Article by: Harrison Weaver
Hello college football fans, and welcome back to more college football talk. I honestly don’t know where to begin. This amount of football coming back has me a little overwhelmed in the best way possible. The NFL kicks off tonight with the Packers versus Bears. I’d suggest heading over to your favorite sports bar or ordering a pizza and bunkering down in front of your TV. However, I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here to talk about how Oregon once again proved that they can’t thrive in the spotlight, Auburn wins a big game early but will get eaten alive in SEC play, and Tennessee finally gets a bit of hype and what do they do? They lose at home to Georgia State. Also, Mizzou and Kelly Bryant fell short at Wyoming. All of the Heisman favorites did nothing but impress of course. Oh, and let’s not forget about the battle we got two Saturdays ago between Florida and Miami, where Florida survived The U and their Turnover Chain. Week 1 was fun; Week 2 will be even more fun. There is just a ton to talk about, so let’s dive in.
The Oregon versus Auburn game was the perfect kickoff to primetime Saturday night college football. The Ducks came out and seized control from the get-go. With two quick-hitting touchdowns in the first quarter, Oregon led 14-3 at the half and eventually led 21-6 halfway through the third quarter. That’s when true freshman Bo Nix stepped up and led Auburn back to trail 21-20 as they got the ball back with under a minute remaining. With the ball on the 26-yard line with 13 seconds left, down by one, everyone was assuming the Tigers would try to gain some yards to get into better field goal range. That’s not what they had in mind. Bo Nix took the snap, dropped back, avoided pressure, and launched a pass down the left side to Seth Williams. With the defender looking the other way, Williams was able to snag it while falling back into the end zone. Touchdown Auburn. Game over. This was a huge game for both teams. For Auburn, they just seized momentum and confidence that they can win big games with Bo Nixon and the rest of this year’s squad. I still don’t think that they’re going to be able to get to the SEC championship though. Given they share a division with Alabama and LSU, Texas A&M, and that their schedule is a hacksaw. Nonetheless, this was a huge win for the Tigers, and in my opinion, they are very deserving of the top ten ranking they were given, at least for now. As for Oregon, the loss on Saturday night was a crushing blow. A team starting out the season ranked #11, led by a Heisman frontrunner, trying to prove that they can finally handle the spotlight, and they let this one slip away. If the Ducks have any hope of making the playoffs, they must win out the rest of the way and win the PAC12 Championship. They’ll have a couple of tricky road games at Stanford, at Washington, and at USC. My guess is that they will drop one of those. Luckily for Oregon, their loss came in Week 1 of the season and they have the whole rest of the season to prove that they deserve a spot in the playoffs.
Now onto a couple of lesser discussed games, with Tennessee and Missouri really disappointing in Week 1. Tennessee came into this season with a decent amount of hype, expected to be a dangerous dark horse that could surprise a few opponents. Jeremy Pruitt looks to continue his rebuild at Tennessee this year through added experience and better recruits. However, Tennessee found themselves down by two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter….at home….against Georgia State. They scored a late touchdown to make the score look a little better, but the Volunteers fell 38-30. You could hear a pin drop in Neyland Stadium. All the energy and optimism for the 2019 season seemed to disappear. They have an interesting matchup against BYU next week, but it will pose as the perfect opportunity for the Vols to bounce back and begin to turn this season around. As for Mizzou, they found themselves down by 17 in the third quarter on the road against Wyoming. They never recovered and lost 37-31. Personally, I came into this season excited to see what the Tigers could do with Clemson transfer Kelly Bryant at starting QB, along with the possibility that their bowl ban could be overturned. However, they will now likely spend the season fighting to regain their momentum and even have a chance to play in a bowl game, period. I have no doubt that Kelly Bryant knows how to lead a team and win games, but Missouri will need to play much better if they want to have a season they can build off of.
Now, onto the exciting part! Week 2 Predictions. There are not too many headliner games this weekend, but there are still plenty of games to get excited about. So here we go, time for my take on what’s coming this weekend.
#1 Clemson vs. #12 Texas A&M (Saturday @ 3:30 on ABC)
I absolutely raved about Texas A&M in my college football preview article from back in July. They’re a very young, but very talented team. With big, athletic players at every position, the Aggies are poised to make some noise this season and take the next step towards a championship in the coming years. However, it’s going to be tough for them to take down the upcoming dynasty taking place in Clemson. Running back Travis Etienne of Clemson had an incredible Week 1 performance for the Tigers, and Trevor Lawrence is favored to win the Heisman this year. Combine an explosive offense with a very talented defense, and it will be tough for anyone to beat the Tigers. Nothing but love for the Aggies, but I’m taking Clemson in this one.
My pick: Clemson, 34-24
#6 LSU @ #9 Texas (Saturday @ 7:30 on ABC)
Our first Top 10 matchup of the season! Two college football blue bloods squaring up at Texas Memorial Stadium. Sam Ehlinger leading the Longhorns up against the Tigers and their fierce defense (I feel like I’ve talked about Tigers this entire article. Auburn Tigers, Missouri Tigers, Clemson Tigers, now LSU. Should I cover the Tennessee State Tigers too? In case you missed it, they just defeated Mississippi Valley State 26-20 in a thrilling Week 1 showdown.). For me, the aspect of LSU I questioned the most was QB Joe Burrow. The Ohio State transfer had some question marks around his ability to lead an elite offense after a decent season last year for the Tigers. However, he came out in Week 1, completed 85% of his passes, and threw for 278 yards and 5 touchdowns in a 55-3 win over Georgia Southern. Sam Ehlinger had an equally impressive performance, throwing for 276 yards and 4 touchdowns. Texas has the advantage of home field, and the Longhorn fan base will be very, very loud. I’ve been back and forth all week about this pick. I think the SEC West is due to bounce back and provide more competition for Alabama. However, I feel like the home field, the hype, the talent of Sam Ehlinger will tip the scale in the favor of the Longhorns. Look for the Horns to win a nail biter.
My pick: Texas, 31-27
#15 Penn State vs Buffalo (Saturday @7:30 on FOX)
Penn State is going to the playoffs, and Sean Clifford is going to win the Heisman. Devyn Ford was a machine running the ball last week. The Nittany Lion defense is what I would call an ‘absolute unit’. Nobody even has a chance at beating Penn State this year. After absolutely trouncing Idaho 79-7 and securing a viral hit-stick moment during the game, Coach Franklin and the Nittany Lions are marching with their chin held high as they welcome Idaho to Beaver Stadium. None of this is biased, not even a bit. (Yes, this whole section is biased, but let me have my fun.) In all seriousness, I’m watching to see if Sean Clifford and this inexperienced offense can keep up the pace and continue to build chemistry. Do I expect them to drop an 80 piece on Buffalo? Absolutely not, but I’d still like to see the offense put up a lot of points against a MAC opponent, and I’d definitely like to see more cracking hits from the defense. There is no reason they shouldn’t be able to provide these at Beaver Stadium this weekend.
My pick: Penn State, 179-3
To keep up with all things sports, be sure to keep it here at Heated Sports!