College Football Picks: Week 2 Predictions for Every Game
The first full Saturday of college football included a couple of marquee games and a few notable upsets, but the lights will become much brighter in Week 2.
Although many top programs used a tune-up to prepare for a major showdown this weekend, at least one preseason favorite from each major conference will battle a ranked opponent. While Oklahoma's trip to Ohio State is the featured clash, games like Auburn vs. Clemson and Georgia vs. Notre Dame aren't far behind.
Plus, league action begins for several contenders. USC's showdown with Stanford and Louisville's trip to North Carolina highlight the conference matchups.
Every game on the docket have been predicted. AP Top 25 teams take precedence within a given kickoff window.
Note: Games involving Florida, Florida State, Miami, UCF and USF have been cancelled or postponed due to Hurricane Irma.
Top Saturday Early Games
Florida Atlantic (0-1) at No. 9 Wisconsin (1-0), noon ET
Wisconsin's offense needed a half to settle in opposite Utah State, but the defense was as dominant as expected. Saturday's meeting with Lane Kiffin and Florida Atlantic will likely follow a similar path as the motivated road team hangs around early before the Badgers' physicality takes over in a hurry.
Prediction: Wisconsin 41, Florida Atlantic 13
Cincinnati (1-0) at No. 8 Michigan (1-0), noon ET
Just in case anyone underestimated Michigan, the opener against Florida offered a reminder that the Wolverines are to be taken seriously. The defense surrendered just three points—Florida returned two interceptions for touchdowns—and made 11 tackles for loss. Cincinnati will struggle to move the ball consistently in a loss.
Prediction: Michigan 44, Cincinnati 10
No. 17 Louisville (1-0) at North Carolina (0-1), noon ET
While terribly unfortunate, Deondre Francois' season-ending injury is what it is. Louisville now has a greater chance to win the ACC's Atlantic Division. That pursuit will officially start at North Carolina, and the Cardinals will be looking to show their performance against Purdue was an outlier. Jackson will propel Louisville past a UNC team that is waffling between two quarterbacks.
Prediction: Louisville 38, North Carolina 23
Charlotte (0-1) at No. 19 Kansas State (1-0), noon ET
Jesse Ertz posted a career-high 333 passing yards and four touchdowns in Kansas State's season-opening win over Central Arkansas. The senior hardly used his mobility in the victory, but that'll change against Charlotte. The Wildcats need to establish a running game on a respectable defensive front. Once that happens, Ertz will keep K-State balanced and create separation on the scoreboard.
Prediction: Kansas State 45, Charlotte 13
East Carolina (0-1) at West Virginia (0-1), noon ET
The manner in which West Virginia lost to Virginia Tech must've stung, but Will Grier performed admirably in his first appearance since October 2015. East Carolina, on the other hand, fell 34-14 to James Madison, the top-ranked team in the FCS. That's not a good sign for the Pirates. Grier and the one-two backfield punch of Justin Crawford and Kennedy McKoy will lead the 'Eers to a blowout win.
Prediction: West Virginia 48, East Carolina 17
Iowa (1-0) at Iowa State (1-0), noon ET
Last September, Iowa smashed Iowa State 42-3. The Cyclones will be determined to show their progression since the 2017 matchup. It'll be a great challenge because the Hawkeyes boast a stingy defense again, but Iowa State will come up short. Iowa running back Akrum Wadley will be the difference in a contested fourth quarter.
Prediction: Iowa 27, Iowa State 17
Other Saturday Early Games
Northwestern (1-0) at Duke (1-0), noon ET
The biggest difference between the 2016 clash and this season is Daniel Jones' experience. Duke's quarterback had only played against North Carolina Central and Wake Forest before traveling to Northwestern. Although that should make for a tighter finish in 2017, Justin Jackson will power the visitors to a win.
Prediction: Northwestern 27, Duke 23
Buffalo (0-1) at Army (1-0), noon ET
Army completed zero passes, ran for 513 yards and destroyed Fordham 64-6 in the season opener. Buffalo's defense needs to duplicate its performance from the trip to Minnesota, where the Bulls held a formidable rushing attack to 3.3 yards per carry. However, the triple-option presents a whole new set of challenges. The Black Knights will actually have to throw the ball, but they'll roll to 2-0.
