This week had pretty slim pickings compared to the opening week of college football, but there are still some solid games to be had. Here are the games that I will be watching.
Honorable Mention - Texas Tech vs. Arizona State September 10th
Arizona State head coach Todd Graham is 9-0 at home in non-conference games this will be a hard opponent to put away. Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes picked up right were he left off last season by throwing for 483 yards and four scores last weekend. With no signs of slowing down and a Arizona State defense that has been on the decline, this game could get out of hand quickly for the Sun Devils. If you like offense, tune in.
#5 - Central Michigan vs. (22) Oklahoma State September 10th
While Central Michigan is coming off a 255 yard ground performance in their opener they are headed into Oklahoma, where the Cowboys have not lost to non-conference competition in 15 games. Oklahoma also managed to score on special teams, defense and on offense through the air and on the ground.
Prediction: Oklahoma State wins 31-14
#4 - Arkansas vs. (15) TCU September 10th
While Rawleigh Williams seems like he can be a solid running back for Arkansas, this still is the team that almost lost to Louisiana Tech. And while Austin Allen did throw two touchdowns for the Razorbacks, he also threw a pair of picks. Now Arkansas is headed into TCU after Kenny Hill had a solid performance to recover from a rough start to the opener. After starting out with a two picks he finished off with 439 passing yards and two touchdowns, along with three more touchdowns on the ground. Wide receiver Taj Williams had 11 receptions for 158 yards and a touchdown. Jaelan Austin and KaVontae Turpin also combined for nine receptions, 126 yards and a touchdown. The three headed monster at receiver, combined with Hill will be far too much for the Arkansas secondary.
Prediction: TCU wins 44-17
#3 - Iowa State vs. (16) Iowa September 10th
Despite Iowa State taking the loss in their opener to Northern Iowa, this should be a solid game as this is the classic in-state rivalry, in which Iowa has a commanding 44-27 lead. These games are solid face offs and this year should be no different as both teams have stud wide receivers. Allen Lazard had 129 yards for the Cyclones last week and Matt Vandeberg fell a yard short of his second 100 yard game last week for the Hawkeyes, giving both teams wide receivers who can make big plays at anytime. However, Iowa has two major edges in this game over the Cyclones. First: Akrum Wadley, Iowa’s running back, went for 121 yards and two touchdowns last week and will be looking to do more damage again. The ground game will help balance the aerial attack and they can lean on Wadley’s solid play all game. The second and more important edge: corner Desmond King. He is the best corner in college football because of his ability to make plays in the run game paired with the special talent of being able to play out on an island and win consistently against wide receivers. He will pick off the Cyclones quarterback at least twice, take it to the bank.
Prediction: Iowa wins 35-21
#2 - Virginia Tech at (17) Tennessee September 10th
After barely edging out a win over Appalachian State, Tennessee will host Virginia Tech coming off the heals of the Hokies defensive win last week which saw Greg Stroman recording two interceptions. Despite Virginia Tech and their defense, the combination of Joshua Dobbs and Jalen Hurd on the ground will overwhelm the Hokies. Hurd is coming off his fourth consecutive 100 plus yard performance. I would also not bank on Dobbs playing that poorly twice. The ground and pound will wear out Virginia Tech in the end.
Prediction: Tennessee wins 27-21
#1 - Virginia vs (24) Oregon September 10th
The Ducks enter this game the heavy favorite as Virginia has been in a downward spiral for about three years. However, the Ducks defense is not exactly imposing and Virginia’s quarterback Kurt Benkert threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns in last weeks losing effort. But the Ducks offense boasts two studs in Dakota Prukop and Royce Freeman, who will overpower Virginia. This could very well become the shootout of the week as both these teams will look to test the others sub par secondary.
Prediction: Oregon wins 54-41
Bonus prediction: Dakota Prukop goes over 400 yards passing.
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