College Football Predictions Week 2: Last-Minute Picks for Every Top 25 Game

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2013

COLUMBIA, SC - AUGUST 29:  Jadeveon Clowney #7 of the South Carolina Gamecocks goes past James Hurst #68 of the North Carolina Tar Heels during their game at Williams-Brice Stadium on August 29, 2013 in Columbia, South Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The second week of the college football season historically looks much like the first. A series of elite teams use their early contests as pseudo preseason warm-ups, curb-stomping FCS schools or lower-tier FBS programs that are only making the trip for a fat check.

Of course, we accept this as fans because, well, it's football. And we just went months and months without it. So if the only recourse on a Saturday is to watch Johnny Manziel tell Sam Houston State what the five fingers said to the face, then by golly, we'll play along. Plus, there are one or two exceptional contests that help fans forget the utter mundanity of the whole process.

If you were looking for the 2013 season to shift the narrative of these early weeks, that's not going to happen. The Week 2 slate in college football looks much like it does every year in Week 2, with 19 games on the schedule involving Top 25 teams and only two of them matching the elite against one another. 

That being said, those two contests are midseason worthy. The SEC season gets off to a big start when sixth-ranked South Carolina heads to Georgia to take on the 11th-ranked Bulldogs, while Notre Dame and Michigan rekindle their rivalry.

With those games being scheduled for the late afternoon and prime time, respectively, perhaps, for the sake of marriages everywhere, there should be an inordinately high amount of midday Saturday brunches. You know, ones that end right around 4 p.m. ET. And lead to an attaboy en route to an all-day, all-night football marathon over these next 48-plus hours?

But for those of you choosing to sit through the early games, don't expect all that much in the way of excitement. The upsets should be at a minimum—save for one you'll see in the picks chart below. 

With that in mind, let's check in with every Top 25 game scheduled for Week 2, highlighting the one deemed good enough for top honors. 



Game of the Week: No. 6 South Carolina Gamecocks vs. No. 11 Georgia Bulldogs

While a majority of the hype heading into Week 2 surrounds the soon-to-be extinct clash between Notre Dame and Michigan, the best game of the day will be happening hours earlier. South Carolina and Georgia both came into the 2013 season with national championship expectations, but the Bulldogs' effort will be dead in the water if they're unable to hold home field Saturday.

Georgia opened its season with arguably the best game of Week 1, a high-scoring thrill ride against Clemson. The Bulldogs got a 12-carry, 154-yard performance from running back Todd Gurley and played the home Clemson squad close until about midway through the fourth quarter, when Tajh Boyd took over.

The Heisman candidate amounted for five touchdowns in the 38-35 win for Clemson, torching Georgia's defense for 312 total yards.

Meanwhile, Aaron Murray's own Heisman hopes took a hit, as he didn't record a touchdown pass, despite throwing for 300 yards, and more critically failed to make a mark on two fourth-quarter drives when the Bulldogs were within one score. (Georgia's final touchdown came after Clemson pulled ahead 38-28.)

South Carolina's top star knows a bit about disappointment. Although the Gamecocks walked away with a dominant 27-10 win over North Carolina in last week's opener, the prevailing storyline coming out of that contest was about the struggles of Jadeveon Clowney.

The all-world defensive end recorded only three tackles and three quarterback hurries in a nondescript performance that saw him struggling to catch his breath in the sweltering heat. Even head coach Steve Spurrier seemed frustrated with his star pupil:

For his part, Clowney was ready for the line of questioning with a pretty good explanation. The expected top pick in next April's NFL draft claimed to be suffering from a stomach virus, according to The State's Josh Kendall.

If his claim is to be believed, Clowney might wind up having a strong bounce-back game Saturday. The Georgia offensive line struggled mightily in pass protection last week, allowing four sacks and putting Murray under duress throughout the contest.

While the run blocking was obviously strong, that won't be good enough against the Gamecocks. Steve Spurrier's bunch flashed a seemingly improved offensive attack last week, scoring 17 points in the first quarter to put the game out of reach early. Mike Davis buoyed a rushing attack that averaged six yards per carry, scampering for 115 yards on 12 carries.

If Connor Shaw can hold down the fort, Spurrier's run of success in Athens should continue Saturday afternoon.

Score Prediction: South Carolina 24, Georgia 20


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