Prediction: Army 35, Buffalo 20
Towson (1-0) at Maryland (1-0), noon ET
It's the Kasim Hill show now. The freshman quarterback will replace Tyrrell Pigrome, who tore the ACL in his right knee. Maryland will cruise past Towson thanks to Ty Johnson and a balanced rushing attack, but the Terps may consider giving Hill extra work as a passer in the low-pressure outing.
Prediction: Maryland 41, Towson 10
Eastern Kentucky (0-1) at Kentucky (1-0), noon ET
After sliding past Southern Miss in Week 1, Kentucky knows it needs to make steady improvement on offense. Fortunately for the Wildcats, the defense will buoy the team for another Saturday. Eastern Kentucky will find a little success through the air, but a couple of takeaways will propel Kentucky.
Prediction: Kentucky 34, Eastern Kentucky 20
UT Martin (1-0) at Ole Miss (1-0), noon ET
Ole Miss cannot appear in a bowl this year. That shouldn't stop the Shea Patterson-led offense from being all sorts of fun to watch. He threw for 429 yards and four touchdowns in a 20-point victory over South Alabama, hitting A.J. Brown eight times for 233 yards and two scores. UT Martin won't have an answer for that firepower.
Prediction: Ole Miss 51, UT Martin 17
Jacksonville State (1-0) at Georgia Tech (0-1), 12:30 p.m. ET
Uncertainty appeared to be hovering over Georgia Tech's quarterback situation, but TaQuon Marshall emphatically crushed those concerns. He scampered for 249 yards and five touchdowns in his starting debut, though the Jackets fell to Tennessee. Marshall will have another big day in a victory over a quality Jacksonville State team.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 38, Jacksonville State 20
Wake Forest (1-0) at Boston College (1-0), 1 p.m. ET
The winner of this matchup will take an important step toward representing the ACC in a bowl game. In typical recent fashion, it will be a defensive battle. However, unlike the last couple of matchups, that doesn't mean an unappealing offensive struggle. Wake Forest holds a slight edge due to a more complete passing game.
Prediction: Wake Forest 23, Boston College 17
Texas State (1-0) at Colorado (1-0), 2 p.m. ET
Colorado probably won't finish the season as a Pac-12 contender, but the defense will keep it interesting. The Buffs limited a high-powered Colorado State attack to 6.6 yards per pass attempt and forced three turnovers. Texas State, which clipped Houston Baptist 20-11, won't present much of a stumbling block for Mike MacIntyre's club.
Prediction: Colorado 44, Texas State 14
UAB (1-0) at Ball State (0-1), 3 p.m. ET
If UAB can protect quarterback A.J. Erdely and contain Ball State running back James Gilbert, the Blazers have a chance. Otherwise, the combination of pressure and a shaky run defense will doom UAB in its first road trip of the season. The Cardinals will be a motivated bunch after falling to Illinois despite outplaying the Big Ten foe.
Prediction: Ball State 31, UAB 20
Top Saturday Midafternoon Games
Fresno State (1-0) at No. 1 Alabama (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET
Fresno State cruised to a 66-0 win over Incarnate Word in Week 1, and the reward is a date with Alabama. If Florida State could only muster seven points with Deondre Francois, the Bulldogs cannot be expected to fare any better. Alabama seems to surrender one or two scoring chances against non-power conference teams, but it shouldn't be any "worse" than that.
Prediction: Alabama 51, Fresno State 3
Pitt (1-0) at No. 4 Penn State (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET
Saquon Barkley scored five touchdowns in the 2016 matchup, yet Pitt still downed Penn State 42-39. The Nittany Lions will be looking for vengeance Saturday at home—and they'll get it. Barkley will run effectively, but quarterback Trace McSorley will pick apart a secondary that remains a glaring problem for Pat Narduzzi.
Prediction: Penn State 45, Pitt 20
Delaware (1-0) at No. 18 Virginia Tech (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET
Josh Jackson dazzled in his first career start. The redshirt freshman threw for 235 yards, ran for 101 more and was responsible for two touchdowns in a 31-24 victory over West Virginia. Week 2 starts a three-week stretch that offers Jackson a valuable chance to gain experience before a showdown with Clemson to end September.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 42, Delaware 10
San Jose State (1-1) at Texas (0-1), 3:30 p.m. ET
"If we all thought we were going to come in here and in nine months sprinkle some fairy dust on this team and think that we've arrived, then we were wrong," Texas coach Tom Herman said after the 51-41 loss to Maryland, per Paul Myerberg of USA Today. The Longhorns will bounce back against San Jose State, but they'll need a four-quarter effort if quarterback Shane Buechele is slowed due to injury.
