College Football Rankings 2018: Week 2 Standings, Schedule and Predictions

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 5, 2018

PALO ALTO, CA - AUGUST 31:  Bryce Love #20 of the Stanford Cardinal runs the ball against the San Diego State Aztecs at Stanford Stadium on August 31, 2018 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Compared to the excitement generated by the return of college football in Week 1, Week 2 might feel like a letdown. 

The colossal clashes from Labor Day weekend are replaced by a pair of headlining conference games and a weird combination of nonconference showdowns that could be trickier than expected. 

Clemson and Georgia face the toughest tests of the teams in the Top 10, while a few programs in the middle of the Top 25 need to show improvement after a lackluster opening weekend. 

      

Week 2 AP Top 25

1. Alabama

2. Clemson 

3. Georgia

4. Ohio State

5. Wisconsin

6. Oklahoma

7. Auburn

8. Notre Dame

9. Washington

10. Stanford

11. LSU 

12. Virginia Tech 

13. Penn State

14. West Virginia

15. Michigan State

16. TCU 

17. USC

18. Mississippi State

19. UCF

20. Boise State

21. Michigan

22. Miami

23. Oregon

24. South Carolina

25. Florida 

    

Week 2 Schedule

All Times ET.

Friday, September 7

No. 16 TCU at SMU (8 p.m., ESPN2) 

   

Saturday, September 8

New Mexico at No. 5 Wisconsin (Noon, BTN) 

Western Michigan at No. 21 Michigan (Noon, FS1) 

No. 18 Mississippi State at Kansas State (Noon, ESPN) 

UCLA at No. 6 Oklahoma (1 p.m., Fox)

William and Mary at No. 12 Virginia Tech (2 p.m., WatchESPN)

Portland State at No. 23 Oregon (2 p.m., Pac-12 Network)

Arkansas State at No. 1 Alabama (3:30 p.m., ESPN) 

No. 3 Georgia at No. 24 South Carolina (3:30 p.m., CBS) 

Rutgers at No. 4 Ohio State (3:30 p.m., BTN) 

Ball State at No. 8 Notre Dame (3:30 p.m., NBC) 

North Dakota at No. 9 Washington (5 p.m., Pac-12 Network) 

Savannah State at No. 22 Miami (6 p.m., WatchESPN) 

Youngstown State at No. 14 West Virginia (6 p.m.) 

South Carolina State at No. 19 UCF (6 p.m, ESPN3)

No. 2 Clemson at Texas A&M (7 p.m., ESPN) 

Southeastern Louisiana at No. 11 LSU (7 p.m., ESPN2) 

Alabama State at No. 7 Auburn (7:30 p.m., SEC Network) 

Kentucky at No. 25 Florida (7:30 p.m., SEC Network)

No. 13 Penn State at Pittsburgh (8 p.m., ABC) 

No. 17 USC at No. 10 Stanford (8:30 p.m., Fox)

UConn at No. 20 Boise State (10:15 p.m., ESPNU) 

No. 15 Michigan State at Arizona State (10:45 p.m., ESPN) 

      

Predictions

USC 37, Stanford 28

USC and Stanford have met five times in the last three years, with two of those meetings coming in the Pac-12 Championship Game. 

The Trojans won both meetings a year ago, with the Pac-12 Championship victory clinching them a spot in the Cotton Bowl against Ohio State. 

Stanford didn't play terribly against the Trojans, as it didn't turn the ball over in eight quarters, while Bryce Love produced a pair of 100-yard rushing games. 

However, USC controlled the fourth-quarter scoring, with touchdown runs from Ronald Jones securing both victories. 

In its opener, Stanford relied more on its passing game than Love, as K.J. Costello linked up with J.J. Arcega-Whiteside for 226 yards, while Costello eclipsed the 400-yard mark through the air. 

PALO ALTO, CA - AUGUST 31:  Jj Arcega-Whiteside #19 of the Stanford Cardinal catches the ball for a touchdown while covered by Ron Smith #17 of the San Diego State Aztecs at Stanford Stadium on August 31, 2018 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Sha
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

USC will call upon new stars from its freshman class to continue the winning streak against Stanford, with J.T. Daniels and Amon-Ra St. Brown at the forefront. 

In their 43-21 win over UNLV, the Trojans had 282 passing yards from Daniels and 98 receiving yards out of St. Brown, while Aca'Cedric Ware ran for 100 yards. 

If we're basing a prediction off each team's Week 1 output, we'll witness a high-scoring affair. There's also a decent chance the margin of victory is in double digits, as the average victory in the last five meetings has been by 13 points. 

     

Michigan State 45, Arizona State 41

Michigan State enters Week 2 in a peculiar position, as it tries to rebound from a rough Week 1 at home during a road trip to Arizona State. 

The Spartans struggled to put away Utah State in East Lansing, Michigan Friday night, and because of that, they fell four spots in the AP poll. 

EAST LANSING, MI - AUGUST 31: LJ Scott #3 of the Michigan State Spartans tries to run through the tackle of  Gaje Ferguson #23 of the Utah State Aggies at Spartan Stadium on August 31, 2018 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Arizona State thrived in Herman Edwards' first game in charge by knocking off UTSA 49-7, but the Spartans pose a much more difficult test. 

The Sun Devils have the offensive talent capable of challenging the Michigan State defense in quarterback Manny Wilkins and wide receiver N'Keal Harry, who combined for 140 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener. 

Michigan State had trouble containing Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in Week 1, as he threw for 319 yards, but the Spartans were able to force him into a pair of interceptions. 

In each of his five games against ranked opponents in his career, Wilkins has thrown for at least 220 yards. 

In order to complement the Arizona State offense, its defense must contain Michigan State running back L.J. Scott, who has nine 100-yard rushing games in his career. 

If the Spartans contain Wilkins, they should be able to control the contest, but if they can't limit Arizona State's passing game, Pac-12 After Dark could feature a free-for-all in Tempe, Arizona. 

        

Other Predictions

TCU 41, SMU 10 

Wisconsin 48, New Mexico 17

Michigan 27, Western Michigan 6

Mississippi State 34, Kansas State 17

Oklahoma 56, UCLA 19

Virginia Tech 63, William and Mary 10

Oregon 56, Portland State 16

Alabama 49, Arkansas State 7

Georgia 17, South Carolina 9

Ohio State 61, Rutgers 23

Notre Dame 45, Ball State 16

Washington 37, North Dakota 10

West Virginia 45, Youngstown State 17

UCF 38, South Carolina State 12

Miami 44, Savannah State 13

Clemson 27, Texas A&M 10 

LSU 48, Southeastern Louisiana 6

Auburn 37, Alabama State 3

Florida 26, Kentucky 13

Penn State 27, Pittsburgh 12

Boise State 38, UConn 13

         

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from Sports Reference

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