I’m Learning Here, People: Five Games to Watch in Week Two

Hello, friends!!

Boy, what a way to start out the season, huh?!

Dramatic comebacks! In-state showdowns! Surprising upsets!

And that is just week one!!!

I suppose I may not have read the competitive meter well on the games I picked last week. Houston underperformed, for example.

But after all, I am still learning.

So without further ado, here are five to watch in Week Two:

1. Marshall at #24 Boise State (Friday, 9:00 p.m, ESPN 2)

After certainly one of the more exciting comebacks of week one, Boise State heads home to prepare on a (relatively) short week for a game on their blue turf.

Their opponent? One of the underrated teams from the Group of Five, the Thundering Herd. Facing a dominant passing offense that threw four touchdowns in their opener, the Broncos would be wise not to let this be a trap game or a down week after breaking into the top 25.

Sure, they are really dominant at home (113-9 since 2000), but the Herd are more than capable of making this a fight to the end, if not a win.

2. Army at #7 Michigan (Saturday, Noon, FOX)

I know what some of you may be thinking. How can it be a game to watch when it appears to be so lopsided on paper?

The answer? Because it really is not lopsided at all.

Michigan, at home mind you, struggled to put away a middle-of-the-road Group of Five opponent in their week one matchup. The “runaway victory” only appeared that way in the final quarter, which is not what you should expect from a Top Ten team.

And here they are, home again, in a game they will likely be highly favored to win.

Meanwhile, the Army Black Knights are on the upswing. Certainly their road to a potential high bowl placement, or an undefeated season, looks downright unlikely.

But they had what amounted to a tune-up game against Rice that gave them lots of film to amp up and touch up before this primetime channel showdown.

It will definitely be close, and it may be in week two what I hoped Houston would have been in week one, a statement upset victory.

3. Old Dominion at Virginia Tech (Saturday, Noon, ESPN U)

This was not supposed to be a competitive matchup last year. The Monarchs were winless and struggling in general. The Hokies were undefeated AND ranked. Not to mention, they had trounced Old Dominion 38-0 at home the year before.

Instead, it became one of the biggest upsets since Appalachian State took down Michigan.

Yet somehow, this one could be even more interesting.

The Monarchs definitely did not look fantastic last week. But they put together the drives they needed to at the end to pull out the win at home against Norfolk State. What better road test to start out a tough stretch then in Blacksburg against a team they know they can beat!

Virginia Tech, on the other hand, went on a conference road game they should have won against Boston College and fell flat, starting their hopeful season on the wrong foot. What better home opener then a grudge match to have a shot to avenge a demoralizing defeat from their memory!

What a game this may end up being!

4. Tulane at #10 Auburn (Saturday, 7:30 p.m, ESPN 2)

This crazy guy picking those seemingly lopsided shutdowns, again. Perhaps you are right. But humor me here!

Tulane started with a home opener in what was headlined as a competitive conference showdown (including by yours truly), and blew the Panthers away 42-14 in a game that was never really close.

Any doubts that the Green Wave have a solid offense, defense, and shot at the conference title are definitely diminished after such a showing.

One way to continue that is to come into Toomer’s Corner and put a fright if not a fight to the Tigers. Let us all be honest here, Auburn did not look any better against Oregon than Minnesota did against South Dakota State.

So I’m saying there is a chance for an upset here, even if it is a longshot.

5. Minnesota at Fresno State (Saturday, 10:30 p.m, CBSSN)

On the one hand you got a team that at HOME barely held off an FCS team in their opener.

On the other side will be a MWC contender who travelled into Southern California and brought a heck of a fight against the mighty Trojans. A

upset home opener win would really boost both their own morale and their standing in the general football landscape.

It is also absolutely possible, and fun West Coast late night football to boot.

 

Honorable Mention Trifecta: All MWC

San Diego State at UCLA (Saturday,  4:15 p.m., Pac-12 Network)

It’s good news when your defense creates turnovers and constantly shuts down drive after drive. It’s bad news when your offense is constantly stopped, interfered with, and losing the ball.

It’s a major frustration when both happen in the same game, and that is what San Diego State did in week one, squeaking out a 6-0 win against FCS Weber State at home.

UCLA just has the bad offense, as its defense was unhelpful in a 24-14 loss to Cincinnati.

So expect a lot of trench warfare, as both teams hope to spark something offensively to outduel the other team. Especially for UCLA, who has two extra days to prepare.

 

Nevada at #16 Oregon (Saturday, 7:30 p.m., PAC-12 Network)

This game will be interesting to see which might have been the fluke: the Wolfpack’s upset over Purdue, or the sloppy and disappointing loss by the Ducks to Auburn. Especially given that Nevada has an extra day to prepare, this holds for a compelling, if not necessarily competitive, matchup.

Oregon State at Hawaii (Saturday, Midnight, Facebook)

Many Mountain West conference games (especially Hawaii games) will be on Stadium’s Facebook page, and those who tune in here are in for a showdown.

Oregon State may have fallen short in their opener, but they showed that they have the ability to be competitive.

Which is good, because Hawai’i will be playing with an extra day of preparation and a nail biting home opener victory on their side.

Expect a lot of offense and, knowing how Hawai’i games can be, to not be able to leave until the very end.

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