Prediction: Texas 41, San Jose State 20
No. 23 TCU (1-0) at Arkansas (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET
Both schools demolished their respective FCS opponents in Week 1. The big question is whether TCU's performance on defense—15 tackles for loss—was the product of playing an inferior team or a promising sign for the future. We'll be cautious believers in the TCU defense and staunch supporters of September Kenny Hill.
Prediction: TCU 34, Arkansas 28
Nebraska (1-0) at Oregon (1-0), 4:30 p.m. ET
According to Andrew Greif of the Oregonian, the 77 points Oregon racked up in a thrashing of Southern Utah were the most the program has scored in 101 years. Not a bad start for the Willie Taggart era. But the Ducks are going to need an explosive offense since the defense remains a work in progress. Nebraska will hang around for a while, but Oregon's speed in the backfield will seal the victory.
Prediction: Oregon 45, Nebraska 28
Other Saturday Midafternoon Games
Tulane (1-0) at Navy (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET
The experience Zach Abey gained in 2016 showed during Navy's opener. He amassed 235 yards and two touchdowns on the ground during a 42-19 victory at FAU. Tulane should be stingier, but Abey will direct another productive day for the triple-option offense.
Prediction: Navy 34, Tulane 20
Villanova (1-0) at Temple (0-1), 3:30 p.m. ET
Temple couldn't stop Notre Dame's rushing attack, but the offense showed enough to suggest it'll be competent in 2017. The key for the Owls is creating more space for Ryquell Armstead, who understandably managed only 67 yards in the opener but should have a strong performance against Villanova.
Prediction: Temple 38, Villanova 13
Savannah State at Appalachian State (0-1), 3:30 p.m. ET
In the program's last four games against Football Bowl Subdivision opponents, Savannah State has surrendered 237 points and scored a total of 22. Appalachian State will easily dispatch the visitors behind Jalin Moore, Terrence Upshaw and the rushing attack.
Prediction: Appalachian State 48, Savannah State 7
Abilene Christian (0-1) at Colorado State (1-1), 3:30 p.m. ET
Following a tremendous showing in the opener versus Oregon State, Colorado State couldn't finish drives against rival Colorado. But the Rams have a bounce-back opportunity with Abilene Christian, which surrendered 12.3 yards per pass attempt to a run-focused New Mexico offense. In other words, the weakness was still a strength. Colorado State will get back on track.
Prediction: Colorado State 48, Abilene Christian 13
Austin Peay (0-1) at Miami of Ohio (0-1), 3:30 p.m. ET
Cincinnati put up with a 60-minute fight from Austin Peay in the opener, so Miami better be ready for a similar battle. But as much as the FCS program has improved defensively, stringing together a similar day will be a major challenge opposite Gus Ragland. His efficiency will carry the Redhawks past the Governors.
Prediction: Miami (OH) 33, Austin Peay 13
Eastern Illinois (1-0) at Northern Illinois (0-1), 3:30 p.m. ET
Northern Illinois nearly took Boston College to overtime, but a missed field goal and a 2-of-15 third-down rate ultimately doomed the Huskies. They should improve in that regard when Eastern Illinois comes to town, since the Panthers just surrendered 154 yards to Indiana State's LeMonte Booker. EIU is no pushover, though.
Prediction: Northern Illinois 30, Eastern Illinois 17
Howard (1-0) at Kent State (0-1), 3:30 p.m. ET
Perhaps the most stunning result of Week 1 was heavy underdog Howard toppling UNLV. The brother of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, Caylin, accounted for 330 yards and three touchdowns in the 43-40 shocker. Kent State, meanwhile, labored to move the ball at Clemson. The Golden Flashes need misdirection to be more effective this week, because Howard will be a confident group.
Prediction: Kent State 27, Howard 24
Indiana (0-1) at Virginia (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET
Although Ohio State eventually pulled away, Indiana's defense proved its merit in the Big Ten matchup. The Hoosiers will provide a formidable test for what should be a respectable Virginia offense. Wahoos quarterback Kurt Benkert just put together the first mistake-free win of his career, but Indiana won't let that become a trend.
