But first things first, there are a few notables to mention from week one. Northwestern started first Saturday morning by pulling off a mild, but impressive upset of Stanford 16-6. It was a nice win for Pat Fitzgerald and the Wildcats who have suffered through two disappointing seasons in a row. I’m still convinced Stanford is a good team, which makes the Wildcat win even more impressive. Looking ahead I have Northwestern projected to lose at Duke, at Michigan and at home to Penn State, but based on the first week, all those games now look winnable. With losses only at Nebraska and at Wisconsin, a 10-2 season would look pretty darned rosy in Evanston.
The play of the day, and possibly the game of the day has to go to Brigham young and the Hail Mary, (or Hail Joseph Smith if you prefer) in the last play of the Nebraska game. But, the win certainly came at a great price after losing QB Taysom Hill for the season. BYU jumps from the frying pan into the the fire as the Cougars host Boise State late Saturday night.
Notre Dame took care of Texas in stunning fashion with a 38-3 whipping of the Longhorns in South Bend. Not sure what to make of Texas. That was one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen by the Horns, and I lived in Texas for 25 years so I’ve seen a lot of Texas games. Are the Irish really that good? Too early to tell. And don’t go South on Texas just yet. It’s just like the Longhorns to regroup and surprise some top teams in the Big 12. Are you listening Oklahoma?
The most impressive performance to me however, goes to Texas A&M, whose 38-17 win over nationally ranked Arizona State pushed the Aggies all the way to #8 in this week’s Billingsley Report. The most dramatic drop goes to Central Florida who’s stunning15-14 home loss to Florida International pushed the Golden Knights from #65 to #85 in the latest report.
On to Week 2:
#25 Oklahoma at #24 Tennessee – Not a ton of big games this week, but the big ones are super big. After a scary bad, bad (and I do mean BAD) first quarter against Akron, Oklahoma settled down and played very well beating the Zips 41-3. Now the Sooners travel to Knoxville to play big boy football with the Volunteers. No room for mistakes here, on either side. This game is a make or break the season type game for both teams. This will probably be the largest crowd Oklahoma has ever played in front of, and I suspect this will be the largest crowd Tennessee has seen in several years. How many times do you think we will hear Rocky Top? Too many times for Oklahoma fans I suspect. Both teams will challenge for their respective conference crowns, but only one will be cleared for a shot at the CFP after Saturday. I was born in Oklahoma and lived 12 years in Tennessee, so this game is a win win for me, but one team’s fans are gonna be mighty disappointed. The Volunteers played a tougher opening opponent, beating Bowling Green 59-30 in Nashville. That experience may be all they need. I’ll go with Tennessee at home in front of about 107,000. Tennessee 31 Oklahoma 28.
#12 Oregon at #4 Michigan State – This is the biggest game the Spartans have hosted since the #1 Fighting Irish rolled into East Lansing on November 19, 1966. I remember that game like it was yesterday…..but that’s another story. In a way I wish this game was not being played so early in the season. I think it would be much more dramatic and appealing if both teams were meeting undefeated say, in October. But know this for sure, if both teams win conference crowns, the CFP selection committee will be giving bonus points to the winner of this contest. Michigan State had a very tough opening opponent in Western Michigan, eventually pulling away for a 37-24 win. Oregon opened with FCS opponent Eastern Washington and played well but gave up a lot of points winning 61-42. Oregon won this game last year at home. I think Michigan State will return the favor. Michigan State 35 Oregon 31.
#6 Boise State at # 26 Brigham Young – If this game was in Boise, Idaho I would pick the Broncos hands down, but BYU is hard to beat in LaVell Edwards Stadium, not to mention the Cougars are better than I expected (even without Hill). The only thing that concerns me is trying to figure out how BYU will handle the success of winning in Lincoln. Can you say week long celebration? Boise State looked great in the first half last week, but had to hold on and escape with a 16-13 win over Washington. Hmmm…..hard one to figure. Let’s face it, it’s a tossup. I’ll step out on a limb and say BYU will rise up at home and post a shocking 2-0 start to the season. Brigham Young 24 Boise State 21.
#23 LSU at #20 Mississippi State – I’m not so sure the Bulldogs were very well prepared to start the season last week against Southern Miss. Then again, maybe the Eagles are really better. They certainly played inspired football. But at least Mississippi State got to play. LSU didn’t get the privilege after bad storms lingered in the area so long the game with McNeese State was canceled. That may have really hurt the Tigers. Playing an opening game on the road against a Bulldog team that had the bejabbers scared out of them in the first half last week is not an ideal scenario. I think Mississippi State will be prepared and focused for the visiting Tigers. Mississippi State 28 LSU 27.
For all this week’s projections, follow the links: