Golly y’all, week two of the college football season just feels downright gluttonous. We had to wait nine dark, frigid, MLB-haunted months for last week, and then when it came it hit like a Thanksgiving feast stretched out from Thursday to Monday. And now we get to do it all again. What a country.
Sadly, apart from a clash of titans in East Lansing, this week’s slate is a bit sparse. Fortunately we DO get a pair of rivalry games!
UTAH STATE at #24 UTAH
Rivals playing is good. Rivals not playing three of the last five years is bad. But take heart, the Battle of the Brothers returns Friday night . . . and it being a rivalry game is the only reason why I’m picking it. The Utes debuted Thursday with a suffocating defensive performance against Michigan and the Aggies scored zero touchdowns whilst struggling to beat the other Utah team. (No, not BYU, the OTHER other Utah team: the Southern Utah Thunderbirds of the FCS.) Chuckie Keeton has the potential to be incredible at any time, and rivalries can be crazy, but I don’t anticipate Utah dropping off so far as to lose this one. Utah 27, Utah State 9
IOWA at IOWA STATE
Iowa should win this game but three touchdowns minimum every single season, so good LORD Iowa how have you lost three of the last four? (Last season’s defeat came in a particularly galling manner.) So while Iowa keeps figuring out how to lose to the Littlest of Brothers, AND the game is at Littlest of Brothers’ house (y’know, where crazy crap NEEEVEERRR happens), I’m gonna go against everything my heart is telling me and pick the Hawks. Each team handled their FCS opponent in week one, both of whom were capable of rising up and biting their hosts. But Iowa showed a little glimmer of life with C.J. Beathard and LeShun Daniels and should always have the upper hand in this game. Iowa 27, Iowa State 17
#19 OKLAHOMA at #23 TENNESSEE
This is an interesting matchup between two teams a lot of prognosticators think will improve this season. Tennessee has recruited like a juggernaut but aside from last season’s bowl pasting of Iowa hasn’t shown on-field results yet. Oklahoma has been powerless to stop Baylor and TCU from taking the Big 12 away and reshuffled almost its entire staff to prove they’ve still got it. The Vawls showed in week one that they can score plenty of points but also allowed a ton and Oklahoma looks to be the better defensive team, so I’ll give them the nod even on the road. Oklahoma 35, Tennessee 24
#7 OREGON at #5 MICHIGAN STATE
Weirdly, this game probably doesn’t matter at all. Either team could absorb a loss and still be sitting pretty for a playoff slot if they win out. Last season Oregon (and Ohio State, and Baylor) gashed the Spartans’ attacking defense by suckering in their linebackers with run-pass options and throwing over their heads, so whether Michigan State and its new defensive co-coordinators have cooked up any schemes will be intriguing, but I’m more curious to see how Connor Cook and his talented receivers fare against a Duck defense that Eastern Washington found relatively unchallenging. Michigan State 37, Oregon 31
#14 LSU at #25 MISSISSIPPI STATE
So tough to predict for two reasons. First, LSU fell victim to some school called “Lightning Storm” last week and we didn’t get to see them play. Second, Mississippi State had a decent if not altogether earthshattering showing against Southern Miss . . . I got nothing to go on, here. Leonard Fournette’s gonna carry the ball 60 times for 61 yards and LSU probably wins on a fake punt with a lineman. LSU 23, Mississippi State 17