College Football Rankings 2012: Complete Week 2 Top 25 Predictions
Week 1 is always interesting in college football because there are so many overreactions that take place. Some big name programs struggle against lesser opponents, so we claim that highly ranked teams have to be overrated. Another program destroys an FCS school, and everybody begins to jump on the bandwagon.
Regardless of what your team did, remember, it was only one game of a very long college football season.
After a first week of football that didn't tell us much (besides the fact that Michigan is not ready for the bright lights just yet), the new college football AP poll has been released.
With the new rankings in place, it is time to predict the winner of the Week 2 matchups of these new Top 25 teams.
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Opponent: vs. Duke
Maybe Andrew Luck's departure is going to hurt this Stanford program more than we thought, as nearly losing to San Jose State is not what anybody expected in Week 1. And while Duke isn't such a great team either, the Blue Devils tend to play solid teams close and have an experienced quarterback in Sean Renfree.
The only reason I am not taking Duke in this matchup is that it has to travel across the country to play this game.
Pick: Stanford wins 28-17
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Opponent: At Texas A&M
Texas A&M will have its first taste of the SEC, as the Gators travel to Kyle Field, which will be the first game of the season for the Aggies. Florida has many issues on the offensive side of the ball that must be addressed, but the Aggies have a first-year starting quarterback, and he will be going up against a top-10 defense from a year ago. I see this game going either way, but I will give the Gators the slight edge, as they are the more-experienced team.
Pick: Gators win 28-24
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Opponent: vs. Missouri State
Whether you agree with Louisville being in the polls or not, the Cardinals did take care of the Kentucky Wildcats fairly easily for what that is worth. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was nearly flawless in the game, completing 19 of 21 passes, and the defense held the Wildcats under 100 rushing yards. Beating Missouri State will be an easy task for the Cardinals.
Pick: Louisville wins 45-7
22. Notre Dame
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Opponent: vs. Purdue
Notre Dame cracks the rankings after an impressive win over Navy this past weekend. Traveling back to the states and taking on a Purdue team will be a whole different task though. The Boilermakers have one of the better defensive lines in the Big Ten and have a veteran offense with senior quarterback Robert Marve leading the way.
I do like the way the Irish played last week, but I see this being one of the biggest upsets of the Week 2 schedule. Purdue will be one of those surprise teams this season, and the jet lag of traveling from Dublin could affect this Notre Dame team.
Pick: Purdue 35-32
21. Kansas State
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Opponent: vs. Miami (FL)
The Miami Hurricanes have some weapons on offense, particularly in running back Duke Johnson, who rushed for 135 yards on only seven carries. But a defense that gives up over 500 total yards against Boston College isn't going to win many games.
Kansas State picked up right where it left off last season and should be able to handle this Miami team with the game taking place in Manhattan.
Pick: Kansas State wins 28-17
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Opponent: vs. Grambling State
We have no idea what this TCU team will look like next week since the Horned Frogs had an extra week to prepare. This matchup will feel a lot like another bye week, as TCU is in another league than the Tigers in this contest. Grambling State lost to Alcorn State last week, so the Horned Frogs should easily win this game by 21 or more points.
Pick: TCU wins 50-3
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Opponent: vs. Air Force
Michigan looked awful against Alabama last week, but we all know the Wolverines are capable of playing better football than that. We also know that Air Force is a far lesser opponent than the Crimson Tide.
Defending the triple-option can be tricky for the best of defenses, but the athleticism of Michigan should eventually wear down the Falcons and earn the Wolverines their first win of the year.
Pick: Michigan wins 38-14
18. Oklahoma State
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Opponent: At Arizona
Brandon Weeden, who? Justin Blackmon, who?
Oklahoma State dropped 84 points last week! Now of course it was against Savannah State, but I didn't see any other programs putting up that many points.
Arizona is a much better team, and with Rich Rodriguez as their head coach, I'm sure the Wildcats have the ability to put touchdowns on the board as well. But struggling against Toledo is a bad sign when having to play this Cowboys team that clicked on all cylinders last week.
Pick: Oklahoma State wins 67-21
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Opponent: vs. New Mexico
This Texas defense really looked suspect, as it allowed 345 total yards against Wyoming last week. However, that running game is stronger than ever, which will be good enough to knock off another subpar team in New Mexico. The Longhorns will start the year off with a 2-0 record, but must improve before the difficult part of the schedule begins to kick in.
Pick: Texas wins 35-10
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Opponent: At UCLA
UCLA looked good last week, but it is hard to judge the Bruins against a defensively-challenged team like Rice. Nebraska also looked good, as Taylor Martinez actually looked like a real quarterback, throwing for over 300 yards in a victory over Southern Miss.
As of right now, I'll go with the more complete team in the Cornhuskers, but a questionable Rex Burkhead may make me change my mind later in the week.
Pick: Nebraska wins 28-21
15. Virginia Tech
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Opponent: vs. Austin Peay
Virginia Tech was lucky to make it out of the Georgia Tech matchup with a victory, but I'm sure nobody in Blacksburg is complaining. The Hokies will receive the closest thing to a bye week with a game against Austin Peay.
The entire team will likely still be trying to recover from an emotional overtime victory and a short week.
