Can we open college football like the Labor Day weekend we just had? Big matchups scattered across five days gave us high quality college football games back-to-back-to-back through the holiday.
Yeah, the final game between the Ole Miss Rebels and Louisville Cardinals was a dud, but I know you guys are still plenty psyched up from Sunday’s overtime thriller between Florida State and Notre Dame. That McKenzie Milton still has it, doesn’t it?
But that’s a different discussion than the one we’re here to have.
We’re talking picks for the biggest and best matchups of the Week 2 slate of games and the games you should be paying attention to as you sit down on the couch this weekend. Unfortunately, this week just doesn’t have the same pop as the Labor Day slate, but I’ve got 10 games again that are certainly worth your time.
Last week, we put together a decent 4-6 week, bringing our overall record to 9-6 on the season with these picks.
And before we get to it, I should probably address the UCLA football team, who thoroughly handled my LSU Tigers after I called a 2.5 point spread insulting to the Bayou Bengals. That was quite a big miss and I was so flippant toward Chip Kelly’s Bruins, I felt like I needed to apologize after that dominant effort.
Also, quick shout-outs to KnoxNole and our own Matt Minnick who showed me how it was done in the comments last week, each going 6-4 on the slate. Remember to make your own picks there as well.
Now to Week 2. All lines from tallysight.com.
- No. 12 Oregon (+14.5) at No. 3 Ohio State (Noon ET, FOX)
The biggest game on the weekend kicks off bright early this Saturday with the Oregon Ducks travelling across the country to the Horseshoe to face the Ohio State Buckeyes. Last week, the Buckeyes took care of business on the road with a two score win at Minnesota while the Ducks actually needed to overcome a fourth quarter deficit to beat Fresno State at home. OSU wide receiver Chris Olave is one of the best players in the country and looked the part in the opener even in limited touches. I expect him to have another big game leading Ohio State to a victory but this spread feels a bit too big for me.
Prediction: Oregon +14.5
- Pittsburgh (-3) at Tennessee (Noon ET, ESPN)
See, I told you. It’s a ugly slate this weekend. The Pittsburgh Panthers and Tennessee Volunteers both handled business against lesser opponents in their opener as they tuned up for this matchup. For Pitt, it was a pretty dominant victory over a UMASS team that struggled to score. The Volunteers looked good but not maybe as well as they should have against Bowling Green. Picking against a former UCF coach in over his head got me a win in week zero (Thanks Scott Frost!) so I’ll stick to the formula again this week.
Prediction: Pittsburgh (-3)
- No. 13 Florida (-28.5) at South Florida (1 p.m. ET, ABC)
What an incredibly tough non-conference start to the year for the Florida Gators. First, Dan Mullen’s group had to host the Willie Taggart’s FAU Owls for the opener and now they have to travel to one of college football’s toughest environments, Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, to face the South Florida Bulls. That was sarcasm for those of you who don’t know me that well yet. As a Tampa guy myself now, I’d expect this to be 80-90% UF fans in attendance. Even if it was the other way, it wouldn’t change my mind on the pick against a USF team that NC State ran all over last week.
Prediction: Florida -28.5
- Cal (+11) at TCU (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
If you’re a bowl season fan, seeing the Cal Bears versus the TCU Horned Frogs might’ve just sent a shiver down your spine as you recalled their Cheez-It Bowl from a few years back that felt like it set the game of football back a decade. Well they’re back and I’m recommending it for a fun watch. It’s mostly because the rest of the slate is that bad, but hey it can’t be worse than their last meeting. Right? Maybe it can. Regardless, Cal dropped a close one to Nevada last week and that could inspire them to try and save their season this week, but I think TCU is just the better team and can pull away to cover the spread.
Prediction: TCU -11
- No. 10 Iowa (+4.5) at No. 9 Iowa State (4:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
Move over Ohio State-Oregon, the true game of the weekend has arrived as Ames gets ready to host ESPN’s College Gameday. The Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones will get a national stage to show the rest of the nation that they love corn and hate each other more than the next guy. I picked against Iowa last week and they demolished Michael Penix and Indiana. Iowa State has a stud QB of their own in Brock Purdy plus they’re playing at home. But it’s not enough to sway me away from the Hawkeyes after last week’s beatdown.
Prediction: Iowa +4.5
- No. 15 Texas (-7) at Arkansas (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
The Texas Longhorns are another team that made me look silly last week as they took care of the UL Ragin Cajuns pretty handily at home to start the Sark era in Austin. This week, they get their first taste of the upcoming SEC slate they’ll face year-in, year-out once they make the jump. Lucky for them, they’ll get to do it against the Arkansas Razorbacks. Fayetteville has been known to pull off an upset or two so I don’t expect them to go down quietly, but I have no doubts that Texas is a better team and Sark has seen them recently when he was at Alabama.
Prediction: Texas -7
- Appalachian State (+9.5) at No. 22 Miami (7 p.m. ET, ESPNU)
Oh those poor Miami Hurricanes! Manny Diaz’s group looked far from a ranked team last week against No. 1 Alabama. Now granted a lot of teams would against the Crimson Tide, but it had to be at least a little disheartening to not even feel like you had a puncher’s chance. To steal a line from our Juan Montalvo, Tropical Storm Mindy that moved through the Tallahassee area this week was more of a hurricane than Miami. The Appalachian State Mountaineers are synonymous with upset victories and have a team that will compete for the conference title in a loaded Sun Belt. Call me crazy, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see App State win this game outright. Miami is more talented but can Manny Diaz hold them together and keep them motivated after last week? If not, this season could spiral out of control.
Prediction: Appalachian State +9.5
- NC State (-2.5) at Mississippi State (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
Anybody else surprised to see two middle of the pack ACC schools favored at SEC opponents this weekend? It’s not like Tennessee and Mississippi State are the cream of the crop, but it’s still a bit shocking to see two in one weekend. The NC State Wolfpack are one of the bright spots so far in the ACC, running all over USF last week. Meanwhile, the Mississippi State Bulldogs needed a huge fourth quarter to overcome a 20-point deficit and steal one from Louisiana Tech. Seems easy enough, Wolfpack keep their form, Dawgs struggle again, and the Pack win. But it’s college football and Starkville can just be weird like that sometimes.
Prediction: Mississippi State +2.5
- No. 21 Utah (-7) at BYU (10:15 p.m., ESPN)
The late night time slot is my favorite on the slate as we get some fun Pac-12 After Dark with a little BYU to go with it. The Utah Utes and BYU Cougars get to fight for supremacy in their shared state. BYU has one win over a Pac-12 under their belt after beating Arizona so they should be confident they can do it again. But Utah isn’t Arizona. They’ll play a more sound game and not waste the huge yard advantage that the Wildcats had last week.
Prediction: Utah -7
- Stanford (+17.5) at No. 14 USC (10:30 p.m., FOX)
The Stanford Cardinal weren’t one of my official picks last week, but we did talk about their game against Kansas State in the comments and I made it pretty clear I thought David Shaw’s group could take care of business. They got thumped instead — a common theme for me last week. The USC Trojans were a popular potential upset pick last week. Instead, they beat San Jose State 30-7. I feel confident in a USC win, but the line being that big has me a bit concerned about the cover. Not enough so to push me off the Trojans though.
Prediction: USC -17.5