In college football, 25 is a magic number.
It's the number of teams who are officially ranked by the various polls associated with the sport, and heading into Week 2, nearly every AP and USA Today Top 25 team will be in action on Saturday.
One loss could cost a nationally ranked team a place in the BCS title game. With those kinds of stakes, each week should have more than a handful of teams in position to make or break their season based on the final outcome.
This week is no different.
With two games scheduled between Top 25 teams and a number of others with that label featuring opponents who could very well be ranked under different circumstances, Week 2 promises to bring the thunder.
Check out some predictions for each game featuring a Top 25 team below.
*For a complete look at the Week 2 college football schedule, click here (via ESPN.com).
Week 2 AP Top 25
Picking Winner of Week 2's Top 25 Games
No. 7 Texas A&M 41, Sam Houston State 21
Johnny Manziel didn't play for the Aggies in the first half against Rice, but he picked up right where he left off in 2012 with three touchdown passes in the second half to help Texas A&M outlast the Owls on opening weekend.
FCS opponent Sam Houston State is the next opponent on the Aggies' 2013 schedule, but if College Station's darlings are wise, they'll take heed of Kansas State's loss to North Dakota State as an example of how not to execute against an FCS foe.
All eyes are on Manziel yet again heading into what could be his first four-quarter performance, but it's the defense that should carry more weight than the troubled Heisman winner just seven days before Alabama gets on the bus for Kyle Field.
David Harris of AggieSports.com took a closer look at the defense in his early Thursday morning piece, noting that the suspensions of six key contributors on that side of the ball have forced the Aggies to search for depth in the early part of the season.
Rice managed to put up 31 points against Texas A&M and even had the lead in the first half, something Aggie supporters will quickly brush off as a Manziel-less anomaly.
If Sam Houston State, which has lost to North Dakota State in the last two FCS championship games, gets something going early, it could be a long day for Texas A&M.
Manziel and the Aggies took care of the Bearkats late last year, and if the star quarterback, running back Ben Malena and wideout Mike Evans show up, it should be more of the same on Saturday night.
No. 11 Georgia 24, No. 6 South Carolina 17
With all apologies to Ole Miss and Vanderbilt's Week 1 thriller, the first big SEC matchup of the 2013 season belongs to Georgia and South Carolina.
The Bulldogs lost two games last season. One was to eventual national champion Alabama, and the other was a 35-7 blowout at the hands of Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks.
It's only Week 2, but national championship implications are still on the line.
After losing to Clemson to open up the season, Mark Richt's squad has something to prove. On the opposite sideline, Spurrier's Gamecocks are coming off a comfortable victory over North Carolina in the first official game of the 2013 season.
Each team comes into the game with a clean slate on the SEC East tally. For all intensive purposes, the lesser-regarded SEC division is once again up for grabs with three Top-25 schools (Florida being the other) in contention.
Future NFL stars linger on both sides of the ball.
Georgia QB Aaron Murray could be a first-round pick if he has a good season, while South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has been the most talked-about player not named Manziel this offseason.
Both disappointed in Week 1, but luckily, there will be more chances to shine.
Each team's ground game will carry a heavy emphasis for offensive strategy, while timely throws from Murray and much-maligned Connor Shaw could be the difference either way. Utilizing home-field advantage and a tough defensive effort, Georgia gets Week 1 and 2012 revenge with a win over South Carolina.
Miami (FL) 24, No. 12 Florida 23
As you can see from this ESPN Stats & Info tweet, Florida and Miami has long been a national proving ground:
State bragging rights are on the line this year, and while we no longer are treated to a Gator-Hurricane showdown on a yearly basis, it's due time to appreciate this battle as one of the best in college football.
As mentioned above, Florida is a big-time contender in the SEC East.
They didn't play like it in a 24-6 win over Toledo, failing to pull away from the Rockets in the second half despite 415 yards of total offense. Against Miami, there's a good chance failing to finish drives will cost the Gators.
Florida features a stout defense, and will be getting back top linebacker Antonio Morrison, defensive tackle Darious Cummings and cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy to boot. The defense faces a tough test in Miami running back Duke Johnson, though, who is currently the nation's leading rusher (186 yards).
It's the offense that is troublesome for Florida. Jeff Driskel has been outstanding in avoiding turnovers throughout his Gators career, but in losses last year to Georgia and Louisville, he had four of his seven career interceptions.
The key to the game will be Miami's output on defense.
While the Gators are likely to play better on both sides of the ball in Week 2, this is a must-win, statement game for Al Golden's Hurricanes.
QB Stephen Morris is 0-4 against ranked teams as a Miami starter. Regional recruiting battles against Florida are—and will continue to be—ongoing. If bragging rights weren't enough, Miami is on the cusp of being both a Top 25 team and an ACC contender.
Florida's defense is outstanding, but Miami has the speed to frustrate Will Muschamp's gameplan. On the cusp of a signature win and a spot in the Top 25, Miami squeezes out a late victory and overcomes the demons that have plagued it over the past decade against top opponents.
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