College Football Picks: Week 2 Predictions for Every Game

Brian Pedersen@realBJPFeatured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2015

College Football Picks: Week 2 Predictions for Every Game

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    The opening week of the 2015 college football season featured a lot of very predictable results, thanks to the presence of a whopping 48 games pitting FBS schools against FCS opponents. Even with that many lopsided matchups, we still saw a handful of the little guys (Fordham, North Dakota, Portland State and South Dakota State) rise up and beat some of the low-hanging big boys (Army, Wyoming, Washington State and Kansas, respectively).

    There were some other notable upsets, such as BYU using divine intervention (and a great catch at the goal line) to win at Nebraska, while Temple notched its first win against Penn State in 74 years and Northwestern contributed to the Pac-12 Conference's rough opening week.

    We also had two games canceled because of weather, another pushed back a day due to inclement conditions and two schools spending an extra week in the offseason before getting underway.

    What's in store for Week 2? While overall it might not seem like a very enticing slate thanks to another 25 FBS-FCS pairings, there are three games featuring a pair of ranked teams. And those are among the 10 clashes of power-conference schools, including some early SEC tilts that highlight the start of conference play across the country.

    Check out our predictions for all 76 games, starting with Thursday's intriguing Conference USA matchup, then give us your picks in the comments section. 

    NOTE: Rankings are from the Associated Press Top 25. 

    Last week: 76-9 (.894)

South Florida at Florida State

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    Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 11:30 a.m. ET

    Last meeting: EJ Manuel threw for 242 yards and a touchdown in Florida State's 30-17 win at South Florida in September 2012.

    What to watch for

    South Florida's 51-3 home win over Florida A&M was its largest margin of victory since a 53-point win over FAMU in 2011 and only the second time the Bulls won by double digits in two-plus seasons under Willie Taggart. New starting quarterback Quinton Flowers looked good, with 141 yards and two touchdowns on 12-of-16 passing and a rushing TD, and Marlon Mack's 131 yards and a score paced a 275-yard effort on the ground.

    Now comes a real test: trying to come close to similar production on the road against a veteran Florida State defense.

    "We've got to work on everything and pray every day and every night to make sure we try to stop those guys, they are very talented," Taggart told Jim Henry of the Tallahassee Democrat.

    FSU's 59-16 home win over Texas State was pretty much what was expected, with a strong defensive result and good numbers on offense that produced eight TDs and 636 yards on 73 plays. Notre Dame transfer Everett Golson was strong at quarterback, with 302 yards and four touchdowns on 19-of-25 passing, while Dalvin Cook was his usual productive self with 156 yards and two TDs on 19 attempts.

    Thirteen Seminoles caught passes, giving an inexperienced receiving corps some confidence to build on.

    Any progress South Florida hopes to make this season will not be obvious in this game. Florida State is by far the toughest opponent on the Bulls' schedule, and that will likely be reflected in the final score.

    Prediction: Florida State 47, South Florida 17

    FINAL: Florida State 34, South Florida 14

Jacksonville State at Auburn

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; noon ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Jacksonville State opened its season with a 23-20 win at Chattanooga. The Gamecocks were 10-2 last season and reached the FCS playoffs, but lost at Michigan State in their opener to fall to 5-18 against FBS competition.

    Auburn's defense looked great for three quarters and sketchy during the final period of its 31-24 win over Louisville in Atlanta, allowing two TDs in the fourth quarter after leading by 24 points early in the third. Quarterback Jeremy Johnson looked bad almost the entire game. He was intercepted three times and completed just 11-of-21 passes for 137 yards and a TD.

    The Tigers cruised a bit after taking the big lead and probably paid for that this week in practice. That makes Jacksonville State the unwitting victim of how Auburn responds to its opening performance, with this one likely to be in the books relatively early.

    Prediction: Auburn 48, Jacksonville State 17

    FINAL: Auburn 27, Jacksonville State 20 (OT)

Oregon State at Michigan

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    Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; noon ET

    Last meeting: Michigan scored a 31-12 win over Oregon State in September 1986.

    What to watch for

    Gary Andersen only lasted two years at Wisconsin before opting to return to his Western roots and take over Oregon State. So, naturally, his first road game with the Beavers takes him back to Big Ten country as the potential unwilling victim of Jim Harbaugh's home debut.

    OSU had a slow start against Weber State last week before winning 26-7, with freshman quarterback Seth Collins leading the way. He threw for only 92 yards but had two touchdown passes to go with 152 rushing yards on 17 carries, which included a picturesque hurdle of a Weber State defender.

    Michigan's first game under Harbaugh didn't go as well, as it lost 24-17 at Utah. Jake Rudock was intercepted three times but he also threw for 279 yards and two TDs, and the Wolverines kept fighting to keep it close late.

    The results will need to come soon for this team, but what Michigan is looking for early on is effort and steps in the right direction. There were a few in the opener, but more progress will be seen in front of a large crowd in Ann Arbor that's been waiting a while for its favorite son to return and lead the program to old heights.

    Prediction: Michigan 38, Oregon State 20

    FINAL: Michigan 35, Oregon State 7

Army at Connecticut

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; noon ET

    Last meeting: Angel Santiago and Joe Walker each scored a pair of rushing touchdowns as Army earned a 35-21 win over Connecticut last November in a game played at Yankee Stadium.

    What to watch for

    Army was one of four FBS teams to fall to an FCS foe, losing a back-and-forth 37-35 affair to Fordham after missing a two-point conversion with 2:33 left and then failing to mount a final drive. The Black Knights got 143 rushing yards and two touchdowns from quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw, but while he also threw two TD passes, he struggled when he was forced to exclusively go to the air.

    Connecticut avoided joining that list of teams to fall to the lower division, edging out a good Villanova team by five points. The Huskies had only 307 yards, but held the Wildcats to 303 and slowed down a dual-threat quarterback in the process, which bodes well for their chances against Army's option attack.

    It's been seven years since UConn has started 2-0, despite usually opening with multiple home games. It will take at least another season to achieve that feat, though.

    Prediction: Army 30, Connecticut 28

    FINAL: Connecticut 22, Army 17

Kansas State at UTSA

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; noon ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Kansas State's overhauled offense has already had to go through a significant change after one game, as starting quarterback Jesse Ertz was hurt two plays into the 34-0 win over South Dakota and could be done for the year, per Kellis Robinett of the Kansas City Star. Joe Hubener, who was the backup last season, took over and threw for 147 yards and a touchdown, but he doesn't bring the same mobility that Ertz featured.

    He'll also be making his first start at quarterback, having never started there in high school, per Tate Steinlage of the Associated Press.

    "At 6'5", he towered over his peers at Cheney High School, a small town of about 2,000," Steinlage wrote. "So his coaches used him mostly at other positions, and he had just enough highlights at quarterback for a simple recruiting tape. Kansas State was impressed by his athleticism and offered him a chance to walk on."

    The Alamodome will mark K-State's second non-home venue in its past three games, having lost there to UCLA in January's Alamo Bowl. It will be a different atmosphere this time, since UTSA will be the home team and hoping to earn its first win over a power-conference team in program history. It lost by three to Arizona last season, then fell by 10 to the Wildcats on the road last week.

    UTSA was one of the most senior-heavy teams in 2014 and returned only five starters, making for a potentially lean season. The Roadrunners had 525 yards against Arizona, with quarterback Blake Bogenschutz throwing for 332 yards and two TDs and running for a score.

    If there's ever a time for UTSA to steal a win from a power team, this is its chance.

    Prediction: UTSA 27, Kansas State 24

    FINAL: Kansas State 30, UTSA 3

Western Illinois at Illinois

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    Michael Hickey/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; noon ET

    Last meeting: Illinois posted a 21-0 home win over Western Illinois in September 2007.

    What to watch for

    Western Illinois opened with a 33-5 home win over Eastern Illinois. The Leathernecks were 5-7 last season, with losses at Wisconsin and Northwestern, making them 6-31 against FBS competition.

    Illinois had to wait an extra day to start its season, as lightning caused the Friday night opener to be played Saturday afternoon, but the delay proved to be worthwhile. The Fighting Illini won 52-3 against Kent State, making interim coach Bill Cubit's debut a celebratory one in the wake of Tim Beckman's firing a week before the season began.

    Despite only 342 yards of offense, three interceptions helped fuel the blowout for Illinois. Now it has a chance to start 2-0 for the third straight season as long as it doesn't regress.

    Prediction: Illinois 43, Western Illinois 20

    FINAL: Illinois 44, Western Illinois 0

Bowling Green at Maryland

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; noon ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Bowling Green lost 59-30 at Tennessee on Saturday, but looked pretty good at times. The Falcons had 557 yards on offense, with Matt Johnson throwing for 424 yards and two touchdowns after missing most of last season because of injury. But there wasn't any defense to speak of and they were constantly playing from behind.

    Maryland trailed 14-13 in the second quarter before turning it on and rolling to a 50-21 win over Richmond, a victory paced by 341 rushing yards (including 150 from Brandon Ross) and William Likely's 296 all-purpose yards, including 233 on eight punt returns that featured a 67-yard TD.

    Likely's biggest value in this game, though, will come in his primary role as one of Maryland's starting defensive backs. He had a tackle for loss and two pass breakups in the opener, and despite being only 5'7" he'll probably line up against 6'3" Bowling Green junior Gehrig Dieter.

    Because of Bowling Green's ability to score, this game will not be easy for the Terrapins, but they'll still end up on top.

    Prediction: Maryland 43, Bowling Green 33

    FINAL: Bowling Green 48, Maryland 27

Houston at Louisville

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    Bob Levey/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; noon ET

    Last meeting: Dominique Brown ran for 137 yards and two touchdowns in Louisville's 20-13 home win over Houston in November 2013, when both teams were part of the American Athletic Conference.

    What to watch for

    Houston's Greg Ward was one of three FBS quarterbacks to have both 100 passing and 100 rushing yards in the first week, and he was the only one with a 200/100 game as he threw for 275 yards and a touchdown on 21-of-27 passing and ran for 101 with two scores against Tennessee Tech.

    A converted receiver who took over the QB job last season, he's now working with former Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman as his head coach. Seeing what Herman did with J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones last season, Ward could be in for a big year with plenty of results like the first one.

    Louisville looked bad for the first half of its 31-24 loss to Auburn in Atlanta and quite inspired during the second half, scoring all 24 points after halftime. If not for an odd timeout call in the final minute, the Cardinals would have gotten the ball back to try for a tying score.

    Lamar Jackson threw an interception to start the game, but then settled down after showing off his mobility, to the tune of 106 yards on 16 carries with a TD. He and Brandon Radcliff formed a strong 1-2 punch on the ground, but Louisville will need better passing to have a good year.

    This game is likely to end up being a back-and-forth affair with a pair of quarterbacks running wild, and it will come down to which side can limit the other's dual-threat passer. Herman's masterful work over the past year will continue as he creates a game plan to give Houston a big road win.