Prediction: Indiana 31, Virginia 23
Middle Tennessee (0-1) at Syracuse (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET
A healthy Eric Dungey is a dangerous one. The dual-threat quarterback accounted for 379 yards of total offense and five touchdowns in his first full game since October 2016. Middle Tennessee has a terrific weapon in receiver/returner Richie James, but the defense won't provide much help to Brent Stockstill and the offense in this one.
Prediction: Syracuse 48, Middle Tennessee 28
Old Dominion (1-0) at UMass (0-2), 3:30 p.m. ET
Ray Lawry's health is a critical factor for an Old Dominion rushing attack that struggled to find a rhythm in the opener. Jeremy Cox should be able to pick up the slack, especially considering he sliced UMass for a career-best 162 yards last season. The Minutemen need a game-changing play from their toiling ground game to finally get a win, but it's not going to happen in Week 2.
Prediction: Old Dominion 31, UMass 27
Western Michigan (0-1) at Michigan State (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET
USC underestimated the new-look Broncos but had the talent to overpower them late. Michigan State must start quickly because the Spartans lack that potential for explosiveness on offense. What they do have is a formidable front seven capable of containing Western Michigan's ground game. MSU won't be perfect, but a late defensive stop will be the difference.
Prediction: Michigan State 31, Western Michigan 23
Eastern Michigan (1-0) at Rutgers (0-1), 3:30 p.m. ET
Might Rutgers actually be a year ahead of schedule? Chris Ash should have a solid program in 2018, but a 30-14 loss to Washington certainly was encouraging. While we're calling for a mini-upset by Eastern Michigan because of quarterback Brogan Roback and a feisty secondary, the Scarlet Knights can show their opening defensive performance was no fluke.
Prediction: Eastern Michigan 24, Rutgers 20
Indiana State (0-1) at No. 25 Tennessee (1-0), 4 p.m. ET
Tennessee gave up 535 rushing yards, never led in regulation and still managed to beat Georgia Tech. Spun positively, the Vols played about as badly as possible on defense yet pulled out the win. However, it's more of a troubling sign given the questions at quarterback. Quinten Dormady was largely inaccurate during the win, so he needs to take advantage of Saturday's tuneup before going to Florida.
Prediction: Tennessee 41, Indiana State 6
Central Michigan (1-0) at Kansas (1-0), 4 p.m. ET
In 2016, Central Michigan entered Big 12 territory and left Oklahoma State faithful in disbelief. Can the Chips bolster their pretend pitch to join the conference with a victory at Kansas? They'll need a much-improved offense to show up, but Shane Morris' accuracy issues probably can't be fixed in a week. The Jayhawks will also navigate an opportunistic defense to reach 2-0.
Prediction: Kansas 27, Central Michigan 23
Alabama A&M (0-1) at Vanderbilt (1-0), 4 p.m. ET
Vanderbilt went on the road and locked down a solid Middle Tennessee attack. It should be much of the same against Alabama A&M, which mustered just 183 total yards in a 38-7 loss at UAB. Vandy's rushing attack will control the matchup.
Prediction: Vanderbilt 42, Alabama A&M 6
Gardner-Webb (0-1) at Wyoming (0-1), 4 p.m. ET
The health of star quarterback Josh Allen is a bit of wild card. He's expected to start Saturday, per Robert Gagliardi of wyosports.net. However, the Pokes don't need to overwork Allen in what should be an uncomplicated victory over FCS school Gardner-Webb.
Prediction: Wyoming 44, Gardner-Webb 3
Louisiana (1-0) at Tulsa (0-1), 4 p.m. ET
If Week 1 was any indication, we're taking the over—for entertainment's sake. Louisiana overcame a 48-point barrage from Southeastern Louisiana by putting a cool 51 on the scoreboard, while Tulsa still managed to score 24 in a loss at Oklahoma State. Tulsa's running game will propel the Golden Hurricane in a shootout.
Prediction: Tulsa 45, Louisiana 30
Hawaii (2-0) at UCLA (1-0), 5 p.m. ET
How do you follow up an extraordinary 34-point comeback? For UCLA's sake, hopefully not needing another one. The Bruins will host a 2-0 Hawaii team that nearly ran for 300 yards last time out. After surrendering 382 rushing yards to Texas A&M, UCLA will surely be focused on stopping the run. One week of practice won't work miracles, but Josh Rosen will give the defense room for error.
