Week 1 provided a number of surprises but few upsets. The
headlines of the week included Alabama's thrashing of Michigan, Oklahoma
State's record-setting 84-0 humiliation of Savannah State, a 736-yard passing
effort from Division III quarterback Sam Durley and Pittsburgh's
unprecedented loss to FCS program Youngstown State.
It’s on to Week 2 now with plenty of more intrigue on the way.
Here are four of the most important games on the schedule this week:
Washington Huskies @ LSU Tigers
Odds: LSU -23.5
These two schools were both led in recent years by current NCAA
President Mark Emmert. They now meet on the gridiron.
Washington's offense struggled in its season opener against San
Diego State as quarterback Keith Price failed to find the kind of rhythm he was
looking for in the passing game. Washington was also hurt, of course, by the
absence of running back Chris Polk, who is now cashing an NFL paycheck. The
Huskies' offense needs to find a higher gear, but that's going to be
difficult to achieve against LSU's fire-breathing defense.
The Tigers, led by Barkevious Mingo, have several top-tier pass
rushers. Playing at home in Death Valley, LSU
figures to bottle up Washington's offense on a consistent basis.
The Huskies are going to fight an uphill battle in this contest
and their best hope is that LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger — who was dinged
up in the team's season opener against North Texas last Saturday — will not be
particularly sharp. LSU's quarterback situation last season was the biggest
drag on the Tigers' overall level of performance. If Washington's vastly
improved defense can get a pick-six and a few more turnovers, the Huskies have
Ultimately, though, this is LSU's game to lose, as indicated by
the massive point spread.
Georgia Bulldogs at Missouri Tigers
Odds: Georgia -3
In the new-look SEC, the East Division now includes a matchup
between the preseason favorite, Georgia, and the new kid on the block,
Georgia's defensive line has more size and speed than Missouri's
offensive line and that's likely to be the confrontation that will give the
visiting Bulldogs an edge. Missouri needs to harass Georgia quarterback Aaron
Murray and make him feel a profound amount of pressure right off the
If Murray never settles into this game and is overwhelmed by
nerves, Missouri can steal this contest. Unfortunately for Mizzou, Murray
appears to be ready to seize the moment and shine in the primetime.
Pittsburgh Panthers @ Cincinnati Bearcats
Odds: Cincinnati -4
The outlook can't be good for Pittsburgh following a humiliating
14-point loss at home to Youngstown State of the Football Championship Subdivision.
However, Pitt must get off the deck and respond in this game because it's one
of the key clashes of the Big East Conference season.
Cincinnati has a new quarterback, Munchie Legaux, which could
create confusion and a lack of precision on the offensive side of the ball for Cincy. But
as long as Legaux doesn't commit turnovers, Cincinnati's defense should have a
field day against a Pittsburgh offense that looked very disorganized against
One must remember that Pittsburgh has had three on-field
coaches –four overall — in the past year and a half.
That's not what a team needs if it is seeking both continuity and stability.
Pittsburgh can't like its odds in this conference game.
Nebraska Cornhuskers @ UCLA Bruins
Odds: Nebraska -4.5
In the past, UCLA and Nebraska have enjoyed shining moments when
they have resided in the top tier of college football programs. Neither the Bruins
nor the Cornhuskers are currently members of the elite right now but they are
both working on their return.
They will try to rebuild their identities this Saturday but it
seems that UCLA doesn't punch in the same weight class as Nebraska. Both teams
played Conference USA opponents in the first week, but Southern Mississippi — whom Nebraska thrashed — won the league while Rice, UCLA's victim in week
one, finished in the basement. UCLA's defense gave up plenty of yards and
points to Rice in the first half, which is a bad omen considering that
Nebraska’s attack is exponentially better.
The Cornhuskers are stronger in the trenches. UCLA's defense
needs to make plays with its speed to have any sort of chance.