    Prediction: Houston 30, Louisville 24

    FINAL: Houston 34, Louisville 31

Buffalo at Penn State

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    Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; noon ET

    Last meeting: Anthony Morelli threw four touchdown passes in Penn State's 45-24 home win over Buffalo in September 2007.

    What to watch for

    Lance Leipold was nearly unbeatable as a Division III coach at Wisconsin-Whitewater, and he got off to a 1-0 start at the FBS level after Buffalo's 51-14 win over Albany. Joe Licata threw for 246 yards and two touchdowns and Anthone Taylor ran for 104 yards and two scores, and those veteran holdovers are who Leipold will lean on in his first season with the Bulls.

    Penn State would prefer to pretend that its first game never happened, but since we have the Internet, we'll always be able to look back on how bad its 27-10 loss at Temple was. The game was so ugly for the Nittany Lions that they actually buried a tape of the game, according to Audrey Snyder of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

    In losing to Temple for the first time since 1941, Penn State gave up 10 sacks and continued quarterback Christian Hackenberg's descent from phenom as a freshman two years ago to someone who is constantly getting knocked to the ground.

    Prior to the season, Penn State's early slate had many thinking it would be 6-0 heading into a game at Ohio State, but until its offense manages to do something on a consistent basis, every game is at risk. However, the Lions' defense remains good and will be able to carry them in matchups like this one.

    Prediction: Penn State 29, Buffalo 13

    FINAL: Penn State 27, Buffalo 14

Indiana State at Purdue

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    Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; noon ET

    Last meeting: Akeem Hunt had 243 all-purpose yards, including a 99-yard kickoff return touchdown, to help Purdue squeak past Indiana State, 20-14, in September 2013.

    What to watch for

    Indiana State earned a 52-17 win over Butler last week to open the year. The Sycamores were 8-6 last season, reaching the second round of the FCS playoffs, and early in the year they lost at Indiana but knocked off Ball State to improve to 9-53 against FBS competition.

    Purdue squandered a strong offensive performance in Sunday's 41-31 loss at Marshall by allowing two pick-sixes, one on its first play from scrimmage and another as the Boilermakers were driving for a potential tying or go-ahead score. Those were two of Austin Appleby's four interceptions, but he also threw for 270 yards and a touchdown and ran for a score.

    The Boilermakers have won only four games the past two-plus seasons under Darrell Hazell, yet they haven't started 0-2 since 1996. That streak will continue, but just barely.

    Prediction: Purdue 34, Indiana State 30

    FINAL: Purdue 38, Indiana State 14

Miami (Ohio) at Wisconsin

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; noon ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Miami claimed just its third win in its past 29 games, taking its opener 26-7 over FCS school Presbyterian to start 1-0 for the first time since 2007. The RedHawks had only 13 points through the first three quarters, though, so it wasn't a particularly impressive performance from a numbers standpoint.

    Wisconsin hung with Alabama for about a half in Arlington, Texas, ultimately losing 35-17 because it couldn't run the ball or stop the run. Joel Stave had a good game at quarterback, with 228 passing yards and two touchdowns, but the Badgers will struggle to win most games with just 40 yards on the ground.

    Not having Corey Clement at full strength because of a groin injury certainly hurt, and while he expects to play Saturday, per's Jesse Temple, he could still be limited since this isn't going to be a game in which he's needed for long.

    Prediction: Wisconsin 46, Miami 13

    FINAL: Wisconsin 58, Miami 0

Presbyterian at Charlotte

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    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; noon ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Presbyterian lost 26-7 at Miami (Ohio) last week to open its season. The Blue Hose (6-5 last season) are winless in 10 tries against FBS teams.

    Charlotte made its FBS debut a momentous one last Friday, earning a 23-20 win at Georgia State in its first game since making the move up from the FCS ranks. The 49ers were sloppy with four turnovers, but got just enough big plays on offense to get the job done.

    Now comes the chance to beat up on someone from its old level, while also playing its first home game as an FBS team. Expect plenty of points for the hosts.

    Prediction: Charlotte 53, Presbyterian 22

    FINAL: Charlotte 34, Presbyterian 10

Wake Forest at Syracuse

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    Lance King/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 12:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Syracuse used defensive touchdowns from Kennedy Kodua, Robert Welsh and Micah Robinson to pace a 30-7 win at Wake Forest last October in ACC play.

    What to watch for

    Syracuse easily won its opener over Rhode Island, 47-0, but now will be going with a freshman at quarterback after senior Terrel Hunt suffered a torn Achilles early in the game. Eric Dungey threw for 114 yards and two touchdowns, but that was against an FCS opponent at home. Now he'll be making his first career start on the road against an improved Wake Forest team.

    Dungey was one of several freshmen to contribute for the Orange, along with running backs Jordan Fredericks and Jacob Hill, while sophomore Ervin Phillips caught two TD passes. Syracuse also had touchdowns on punt and interception returns.

    Wake also won its opener without much resistance, beating Elon 41-3, and it did so with offensive prowess that rarely showed up in 2014. The Demon Deacons averaged 39.9 yards on the ground per game last season but gained 203 yards last week, with quarterback John Wolford going for 63 yards and a TD to go with 323 passing yards and three TDs.

    The confidence gained from those easy wins will have each team riding high heading into this winnable game for each side. The difference will come with Wake doing it with the people it planned to ride in 2015, while Syracuse has had to switch gears and figures to hit a bump here.

    Prediction: Wake Forest 23, Syracuse 20

    FINAL: Syracuse 30, Wake Forest 17

Appalachian State at No. 12 Clemson

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    Tyler Smith/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 12:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Clemson earned a 23-12 win over Appalachian State in September 1997.

    What to watch for

    Appalachian State ran for 390 yards and just allowed 36 on the ground in a 49-0 win over FCS Howard last week, a nice feel-good result to get the confidence brimming before having to play in Death Valley. The Mountaineers have won seven straight since falling at home to Liberty last October, and in their first season where they're eligibility for a bowl game, they're going to be a dangerous team against most opponents.

    Not Clemson, though. Even with the Tigers breaking in a new defense.

    Those defenders warmed up with a 49-10 win over Wofford in which they allowed only 213 yards and 2.7 yards per rush. Clemson's offense followed suit with 533 yards (311 passing, 222 rushing) and didn't skip a beat after top receiver Mike Williams suffered a neck fracture in the first quarter.

    Clemson has too many offensive weapons and Appalachian State's ball-carriers haven't faced defenders of this size or speed since last season's opener at Michigan, when the Mountaineers lost by 38.

    Prediction: Clemson 53, Appalachian State 17

    FINAL: Clemson 41, Appalachian State 10

Howard at Boston College

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    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 1 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Howard lost 49-0 at Appalachian State last week to open the season. The Bison are 0-10 all time against FBS teams.

    Boston College was forced to add Howard to its 2015 schedule after previously being set to host New Mexico State, resulting in the Eagles opening this season with two straight FCS opponents. This makes for a very soft opening, but it also allows for a revamped offense to have some time to get situated before diving into the ACC schedule.

    Last week, BC posted a 24-3 home win over Maine, but it gained only 359 yards and didn't score a touchdown until the final minute of the first half. The Eagles ran for 204 yards, with Tyler Rouse getting 81 with two fourth-quarter TD runs. Quarterback Darius Wade threw for 155 yards and a TD on 14-of-25 passing in his first career start.

    The Eagles' defense held Maine to 91 yards, and another strong performance should happen on that side of the ball against Howard. Improved offensive production will be the focus in this one, though, since BC hosts Florida State on Sept. 18.

    Prediction: Boston College 30, Howard 10

    FINAL: Boston College 76, Howard 0

Massachusetts at Colorado

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    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 2 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Nelson Spruce caught 10 passes for 145 yards and two touchdowns in Colorado's 41-38 win at Massachusetts last September.

    What to watch for

    Massachusetts didn't play last week, which made us wait to see what is sure to be its best season in four years at the FBS level. The Minutemen have a very potent pass-catching combo in quarterback Blake Frohnapfel and receiver Tajae Sharpe, who figure to put up huge numbers in 2015, assuming both can stay healthy.

    Frohnapfel broke his leg last November and missed UMass' last two games. But before that, he threw for 3,345 yards in 10 games.

    Colorado has allowed 38 passing touchdowns in its last 13 games, including three to Hawaii's Max Wittek in a 28-20 loss on the island to open this season. Sefo Liufau had 28 TD passes for the Buffaloes last year, but against the Rainbow Warriors, he had one of his worst performances and struggled to connect with top target Spruce.

    Defense could be an optional event in this one, much like it was last year back east. Colorado has had extra time to get over the jet lag from the Hawaii trip, but UMass has been waiting to pounce for months and will steal a high-scoring win.

    Prediction: Massachusetts 44, Colorado 41

    FINAL: Colorado 48, Massachusetts 14

Sacramento State at Washington

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    Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 2 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Sacramento State began its season with a 41-20 win over NAIA school Eastern Oregon. The Hornets went 7-5 in 2014 and lost at California, dropping their record against FBS teams to 2-15. However, in 2012 they won at Colorado and knocked off Oregon State on the road in 2011.

    Despite only 179 yards of total offense and 11 first downs, Washington was in position to win (or at least force overtime) in its 16-13 loss at Boise State. Cameron Van Winkle's 46-yard field goal in the final minute was just to the right, coming two plays after true freshman quarterback Jake Browning was sacked to cause a longer kick.

    Browning threw for 150 yards with an interception, on 20-of-34 passing, with very few of his pass attempts going more than 10 yards downfield. The Huskies used special teams to get back into the game, getting a 76-yard punt return touchdown from Dante Pettis and a blocked punt to rally from a 16-0 halftime deficit.

    Washington was very young and inexperienced, and to have played a veteran team like Boise so close on the road is promising. Look for the Huskies to be far more efficient on offense, taking some of the restraints off Browning and letting him show the skills that enabled him to throw 91 TD passes as a high school senior.

    Prediction: Washington 40, Sacramento State 17

    FINAL: Washington 49, Sacramento State 0

UTEP at Texas Tech

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    John Weast/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 3 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Bradley Marquez caught three touchdown passes from Davis Webb in Texas Tech's 30-26 win at UTEP last September.

    What to watch for

    UTEP got steamrolled at Arkansas, 48-13, giving up 490 yards and managing just 204 of its own. The Miners allowed 308 passing yards and four touchdowns to a team known for its smashmouth run game, and now have to play against a far more proficient air attack.

    Texas Tech was its usual explosive self on offense, scoring 59 points and gaining 611 yards in a season-opening win over Sam Houston State. But the Red Raiders also yielded 45 points and 637 yards, with 317 of those and five touchdowns coming on the ground. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes had 473 yards of total offense with four TD passes, giving him 18 TDs in his last four appearances dating back to last season.

    UTEP last beat a current power-conference team in 1997, and that was a 1-10 TCU squad playing in the Western Athletic Conference. 

