College Football Picks: Week 2 Predictions for Every Game
Though many Power Five programs are preparing for a Group of Five or FCS opponent in Week 2, the upcoming slate will bring a couple of season-shaping results.
On Saturday, top-ranked Clemson will host Texas A&M, the program that came closest to knocking off last season's national champion. Later that night, LSU visits Texas for a Top 10 showdown and the first regular-season matchup between the teams in 65 years.
Elsewhere around the nation, a couple of ranked teams and several division-title hopefuls will open conference play. Since a majority of teams aren't national contenders, the beginning of league action is the critical part of their seasons.
We've highlighted each game that features an AP Top 25 squad while making a prediction for every contest involving a Football Bowl Subdivision program on the Week 2 slate.
The games are organized by kickoff times.
William & Mary (1-0) at Virginia (1-0), 8 p.m. ET
As long as Virginia doesn't allow William & Mary to run efficiently, the ACC squad shouldn't have much trouble improving to 2-0. Bryce Perkins' mobility will likely be a major factor in helping UVA build an early lead and control the clock.
Prediction: Virginia 38, William & Mary 10
Wake Forest (1-0) at Rice (0-1), 8 p.m. ET
After a season filled with subpar defense, allowing just 14 points to Army in the season opener must've been refreshing for Rice. Sustaining that performance is now the difficulty, and it's unlikely to happen opposite a Wake Forest offense that scored 38 points on Utah State.
Prediction: Wake Forest 41, Rice 14
Marshall (1-0) at No. 24 Boise State (1-0), 9 p.m. ET
Isaiah Green tossed four touchdowns to help Marshall roll past VMI. If the sophomore is anywhere close to that level of effective on the blue turf, Boise State will find itself on upset alert. However, the Broncos racked up 11 tackles for loss against Florida State and figure to put similar pressure on the Herd.
Prediction: Boise State 27, Marshall 20
Sacramento State (1-0) at Arizona State (1-0), 10 p.m. ET
The visiting FCS program hung 77 points on NAIA foe Southern Oregon last week, so Arizona State won't be overlooking its Week 2 foe. Still, the Sun Devils have a clear edge in personnel and can lean on a balanced offense to dispatch Sac State.
Prediction: Arizona State 44, Sacramento State 17
Top Saturday Early Games
Cincinnati (1-0) at No. 5 Ohio State (1-0), Noon ET
This is a valuable test for Justin Fields, who totaled five touchdowns in his Ohio State debut but was basically only effective for a quarter. Cincinnati's stingy defense will prevent Fields and Co. from waltzing to the end zone on a consistent basis. Still, the Buckeyes will eventually pull away while their own defense limits Cincy's scoring attack.
Prediction: Ohio State 34, Cincinnati 17
Army (1-0) at No. 7 Michigan (1-0), Noon ET
Last season, Army put a scare into Oklahoma before falling in overtime. Michigan is less vulnerable to such a nerve-wracking result because of a sturdier defense, but a shaky offensive showing would be crushing since Army's methodical pace limits possessions.
Prediction: Michigan 31, Army 14
Rutgers (1-0) at No. 20 Iowa (1-0), Noon ET
Texas Tech transfer McLane Carter made a generally positive impression in his first Rutgers start, throwing for 340 yards and two touchdowns. However, he also tossed three interceptions. Giving the ball away against this Iowa defense is asking for trouble.
Prediction: Iowa 38, Rutgers 17
No. 21 Syracuse (1-0) at Maryland (1-0), Noon ET
From a national perspective, the matchup is mildly notable. But Syracuse has rarely played a power-conference opponent as a ranked favorite, and Maryland is looking to prove it can compete with Top 25-caliber teams in Mike Locksley's first year. Last week, Maryland looked dramatically improved with Virginia Tech transfer Josh Jackson in charge of the offense. The Terps will spring the upset.
Prediction: Maryland 34, Syracuse 30
Old Dominion (1-0) at Virginia Tech (0-1), Noon ET
In 2018, Virginia Tech's season began to crumble when Old Dominion pulled off a stunning upset. Another ODU victory is improbable now that offensive stars Blake LaRussa, Jonathan Duhart and Travis Fulgham are gone. The Hokies will bounce back from a frustrating loss at Boston College and get in the win column.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 42, Old Dominion 13
West Virginia (1-0) at Missouri (0-1), Noon ET
Whichever offense does a better job running the ball will have a massive advantage. Missouri collapsed at Wyoming while mustering 2.7 yards per carry, and West Virginia trudged to a 1.4-yard average in a narrow win over James Madison. Confidence is relatively low, but Kelly Bryant is more likely to produce than Austin Kendall and a reshaped West Virginia offense.
