It makes some sense that college football's second week should be the the worst of the season as far as competition. Teams are still trying to find their footing, and for intrigue and television purposes, there just isn't quite as much incentive to schedule tough as there was in week 1. FCS schools remain a big part of the menu, as well as schools in those smaller FBS conferences looking for those same large paychecks.
All that being said, we've still got some intriguing matchups this week. Oklahoma and Tennessee get a reality check (not sure for who just yet) and then there's actually a fascinating matchup between two teams ranked in the top 7. Plus, the SEC kindly sprinkled in a conference game for us, so of course we'll happily tell you how that one will turn out, For Entertainment Purposes Only.
A week ago Jon and I actually did pretty well by our own pathetic standards, despite both of us drastically overestimating Arizona State and getting beat by Minnesota's backdoor cover against TCU. In the end, Jon's sentimental side ended up costing him as both Nebraska and Virginia Tech fell short, making me 7-3 and Jon 5-5.
|Saturday, 5 p.m. Neyland Stadium, Nashville TN|
LT: Tennessee is the trendy pick this season to rise in the SEC, and a home game against a vulnerable Oklahoma team would be a good time to start validating those predictions. The Volunteers looked fairly sharp in dismantling Bowling Green in the opener, but I still need to see something bigger than that before I can pick them to win a game like this. Plus, these Sooners have some experience and won't be intimidated in a big-time environment. OU wins.
JM: I guess I take exception to your characterization of what happened in Nashville on Saturday as Tennessee "dismantling" anyone. Both the Vols and Sooners played MAC teams. Bowling Green's a little better than Akron, but Oklahoma blasted the Zips while Tennessee let the Falcons hang around until late in the game. But then, you picked Oklahoma to win, so ultimately we're on the same page.
|Saturday, 6 p.m. Liberty Bank Stadium, Jonesboro AR|
LT: This is one of the stranger games on the schedule with Mizzou going on the road to take on a Sun Belt team. At least last year's game at Ohio was a homecoming of sorts for QB Maty Mauk. This one, not so much, and it could be a dangerous game because ASU isn't an awful team, despite getting blown off the field by USC last week. Still, the Tigers aren't going to take this one lightly after getting beat by Indiana a year ago, and the defense is strong enough to get through any offensive growing pains. MU covers.
JM: Mizzou's just playing an in-state rival here. I mean, Jonesboro's just around the corner from Poplar Bluff, right? This explains why Razorback fans have so much hate for a school they won't even play. Tigers should cover this one with ease, though.
|Saturday, 6 p.m. Bill Snyder Family Stadium East, Lawrence KS|
LT: I totally understand if people assume this is trolling in light of everything that went down last weekend. But really and truly, this is more because I happened to go to the Memphis season opener and saw a very competent team just absolutely embarrass Missouri State, who is admittedly pretty bad. So when I saw the Tigers aren't even two-touchdown favorites in Lawrence, I couldn't help but laugh and think of how easy it would be to add another notch to my win column. Memphis covers and snaps KU's two-game nonconference FBS home win streak.
JM: Missouri State is no South Dakota State, that's for sure. Then again, Memphis would probably have handled South Dakota State, a team that's not nearly as good as they were when they had Zach Zenner. Memphis covers, and nobody cares.
|Saturday, 7 p.m. Spartan Stadium, East Lansing MI|
LT: This may well be the best nonconference game of the season and it offers a fascinating clash of styles and strengths. Michigan State's sturdy defense will look to slow down Oregon's high-flying offense, which is something that should be easier in East Lansing. Both teams were rather unimpressive in their openers, although I'm willing to give the Ducks a little more leeway because Eastern Washington really does have a strong passing attack. Michigan State, meanwhile has an experienced but not great senior quarterback and gave up 365 passing yards to Zach Terrell and Western Michigan. Oregon rolls.
JM: Didn't I get burned on this one last year? I'm not in the mood for that again. Michigan State's offense is underrated, I think, and Oregon did give up a forty-spot to Eastern Washington, which you may recognize as the same defensive effort Kansas displayed against South Dakota State. Still, I'll roll the dice here and take Oregon to cover.
|Saturday, 8:15 p.m. Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville MS|
LT: Mississippi State has by far the best quarterback in this matchup, but LSU has probably the better everything else, especially on defense. Lightning kept the Tigers from playing their warmup game against McNeese State, so that could be a negative effect for such a young team. Then again, Dak Prescott's lack of help showed up a little in the win over Southern Miss, so I'm taking the team over individual in this one. LSU covers.
JM: It's a shame we didn't get to see that LSU game last weekend, because we'd have a good idea how well equipped the Tigers are to contain a mobile quarterback. But I just can't see my way clear to taking Clanga in this one after watching the Southern Miss game. They didn't embarrass themselves, but they also didn't do to their in-state rivals what one would expect. Not as bad as USM's been lately. LSU covers.
There are actually some inriguing games involving non-Power 5 teams this weekend, and Jon drops a handful in Luke's lap, along with a mighty clash of titans somewhere between Missouri and Minnesota.