    Prediction: Texas Tech 53, UTEP 30

    FINAL: Texas Tech 69, UTEP 20

Liberty at West Virginia

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    Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 3 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Noel Devine ran for 112 yards and a touchdown in West Virginia's 33-20 home win over Liberty in September 2009.

    What to watch for

    Liberty opened with a 32-13 win over Delaware State. The Flames were 9-5 last season, reaching the FCS playoffs, but earlier in the year, they lost at North Carolina to fall to 2-19 against FBS schools.

    West Virginia had one of the most impressive performances of any team against another FBS opponent in the opening week, shutting out Georgia Southern 44-0. The Mountaineers held the nation's top rushing offense from a year ago to 3.4 yards per carry, and then when the Eagles were forced to throw, WVU picked off four of 13 pass attempts. Karl Joseph had three of those, all in one quarter.

    The offense was crisp and methodical, with Skyler Howard throwing for 359 yards and two touchdowns. The ground game churned out 185 yards and three scores.

    A very similar result to the first one is possible for West Virginia, though maybe not a consecutive shutout. That hasn't happened for West Virginia since blanking rival Pittsburgh to end 1995 and begin the 1996 season.

    Prediction: West Virginia 37, Liberty 14

    FINAL: West Virginia 41, Liberty 17

Monmouth at Central Michigan

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 3 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Monmouth fell 27-19 at Holy Cross this past week to open 2015. The Hawks, who were 6-5 last season, will be playing their first-ever game against an FBS opponent.

    Central Michigan couldn't pull the upset at home against Oklahoma State on Sept. 3, falling 24-13 but showing plenty of fight in the process. The Chippewas, playing their first game under coach John Bonamego, led by three points early in the second half before Oklahoma State took over.

    Veterans Cooper Rush and Corey Davis remain the leaders on Central Michigan's offense, and while they did well enough against the Cowboys, they'll have a much better showing this time out. The Chippewas haven't lost to an FCS team since 2007.

    Prediction: Central Michigan 35, Monmouth 16

    FINAL: Central Michigan 31, Monmouth 10

Murray State at Northern Illinois

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    Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Murray State opened the season with a 52-12 win over Division II Kentucky Wesleyan last week. The Racers were 3-9 a year ago, losing at Louisville to drop to 3-24-2 against FBS competition.

    Northern Illinois got a tougher test than it expected last week against UNLV, trailing by seven at halftime and by three midway through the third quarter before pulling out a 38-30 victory. The Huskies gained 545 yards with three guys doing most of the damage: quarterback Drew Hare threw for 360 yards and two touchdowns on 21-of-26 passing, Joel Bouagnon ran for 152 yards and three scores and Kenny Golladay had nine catches for 213 yards.

    Known as a tough out for power-conference teams it's played over the last few years, Northern Illinois rarely lets the little guys from FCS have a chance. It's won the past seven such meetings by an average of 26.6 points per game.

    Prediction: Northern Illinois 48, Murray State 20

    FINAL: Northern Illinois 57, Murray State 26

Hawaii at No. 1 Ohio State

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Hawaii won its season opener for the first time since 2011 with a late-night 28-20 victory against Colorado, giving this struggling program something to be happy about after a few light years. Maybe the memories of that win can help the Rainbow Warriors through what is destined to be a bloodbath in their first long road trip of the season.

    The Warriors ended a 17-game mainland losing streak last November with a win at 3-9 San Jose State, but they won't be getting another one any time soon. Two weeks from now, they go to Wisconsin and hit Boise State on the way back, and their last win over a power-conference team outside of Honolulu came in 1994 at California.

    As far as Ohio State goes, now that it got over the hump of the first game of its national title defense, coming back from a three-point halftime hole to crush Virginia Tech on Monday, it's cruise control for two months. Hawaii is the first of three straight home games, and the first of a long run of matchups in which the Buckeyes figure to challenge single-game records, even with the starters sitting for most of the time.

    Prediction: Ohio State 69, Hawaii 10

    FINAL: Ohio State 38, Hawaii 0

Austin Peay at Southern Miss

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    Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Austin Peay dropped a 28-7 home decision to Mercer last week to open the season. The Governors were 1-11 last year, including a 63-0 loss at Memphis that made them 2-20 all time against FBS schools.

    Southern Miss put up a game effort but wasn't able to hang with Mississippi State at home and lost 34-16. It was the Golden Eagles' 33rd loss in the last 37 games, and the sixth in a row, but progress is being made in Hattiesburg. Nick Mullens threw for 311 yards against MSU, his fifth 300-yard game in three seasons, and that was against SEC defenders.

    Facing lower-division players he could do much better, though last season Southern Miss narrowly beat FCS Alcorn State at home.

    Prediction: Southern Miss 33, Austin Peay 19

    FINAL: Southern Miss 52, Austin Peay 6

Minnesota at Colorado State

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    Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Minnesota posted a 56-24 win over Colorado State in September 2005.

    What to watch for

    Most of the coverage that came from Minnesota's 23-17 home loss to TCU focused on the visiting team, and whether that result should be looked at as a good win or a sign of trouble. For the Golden Gophers, though, it showed they can hang with a strong team. But they still have work to do on offense to be able to win more than eight or nine games in a season.

    Now comes a tricky trip out West to play a Colorado State team that's under new leadership but also plays very well at home.

    Colorado State easily beat FCS Savannah State 65-13. It was a confidence-building result that gave Mike Bobo his first victory as the Rams coach. They had 598 yards, with Nick Stevens tossing five touchdown passes in his first career start, though Minnesota's defense will provide a much sterner challenge.

    Despite its good effort against TCU, Minnesota is walking into a potential buzz saw here. Unless it suddenly discovers a new gear on offense, it will be 0-2 for the first time since Jerry Kill's first season in 2011.

    Prediction: Colorado State 31, Minnesota 21

    FINAL: Minnesota 23, Colorado State 20 (OT)

Stephen F. Austin at No. 3 TCU

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    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Joseph Turner had three touchdown runs in a 67-7 home win over Stephen F. Austin in September 2008.

    What to watch for

    Stephen F. Austin lost 34-28 at home to Northern Arizona to open its season. The Lumberjacks were 8-5 a year ago and reached the FCS playoffs, but they lost their opener at Kansas State to drop to 2-17 against FBS teams.

    TCU weathered a very difficult opening-night game at Minnesota, pulling out a 23-17 victory that wasn't as close as the final score indicates. The Horned Frogs scored their fewest points since November 2013, but Trevone Boykin put up 338 yards of total offense with a passing touchdown and a rushing score.

    The Frogs were without several players because of suspension or injury, which impacted their overall play. Some will be back for the home opener, but even if they all sit again it shouldn't matter against an overmatched opponent.

    Prediction: TCU 58, Stephen F. Austin 17

    FINAL: TCU 70, Stephen F. Austin 7

Washington State at Rutgers

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Paul James ran for 173 yards and three touchdowns to help Rutgers to a 41-38 win over Washington State last August in Seattle.

    What to watch for

    Washington State suffered one of the more embarrassing losses of the first week, falling 24-17 at home to FCS Portland State. The Cougars' pass-almost-every-play offense attempted a more balanced attack, with 45 passes and 30 runs, but while the 104 rushing yards were their most since October 2013, the 307 through the air were well below average. 

    Adding insult to injury, literally, starting quarterback Luke Falk injured his shoulder late in the game, forcing WSU to turn to freshman Peyton Bender on its final drive, which ended with a tipped ball getting intercepted.

    Mike Leach said Monday that Falk will start Saturday, per Stefanie Loh of the Seattle Times.

    Rutgers pushed aside the distractions of five players getting dismissed from the program just before the opener against Norfolk State—the result of their arrests earlier in the week on assault and burglary charges, per Keith Sargeant of—as well as the ongoing school investigation of coach Kyle Flood to overwhelm its opponent 63-13. The Scarlet Knights led 21-13 at halftime but exploded in the second half after quarterback Chris Laviano and receiver Leonte Carroo (both of whom had to sit out the first half on a suspension) hooked up for three touchdowns.

    Laviano (4-of-4, 138 yards, three TDs) will start over Hayden Rettig, who was 9-of-11 for 110 yards and a TD.

    Last year's game in Seattle was a back-and-forth affair that was decided late. This one should feature plenty of scoring as well, but much more will come from Rutgers than Wazzu.

    Prediction: Rutgers 51, Washington State 30

    FINAL: Washington State 37, Rutgers 34

Tulane at No. 15 Georgia Tech

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    John Amis/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Georgia Tech racked up 344 rushing yards in a 38-21 win at Tulane last September.

    What to watch for

    Tulane hits the road after opening with a 30-point home loss to Duke, scoring just seven points and gaining 25 yards on the ground. The Green Wave allowed 530 yards and now play one of the best rushing attacks in the country.

    Georgia Tech's 69-6 win over Alcorn State was over before the first quarter ended, with the Yellow Jackets already up 34-0 en route to 476 rushing yards and nine touchdowns from six different players. That included Stanford transfer Patrick Skov, who had three scores, while quarterback Justin Thomas hardly had to carry the ball and just handed off to an endless supply of backs.

    Georgia Tech dominated Tulane on the road last season, so there's no reason to believe it will be any different in Atlanta.

    Prediction: Georgia Tech 51, Tulane 13

    FINAL: Georgia Tech 65, Tulane 10

No. 9 Notre Dame at Virginia

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Notre Dame posted a 36-13 win over Virginia in August 1989, the only previous meeting between the schools.

    What to watch for

    Notre Dame had a superb performance in its opener, a 38-3 home win over Texas in which it had great production all over its offense and was punishing on the defensive end. The loss of leading rusher Tarean Folston to a season-ending injury didn't slow anything down, as C.J. Prosise and Josh Adams picked up the slack while Malik Zaire was nearly perfect at quarterback.

    Virginia returns from its long trip to UCLA with an 18-point loss on its ledger, as well as being part of the trivia answer for which team UCLA's true freshman quarterback beat up on in his first start. The Cavaliers' strength is supposed to be their defense, but they allowed 351 passing yards and three touchdowns to an 18-year-old and 503 yards overall.

    Matt Johns had OK numbers as Virginia's quarterback, but he'll need to do more if the defense is going to regress. Notre Dame's defense isn't who you want to try to show improvement against, and despite the Cavs likely playing better at home, this won't be close for long.

    Prediction: Notre Dame 33, Virginia 16

    FINAL: Notre Dame 34, Virginia 27

Furman at Virginia Tech

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    Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Virginia Tech posted a 24-7 home win over Furman in September 2008.

    What to watch for

    Furman lost 38-35 against Coastal Carolina last week to open the season. The Paladins were 3-9 a year ago, including a loss at South Carolina that dropped them to 5-26-1 all time against FBS teams.

    Had Virginia Tech's game against Ohio State lasted only 30 minutes, it would be coming off a major upset of the defending national champions. Instead, the Hokies are trying to recover from a 42-24 home setback and the loss of starting quarterback Michael Brewer for up to eight weeks, per

    Brewer broke his collarbone after being driven to the ground by OSU's Adolphus Washington with Tech trailing 21-17 in the third quarter. Brenden Motley replaced him in the lineup and looked very shaky, though with time to prepare for being the starter he could look much better this week.

