College Football Predictions Week 2: How Ranked Teams Will Fare Tonight

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2012

COLLEGE STATION, TX - OCTOBER 29: James Franklin #1 of the Missouri Tigers looks to pass during a game against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field on October 29, 2011 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

As we watch the afternoon action unfold involving a number of teams ranked in the Top 25 of the latest AP Poll, there are a handful of other ranked squads that aren’t taking the field until later on this evening, after you’ve had your dinner and are channel-surfing on the couch.

Let’s take a look at what’s on tap tonight and how it will all play out:


Fresno State vs. No. 4 Oregon, 6:30 p.m. ET

It’s been about four years since an unranked team marched into Autzen Stadium and beat the Oregon Ducks, and Fresno State is not going to be the team that ends that streak.

Oregon was up 50-3 halfway through the second quarter last week and might have hit triple-digits if Chip Kelly didn’t take his starters out of the game. Fresno State is a tougher matchup than Arkansas State, but this one won’t be close and the Ducks will walk away with a lopsided victory.


Washington vs. No. 3 LSU, 7:00 p.m. ET

You almost have to feel bad for Washington coach Steve Sarkisian, who has been forced to use three sophomores on his offensive line who are going to be eaten alive by LSU’s ferocious defensive front.

It will be a miracle if Huskies QB Keith Price makes it out of Baton Rouge in one piece, as Sam Montgomery and Barkevious Mingo, among others, will get to him early and often. LSU will have no problem putting the Huskies away, even with a depleted secondary.


Florida A&M vs. No. 5 Oklahoma, 7:00 p.m. ET

The Sooners didn’t look great In their opening week victory, as QB Landry Jones looked out-of-sync with a new group of receivers and uncomfortable in the pocket.

With another week of practice under their belts, look for the Sooners to get on a roll against an overmatched Florida A&M squad and for Jones to lead the offense to a 40- or 50-point explosion.


Louisiana-Monroe vs. No. 8 Arkansas, 7:00 p.m. ET

Louisiana-Monroe will put some points on the board against a so-so Arkansas defense, but the Razorbacks are going to run hog-wild on the Warhawks’ defense.

This one will be over midway through the third quarter.


Grambling State vs. No. 20 TCU, 7:00 p.m. ET

This one is already over. Grambling State has already lost this game before they even arrive at the stadium.

TCU’s emotions will be running high as they play their first game as members of the Big 12 in their brand-spanking-new stadium in Fort Worth.


No. 16 Nebraska vs. UCLA, 7:30 p.m. ET

This is the first of the night games in which there’s a realistic shot of the ranked team being upset.

Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez threw for 354 yards and five touchdowns against Southern Mississippi last week, but the Cornhuskers walk into the Rose Bowl potentially without their starting running back Rex Burkhead, whose knee injury has made him a game-time decision.

The Bruins kicked off the Jim Mora era with 646 total yards in a 49-24 win over Rice last week, using a balanced attack on the ground and through the air.

Martinez has shown a tendency to collapse when asked to do too much and that may be exactly what happens if Burkhead is unable to go

It’s going to be close, but UCLA wins this one in a squeaker.


No. 7 Georgia vs. Missouri, 7:45 p.m. ET

Georgia walks into Faurot Field missing four starters on the defensive side of the ball and with an offensive line that will have their hands full with the Tigers’ Sheldon Richardson.

Tigers QB James Franklin is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation; look for him to have success all game long against Georgia’s depleted defense.

Bulldogs QB Aaron Murray will look to test Missouri’s secondary downfield with Tavarres King and Michael Bennett, while running back Todd Gurley will look to continue his success on the ground.

This will be a close one as well, but the Tigers have the home-field advantage, and Franklin will prove that he’s up to the challenge, leading Missouri to the biggest upset of the week.


New Mexico vs. No. 17 Texas, 8:00 p.m. ET

New Mexico’s offense went insane last week, dropping 66 points on Southern University, while Texas’s defense didn’t look like an elite unit against Wyoming.

New Mexico relies heavily on their ground game, which plays right into Texas’s strength, as they held Wyoming to only 69 yards rushing in their opener.

The Lobos have lost 12 straight games against ranked opponents and that streak isn’t going to come to an end tonight. Longhorns roll in a rout.


No. 18 Oklahoma State vs. Arizona, 10:30 p.m. ET

The Cowboys walk into Arizona with a true freshman under center to take on a Wildcats squad that struggled to beat Toledo last week, but one that has an explosive offense.

While neither team has a phenomenal defense, Oklahoma State’s offense has a bigger advantage against the Wildcats' defense than Arizona‘s offense has, and that will wind up being the key in what should be a high-scoring affair, but one Oklahoma State will win by double-digits.


Duke vs. No. 25 Stanford, 10:30 p.m. ET

Duke’s offense looked explosive against Florida International last week, but they’re in for a tough matchup with the Cardinal, who are getting linebacker Shane Skov back on the field for the first time since early last season.

Cardinal QB Josh Nunes wasn’t terrific last week, but look for Stanford to feed Duke a heavy dose of running back Stepfan Taylor, who picked up 116 yards and a touchdown last week in 26 carries.

Duke might keep it close early, but Stanford will eventually pull away for a double-digit win.


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