College Football Rankings 2021: Week 2 Standings, Schedule and Predictions

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2021

College Football Rankings 2021: Week 2 Standings, Schedule and Predictions

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    Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    The Ohio State Buckeyes have a chance to put on an early show for the College Football Playoff selection committee to consider in Week 2. 

    They welcome the Oregon Ducks to Ohio Stadium on Saturday for what should be one of the best nonconference games of the regular season. The Buckeyes are favored by more than two touchdowns against a team that opened the season as the highest-ranked program in the Pac-12. 

    If Ohio State puts together a comprehensive performance, the victory could look great on its resume when the playoff discussion escalates later in the season. 

    The other Top 25 matchup of Week 2 features another Big Ten team, the Iowa Hawkeyes. They face cross-state rival, the Iowa State Cyclones, in a top-10 showdown.

    Iowa already has a Top 25 victory from Week 1, when it demolished the Indiana Hoosiers, 34-6, at home. A victory on Saturday would give the Hawkeyes the best two-week resume in college football and could make them the favorite to face Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game. 

Week 2 Schedule

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Friday, September 10

    Kansas at No. 17 Coastal Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)


    Saturday, September 11

    No. 12 Oregon at No. 3 Ohio State (Noon ET, Fox)

    Alabama State at No. 25 Auburn (Noon ET, SEC Network)

    No. 13 Florida at South Florida (1 p.m. ET, ABC)

    Middle Tennessee at No. 19 Virginia Tech (2 p.m. ET, ACC Network Extra)

    Toledo at No. 8 Notre Dame (2:30 p.m. ET, Peacock)

    UAB at No. 2 Georgia (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

    No. 5 Texas A&M vs. Colorado (3:30 p.m. ET, Fox)

    Murray State at No. 7 Cincinnati (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

    Ball State at No. 11 Penn State (3:30 p.m. ET, FS1)

    Mercer at No. 1 Alabama (4 p.m. ET, SEC Network)

    No. 10 Iowa at No. 9 Iowa State (4:30 p.m. ET, ABC)

    South Carolina State at No. 6 Clemson (5 p.m. ET, ACC Network)

    Western Carolina at No. 4 Oklahoma (7 p.m. ET)

    No. 15 Texas at Arkansas (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)

    Eastern Michigan at No. 18 Wisconsin (7 p.m. ET, FS1)

    Appalachian State at No. 22 Miami (7 p.m. ET, ESPNU)

    Austin Peay at No. 20 Ole Miss (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

    Georgia State at No. 24 North Carolina (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN3)

    No. 21 Utah at BYU (10:15 p.m. ET, ESPN)

    Stanford at No. 14 USC (10:30 p.m. ET, Fox)

    UNLV at No. 23 Arizona State (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2)

No. 12 Oregon at No. 3 Ohio State

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    Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    Ohio State looked like a playoff-caliber team in spurts during its 45-31 victory over Minnesota last Thursday. 

    The Buckeyes have an abundance of talent surrounding first-year starting quarterback C.J. Stroud, which should make his transition to the job much easier. 

    Wide receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson combined for 197 receiving yards and three touchdowns off nine receptions. If Stroud can get the ball to them at a high volume against the Oregon secondary, the Buckeyes should produce a more consistent offensive approach over four quarters. 

    Oregon's defense conceded 373 total yards in a 31-24 home win over the Fresno State Bulldogs in Week 1. 

    The Ducks may be without defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux for the game. The star pass-rusher is day-to-day with an ankle sprain he suffered versus Fresno State. 

    Oregon gave up the bulk of its yardage through the air in that matchup, as Fresno State earned 298 of its 373 total yards in the passing game. 

    If Stroud connects with Olave and Wilson early, the Buckeyes could rush out to an early advantage and break open a double-digit lead.

    Oregon's offense scored more than one touchdown in a single quarter in Week 1. If the Ducks are unable to keep pace, the Big Ten side could pick up its first Top 25 victory of the season. 

    Victory over Oregon might not be the same as the Georgia Bulldogs' win against the Clemson Tigers in Week 1, but it would be a nice note on the Buckeyes' resume. 

    Ohio State will not have many other chances to add ranked wins to its name in the regular season. Currently, the Penn State Nittany Lions are the only other Top 25 squad on its schedule. 

    Prediction: Ohio State 37, Oregon 20

No. 10 Iowa at No. 9 Iowa State

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    Matthew Putney/Associated Press

    Iowa has a hold on the Cy-Hawk rivalry that dates back to 2015. 

    The Hawkeyes won the last meeting in 2019 by a point in Ames, Iowa, and they have won on each of their last three trips to Jack Trice Stadium. 

    Iowa's defense has been fantastic throughout the five-game winning streak, as it held Iowa State to 17 points or fewer in four of those victories. 

    The same unit made a statement in the season-opening win over Indiana. It conceded six points and 233 total yards to the Hoosiers. 

    Iowa faces a more difficult task on Saturday, when it attempts to contain Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy and running back Breece Hall. 

    However, the pair turned in a lackluster opening performance against the Northern Iowa Panthers. Purdy totaled 199 passing yards and Hall rushed for 69 yards on 23 carries. The signal-caller added 58 yards in the ground game. 

    Iowa State's offensive duo needs to wear down the Iowa defense to get into position to win the rivalry clash for the first time in seven years. 

    Since Matt Campbell became Iowa State head coach in 2016, the Cyclones offense has put up 64 points in four games against Iowa but 41 of those came in an overtime defeat in 2017. 

    A year ago, Iowa State went 5-1 in Ames with the only loss coming to the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns in Week 1. Iowa State had a week to get the home jitters out of the way. Purdy and Hall should be better prepared to avoid a home loss this time around. 

    With all sorts of motivation driving Iowa State in the rivalry, look for the Cyclones' top offensive stars to thrive on the ground and be the difference-makers. 

    Prediction: Iowa State 21, Iowa 17