    Regardless of how the OSU game ended, playing Furman right after the Buckeyes could make Tech ripe for a major letdown. The Hokies haven't started 0-2 since 2010, when it lost to Boise State in Landover, Maryland, and then dropped a home game to FCS James Madison.

    Prediction: Virginia Tech 31, Furman 21

    FINAL: Virginia Tech 42, Furman 3

No. 10 Georgia at Vanderbilt

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    Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Todd Gurley ran for 163 yards and two touchdowns in Georgia's 44-17 home win over Vanderbilt last October in SEC play.

    What to watch for

    Georgia didn't get to play a full game last week against Louisiana-Monroe, as lightning wiped out the final 10 minutes of what was already an in-the-bag 51-14 victory. Before the stoppage, though, the Bulldogs got a strong effort from Virginia transfer Greyson Lambert at quarterback along with plenty of big runs from Nick Chubb and Keith Marshall.

    Both had two touchdown runs, with Chubb's 120 yards giving him at least 100 in nine straight games. Lambert was 8-of-12 for 141 yards and two TDs.

    Vanderbilt slipped at home to a non-power opponent to start the season for a second straight year, though unlike the 2014 blowout loss to Temple, it had chances in the 14-12 loss to Western Kentucky. As promising as the strong defensive effort was against a prolific passing team, the Commodores' own offense scored just nine points on five trips to the red zone.

    The 'Dores were winless in the SEC last year and lost their conference home games by 20.8 points per game. They'll be lucky to keep this one as close as that average.

    Prediction: Georgia 38, Vanderbilt 17

    FINAL: Georgia 31, Vanderbilt 14

Fresno State at No. 17 Ole Miss

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    Thomas Graning/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 3:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Ole Miss earned a 38-28 win at Fresno State in October 2011.

    What to watch for

    Fresno State earned a 34-13 win over Abilene Christian to open the year, an uneven result in which Marteze Waller ran well with 154 yards on 22 carries while Zack Greenlee tossed three touchdown passes but was just 14-of-32 for the game.

    Ole Miss outscored everyone else in Week 1, with 76 points against Tennessee-Martin. The Rebels threw five touchdown passes from three different quarterbacks, had five rushing scores (along with 338 yards) from four different ball-carriers and also got a 93-yard interception return TD from Trae Elston.

    Neither team is going to be able to perform as well as it did in its first game, but for Ole Miss that still could mean a pretty sizable win. 

    Prediction: Ole Miss 51, Fresno State 20

    FINAL: Ole Miss 73, Fresno State 21

Middle Tennessee at No. 2 Alabama

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    LM Otero/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 4 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Alabama opened the 2005 season with a 26-7 win over Middle Tennessee.

    What to watch for

    Middle Tennessee easily dispatched Jackson State, winning 70-14, gaining 633 yards in the process. Most of that came from freshman quarterback Brent Stockstillson of Blue Raiders coach Rick Stockstillwho threw for 336 yards and four touchdowns.

    It had to be a great feeling for both father and son, especially if there was any wonder of whether the coach was playing favorites rather than going with his best option at quarterback. And with this next game coming up likely to be a major reality check for Brent Stockstill, all the better.

    Alabama has a way of humbling confident players from other teams, and not just those from non-power teams. The Crimson Tide held Wisconsin's normally superb run game to 40 yards in a 35-17 win in Arlington, Texas, while its own run game (led by bruiser Derrick Henry's 147 yards and three TDs) had 238 yards.

    Jake Coker won the starting job for that first game and did well, and he'll likely be first out for the Tide in this one. But expect at least three passers to get significant snaps on Saturday, if not more of them, since this one will be decided before halftime and the second half will serve as a scrimmage.

    Prediction: Alabama 55, Middle Tennessee 13

    FINAL: Alabama 37, Middle Tennessee 3

Toledo vs. No. 18 Arkansas (at Little Rock, Arkansas)

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    Samantha Baker/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 4 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Toledo did not get to complete its opener against Stony Brook, a much-delayed affair that ultimately was halted and deemed a no-contest because of lightning. The Rockets were leading when the game was called, but none of the stats count, though it still applies for the two-game suspension that top running back Kareem Hunt must serve for violating a team rule.

    Hunt, who ran for 100-plus yards in all 10 games he played in 2014, would come in handy in this game since Arkansas has a way of swallowing up smaller backs with its defense. It held UTEP to 58 rushing yards in its 48-13 win last week.

    The Razorbacks' run game produced 182 yards, 127 of that coming from Alex Collins, but quarterback Brandon Allen was the offensive star with 308 yards and four touchdowns on 14-of-18 passing.

    If Arkansas can throw as well as it runs, it will be very dangerous. 

    Prediction: Arkansas 51, Toledo 17

    FINAL: Toledo 16, Arkansas 12

Eastern Illinois at Northwestern

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 4 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Kain Colter threw for 104 yards and ran for another 109 with three touchdowns in Northwestern's 42-21 home win over Eastern Illinois in September 2011.

    What to watch for

    Eastern Illinois lost 33-5 to Western Illinois to open the 2015 season. Last year the Panthers went 5-7, including a loss at Minnesota that dropped their record to 5-32 against FBS teams. In 2013, though, they won at San Diego State.

    Northwestern pulled off one of the biggest shockers of the opening week, not only beating Stanford at home but doing so in dominant defensive fashion. The Wildcats held the Cardinal without a touchdown, and while they had only one of their own (on a long run from redshirt freshman quarterback Clayton Thorson), they did produce solid rushing results thanks to Justin Jackson.

    There's not much flash to what Northwestern does, but it won't need any fancy bells and whistles to beat an FCS team that's still trying to regroup after losing its coach (Dino Babers) to Bowling Green after the 2013 season.

    Prediction: Northwestern 31, Eastern Illinois 14

    FINAL: Northwestern 41, Eastern Illinois 0

Eastern Michigan at Wyoming

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    Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 4 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Eastern Michigan ran for 252 yards and scored 34 points at home against Old Dominion last week but still lost by four after leading by 14 early in the second half. The Eagles now take a 14-game road losing streak out to the mountains to play a team that got embarrassed at home by an FCS team.

    Wyoming coach Craig Bohl has now lost nine games in one-plus season with Wyoming after dropping seven in the previous four years at North Dakota State. The most recent one was the worst of the setbacks, though, as it was at home to FCS school North Dakota. The Cowboys had just 41 rushing yards and were scoreless until 13 minutes left in the game.

    Bohl wasn't going to turn around Wyoming instantly, but few expected it to look this bad right now. Expect a major bounce-back game.

    Prediction: Wyoming 38, Eastern Michigan 17

    FINAL: Eastern Michigan 48, Wyoming 29

Iowa at Iowa State

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    Matthew Holst/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 4:45 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Cole Netten's 42-yard field goal with 42 seconds remaining gave visiting Iowa State a 20-17 win over rival Iowa last September.

    What to watch for

    The annual battle for in-state supremacy has amounted to the Super Bowl for Iowa State during its recent downward run, which made last year's win in Iowa City a huge deal for a team that won only once more in 2014. And it was particularly unsettling for Iowa, since the last two years the Hawkeyes have basically beat the teams it should and lost to those it shouldn't beat (with the Iowa State game being the notable exception).

    Both schools are coming off impressive home wins, albeit against FCS schools, but neither struggled at all in knocking off those foes like in years past. Iowa State had fallen to FCS opponents to open the previous two seasons, while Iowa narrowly edged Northern Iowa in 2014.

    Starting 2-0 would be huge for both teams, particularly Iowa State, which hasn't accomplished that feat since 2012 and has gone 5-19 the past two seasons. Paul Rhoads is beloved in Ames, but he needs to start winning if he wants to keep his job.

    Iowa seems indifferent about how Kirk Ferentz performs, but beating Iowa State remains among the more important goals for the program. He's 7-9 against the Cyclones with losses in three of the last four years.

    The last four meetings have been decided by a combined 15 points, with the visitor claiming the last three. Expect another tight finish, but the home team will hold serve.

    Prediction: Iowa State 23, Iowa 20

    FINAL: Iowa 31, Iowa State 17

San Diego State at California

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 5 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: California earned a 42-37 win over San Diego State in September 1996.

    What to watch for

    San Diego State easily beat FCS San Diego 37-3 in its opener, but Kentucky transfer Maxwell Smith struggled at quarterback with only 100 yards and an interception on 9-of-21 passing. The Aztecs leaned heavily on their defense, which held the Toreros to 193 yards and picked off five passes.

    Damontae Kazee had three interceptions and Calvin Munson the other two, returning both for touchdowns. That passing defense will get tested in spades this time out, since that's what California does early and often.

    The Golden Bears romped to a 73-14 win over Grambling. They also returned two picks for TDs while Jared Goff threw three TD passes.

    Cal had 13 players catch a pass, so Kazee and Munson won't be able to cover them all.

    Prediction: California 48, San Diego State 24

    FINAL: California 35, San Diego State 7

No. 19 Oklahoma at No. 23 Tennessee

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    Brett Deering/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 6 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Julian Wilson's 100-yard interception return for a touchdown highlighted Oklahoma's 34-10 home win over Tennessee last September. 

    What to watch for

    Oklahoma had a strong debut of its new pass-first offense last week, with Texas Tech transfer Baker Mayfield throwing for 388 yards—most by a Sooners quarterback in a season opener—and three touchdowns. The defense also looked good, holding Akron to 226 yards and a field goal.

    But the move to an Air Raid attack might have eliminated one of Oklahoma's best weapons, that being bruising running back Samaje Perine. The FBS single-game rushing record holder had 11 carries for 33 yards, and while a lacking ground game didn't matter much against the Zips, it could haunt the Sooners down the road. 

    Many Tennessee fans have had this visit from Oklahoma circled on the schedule since midway through last year's lopsided loss in Norman. They knew the young Volunteers weren't yet ready to compete with strong teams but could be in another year. They actually became so late last season, once Joshua Dobbs took over as quarterback, and that offense was on full display last week against Bowling Green with 59 points and 604 yards.

    So, too, was a defense that wasn't well-equipped to handle an aggressive passing attack, as Bowling Green put up 30 points in the first three quarters and threw for 433 yards. The Vols could get shredded by Oklahoma's passing scheme if they don't shore up some things this week.

    Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops created an unnecessary narrative by downplaying the effect Neyland Stadium's large and loud crowd could have on the game. The Vols didn't need any extra motivation for this one, but the bulletin-board material won't hurt. 

    Prediction: Tennessee 37, Oklahoma 31

    FINAL: Oklahoma 31, Tennessee 24 (2 OT)

North Carolina Central at Duke

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 6 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Brandon Connette threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score in Duke's 45-0 home win over North Carolina Central to open the 2013 season.

    What to watch for

    North Carolina Central began its season with a 72-0 win over Division II St. Augustine's. The Eagles were 7-5 a year ago, losing at East Carolina in their opener to fall to 0-6 against FBS competition.

    Duke's 30-point win at Tulane was the second-largest margin of victory by a road team in Week 1 (behind Baylor's 35-point victory at SMU) and was even more impressive in that it was done by a team breaking in a relatively new offense. Thomas Sirk was impressive in his first start at quarterback, and the Blue Devils' run game was also effective.

    Now comes the start of a four-game homestand that will get tougher later onwith visits from Northwestern and Georgia Techbut begins with a walkover. Duke used to be the team getting steamrolled, but now it is routinely steamrolling lesser opponents.

    Prediction: Duke 58, North Carolina Central 14

    FINAL: Duke 55, North Carolina Central 0

North Carolina A&T at North Carolina

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    Chuck Burton/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 6 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    North Carolina A&T earned a 61-7 win over Division II Shaw to open its season. The Aggies, who were 9-3 last season, are 0-4 all time against FBS teams.

    North Carolina squandered an opportunity to get a quality win against South Carolina last week, but its best player (quarterback Marquise Williams) inexplicably threw three red-zone interceptions, including two in the end zone to the same player. Instead, the Tar Heels dropped a 17-13 result that spoiled what at times was a pretty impressive defensive display after last year's breakdowns on that side.

    Thankfully, UNC has the benefit of playing two FCS teams this season to boost the ego and pad the win column. There was hope the Heels could head into ACC play at 4-0, thus taking some heat off coach Larry Fedora, but now the hope is to rebound.

    Prediction: North Carolina 54, North Carolina A&T 16

    FINAL: North Carolina 53, North Carolina A&T 14

Eastern Kentucky at North Carolina State

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 6 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: North Carolina State posted a 54-10 win over Eastern Kentucky in September 2005.

    What to watch for

    Eastern Kentucky posted a 52-10 win over Valparaiso last week. The Colonels, who were 9-4 a year ago and reached the FCS playoffs, are 7-22 against FBS teams, including a win at Miami (Ohio) last season. They are looking to make a move to the FBS level, but recently lost out to Coastal Carolina in a bid to join the Sun Belt Conference for the 2017 season.

    North Carolina State is now 8-1 in nonconference regular-season games under Dave Doeren after its 49-21 home win over Troy. The Wolfpack aren't very much interested in playing tough out-of-league opponents, as this is the third straight year without a power-conference foe, but they're also not trying to impress a playoff selection committee.

    Jacoby Brissett didn't have suspended leading rusher Shadrach Thornton last week, but he did have backup Matt Dayes and fed him 24 times for 126 yards and two touchdowns. If NC State can allow Brissett to focus more on passing than trying to make plays with his legs, it will be in good shape come ACC play.

    Prediction: North Carolina State 51, Eastern Kentucky 24

    FINAL: North Carolina State 35, Eastern Kentucky 0

Pittsburgh at Akron

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 6 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Cody Grice had two short touchdown runs to help Akron pull off a 21-10 upset win at Pittsburgh last September.

    What to watch for

    Pittsburgh had to fight to the end to win its opener, 45-37 over Youngstown State, giving Pat Narduzzi a win in his coaching debut. But the bigger development from the game was the knee injury to running back James Conner, who set a school record with 26 touchdowns last year and led the ACC in rushing.

    Conner is out for the year, but in his place the Panthers got 207 yards and a TD from Qadree Ollison. He made up for a very uninspiring performance from the passing attack, though Chad Voytik didn't have top target Tyler Boyd available because he sat out the game with a one-game suspension following a DUI charge in the summer.

    Akron did very little on offense or defense in a 41-3 loss at Oklahoma, gaining 226 yards and completing only six of 26 passes. The Zips didn't look anything like the team that won in Pittsburgh a year ago. They looked more like the group that ended 2014 on a 1-5 skid.

    Last year's result was a major anomaly, and the universe will get balanced out with Pitt avenging that loss.

    Prediction: Pittsburgh 31, Akron 17

    FINAL: Pittsburgh 24, Akron 7

Delaware State at Kent State

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    Stephen Haas/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 6 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Kent State earned a 24-3 win over Delaware State in September 2008.

    What to watch for

    Delaware State lost 32-13 to Liberty last week in its season opener and is on a six-game losing streak. The Hornets were 2-10 last year, including a loss at Temple that dropped their record against FBS teams to 1-5.

    Kent State's 52-3 loss at Illinois (which was pushed back 16 hours because of lightning) was its 18th in the past 24 games. It was the Golden Flashes' fifth straight loss against a power-conference team since beating Rutgers during their 11-3 season in 2012. The Golden Flashes don't have much going for them beyond junior quarterback Colin Reardon, and his three interceptions against the Fighting Illini give him 28 picks and 26 touchdown passes for his career.

    The Flashes haven't lost to an FCS team since 2000, so at least they have that in their favor.

    Prediction: Kent State 33, Delaware State 16

    FINAL: Kent State 45, Delaware State 13

Western Michigan at Georgia Southern

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    Ray Thompson/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 6 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Western Michigan didn't have enough oars to row the boat fast enough to keep up with Michigan State last week, losing 37-24 at home. The Broncos fought hard, getting 365 passing yards and two touchdowns from Zach Terrell as well as a crowd-pleasing 100-yard kickoff return TD from Darius Phillips, but they couldn't slow MSU's offense.

    Now P.J. Fleck's talented mid-major team must play on the road against an equally dangerous non-power program that's missing one of its most important players.

    Quarterback Kevin Ellison, the spark plug for Georgia Southern's rushing offense that led the nation in 2014, is sitting out the first two games after being ruled academically ineligible by the NCAA for "failing to meet the organization's academic requirements for football student-athletes," per Will Butler of SB Nation's Underdog Dynasty blog. Without Ellison, the Eagles were listless in a 44-0 loss at West Virginia.

    They ran for 195 yards but needed 57 carries, averaging 3.4 per rush. Last year Georgia Southern averaged 379.9 per game and 7.11 per carry, both tops in the country. Ellison had 1,082 rushing yards and 12 TDs.

    Even without Ellison, though, there's still 1,400-yard rusher Matt Breida, who was held to 70 yards against West Virginia but should get loose against the Broncos. Expect a very fun and high-scoring game.

    Prediction: Georgia Southern 37, Western Michigan 30

    FINAL: Georgia Southern 43, Western Michigan 17

Northwestern State at Louisiana-Lafayette

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    David Stephenson/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Louisiana-Lafayette posted a 49-28 win over Northwestern State in September 2005.

    What to watch for

    Northwestern State fell 34-20 at home to SE Louisiana last week to open the season. The Demons were 6-6 a year ago, including a loss at Baylor and a win against Louisiana Tech, which made them 17-47 all time against FBS competition.

    Louisiana-Lafayette came oh so close to giving coach Mark Hudspeth his first win over a power-conference team in eight tries, but even a successful Statue of Liberty play on a two-point conversion wasn't enough as it fell 40-33 at Kentucky. The Ragin' Cajuns have won eight regular-season games in each of Hudspeth's four seasons, and part of the formula for that success is not slipping up against the teams they should beat early in the year.

    Even with a relatively young lineup, Louisiana-Lafayette nearly knocked off an SEC team on the road. At home against a lower-division in-state school, it should roll.

    Prediction: Louisiana-Lafayette 51, Northwestern State 21

    FINAL: Louisiana-Lafayette 44, Northwestern State 17

Nicholls State at Louisiana-Monroe

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Louisiana-Monroe beat Nicholls State, 27-21, in September 2000.

    What to watch for

    Nicholls State was 0-12 last season and is currently riding an 18-game losing streak. In 2014 it played three FBS teams, losing at Air Force (44-16), Arkansas (73-7) and North Texas (77-3) to make it 3-39 against FBS competition.

    Louisiana-Monroe has dropped eight of nine after getting blown out last week at Georgia, its third loss to an SEC school in the past two seasons. The Warhawks don't do themselves any favors as far as trying to get bowl-eligible with the opponents they schedule outside of the Sun Belt, with a trip to Alabama coming next week, so they'll take a winnable game whenever they can get one.

    Nicholls State is the answer for all that ails most teams.

    Prediction: Louisiana-Monroe 52, Nicholls State 10

    FINAL: Louisiana-Monroe 47, Nicholls State 0

Prairie View A&M at Texas State

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    Mark Wallheiser/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Prairie View A&M opened the 2015 season with a 38-11 win over Texas Southern. The Panthers, who were 5-5 last year, are 0-3 all time against FBS teams.

    Texas State is trying to raise itself to the level of other more notable Texas programs on the gridiron, and the Bobcats have managed to lure Houston and Baylor to San Marcos for future games. For now, though, they still have to get by with some painful trips to places like Florida State, where Texas State was defeated 59-16 last week. 

    Tyler Jones is a decent dual-threat quarterback who can do things against mediocre defenses, but FSU shut him and all of Texas State down. The Bobcats will look more like the version that could contend for a Sun Belt title this time around.

    Prediction: Texas State 44, Prairie View A&M 23

    FINAL: Texas State 63, Prairie View A&M 24

Charleston Southern at Troy

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Charleston Southern earned a 41-14 win over Division II North Greenville to open the season. The Buccaneers were 8-4 last year, with losses at Vanderbilt (21-20) and Georgia (55-9) to make them 0-16 all time against FBS opponents.

    Troy was no match for North Carolina State in its opener, as Neal Brown's debut as coach was spoiled. His push to make the Trojans more of an uptempo team didn't get very far last week, as they ran just 46 plays.

    Quarterback Brandon Silvers is very accurate, completing 70.5 percent of his passes as a freshman and going 12-of-16 against NC State. He's someone to build around for the future, and he should do well in Brown's home debut, but Charleston Southern has some weapons of its own.

    Prediction: Troy 34, Charleston Southern 27

    FINAL: Troy 44, Charleston Southern 16

Marshall at Ohio

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    Chris Tilley/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Rakeem Cato threw for 425 yards and four touchdowns in Marshall's 44-14 home win over Ohio last September.

    What to watch for

    Marshall earned its first win over a Big Ten school on Sunday, knocking off visiting Purdue 41-31 thanks to a pair of interception return touchdowns by Tiquan Lang. He brought one back on Purdue's first snap and then sealed the game with his second in the final minutes. In between, the Thundering Herd had good production on offense but couldn't make many stops.

    Ohio ventured to Idaho for its opener and left the Kibbie Dome with a 45-28 win. The Bobcats racked up 490 yards, with quarterbacks Derrius Vick and JD Sprague both playing well.

    The Bobcats are pretty much the same team that went 6-6 a year ago and were crushed at Marshall, while the Herd are a few notches below last season's 13-1 team but still good enough to pick up a nice road victory.

    Prediction: Marshall 33, Ohio 27

    FINAL: Ohio 21, Marshall 10

Norfolk State at Old Dominion

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    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Old Dominion scored a 27-24 win at crosstown rival Norfolk State in October 2013.