Prediction: Missouri 31, West Virginia 20
Northern Illinois (1-0) at No. 13 Utah (1-0), 1 p.m. ET
The whole "scoring points" thing continues to plague Northern Illinois, which managed a single field goal in three red-zone trips against Illinois State. That's a problematic sign before heading to Utah, which allowed only 12 points to rival BYU last week.
Prediction: Utah 31, Northern Illinois 10
Other Saturday Early Games
Ohio (1-0) at Pitt (0-1), Noon ET
Prediction: Ptt 31, Ohio 24
Southern (0-1) at Memphis (1-0), Noon ET
Prediction: Memphis 55, Southern 14
Charleston Southern (0-1) at South Carolina (0-1), Noon ET
Prediction: South Carolina 42, Charleston Southern 7
Vanderbilt (0-1) at Purdue (0-1), Noon ET
Prediction: Purdue 30, Vanderbilt 23
Bowling Green (1-0) at Kansas State (1-0), Noon ET
Prediction: Kansas State 41, Bowling Green 17
UAB (1-0) at Akron (0-1), Noon ET
Prediction: UAB 23, Akron 17
Kennesaw State (1-0) at Kent State (0-1), Noon ET
Prediction: Kennesaw State 24, Kent State 20
Western Carolina (0-1) at NC State (1-0), 12:30 p.m. ET
Prediction: NC State 47, Western Carolina 14
South Florida (0-1) at Georgia Tech (0-1), 2 p.m. ET
Prediction: Georgia Tech 34, South Florida 24
Fordham (0-1) at Ball State (0-1), 2 p.m. ET
Prediction: Ball State 33, Fordham 13
Tennessee Tech (1-0) at Miami (Ohio) (0-1), 2:30 p.m. ET
Prediction: Miami (Ohio) 34, Tennessee Tech 20
Top Saturday Afternoon Games
No. 12 Texas A&M (1-0) at No. 1 Clemson (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET
Despite the prediction by Texas A&M offensive lineman Jared Hocker, there will be no upset. That's not to suggest Clemson will overwhelm the Aggies, though. If the visitors can steal a couple of possessions—they intercepted four passes in Week 1, while Clemson had three turnovers—it'll be a tight finish. But stopping this high-powered attack will be a difficult task for a retooled defense.
Prediction: Clemson 38, Texas A&M 24
Central Michigan (1-0) at No. 17 Wisconsin (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET
In 2018, Central Michigan averaged a disgusting 4.5 yards per pass attempt and never cracked the 200-yard mark in a single game. Quinten Dormady changed that with 285 yards and three touchdowns in his debut, but a similar performance would merely keep Jim McElwain's club within reach of Jonathan Taylor and Wisconsin's powerful rushing attack.
Prediction: Wisconsin 41, Central Michigan 16
No. 25 Nebraska (1-0) at Colorado (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET
South Alabama ranked 121st nationally with 6.7 yards allowed per snap last season. To begin 2019, the Jaguars held a hyped Nebraska offense to a disastrous 4.2-yard average. That's the long version of saying we're unsure about the upside of the Huskers offense. Colorado, on the other hand, is built to stress a Nebraska defense that probably isn't as good as Week 1 suggested.
Prediction: Colorado 37, Nebraska 31
New Mexico State (0-1) at No. 2 Alabama (1-0), 4 p.m. ET
Anthony Gordon torched the NMSU defense for 420 yards and five touchdowns in his first career start, a 58-7 smackdown in favor of Washington State. Anyone think Tua Tagovailoa will struggle?
Prediction: Alabama 55, New Mexico State 7
Murray State (1-0) at No. 3 Georgia (1-0), 4 p.m. ET
Georgia rolled to a 30-6 victory at Vanderbilt to begin the campaign. D'Andre Swift, Brian Herrien and Zamir White combined to rush for 263 yards on only 33 carries. If Murray State holds the trio below 250 yards, it would be stunning.
Prediction: Georgia 52, Murray State 0
Northern Colorado (0-1) at No. 22 Washington State (1-0), 5 p.m. ET
As mentioned previously, Anthony Gordon thrived for the Cougs last week. He's likely to have a similar performance against Northern Colorado, which allowed a below-average San Jose State offense to compile 224 yards and two touchdowns through the air.