Prediction: UCLA 45, Hawaii 24
Weber State at Cal, 5 p.m. ET
Knocking off UNC on the road was no small accomplishment for Cal, which received a 363-yard, four-touchdown display from Ross Bowers in his first career start. Nevertheless, better balance on offense will help the Golden Bears thrive opposite a Weber State team capable of fending off a wide margin until the second half.
Prediction: Cal 51, Weber State 27
Top Saturday Evening Games
No. 13 Auburn (1-0) at No. 3 Clemson (1-0), 7 p.m. ET
Jarrett Stidham is an essential piece of a potential upset, but Auburn must establish the running game to make him most effective. In the showdown with Clemson last season, Auburn trudged to 87 yards on 41 carries. Clemson's front seven faces a daunting test, though it's one Brent Venables' unit should pass.
Prediction: Clemson 27, Auburn 20
No. 5 Oklahoma (1-0) at No. 2 Ohio State (1-0), 7:30 p.m. ET
Indiana threw 68 passes, so the Buckeyes were bound to give up yards. But 420 passing yards? That's certainly too high for Ohio State's liking, and Baker Mayfield is only one of college football's best quarterbacks. The Buckeyes can't stop Mayfield, but timely defense—meaning third-down and red-zone stops—will clinch a hard-fought victory.
Prediction: Ohio State 36, Oklahoma 30
No. 15 Georgia (1-0) at No. 24 Notre Dame (1-0), 7:30 p.m. ET
Without quarterback Jacob Eason available, Georgia will turn to freshman Jake Fromm. More specifically, though, the Bulldogs will lean on the offensive line. They'll probably head to South Bend with an extra-run-heavy game plan, and success is no guarantee opposite a defense that limited Temple to 2.3 yards per carry. But the depth of Georgia's running game should help the short-handed team clip the Irish.
Prediction: Georgia 27, Notre Dame 23
Chattanooga (0-1) at No. 12 LSU (1-0), 7:30 p.m. ET
LSU held BYU below 100 yards of total offense during a 27-0 shutout. So, yeah, Dave Aranda's unit looks pretty good. Chattanooga should be a Top 25 mainstay in the FCS this season, but the gap between the Mocs and Tigers is expansive.
Prediction: LSU 48, Chattanooga 3
Mississippi State (1-0) at Louisiana Tech (1-0), 7:30 p.m. ET
While this nonconference tilt might not appear particularly enticing, there will be plenty of scoring. Nick Fitzgerald accounted for three touchdowns in a 49-point dismissal of Charleston Southern, and Louisiana Tech quarterback J'Mar Smith totaled 348 yards in a 28-point win. Fitzgerald will keep Mississippi State in front the whole time, but Louisiana Tech will stay within apparent striking distance.
Prediction: Mississippi State 41, Louisiana Tech 28
Other Saturday Evening Games
Marshall (1-0) at North Carolina State (0-1), 6 p.m. ET
North Carolina State stumbled all over in a 35-28 loss to South Carolina, but breakdowns on special teams provided the dagger. That is terrible news heading into a matchup with Marshall, which enjoyed two return touchdowns from Keion Davis in the opener. NC State's defense will lead a bounce-back day, but continued issues on kick coverage would make this contest far more interesting.
Prediction: NC State 38, Marshall 13
New Hampshire (1-0) at Georgia Southern (0-1), 6 p.m. ET
Georgia Southern basically went nowhere on offense against Auburn. The Eagles mustered 70 rushing yards on 47 attempts and completed four passes for a grand total of eight yards. Taking on New Hampshire will be a welcomed change.
Prediction: Georgia Southern 37, New Hampshire 16
Alabama State (0-1) at Troy (0-1), 6 p.m. ET
Troy's defense racked up 12 tackles for loss, but the offense stumbled and failed to match pace with Boise State. On the bright side, the Trojans will threaten for double-digit wins if the defense continues to perform that way. Victory No. 1 will happen Saturday.
Prediction: Troy 41, Alabama State 9
South Dakota (1-0) at Bowling Green (0-1), 6 p.m. ET
Should we expect a rapid turnaround from Bowling Green? The offense showed few signs of life while Michigan State sputtered—and even fumbled twice in the first half. On the opposite side, South Dakota blitzed Drake for 77 points to begin the campaign. This matchup will show where the Falcons are as a team, and they might not be thrilled with the answer.
