The Crimson Tide invade College Station this weekend in what could be the best game of the year. The Aggies have gotten off to slow starts in their first two contests against cupcakes, but that better not happen again on Saturday if they want to pull the upset. I just don’t see quarterback Johnny Manziel and the A&M offense being able to generate enough points to win this one. Alabama head coach Nick Saban and company have had a year to think about what transpired in Tuscaloosa last year. The same thing won’t happen again. Alabama will score on that suspect A&M defense, and it will frustrate the heck out of Manziel. Alabama wins by double digits.
So much for that trap game at Virginia. The Ducks whooped up on the Cavaliers, 59-10. De’Anthony Thomas ran for 124 yards and three touchdowns, while quarterback Marcus Mariota accounted for 321 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. The Ducks’ defense looked solid as well, forcing four turnovers. Oregon is a heavy favorite at home this weekend vs. the Volunteers. That will be blowout city, as well. The first real test won’t be until Oct. 12 at Washington.
3. Ohio State
The Buckeyes took care of lowly San Diego State, 42-7, in Columbus. The bad news is that Heisman hopeful quarterback Braxton Miller left the game in the first quarter with a sprained left knee and did not return. Head coach Urban Meyer said Miller is day to day with a sprained MCL. Senior backup Kenny Guiton was solid as he accounted for three touchdowns. It will be very interesting to see what happens with Miller going forward. OSU should still win its next three with Guiton taking the snaps. However, one month from now, the Buckeyes will really need Miller at Northwestern. Maybe Miller will be back this weekend, or maybe this could develop into something worse and he could be out a few weeks. Hopefully it’s not the latter. He is the key to an undefeated season.
There was no letdown after the Georgia win as the Tigers dominated South Carolina State. Clemson now hits the road to face NC State this Saturday. The crowd will be loud, but Tajh Boyd, Sammy Watkins and company shouldn’t have many issues. The Wolfpack barely beat Richmond this past weekend. Quite frankly, Clemson shouldn’t have any problems until a home matchup vs. Florida State on Oct. 19. Holy smoke, what a game that is going to be – with national title implications likely be on the line.
5. Florida State
The Seminoles had the week off and now take on Nevada in Tallahassee. FSU is a 32-point favorite, and it really shouldn’t be a game beyond halftime. Quarterback Jameis Winston should be spectacular once again as he will go up against a defense that surrendered 52 points to UCLA in Week 1. FSU should have no problems in the next few weeks before the big tilt at Death Valley.
The Cardinal scored a season-opening win against a solid San Jose State bunch, 34-13, in Palo Alto. Running back Tyler Gaffney scampered for 104 yards and two scores, while quarterback Tyler Hogan threw for two touchdowns. The Cardinal should roll this weekend at Army. However, after that tilt things get really interesting. Stanford will then host a dangerous Sun Devils bunch, play at a Washington State team that just beat USC, then host Washington. That’s a rough three-game stretch. We’ll find out a lot about David Shaw’s team after that string of games.
The Cardinals dismantled Eastern Kentucky, 44-7, behind 397 passing yards and four touchdowns from Heisman hopeful Teddy Bridgewater. Let’s be honest here: UL has a ridiculously easy schedule. However, should Cardinals fans be worried about a rivalry game this weekend at Lexington against Kentucky? Probably not, but you never know with those heated rivalry games. The place will be loud as UK looks to shock the nation. I think this could be close in the third quarter, but UL will pull away and win by two or three touchdowns. Keep an eye on this one, though.
8. Texas A&M
As mentioned earlier, A&M got off to another slow start before crushing Sam Houston State. Johnny Football racked up 439 yards and four TDs in the 65-28 shellacking. The Aggies have to play a full 60 minutes against Alabama on Saturday if they want to win. This A&M team is a lot different than last year’s. Several weapons are gone from the squad that won at Alabama last year. The Aggies’ defense has allowed 29.5 points per game this year. I think Alabama will hang 35-40 on A&M and limit the Aggies to the mid-20s.
The Bulldogs stayed in the national title hunt with a 41-30 win over South Carolina between the hedges. Aaron Murray had a big game with four touchdown tosses, while Todd Gurley ran for 134 yards and a score. This was a big win for Georgia. UGA now has an easy home contest vs. North Texas before welcoming LSU to Athens for another huge game.
The Tigers destroyed UAB, 56-17, behind five touchdown tosses from Zach Mettenberger. Wide receiver Odell Beckham went off for 136 yards and three scores. LSU should have no problems with Kent State this Saturday before welcoming in Auburn for a big night game in Baton Rouge. I’m interested in seeing how Auburn fares in that one. Some think that Auburn will surprise people this year. Don’t put me in that category. I think Gus Malzahn’s bunch is a year away.
11. Oklahoma State
14. Miami (FL)
15. South Carolina
19. Notre Dame
22. Ole Miss
Around the Area:
Mizzou improved to 2-0 with a solid 38-23 home win over Toledo. Quarterback James Franklin had 289 yards with a TD, while Dorial Green-Beckham had 51 receiving yards with a score. Running back Henry Josey also got in on the act with two touchdowns. Toledo committed three turnovers on the day. The Tigers now have a bye week as they prepare for an interesting matchup at Indiana in two weeks. The Hoosiers (1-1) have rung up 108 points in two games. Their defense isn’t good, but they can score in a hurry. It will be a tough game for Mizzou.
The Illini moved to 2-0 with a very nice 45-17 home win over Cincinnati. The Bearcats are a very good club that will likely go on to an eight- or nine-win season. Illini head coach Tim Beckman needed this one. Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase looks to be back to the form he had in his first two seasons after throwing for 312 yards and four touchdowns. Now onto the bad news for Illinois: It has to play 19th-ranked Washington at Soldier Field this Saturday. The Huskies are really good, and they have way too many weapons for the Illini to handle. Quarterback Keith Price leads a potent offense that features wide receiver Kasen Williams and the best tight end in the land in Austin Seferian-Jenkins. The Huskies also have one of the best backs in the land in Bishop Sankey. Washington’s defense is improved this year and held Boise State to six points in the opener. The Huskies are favored by 10. I think they’ll win by 20.
Texas head coach Mack Brown and USC head coach Lane Kiffin are in some real trouble. Over the weekend, Texas lost at BYU and USC lost at home to Washington State. Texas was supposed to compete for a national title this year, and some expected USC to do the same. I understand that BYU is a tough environment to win in, but the Longhorns simply cannot drop that. Kiffin’s case is even worse. You cannot lose to Wazzu on your own turf. It is simply unacceptable. Can you imagine if Ole Miss wins at Texas this weekend or Boston College wins at USC? Yikes. Both of those guys would be run out of town.