Prediction: Washington State 51, Northern Colorado 14
Other Saturday Afternoon Games
Southern Miss (1-0) at Mississippi State (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET
Prediction: Mississippi State 34, Southern Miss 21
Richmond (1-0) at Boston College (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET
Prediction: Boston College 40, Richmond 16
Charlotte (1-0) at Appalachian State (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET
Prediction: Appalachian State 38, Charlotte 20
Illinois (1-0) at UConn (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET
Prediction: Illinois 31, UConn 21
Eastern Illinois (0-1) at Indiana (1-0), 3:30 p.m. ET
Prediction: Indiana 41, Eastern Illinois 14
Southern Illinois (0-1) at Massachusetts (0-1), 3:30 p.m. ET
Prediction: Massachusetts 37, Southern Illinois 23
Grambling (0-1) at Louisiana Tech (0-1), 3:30 p.m. ET
Prediction: Louisiana Tech 34, Grambling 13
UTSA (1-0) at Baylor (1-0), 4 p.m. ET
Prediction: Baylor 45, UTSA 17
Western Illinois (0-1) at Colorado State (0-1), 4 p.m. ET
Prediction: Colorado State 31, Western Illinois 21
San Diego State (1-0) at UCLA (0-1), 4:15 p.m. ET
Prediction: UCLA 20, San Diego State 13
UL Monroe (1-0) at Florida State (0-1), 5 p.m. ET
Prediction: Florida State 48, UL Monroe 17
Top Saturday Evening Games
South Dakota (0-1) at No. 4 Oklahoma (1-0), 7 p.m. ET
Jalen Hurts accounted for six touchdowns and totaled more than 500 yards of offense in his Oklahoma debut. South Dakota, well, please have a couple of safe flights to and from Norman.
Prediction: Oklahoma 52, South Dakota 14
No. 18 UCF (1-0) at Florida Atlantic (0-1), 7 p.m. ET
Lane Kiffin's squad actually outscored Ohio State 21-17 over the final 50 minutes last week. The problem is the Buckeyes raced to a 28-0 advantage before then. UCF will have similar offensive success and hold off what should be a decent FAU effort.
Prediction: UCF 41, Florida Atlantic 24
No. 6 LSU (1-0) at No. 9 Texas (1-0), 7:30 p.m. ET
Whichever team falls will surrender its margin for error in 2019. LSU's new-look offense has simplified Joe Burrow's responsibilities but affords him more space, too. Texas presents a major test, though. Do the Tigers have an offensive line capable of withstanding constant pressure? In the past, that answer was a resounding no. If they prove us wrong Saturday, the perception of LSU will change from that of a second-tier threat to a real challenger to Alabama.
Prediction: Texas 24, LSU 20
UT Martin (1-0) at No. 11 Florida (1-0), 7:30 p.m. ET
Florida is going to win. We're not concerned about that. However, the offense needs to rebound from a mistake-filled, four-turnover showing against Miami. Florida must take advantage of this tune-up chance before traveling to Kentucky next week.
Prediction: Florida 45, UT Martin 7
Tulane (1-0) at No. 10 Auburn (1-0), 7:30 p.m. ET
What matters most is Bo Nix made the critical throw in a clutch moment to defeat Oregon. Still, his first appearance included plenty of teaching moments. With Tulane coming to town, the freshman quarterback has a great opportunity to relax and assemble a productive night.
Prediction: Auburn 41, Tulane 10
Buffalo (1-0) at No. 15 Penn State (1-0), 7:30 p.m. ET
Michigan and Ohio State draw the most headlines in the Big Ten, but Penn State will be a factor. Sean Clifford started to pick apart an overmatched defense after a nervous start, and the defense blanked Idaho until garbage time. Expect another comfortable win for the Nittany Lions at home.
Prediction: Penn State 47, Buffalo 13
Nevada (1-0) at No. 16 Oregon (0-1), 7:30 p.m. ET
Auburn held the Oregon running game in check, but the experienced offensive line figures to control this nonconference tilt. Nevada will need a handful of explosive gains to hang around.
Prediction: Oregon 44, Nevada 20
Western Michigan (1-0) at No. 19 Michigan State (1-0), 7:30 p.m. ET
If Week 1 was any indication, Michigan State is bound for a frustrating year. Though the defense was sensational in a 28-7 victory over Tulsa, the Spartans were inefficient on offense with just 3.9 yards per snap. Western Michigan has a shot at an upset if quarterback Jon Wassink thrives, but we're not counting on it.