    What to watch for

    Norfolk State lost 63-13 at Rutgers last week to open the season. The Spartans, who went 4-8 last year, are 0-7 all time against FBS competition.

    Old Dominion got its first season of full FBS postseason eligibility off to a good start with a 38-34 win at Eastern Michigan. While new quarterback Shuler Bentley did well, the big story was the performance of running back Ray Lawry. The sophomore's 223 rushing yards and four touchdowns were tops in the country in Week 1 and provided a departure from the pass-happy Monarchs teams during the transition to FBS with prolific passer Taylor Heinicke around.

    Located in Norfolk, Old Dominion has beat its crosstown rivals in its two previous meetings. Make that three in a row.

    Prediction: Old Dominion 54, Norfolk State 23

    FINAL: Old Dominion 24, Norfolk State 10

North Texas at SMU

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: North Texas held SMU to 10 rushing yards in a 43-6 home win over the Mustangs last September.

    What to watch for

    North Texas gets to play 12 straight weeks after opening 2015 on a bye, but the Mean Green probably had some scouts at SMU's opener while others watched it on television. The extra week of training camp was also used to help work out the kinks before embarking on a better performance than last year's 4-8 record.

    The Mean Green return their leading rusher (Antoinne Jimmerson) and top receiver (Carlos Harris), while quarterback Andrew McNulty started several games last season.

    SMU did not beat Baylor last week, losing by 35 at home, but it went toe-to-toe with the Bears for most of the first half and was a goal-line gaffe away from going into halftime tied at 28. Matt Davis was electric as the Mustangs' quarterback, with 281 yards of total offense, including 115 on the ground, while receiver Courtland Sutton showed the makings of becoming a breakout star.

    There was a lot for first-year SMU coach Chad Morris to be happy about from that opener, at least on offense. Now comes his first actual victory instead of just a moral one.

    Prediction: SMU 38, North Texas 27

    FINAL: SMU 31, North Texas 13

No. 22 Arizona at Nevada

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    J and L Photography/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Anu Solomon threw for 278 yards and three touchdowns and Nick Wilson ran for 171 yards and two scores in Arizona's 35-28 home win over Nevada last September.

    What to watch for

    Arizona hasn't played a power-conference opponent in non-league play since Rich Rodriguez's first season in 2012, but it is willing to play on the road against mid-major teams. In 2013 it was at UNLV, last year the Wildcats went to UTSA, and this time it's Nevada, all part of home-and-home series that have enabled them to open 3-0 in three straight seasons.

    The Wildcats are 1-0 this year after a 10-point home win over UTSA that was more a battle of attrition than anything else. Star linebacker Scooby Wright went down early with a knee injury, and over the weekend he had surgery to repair a meniscus tear that will shelve him for a month. His absence was noticeable, despite Arizona twice scoring on defense, though thanks to quarterback Solomon's four-touchdown day, there wasn't much concern about a loss.

    Nevada opened with a 31-17 home win over UC Davis, breaking in a new quarterback (Tyler Stewart) and leaning on senior running back Don Jackson. Jackson had only 44 yards on 18 carries last year at Arizona, but against the Aggies he ran for 123 yards and two scores.

    Reno has been the site of some notable losses by visitors over the years, with Washington State falling there in 2014 and Boise State's run at perfection coming to an end there in 2010. Arizona will get pushed to the limit but come out ahead late.

    Prediction: Arizona 34, Nevada 30

    FINAL: Arizona 44, Nevada 20

Ball State at No. 16 Texas A&M

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    Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Ball State was on the winning end of the highest-scoring game of the 2015 season's opening night, winning 48-36 at home against VMI. Quarterback Jack Milas threw for 338 yards and the running backs produced five touchdowns, but the Cardinals also yielded 444 yards through the air and 547 overall.

    That doesn't bode well for Ball State, as it takes on Texas A&M in the Aggies' home opener.

    The Aggies again were one of the darlings of the opening week, similar to last year after they rolled South Carolina on the road. The dominant win over Arizona State in Houston featured not just great offense via Kyle Allen's passing and fellow quarterback Kyler Murray's mobility but also freshman Christian Kirk's great moves as a receiver and in the return game.

    Even more impressive: A&M posted nine sacks of ASU's Mike Bercovici, with Myles Garrett and others in the backfield early and often.

    Ball State simply has no chance.

    Prediction: Texas A&M 63, Ball State 14

    FINAL: Texas A&M 56, Ball State 23

No. 21 Missouri at Arkansas State

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    Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: James Franklin threw three touchdown passes and ran for another in Missouri's 41-19 home win over Arkansas State in September 2013.

    What to watch for

    Missouri has proved itself to be a road warrior during its surprising two-year run as SEC East champs, winning all 10 regular-season games away from Columbia. The Tigers have won at Florida, Georgia, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Tennessee, among others, so surely being the first ranked team to play in Jonesboro since 2004 (per the Associated Press, via shouldn't be a problem, right?

    The Tigers easily beat Southeast Missouri State 34-3 last week, continuing their dominance on defense but also getting good quarterback play from both Maty Mauk and freshman Drew Lock. We'll now see if that continues on the road.

    Arkansas State was crushed, 55-6, by USC, and it wasn't even that close. Dual-threat quarterback Fredi Knighten was stifled, held to 144 total yards, but the Red Wolves have a lot back from a seven-win bowl team, including coach Blake Anderson.

    There's very little for Mizzou to gain from this game but plenty to lose. Gary Pinkel has road magic and it will continue, yet there will be some tense moments along the way.

    Prediction: Missouri 29, Arkansas State 20

    FINAL: Missouri 27, Arkansas State 20

East Carolina at Florida

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    Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Treon Harris had two touchdown passes and Adam Lane ran for 109 yards and a score as Florida earned a 28-20 win over East Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl in January.

    What to watch for

    Not much in terms of scouting can be done from these teams' meeting eight months ago, because East Carolina graduated school passing leader Shane Carden and FBS career receptions leader Justin Hardy, among others, and lost offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley to Oklahoma, while Florida was led by an interim coach bridging the gap between Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain.

    East Carolina opened 2015 with a 28-20 win over Towson, getting 154 rushing yards and four touchdowns from Chris Hairston while Blake Kemp threw for 235 yards on 29-of-37 passing. Kemp, a junior college transfer, wasn't supposed to be the Pirates' starter, but he's ended up as such after Kurt Benkert tore his ACL at the end of training camp.

    Florida's first game under McElwain was an expected rout, with the Gators winning 61-13 over New Mexico State. Harris started at QB over Will Grier, but both played very well, combining for 379 yards and four TDs on 29-of-36 passing. Grier also had a rushing TD, one of four by Florida.

    It's hard to say how much of those results were the product of the opponent—New Mexico State has five wins the past three years, three against FCS teams—and how much was from McElwain's ability to generate offense. This week will provide a better picture, though the Gators should still have a decided advantage overall because of their strong defense.

    Prediction: Florida 30, East Carolina 19

    FINAL: Florida 31, East Carolina 24

Memphis at Kansas

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    Joe Murphy/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 7 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Memphis won 63-7 against Missouri State, leading 42-0 at halftime and easily claiming its eighth straight victory. The Tigers racked up 519 yards, 317 on the ground, with five rushing touchdowns, including two from Jarvis Cooper. The defending co-American Athletic Conference champs appear to have picked up where they left off a year ago.

    So, too, has Kansas, which stumbled 41-38 to FCS South Dakota State at home in its opener. New coach David Beaty could only watch as the Jayhawks rallied from down 17 at the half and were trying to set up a game-tying field goal when quarterback Montell Cozart fumbled trying to spike the ball. Consequently, they ran out of time.

    These are programs moving in completely opposite directions, and the game being played at Kansas won't have any bearing on the outcome.

    Prediction: Memphis 31, Kansas 21

    FINAL: Memphis 55, Kansas 23

Central Arkansas at Oklahoma State

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 7:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Central Arkansas lost 45-16 at Samford last week to open its season. The Bears were 6-6 last year, including a loss at Texas Tech, making them 1-9 against FBS teams.

    Oklahoma State avoided the potential disaster of losing an opener on the road against a Mid-American Conference team, winning 24-13 at Central Michigan behind 266 passing yards from Mason Rudolph and a strong rushing performance from junior college transfer Chris Carson. It wasn't pretty, but it also wasn't an eyesore that could hurt the Cowboys' reputation.

    One of a handful of power-conference teams (many of whom are in the Big 12) that doesn't play a power foe in non-league play, Oklahoma State instead has an early slate meant to help build momentum for a push toward a high finish in its conference. Central Arkansas will provide a heck of a confidence booster, assuming the Cowboys don't sleepwalk through this one.

    Prediction: Oklahoma State 44, Central Arkansas 14

    FINAL: Oklahoma State 32, Central Arkansas 8

Lamar at No. 4 Baylor

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 7:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Lamar cruised to a 66-3 win over NAIA school Bacone to open its season. The Cardinals were 8-4 last year but lost at Texas A&M to drop to 2-18 against FBS competition.

    Baylor scored twice in the first 90 seconds of its 56-21 win at SMU last week, but also allowed a touchdown on the first defensive snap and could have been tied at 28 at halftime had the Mustangs not botched a goal-line play in the final minute. Not having defensive end Shawn Oakman or cornerback Orion Stewart—both suspended for the opener—had an impact, though the Bears again could be susceptible to giving up lots of points this year.

    That's not of much consequence against most of their opponents in 2015, because Seth Russell isn't going to have trouble piling up points and yards with the weapons he has to work with. Baylor had two receivers go for more than 100 yards against SMU, while a third (Jay Lee) caught three TDs. The Bears also ran for 300 yards.

    Prediction: Baylor 70, Lamar 17

    FINAL: Baylor 66, Lamar 31

Kentucky at South Carolina

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 7:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Alvin Dupree's six-yard interception return for a touchdown with 2:29 left gave Kentucky a 45-38 home win over South Carolina in October. The Wildcats trailed 38-24 with 11 minutes left.

    What to watch for

    Kentucky's big night in a renovated Commonwealth Stadium was nearly spoiled by upstart Louisiana-Lafayette, but after getting tied at 33 the Wildcats came out on top by a touchdown thanks to Mikel Horton's scoring run in the final minute. It wasn't the smoothest of openers, with Kentucky allowing 247 rushing yards and falling for the State of Liberty play on a game-tying two-point conversion.

    Nor was the offense very effective, despite scoring 40 points. New offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson blamed himself and his "aggressive nature," per Kyle Tucker of the Courier-Journal, for quarterback Patrick Towles' mistakes. A better effort will be needed to handle South Carolina's improved defense.

    The Gamecocks gave up 440 yards to North Carolina but were surprisingly strong in the red zone, picking off UNC quarterback Marquise Williams three times, with two of those by linebacker Skai Moore in the end zone. South Carolina allowed 30.4 points per game and at least 20 in 11 of 13 contests in 2014.

