College Football Picks Week 2: Ranked Teams in Danger of Letdown Game

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst ISeptember 7, 2013

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24:  Head Coach Lane Kiffin of the USC Trojans walks away from Max Wittek #13 and Cody Kessler #6 as they warm up before the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on November 24, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Week 2 of the college football season will feature some games on Saturday with ranked teams who are poised to have a letdown game.

The Baylor Bears dominated their opening-week matchup, but they look to continue that momentum against what will be a much tougher Buffalo Bulls team.

It took the Texas Longhorns an entire half to show up in Week 1, and that can't happen again as the Longhorns hit the road to take on the Brigham Young Cougars.

The USC Trojans managed to emerge victorious in their first game of the season thanks to their rushing attack; however, the Trojans must get more production from their quarterbacks if they hope to avoid a major upset against the Washington State Cougars.

Let's take a look at each of these matchups and why these ranked teams are in danger of a letdown.


No. 23 Baylor Bears (vs. Buffalo Bulls)

The Bears cruised to victory in their season-opening game against the Wofford Terriers, 69-3. While it was fun to see Baylor compile close to 700 yards in that game, it really means next to nothing considering the skill level of the opponent.

Buffalo isn't exactly a top-flight squad, but the Bulls did give the Ohio State Buckeyes a run for their money last week. After falling behind 23-0 on the road, Buffalo stormed back to come to within 10 pointsbut never got any closer.

Still, after a bad first quarter, the Bulls were able to hold the No. 2 team in the nation to just 17 points in the final three frames, and offense wasn't coming so easy for the Buckeyes thanks to a spirited effort by the Bulls defense.

Quarterback Joe Licata threw for 185 yards with two touchdowns and one pick, while running back Branden Oliver wasn't so successful with 73 yards on the ground to the tune of 2.8 yards per carry.

Things should come a bit easier against Baylor. It doesn't boast the same elite defense as Ohio St. despite a strong finish to last season. In fact, the Bears allowed 77 yards on the ground to the tune of 4.3 yards per carry to Wofford back Donovan Johnson, so chances are Oliver could do some damage in this game.

Buffalo is a sneaky squad with an unexpected amount of talent, and that's why this game is so dangerous for the Bears and their suspect defense. 


No. 15 Texas Longhorns (at BYU Cougars)

After one half of football in Week 1, the Longhorns had a slim 14-7 lead over the New Mexico State Aggies. Texas looked lost in the sauce during the first half and even fell behind first, 7-0.

In the second half, Texas came out ready to play and put it on the Aggies by dropping 42 points in the last two quarters. Quarterback David Ash did have an excellent game with 343 yards and four touchdowns, but he also threw two picks to a lackluster New Mexico defense.

And the astounding 8.5 yards per carry average for Texas' rushing attack isn't something that will come as easy in Week 2 against a tougher BYU squad.

The Cougars had a disappointing first game of the season after dropping a road game to the Virginia Cavaliers, 19-16. Running back Jamaal Williams had a fantastic game with 33 carries for 144 yards, good enough for 4.4 yards per carry.

New Mexico signal-caller Andrew McDonald was able to throw the ball against Texas, so that's great news for BYU QB Taysom Hill, who had a dreadful performance in Week 1 after completing 13-of-40 passes for 175 yards and one touchdown to one pick.

BYU couldn't play any worse than they did last week, and if Texas doesn't come out and take them seriously as it did against New Mexico in its previous game, this is a matchup that could slip through the Longhorns' fingers on the road.


No. 25 USC Trojans (vs. Washington State Cougars)

The Trojans actually dropped in the rankings from No. 24 to No. 25 after their Week 1 win over the Hawaii Warriors, 30-13.

USC will sport dual quarterbacks in Cody Kessler and Max Wittek, both of whom weren't all that great to start the season against a lesser squad in Hawaii. The two signal-callers combined for 15-of-29 passing for 172 yards, and Kessler threw one touchdown and one pick.

That was all the production the Trojans would get; the rushing attack did the rest. Tre Madden and Justin Davis compiled 183 yards on 32 carries (5.7 yards per carry) and one touchdown.

Washington State suffered a tough loss at the hands of the Auburn Tigers, 31-24. Quarterback Connor Halliday did put up big numbers with 344 yards through the air and one touchdown, but he also threw three picks—one of which was in the closing minutes in the end zone.

Mistakes were the main problem for the Cougars in their season opener. Had they been able to avoid them, maybe Washington State is coming into this game with a 1-0 record. However, should they play a cleaner brand of football, the Trojans can certainly be beat.

With two questionable QBs, USC will look to run the ball in this one. That should make things easier for Washington State's defense, who will likely load up the box in order to cheat against the run and make USC beat them with the pass.

A predictable approach such as USC's will be a huge advantage for Washington State. Ignore the fact that the Trojans have won their last eight meetings with the Cougars because that just means they are overdue for a win and an upset.