Prediction: Michigan State 27, Western Michigan 14
Other Saturday Evening Games
North Carolina A&T (1-0) at Duke (0-1), 6 p.m. ET
Prediction: Duke 38, North Carolina A&T 13
Maine (1-0) at Georgia Southern (0-1), 6 p.m. ET
Prediction: Georgia Southern 31, Maine 23
Gardner-Webb (0-1) at East Carolina (0-1), 6 p.m. ET
Prediction: East Carolina 42, Gardner-Webb 24
BYU (0-1) at Tennessee (0-1), 7 p.m. ET
Prediction: Tennessee 26, BYU 21
Coastal Carolina (0-1) at Kansas (1-0), 7 p.m. ET
Prediction: Kansas 31, Coastal Carolina 21
Eastern Kentucky (1-0) at Louisville (0-1), 7 p.m. ET
Prediction: Louisville 34, Eastern Kentucky 14
North Texas (1-0) at SMU (1-0), 7 p.m. ET
Prediction: North Texas 38, SMU 32
McNeese (1-0) at Oklahoma State (1-0), 7 p.m. ET
Prediction: Oklahoma State 59, McNeese 14
Furman (1-0) at Georgia State (1-0), 7 p.m. ET
Prediction: Georgia State 27, Furman 24
Jackson State (0-1) at South Alabama (0-1), 7 p.m. ET
Prediction: South Alabama 42, Jackson State 14
Wyoming (1-0) at Texas State (0-1), 7 p.m. ET
Prediction: Wyoming 36, Texas State 21
Western Kentucky (0-1) at Florida International (0-1), 7 p.m. ET
Prediction: Florida International 30, Western Kentucky 27
Tennessee State (1-0) at Middle Tennessee (0-1), 7 p.m. ET
Prediction: Middle Tennessee 34, Tennessee State 20
Eastern Michigan (1-0) at Kentucky (1-0), 7:30 p.m. ET
Prediction: Kentucky 37, Eastern Michigan 21
Arkansas (1-0) at Ole Miss (0-1), 7:30 p.m. ET
Prediction: Ole Miss 33, Arkansas 24
Stony Brook (1-0) at Utah State (0-1), 7:30 p.m. ET
Prediction: Utah State 43, Stony Brook 14
Liberty (0-1) at Louisiana (0-1), 7:30 p.m. ET
Prediction: Louisiana 31, Liberty 17
Saturday Night Games
Miami (0-1) at North Carolina (1-0), 8 p.m. ET
Mack Brown opened his second stint at UNC with a surprising win over South Carolina. Freshman quarterback Sam Howell debuted with 245 yards and two touchdowns, too. But this Miami defense is a whole different level of aggressive. While the home environment will help, Howell must be perfect if UNC is going to spring a second straight upset.
Prediction: Miami 27, North Carolina 20
UTEP (1-0) at Texas Tech (1-0), 8 p.m. ET
Prediction: Texas Tech 44, UTEP 17
Prairie View (1-0) at Houston (0-1), 8 p.m. ET
The prime-time slate is packed with ranked teams, so this matchup won't attract many eyeballs. If you're looking for a massive stat line, though, be sure to watch D'Eriq King. The Houston quarterback accounted for 270 yards and three touchdowns in a loss to Oklahoma, yet that might mark his lowest output of the year.
Prediction: Houston 56, Prairie View 21
Tulsa (0-1) at San Jose State (1-0), 9 p.m. ET
Prediction: Tulsa 28, San Jose State 23
Northern Arizona (1-0) at Arizona (0-1), 9:45 p.m. ET
Prediction: Arizona 48, Northern Arizona 21
Arkansas State (0-1) at UNLV (1-0), 10 p.m. ET
Prediction: Arkansas State 30, UNLV 27
Cal (1-0) at No. 14 Washington (1-0), 10:30 p.m. ET
The issues of the Washington passing game in 2018 were never clearer than at Cal. Jake Browning was benched, and his replacement, Jake Haener, tossed a game-losing pick-six. Jacob Eason's four-touchdown performance in Week 1 offered hope of a significant change this season. And considering the skill position talent around him, we're inclined to believe UW won't struggle anywhere near as much Saturday.
Prediction: Washington 31, Cal 17
No. 23 Stanford (1-0) at USC (1-0), 10:30 p.m. ET
USC starter JT Daniels is done for the season with ACL and meniscus tears in his right knee. His replacement is freshman Kedon Slovis, who's preparing to face a Stanford defense that ceded 4.3 yards per attempt in a 17-7 win over Northwestern. However, the Cardinal wasted several scoring chances in that game. If that happens again, Slovis will be in position to win his first start.
Prediction: Stanford 24, USC 19
Minnesota (1-0) at Fresno State (0-1), 10:30 p.m. ET
Prediction: Minnesota 30, Fresno State 24
Oregon State (0-1) at Hawaii (1-0), 11:59 p.m. ET
Prediction: Hawaii 45, Oregon State 38