    Their offense wasn't very crisp, though. If one takes out Shon Carson's 48-yard touchdown run, they averaged only 4.7 yards per play.

    In the relatively wide-open SEC East, every chance to pick up a league win is critical. These aren't the top contenders for the division title, but each also isn't in a position to squander a chance to start off hot and improve the chances for a bowl bid. While neither team was particularly impressive in its opener, the edge goes to South Carolina because of the venue and the momentum of beating a rival last week. 

    Prediction: South Carolina 29, Kentucky 24

    FINAL: Kentucky 26, South Carolina 22

Idaho at No. 8 USC

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: John David Booty had three touchdown passes in USC's 38-10 season-opening win over Idaho in September 2007.

    What to watch for

    Idaho got the ball rolling on what could end up being a fourth straight one-win season by losing 45-28 at home to Ohio last week. The Vandals rarely take advantage of playing in a warehouse-like dome in Moscow, which is unfortunate because they've lost 22 straight road games.

    USC finishes up its two-game stretch as host of Sun Belt teams after crushing Arkansas State 55-6 last week, a game that was never close. Cody Kessler had four touchdown passes, three players scored on the ground (including a pair of true freshmen), and receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster took a catch 61 yards to the house.

    The only real concern USC should have in this game, aside from avoiding injury, is to make sure Idaho's Dezmon Epps doesn't go off. Epps, who had 15 catches for 160 yards last week, is the Vandals' only notable weapon.

    Prediction: USC 54, Idaho 10

    FINAL: USC 59, Idaho 9

No. 7 Oregon at No. 5 Michigan State

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Marcus Mariota rallied Oregon from a six-point halftime deficit to post a 46-27 home win over Michigan State last September.

    What to watch for

    Oregon debuted its new quarterback, Vernon Adams Jr., and the Eastern Washington transfer looked very much like departed Heisman winner Mariota in amassing 340 yards of total offense (including 94 rushing yards) with two passing TDs. And despite taking a helmet-to-helmet hit in the fourth quarter, knocking him out of the game, Adams is expected to play in this major showdown of playoff hopefuls.

    While the Ducks offense was as explosive as ever, with 61 points and an FBS-best 731 yards, their defense yielded 42 points and 549 yards, including 438 through the air. That's likely to have Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook salivating after he threw for 343 yards and two TDs but was also intercepted twice in last season's loss at Oregon.

    "That loss stunk last year and stuck with us," Cook said, per Brian Hamilton of Sports Illustrated.

    Cook had 256 passing yards and two TDs in MSU's win at Western Michigan, but he completed only 15 of 31 passes with several poor throws to open receivers. The Spartans can't afford to squander any opportunities to move the ball against Oregon, especially since their own defense was torched for 365 passing yards by the Broncos.

    With both teams coming off suspect defensive efforts, particularly against the pass, it's likely to come down to which side stops the run better. Oregon ran for 485 yards against Eastern Washington, including 180 yards and three TDs from sophomore Royce Freeman, while MSU got 188 yards and three scores from a trio of new contributors.

    The winner gets a trump card to help offset a loss later in the season, and each team is set to face top competition on the road in conference play.

    Prediction: Michigan State 35, Oregon 31

    FINAL: Michigan State 31, Oregon 28

South Alabama at Nebraska

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    Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    South Alabama eked out a 33-23 home win over FCS Gardner-Webb, a game that was in doubt into the second half. The Jaguars were a bowl team a year ago but had to replace a lot of starters and have turned to several UAB transfers to fill gaps. That includes quarterback Cody Clements, who threw two touchdown passes but was also picked off twice.

    Nebraska lost 33-28 to BYU last week on a Hail Mary, ending its 29-year home opener win streak in shocking fashion. It also made new coach Mike Riley a loser in his debut, though even if that final pass hadn't been caught there would have been concerns about the Cornhuskers' leaky defense that allowed 511 yards.

    Now comes the kind of team Nebraska normally starts the season with at home, thus why it had been so long since it lost an opener. South Alabama might cause some problems, but Tommy Armstrong (319 passing yards, three TDs) looked good in the updated offense and will have a big game.

    Prediction: Nebraska 45, South Alabama 21

    FINAL: Nebraska 48, South Alabama 9

Rice at Texas

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    Jon Durr/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Garrett Gilbert threw for 239 yards and a touchdown in Texas' 34-9 home win over Rice in September 2011.

    What to watch for

    Rice had an easy opening game against FCS Wagner, winning 56-16 behind 401 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns. Quarterback Driphus Jackson had 79 of that with a TD, along with 123 passing yards and a score, and the Owls allowed only 285 yards.

    Texas would have probably loved to get an easy game like that for its start to 2015, but instead it went to Notre Dame and got run off the field. The Longhorns had 163 yards, fewest of any FBS team last week, and its lone score came on a field goal in the third quarter, production (or lack thereof) that's carried over from the end of last season.

    "Texas gained 1.7 yards per play on second down and 1.9 yards on third,"'s Max Olson wrote. "This group has made one trip to the red zone in its past three games."

    The Longhorns also struggled to stop the ball, giving up 527 yards and forcing only four incompletions on 23 pass attempts.

    Texas' pre-Big 12 slate is a gauntlet of defensive tests, first the balanced Notre Dame and then Rice's strong run attack before hosting California and its Air Raid passing game on Sept. 19. This remains the easiest of the three, but in no way is it a guaranteed win.

    The Longhorns have lost to Rice once since 1966 (a two-point setback in 1994) and usually win handily. Now they'll just be happy to beat the Owls.

    Prediction: Texas 29, Rice 23

    FINAL: Texas 42, Rice 28

Florida International at Indiana

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    Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Florida International pulled off a pretty notable upset on the first night of the season, slipping past UCF 15-14 on the road. The Golden Panthers were down 14-3 at halftime but took the lead with less than 13 minutes left and then blocked a field goal to clinch the victory.

    Indiana had to squash a two-point try from Southern Illinois in the final minute to avoid a major upset at home, winning 48-47. The Hoosiers had no issues on offense, with 349 passing yards from Nate Sudfeld and 145 rushing yards and three touchdowns from UAB transfer Jordan Howard, but their defense left a lot to be desired.

    The Hoosiers allowed 659 yards to an FCS school, which is almost as bad as losing to one.

    FIU last started 2-0 in 2011, while Indiana last did it in 2012. Neither team has been bowling the past three seasons, and each needs this game desperately to keep hope of a bid alive this year. 

    Prediction: Indiana 33, Florida International 26

    FINAL: Indiana 36, Florida International 22

Georgia State at New Mexico State

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Tyler Rogers' 11-yard touchdown pass to Teldrick Morgan with 15 seconds left gave New Mexico State a 34-31 win at Georgia State last September in Sun Belt play. 

    What to watch for

    Georgia State lost its opener to Charlotte, handing the 49ers their first-ever FBS victory. The Panthers are now 1-24 in two-plus seasons at this level, their only win coming in August 2014 by one point against an FCS school.

    New Mexico State's 63-13 loss at Florida was bad enough, but then the Aggies' support staff returned to their team bus to find it had been burglarized, per Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News. Such is the life of a program that hasn't won more than four games since 2004 and hasn't appeared in a bowl game since 1960.

    This is one of the most winnable games on each team's schedule, and they'll play with the urgency that comes with knowing how hard the rest of the season is going to be.

    Prediction: New Mexico State 43, Georgia State 31

    FINAL: Georgia State 34, New Mexico State 32

Temple at Cincinnati

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    Gary Landers/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Gunner Kiel threw for 174 yards and a touchdown in Cincinnati's 14-6 win at Temple last November in American Athletic Conference play.

    What to watch for

    Temple had one of the most significant wins in its program's history by claiming a 27-10 home win over Penn State last week. It was the Owls' first victory in the series since 1941, and it came via great defense (10 sacks, 183 yards allowed) and strong running from Jahad Thomas (135 yards, two touchdowns). 

    Following a year when the Owls won six games but weren't deemed worthy of a bowl, knocking off a Big Ten school should boost their postseason and conference championship hopes. 

    Cincinnati and Temple were picked as two of the top three teams in the American's new East Division, and now that the league has a championship game, this early matchup takes on even greater importance.

    The Bearcats didn't get challenged in their opener, gaining 636 yards in a 52-10 home win over Alabama A&M, but they've got weapons and should be ready for Temple.

    Prediction: Cincinnati 27, Temple 23

    FINAL: Temple 34, Cincinnati 26 

Tulsa at New Mexico

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    Andres Leighton/Associated Press

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: G.J. Kinne threw for 310 yards and four touchdowns in Tulsa's 44-10 win at New Mexico in September 2009.

    What to watch for

    Tulsa began the season with an overtime win for the second year in a row, a 47-44 home triumph over Florida Atlantic to give new coach Philip Montgomery a good start to his tenure. The Golden Hurricane hope that's not it for the year, though, as after the 2014 OT win against Tulane they lost 10 of the next 11.

    Quarterback Dane Evans threw for 424 yards, tied for second-most among FBS passers in the opening week, with much of that going to two targets. Keevan Lucas had 10 catches for 193 yards and two touchdowns, while Keyarris Garrett had five receptions and 163 yards.

    New Mexico also opened with a big win, though not one that required extra time, as the Lobos cruised to a 66-0 decision over Mississippi Valley State. It was their most points since a 66-17 win over New Mexico State in 2013, and more than doubled the combined margin of victory of their five wins in between.

    The option run game produced 360 yards and eight touchdowns on 53 carries, and quarterback Lamar Jordan completed all seven of his pass attempts for 103 yards. New Mexico also held its opponent to just 74 yards and recorded its first shutout since 2008, which might be the only indication it has an edge in what could be the highest-scoring game of Week 2.

    Whatever the case, it's probably wise to bet the over.

    Prediction: New Mexico 52, Tulsa 49

    FINAL: Tulsa 40, New Mexico 21

No. 14 LSU at No. 25 Mississippi State

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 9:15 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Dak Prescott had 373 yards of total offense and tallied three touchdowns in Mississippi State's 34-29 win at LSU last September in SEC play.

    What to watch for

    LSU fell victim to Mother Nature last week, never able to start its 2015 opener against FCS McNeese State because of lightning. This puts the Tigers at the disadvantage of having their first true game of the season be an SEC tilt and in a hostile environment.

    Also a loud one, as Mississippi State will attempt to set the Guinness record for most cowbells rung during its Thursday pep rally, and many of those noisemakers will be going clanga inside Scott Stadium.

    Brandon Harris beat out Anthony Jennings for the Tigers' quarterback job, but his second career start will now be much tougher than previously planned. He came on late last year against the Bulldogs, throwing for 140 yards and two touchdowns and nearly rallying them, but this will be a different scenario.

    Mississippi State didn't bring its A-game to an odd opener at Southern Mississippi, but even a subpar Dak Prescott is pretty darn good. The senior had 309 yards of total offense and accounted for three TDs, and last year's performance at LSU was his and the Bulldogs' coming-out party during their 9-0 start.