Prediction: South Dakota 24, Bowling Green 20
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (1-0) at Akron (0-1), 6:30 p.m. ET
Tommy Woodson had a rough outing at Penn State, but that was to be expected as the receiving corps breaks in new featured targets. While Akron cannot afford for that learning curve to linger, it won't be an obstacle when Arkansas-Pine Bluff heads north.
Prediction: Akron 42, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 10
Toledo (1-0) at Nevada (0-1), 7 p.m. ET
Logan Woodside didn't throw a touchdown in Toledo's opener, yet the Rockets won 47-13. He posted 314 passing yards, so that's not to suggest Woodside played poorly. Toledo's well-rounded rushing attack finished drives. The narrative may be identical when Woodside and Co. travel to Nevada, which has a suspect secondary and ceded two red-zone rushing scores to Northwestern.
Prediction: Toledo 41, Nevada 24
UNLV (0-1) at Idaho (1-0), 7 p.m. ET
How quickly will UNLV rebound after falling to Howard? That's the big unanswerable question. And while Idaho is the better team, turnovers are the great equalizer—and both offenses committed three. We'll trust Vandals quarterback Matt Linehan to correct his issues from Week 1 more than a resurgent day from UNLV.
Prediction: Idaho 34, UNLV 26
North Texas (1-0) at SMU (1-0), 7 p.m. ET
Neither school had a problem rolling over an FCS opponent to kick off the campaign. Whichever offense carries over the efficiency on the ground will gain a critical advantage, and SMU should have the stronger defense at home. But the Mustangs will need a late touchdown to create the final margin.
Prediction: SMU 37, North Texas 23
Southern (1-0) at Southern Miss (0-1), 7 p.m. ET
Kentucky stopped Ito Smith from notching a single 10-yard run and limited him to 37 yards on 16 carries. Nevertheless, the versatile back still reeled in nine passes for 78 yards. Smith always finds a way to produce, and that's a problem for an overmatched Southern team.
Prediction: Southern Miss 48, Southern 17
South Carolina (1-0) at Missouri (1-0), 7 p.m. ET
We knew Missouri had a threatening offense for inferior opponents. Giving up 43 points to Missouri State was a surprise, however. Drew Lock will put together another solid game, but the lackluster defense will be the Tigers' downfall against South Carolina.
Prediction: South Carolina 33, Missouri 31
Nicholls (1-0) at Texas A&M (0-1), 7 p.m. ET
Kevin Sumlin's proverbial seat changed from warm to scorching in a hurry. And now, the players most in control of Sumlin's fate are Jake Hubenak and true freshman Kellen Mond. They will replace Nick Starkel, who is sidelined indefinitely because of an ankle injury. Fortunately for them, Week 2 should be a low-pressure setting where running backs Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford lead the way.
Prediction: Texas A&M 45, Nicholls 13
Saturday Night Games
Montana (1-0) at No. 7 Washington (1-0), 8 p.m. ET
Washington's defense lived up to its billing at Rutgers, but the offense was a different story. The unit converted just three of its 11 third-down attempts against Rutgers, which was partly a product of rushing for a meager 3.5 yards per carry. Washington will get back on track in Week 2.
Prediction: Washington 51, Montana 10
Rice (0-1) at UTEP (0-1), 8 p.m. ET
Stanford rolled over Rice in Australia. Oklahoma beat down UTEP. It'll probably be a relief to meet a comparable opponent, although the Miners could separate quickly if the run defense completely shuts down the Owls. With an acknowledgment to that possibility, we're taking UTEP in a contested finish.
Prediction: UTEP 28, Rice 20
New Mexico State (0-1) at New Mexico (1-0), 8 p.m. ET
The Rio Grande Rivalry leans heavily in New Mexico's favor, but New Mexico State edged its rival 32-31 last season. It was New Mexico's worst offensive performance of the season, posting season lows in total rush yards (221) and yards per play (4.94). That will not be repeated when the Lobos host the showdown, though New Mexico State has the defensive talent to cause some headaches.
Prediction: New Mexico 38, New Mexico State 28
UTSA (0-0) at Baylor (0-1), 8 p.m. ET
Matt Rhule's debut ended in forgettable fashion with Baylor dropping a 48-45 decision to FCS opponent Liberty. UTSA's best course of action might be to attempt 50 passes and see what happens, since a shaky defense likely won't slow Baylor's scoring attack.