Pick: Virginia Tech wins 47-3
14. Ohio State
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Opponent: vs. UCF
It took Ohio State a while to get going last week, but the Buckeyes ended up finishing the game with over 500 yards on offense, and they forced three turnovers on defense. This team looks hungry for even more success, and playing another game in Columbus only helps its chances. UCF is not a team to take lightly, but I have to give the home team a slight advantage heading into this matchup.
Pick: Ohio State wins 35-21
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Opponent: At Oregon State
Wisconsin nearly lost to Northern Iowa, and the Badgers stood out as one of the most high-profile teams that could not find its rhythm last week. Traveling on the road to Corvallis is not easy, but I'm not sure the Beavers have what it takes to pull off the win here.
While Wisconsin did struggle, running back Montee Ball looked good, quarterback Danny O'Brien showed some things and the defense did hold the Panthers to 41 rushing yards.
Pick: Wisconsin wins 45-14
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Opponent: vs. Ball State
Although Clemson beat Auburn, the Tigers still have plenty of work to do. That defense still allows way too many rushing yards, and six penalties isn't exactly anything to brag about.
However, if Clemson was able to get away with those two weaknesses against Auburn, knocking off Ball State should not be a problem.
Pick: Clemson wins 45-21
11. Michigan State
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Opponent: At Central Michigan
If Michigan State can find consistent quarterback play, then the Spartans are not only Big Ten contenders, but a dark horse for a national title. Running back Le'Veon Bell should begin receiving some Heisman love, and that defense is no joke. It really does not matter where this game is played; the Chippewas have no chance in this contest.
Pick: Michigan State wins 35-10
9. West Virginia
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We know that Marshall isn't a top dog in college football, but the Thundering Herd do have some talent this season. West Virginia was a missed extra point away from dropping 70 points in back-to-back games if we go back to last year's Orange Bowl massacre. Watch out Big 12; you have a problem on your hands.
9. South Carolina
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Opponent: vs. East Carolina
South Carolina struggled against Vanderbilt in the opening week and may have lost if a pass interference penalty was actually called. We have no idea what the health status is of Gamecocks quarterback Connor Shaw, and East Carolina is usually a team that plays this club tough. Still, Steve Spurrier should find a way to win this game, considering the Gamecocks feature a strong defense and are playing at home in Williams-Brice Stadium.
Pick: South Carolina wins 32-14
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Opponent: vs. Louisiana-Monroe (In Little Rock, AR)
Arkansas was another highly-ranked team that struggled in Week 1, as Jacksonville State managed to score 21 first-half points. Louisiana-Monroe is a very young team and does not have answers on either side of the ball to slow this Razorbacks attack down. This should be another warm-up game for this squad, as Arkansas prepares for the huge matchup against Alabama next week.
Pick: Arkansas wins 54-17
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Opponent: At Missouri
Georgia is missing several key players on the defensive side of the ball, which really hurt in last week's game against Buffalo. (The Bulls were only down by eight at halftime.)
Now taking a trip to Columbia for their first SEC game of the year will not be an easy task. I think this is the game that Tigers quarterback James Franklin introduces himself to the rest of the college football world, and Missouri finds a way to pull off the upset.
The Bulldogs struggled last week, but this week certainly has a chance of being even less kind to Mark Richt and company.
Pick: Missouri wins 28-21
6. Florida State
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Opponent: vs. Savannah State
Did you see what Florida State did to Murray State in its 69-3 victory last week? The Seminoles were one of only a handful of teams that actually looked impressive to start the season. Well, everything you saw last week, you will see again vs. Savannah State this week.
Pick: Florida State wins 58-0
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Opponent: vs. Florida A&M
Oklahoma did have a few issues against UTEP last week, but it was the first game of the season, and it was on the road. Not saying that the Sooners get a pass for struggling against the Miners, but still.
Coming back to Norman will be great for Bob Stoops' club, and the Sooners will look a lot like the potential national champions that they could become this year.
Pick: Oklahoma wins 62-7
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Opponent: vs. Fresno State
Fresno State is 0-8 the last four years against ranked opponents, and it is unlikely that traveling to Eugene to take on the high-scoring Ducks will end that streak. The Ducks dropped 50 points in the first half last week and could have put up triple-digits if they didn't take their starters out of the game. The Bulldogs may be a tougher match than Arkansas State, but like many teams, they simply don't have enough firepower to keep up.
Pick: Oregon wins 62-14
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Opponent: vs. Washington
This game will likely be a lot closer than many expect, as Washington is one of the dark horses in the Pac-12 Conference. Quarterback Keith Price could make a serious Heisman push if he could find a way to lead the Huskies to victory.
But since the game will take place in Tiger Stadium, and Washington's offensive line has never seen a defense like LSU's, I have to go with the Tigers in this one.
But don't be surprised if it is closer than you expected.
Pick: LSU wins 35-24
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Opponent: vs. Syracuse (In East Rutherford, NJ)
Traveling to the other side of the country doesn't exactly favor the Trojans, and Lane Kiffin's club had a hard time against Syracuse last season. Still, this is a USC team that looks extremely good so far, and the Orange did give up 42 points to Northwestern last week. I can only imagine what this Trojans offense is going to do this weekend.
Pick: USC wins 58-14
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Opponent: vs. Western Kentucky
Most teams got their cupcake during the first week of the season, but the Crimson Tide will get to eat theirs this week. If Alabama was able to do what they did to Michigan, what do you think is going to happen to Western Kentucky? The Hilltoppers will lose this game by at least six touchdowns.
Pick: Alabama wins 57-3