    While MSU could be in for a regression this year because of so few returners, it's still good enough to handle a vulnerable LSU team at home.

    Prediction: Mississippi State 31, LSU 21

    FINAL: LSU 21, Mississippi State 19

San Jose State at Air Force

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    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 10:15 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: San Jose State beat Air Force, 25-22, in October 1997 when both teams were in the Western Athletic Conference.

    What to watch for

    This is San Jose State's third year in the Mountain West Conference, but because of the 12-team lineup and an eight-game league schedule, the Spartans haven't had the chance at facing Air Force's option offense. They would have preferred to deal with it during the Falcons' 2-10 run in 2013 instead of the version that went 10-3 last year and is equally potent this season.

    San Jose posted a strong 43-13 home win over FCS New Hampshire last week, getting 420 passing yards from its top two quarterbacks as well as 201 yards and five touchdowns from its top two running backs. The Spartans continued their strong pass defense like from 2014, when they led the nation at 117.8 yards per game, holding the Wildcats to 60 yards through the air.

    Air Force opened with a 63-7 win over Morgan State during which quarterback Nate Romine and 13 other Falcons combined for 394 rushing yards and five TDs while the defense allowed only 195 yards.

    San Jose allowed 300-plus rushing yards on five occasions last year, and it will for the first time in 2015 on Saturday night.

    Prediction: Air Force 44, San Jose State 20

    FINAL: Air Force 37, San Jose State 16

No. 20 Boise State at BYU

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    Otto Kitsinger III/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 10:15 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Grant Hedrick threw for 410 yards and four touchdowns in Boise State's 55-30 home win over BYU last October.

    What to watch for

    One of the more unheralded rivalries out West, Boise State and BYU meet for the fourth straight year and are each coming off big wins. Boise's wasn't as epic as it had hoped, facing former coach Chris Petersen and Washington at home, but the sloppy 16-13 victory still spends the same.

    The Broncos offense disappeared after building a 16-0 lead, and their special teams were abysmal with a blocked extra point, a punt-return-touchdown allowed and a blocked punt that led to another Washington score. If not for two late sacks, which pushed a final field goal try back a ways, Boise might have lost its home opener for the first time since 2001.

    BYU's victory at Nebraska came at a major price, as the game-winning Hail Mary pass from Tanner Mangum to Mitch Mathews happened because Mangum had to replace Taysom Hill at quarterback. Hill, who had amassed 340 yards with three total touchdowns, suffered a Lisfranc foot fracture that marks his third season-ending injury in four seasons.

    Mangum, though, looked very good in relief even before the final pass. A true freshman who recently completed his Mormom mission, Mangum was co-MVP of an Elite 11 quarterback competition in 2011. The other co-MVP: Jameis Winston.

    With Boise looking sloppy last week and BYU pulling off a big opening win, the Broncos are at risk of losing their lead on the pack for the Group of Five invite to a New Year's Six bowl game. BYU isn't eligible for that bid but sure won't mind spoiling the Broncos' chances.

    Prediction: BYU 36, Boise State 28

    FINAL: BYU 35, Boise State 24

No. 13 UCLA at UNLV

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    Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 10:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    UCLA entered this season with only one notable question about its talented team: Who would play quarterback after Brett Hundley commanded the position so well for three seasons? Then true freshman Josh Rosen put forth one of the best debuts ever, conjuring up memories of when Jameis Winston made his first start in 2013, and now the Bruins have become a major playoff contender.

    "Josh Rosen's debut for UCLA was so impressive that even some of his incompletions were perfect throws," Matt Brown of Sports On Earth wrote.

    Rosen had 351 passing yards and three touchdowns in a 34-16 win over Virginia, but now comes his first road start. Ironically, it comes in the same city (and against the same coach) where he suffered his only loss as a high school senior for St. John Bosco Prep in 2014.

    UNLV is under the guidance of first-year coach Tony Sanchez, who this time last year was guiding Las Vegas' Bishop Gorman High School to an unbeaten season that included a win over Rosen's team en route to a mythical national title. Sanchez's success at the prep level prompted UNLV to take a flier on him as a college coach, and while the Runnin' Rebels didn't win their opener at Northern Illinois, they looked a lot better than the 2014 version that allowed 48 points to the Huskies at home.

    The Rebels lost, 38-30, but led into the third quarter and got 319 passing yards with two TDs from Blake Decker. They also gave up 545 yards, 360 through the air, and thus despite marked improvement, they'll still be 0-2 for the fifth time in six years.

    Prediction: UCLA 50, UNLV 27

    FINAL: UCLA 37, UNLV 3

UCF at Stanford

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    Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 10:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    If trying to market this game to a non-alumni audience, a good name would be the Utter Disappointment Bowl, since both UCF and Stanford are coming off incredibly poor Week 1 performances in which they combined to score 20 points.

    UCF lost 15-14 at home to Florida International, gained 46 yards on the ground and was shut out after taking a 14-3 halftime lead. The Knights had a potential game-winning field goal blocked at the end.

    Stanford somehow fared worse, losing 16-6 at Northwestern while failing to score a touchdown for the first time since 2007. Fifth-year senior quarterback Kevin Hogan averaged 4.4 yards per pass attempt, and the Cardinal managed a mere 240 yards.

    UCF coach George O'Leary, also the school's interim athletic director, wants to leave football and take that job full time. Stanford's David Shaw began his tenure with a 34-6 record and is 8-7 since.

    This one has the feeling of having a winner by default.

    Prediction: Stanford 23, UCF 17

    FINAL: Stanford 31, UCF 7

Cal Poly at Arizona State

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    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    When: Saturday, Sept. 12; 10:30 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: None

    What to watch for

    Cal Poly won 20-19 at Montana last week on a field goal with four seconds left to open the season. The Mustangs were 7-5 last year, losing at New Mexico State to drop to 5-17 against FBS teams.

    Arizona State is licking its wounds after getting humbled by Texas A&M, 38-17, in a high-profile clash last weekend in Houston. The Sun Devils were picked by several national writers as a playoff team for 2015, and while that's still possible, it won't happen without some major improvements.

    The absence of sophomore Kalen Ballage, who was diagnosed with mononucleosis and will miss several weeks, impacted ASU's offense and defense since Ballage was expected to play both running back and linebacker this year. There were also offensive line issues, leading to nine sacks of Mike Bercovici, as well as breakdowns on defense along with two costly roughing penalties on punts.

    Cal Poly won't be an absolute pushover, not with a triple-option offense and coming off a road win over a highly ranked FCS team. Still, ASU should rebound well from its first game with a solid triumph.

    Prediction: Arizona State 39, Cal Poly 20

    FINAL: Arizona State 35, Cal Poly 21

Louisiana Tech at Western Kentucky

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    Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Thursday, Sept. 10; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Cody Sokol threw five touchdown passes and Louisiana Tech held FBS passing leader Brandon Doughty to 134 yards and four interceptions in the Bulldogs' 59-10 home win last November.

    What to watch for

    A potential preview of the Conference USA title game opens the league schedule, as Louisiana Tech is the defending West Division champion and Western Kentucky was the only team to beat C-USA champ Marshall last season and brings back the most productive quarterback in the country.

    Louisiana Tech obliterated Southern last week, winning 62-15. Jeff Driskel, a graduate transfer from Florida who was in and out as the Gators' starting quarterback during his career, threw four touchdown passes and had 274 yards on 15 attempts. The Bulldogs also got 106 rushing yards and a score from Kenneth Dixon on only nine carries.

    Western Kentucky squeaked out a 14-12 rock fight at Vanderbilt in its opener, its usually potent offense held down for almost three quarters before waking up just in time. Doughty, who had 4,830 yards and 49 TDs in 2014, was just 19 of 30 for 209 yards and a TD, his third-lowest yardage total in the past 15 games.

    Last year, he and the Hilltoppers were overwhelmed on the road by Louisiana Tech's defense, orchestrated by coordinator Manny Diaz, which helped him land the Mississippi State job. The Bulldogs have three preseason all-conference defenders, including two in the secondary, but look for Doughty to be more prepared this time.

    Prediction: Western Kentucky 30, Louisiana Tech 23

    FINAL: Western Kentucky 41, Louisiana Tech 38

Miami (Florida) at Florida Atlantic

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    Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

    When: Friday, Sept. 11; 8 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Duke Johnson ran for 186 yards and a touchdown in Miami's season-opening 34-6 home win over Florida Atlantic in August, 2013.

    What to watch for

    Miami blanked FCS school Bethune-Cookman last week in its season opener. While the 45 points were nice, the 79 yards allowed were far more impressive. The Hurricanes allowed 26 passing yards and intercepted two passes, while they held the Wildcats to 53 rushing yards on 35 carries.

    "Guys were playing to our standard and how we practice every day as opposed to the competition," coach Al Golden said, per CBS Miami.

    There's a much more daunting challenge this week, though still a manageable one. Florida Atlantic is one of the little brothers to Miami in South Florida. This will be its first time hosting the Hurricanes. Getting a national TV audience on a Friday night will add to the atmosphere.

    But the Owls aren't good. Last week, they lost in overtime at Tulsa—a team they blew out in 2014—allowing 47 points and 618 yards. They racked up 563 yards of their own (300 rushing and 360 from Jaquez Johnson alone), but Miami's defense is far better than Tulsa's.

    With Golden's seat quite warm entering this season, he can ill afford to drop this game. It will get stressful at times, but Miami will come out on top.

    Prediction: Miami 38, Florida Atlantic 27

    FINAL: Miami 44, Florida Atlantic 20

Utah State at No. 24 Utah

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    Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

    When: Friday, Sept. 11; 9 p.m. ET

    Last meeting: Travis Wilson threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns in Utah's 30-26 home win over Utah State in August 2013.

    What to watch for

    Known as the Battle of Brothers, the Utah/Utah State rivalry is one that's been played 111 times since 1892. Utah has dominated the series, with 78 wins, but in 2012 Utah State won in overtime at home to end a 12-game skid to the Utes.

    They don't play every season, and no future matchups are currently scheduled, so this could be the last clash of two of the state's three FBS programs for some time.

    Utah State was very lucky to avoid a loss in its opener, winning 12-9 at home to FCS Southern Utah. Its only touchdown came on Andrew Rodriguez's 88-yard punt return in the fourth quarter, making up for an offense that generated only 250 yards and was an abysmal 1-of-16 on third down.

    That same evening, Utah was stealing the spotlight away from new Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh by pulling out a 24-17 home win over the Wolverines. Quarterback Travis Wilson was efficient and mostly mistake-free, and Devontae Booker was held down for most of the night but did break off one TD run.

    The first-game jitters are out of the way for each, and now comes a matchup that nobody involved will struggle to get up for. Utah State won't have a shot if it's as lethargic on offense, but Utah's defense might not give the Aggies a chance to show much improvement.

    Prediction: Utah 28, Utah State 14

    FINAL: Utah 24, Utah State 14

    All statistics courtesy of

    Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.