College Football Rankings 2014: Latest Standings and Predictions for Week 2

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College Football Rankings 2014: Latest Standings and Predictions for Week 2
Ryan Kang/Associated Press

The 2014 college football season kicked off with a bang in Week 1.

Texas A&M lit up the scoreboard against South Carolina, Florida State staved off a physical Oklahoma State team and Ohio State was dominant against Navy. There's plenty more in store for Week 2.

Rankings don't mean a whole lot early in the season, as they are always subject to change as the season progresses. That said, there are two interesting matchups between ranked teams this week. Predictions for those two contests are below.

Before you look ahead to those two scintillating matchups, check out the college football standings after one week, courtesy of ESPN.

 

No. 15 USC at No. 11 Stanford

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Ready for a one-possession game?

That's the only way this game will finish. Both USC and Stanford are destined to finish highly in their divisions, and this matchup serves as a litmus test for both the Trojans and Cardinal because of the intense competition.

The Trojans are coming off a 52-13 drubbing of Fresno State, while Stanford just shut out UC Davis, 45-0.

While it's difficult to deem one victory more impressive than the other, both Stanford and USC are quality teams destined to play a competitive matchup on Saturday.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

One concern in regard to Stanford has to be the running game. The Cardinal cumulatively ran for 149 yards on 32 carries, but 10 different runners contributed to that mark. Barry Sanders led the charge with seven carries and 43 yards, but he'll have to do even better against USC.

The Trojans relied heavily on quarterback Cody Kessler and running back Javorius Allen. Kessler tossed four touchdowns and racked up 394 yards, while Allen notched a touchdown and 133 rushing yards.

This game could really go either way, but it's hard not to like the explosiveness of USC's offense.

Prediction: USC 31, Stanford 27

 

No. 8 Michigan State at No. 3 Oregon

Ryan Kang/Associated Press

It will be difficult to rival the matchup of USC and Stanford, but Michigan State and Oregon will certainly put on a show. The Ducks flash serious offensive potential, but Spartans play-by-play announcer George Blaha noted that the Spartans' talent can't be overlooked, via Bill Bender of the Sporting News:

I think flash vs. smash is the best way to describe it, and the Spartans are happy to be smash. Oregon definitely has the flash, but there is some flash in that Michigan State offense with Connor Cook at the controls, Jeremy Langford at running back and a loaded group of wide receivers. Michigan State can score enough to play with anybody, they have all kinds of depth and they're well coached. It's an awesome opportunity for the Spartans. I think it's a great opportunity to show the capability of Michigan State, especially on the defensive side of the ball.

Those players are definitely difference-makers, but Oregon's Marcus Mariota is destined to be one of the top players in college football this year.

The signal-caller has even been picked as a favorite for the Heisman Trophy, via ESPN College Football:

Look for Mariota to take over. The Spartans boast a strong defense, but Mariota should carve them up through the air. He'll also rack up his fair share of yards on the ground. He'll build his Heisman case with this one.

Prediction: Oregon 40, Michigan State 28

 

Follow Kenny DeJohn on Twitter: @KennyDeJohn_BR

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