Week two finds both the Stanford Cardinal and USC Trojans without lead signal-callers; leaving both teams to lean on backups and defense.
The Rue of Tree staff hand out predictions, along with giving out bonus pick of their adopted follow for the season.
Stanford vs. USC
This will be a gruesome game, both teams having to pivot sharply from the best-laid plans, seasons in the making. Stanford was moving towards a pass-happy offense, finally finding the right quarterback to take them into the modern era since Andrew Luck. USC was busy beefing up both their coaching staff and skill positions to become the next Oregon Ducks team in the PAC-12. Now both need the defense to find a victory.
There, Stanford has a serious edge. USC struggled with Fresno State and a quarterback that could air out the ball, and grab first downs on the ground. Davis Mills is not the next Michael Vick, but he can stay nimble in the pocket. As for Stanford’s defense, they barely gave any breathing room to the Wildcats in week one, making 5-star transfer quarterback Hunter Johnson look like a scrub.
Stanford can close in on a broken USC defense, and give the Cardinal offense plenty of short fields.
Stanford wins 26-10
West Virginia vs. Missouri
The rickety bandwagon I have constructed for the Tigers project went flying off the road last week in a loss to Wyoming. Now they play the Mountaineers at home- exactly the bounce back the doctor ordered.
Missouri could not stop a week breeze in week one. Fortunately, West Virginia could only manage 20 points against the James Madison Dukes (what even is that?). Quarterback Kelly Bryant and company plenty of turnovers, but also 537 yards and 31 points. They only need to make this game a shootout to win.
Missouri wins 31-19
Stanford vs. USC
ESPN has to bummed that both KJ Costello and JT Daniels are out for this rivalry matchup. #PAC12AfterDark just became #PAC12Backups.
Without their starters, this game becomes less predictable for both teams. Will USC continue to use their new air raid offense? Or will they make a game a battle of the trenches? David Shaw is likely asking himself the same thing, and I’m sure Clay Helton is just as confused.
Coaching and defense will decide, and I think Stanford has the edge in both. Furthermore, a week of practices will iron out all those fixable miscues between Davis Mills and the offense.
Stanford wins 24-17
Old Dominion at Virginia Tech
My bandwagon for Virginia Tech continues.
What if I told you that Old Dominion tops Virginia Tech? Would you believe me? No, you wouldn’t. Last year, Old Dominion shocked the country and upset the Hokies.
This year will be a different story. What are the odds it happens two consecutive years in a row? Slim to none. If Old Dominion does pull it off, I’m going to regret not making the hour drive for the game.
Virginia Tech wins 42-14.