Prediction: Baylor 42, UTSA 24
Western Kentucky (1-0) at Illinois (1-0), 8 p.m. ET
Ball State outplayed Illinois in nearly every measure. "But not on the scoreboard, and that's what matters, man!" I hear you, Illini fan. Western Kentucky just won't be as forgiving, spreading and stressing the Illinois defense significantly more than Ball State could. Mike White will guide WKU to a road victory.
Prediction: Western Kentucky 33, Illinois 23
No. 14 Stanford (1-0) at No. 6 USC (1-0), 8:30 p.m. ET
The reality that USC couldn't put away Western Michigan isn't as concerning as why it happened. It wasn't just a bad turnover or two; no, the Broncos racked up 263 yards on the ground. And USC's next opponent, Stanford, builds the offense around the running game. Cardinal back Bryce Love will be the catalyst of an upset Saturday night.
Prediction: Stanford 27, USC 24
Minnesota (1-0) at Oregon State (1-1), 10 p.m. ET
Jake Luton offered the promise of an improved passing game. It might happen eventually, but the Beavers shouldn't expect that progression to occur against a Minnesota defense adept at limiting big plays. The result may be a boring slugfest, but that's how a run-focused Gophers team should prefer it.
Prediction: Minnesota 24, Oregon State 17
Utah (1-0) at BYU (1-1), 10:15 p.m. ET
Utah's six-game winning streak in the Holy War is at stake Saturday night. The new-look Utes scored 37 points in the first game with their revamped offense, while BYU's two outings have been underwhelming. The rivalry has featured one-possession margins in six of the last seven years, and we expect that trend to continue. And we're projecting Utah's streak to stay alive, too.
Prediction: Utah 24, BYU 16
Boise State (1-0) at No. 20 Washington State (1-0), 10:30 p.m. ET
Washington State doesn't run much. And during last year's meeting, Boise State only surrendered 40 yards on 20 attempts in a three-point win. The Cougs probably won't attempt many more runs, but their efficiency should be considerably higher. That'll be the difference.
Prediction: Washington State 31, Boise State 24
Houston (0-0) at Arizona (1-0), 10:30 p.m. ET
The aftermath of Hurricane Harvey led Houston to postpone its scheduled opener, so the post-Tom Herman era starts in Tucson. Ed Oliver and the UH defensive front will have the largest impact on determining the winner. Arizona shredded Northern Arizona to begin 2017, and the Wildcats will score a bit. However, a couple of timely third-down stops will boost the Cougars.
Prediction: Houston 34, Arizona 27
San Diego State (1-0) at Arizona State (1-0), 11 p.m. ET
Arizona State exited Week 1 with a victory despite not being able to run effectively on New Mexico State. Executing on the ground is a necessity to upend San Diego State, however, and the defense-optional style ASU tends to play is a less than ideal complement.
Prediction: San Diego State 30, Arizona State 27
All recruiting information via Scout. Stats from cfbstats.com or B/R research. Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.
Idaho State (1-0) at Utah State (0-1), 8 p.m. ET
Utah State gave Wisconsin a fight for 30 minutes before the Badgers pulled away in the second half. Kent Myers showed great leadership despite the loss, and he'll spark a bounce-back performance for the Aggies against Football Championship Subdivision foe Idaho State.
Prediction: Utah State 45, Idaho State 17
Alcorn State (1-0) at Florida International (0-1), 7:30 p.m. ET
Butch Davis has a long road back to respectability with FIU, which UCF steamrolled 61-17 to begin the campaign. At least the first-year coach has a formidable duo in quarterback Alex McGough and receiver Tyrone Owens capable of lifting the Panthers past Alcorn State.
Prediction: FIU 23, Alcorn State 17
No. 11 Oklahoma State (1-0) at South Alabama (0-1), 8 p.m. ET
Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson threw for 429 yards and four touchdowns in a 20-point win over South Alabama. Oklahoma State's aerial attack is even more refined. Mason Rudolph and Co. will topple the Jaguars, though it'll be important to start fast on the road.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 48, South Alabama 20
Ohio (1-0) at Purdue (0-1), 8 p.m. ET
Was it real or a fluke? That's the question following Purdue's 60-minute battle with Lamar Jackson and Louisville. Forced to make a choice, the Jeff Brohm-led Boilermakers truly looked like a refocused program. Ohio is a quality opponent, but Purdue will pull away late.
Prediction: Purdue 33, Ohio 23