 Southern California at #13 Stanford (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

This is a monster Pac-12 battle that should have a major effect on the race to the conference title game. Both teams looked good this past weekend, with USC stomping the Fresno State squad that it played to cap off the 2013 season while Stanford turned few heads in crushing FCS opponent UC-Davis.

As much as I’d like to go with the Trojans here, I’ve learned my lesson in the past about letting one game completely change your opinion about a team. Last weekend’s win was nice, but the Cardinal seem to be humming on the defensive side and beating Stanford in Palo Alto is tough. This one should be close, but I’m going with the home team here.

My Pick: 27-24 Stanford

Dad’s Take: USC almost back but needs one more year. Stanford 45, USC 41.

#7 Michigan State at #3 Oregon (Saturday, 6:30 PM ET)

This is the game of the week for nearly everyone, but for many people this is the most anticipated non-conference game of the entire season. The country’s top defense from last season takes on the No. 2 offense in terms of total yards per game in 2013. In all honesty that doesn’t mean much because both of these teams replaced personnel from those units, but it’s a good storyline to note.

The Spartans are not going to have any trouble matching up with the Ducks in the secondary vs. receiver battle, because there is a lot of talent on the Michigan State defense. But I have my doubts that Michigan State will be able to sustain long drives that keep Oregon’s offense off the field. In order for the Spartans to win this game, they will have to dictate the pace. I see the Ducks doing that just a bit more successfully.

My Pick: 31-27 Oregon

Dad’s Take: Even on the road MSU’s experienced QB is just enough to let the MSU defense do its job. Oregon gave up almost 400 yards to South Dakota. No overcoming that against MSU. Michigan State 27, Oregon 24.

BYU vs. Texas (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET)

Naturally, the Longhorns are the favorites in this one because it is in Austin and Charlie Strong is the head coach at Texas. But I think that this game has the chance to be extremely close, thanks to a candidate for starting quarterback on my All-Love Affair team, Taysom Hill. The BYU signal-caller isn’t going to the NFL like my old flame Aaron Murray, but the guy knows how to move the ball down the field and could expose some weaknesses in a Texas defense that were not evident last weekend.

I’ve still got the Longhorns in this one, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a mild upset happen in the Lone Star State.

My Pick: 30-28 Texas

Dad’s Take: Longhorns recruiting sustains Texas even in transition years. Texas 28, BYU 27.

Michigan at #16 Notre Dame (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET)

As much as I don’t like to admit it, the Fighting Irish impressed me against a Rice team that should actually be pretty good this season. The offense looked strong under the direction of Everett Golson, so clearly it didn’t take him long to get back into the swing of things. Michigan always seems to give Notre Dame a fight on the road, and I don’t expect this game to produce anything less than a nail biter. But the Fighting Irish are just a bit too strong offensively for the Wolverines.

My Pick: 34-30 Notre Dame

Dad’s Take: Brady leaves it all on the table but Irish eyes smiling at the end. Notre Dame 39, Michigan 38.

Virginia Tech at #8 Ohio State (Saturday, 8 PM ET)

The Buckeyes didn’t get a lot of credit for beating an extremely tough Navy team, dropping three spots in the AP poll from last week. More emphasis was placed on the play of J.T. Barrett in the post-game analysis, and to be quite frank I think that most people missed the point. Ohio State is finally running Urban Meyer’s offense, and boy did it look good in the backfield. There is so much talent and speed among that group that if I were a defensive coordinator in the Big Ten I’d already be game planning for the Buckeyes.

I’m also not a huge fan of Virginia Tech this year, either. I know that people are circling this game as one that could go either way, but I think that the Buckeyes will roll.

My Pick: 35-20 Ohio State

Dad’s Take: It’s at The Shoe… Ohio State 38, Virginia Tech 21.

5 More to Flip To

#24 Missouri at Toledo (Saturday, 12 PM ET)

The Tigers will have a tough test against the MAC contenders.

Ball State at Iowa (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

You’d think that it was national MAC vs. Big Ten day if you looked at the schedule closely enough. This one should be one of the better battles between the two conferences.

Northern Illinois at Northwestern (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET)

Northwestern looks lost once again without Venric Mark. This game could be a telltale sign of whether or not Wildcats fans can expect to see their team finish above .500 this season.

#15 Mississippi at Vanderbilt (Saturday, 4:30 PM ET)

No one would blame you if you lost a lot of confidence in Ole Miss after last week’s game against Boise State. Bo Wallace needs to be smarter with the football or else the Rebels could fall in the rankings quickly.

San Diego State at #21 North Carolina (Saturday, 8 PM ET)

It might be hard to expect a team travelling across the entire country to be ready to take on a ranked squad out of the gate, but the Aztecs could make this one interesting.

If you would like to become a guest prognosticator like my dad 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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