Week one provided us with some upsets early in this crazy football season. Who had the Sun Belt Conference going 3-0 against the Big 12? While Kansas State and Iowa State took considerable hits to their season, Louisiana and Arkansas State were big winners. Even though much of the discussion this week has and will center around the Big 10 returning to play, we have an interesting under the radar set of games. So, let’s take a look at some of the matchups in our week 2 college football watch guide.
We’ll admit, at first glance, this isn’t the strongest slate of games on paper. But, as the Power Five conference schedule gets kicked off next week in earnest, this week is the Group of Five’s turn to shine. Will Louisiana survive a letdown? Can UCF avoid another upset from Georgia Tech? Does Marshall have enough to upset Appalachian State? Let’s preview the second weekend in the regular season as we look at our week 2 college football watch guide.
Note: All game times are in central standard time
Week 2 College Football Watch Guide
Athletic directors have shown they can get games put together in a matter of days. That was evident here as both Baylor and Houston got this game arranged in a couple of days after a couple of canceled games. For the Bears, this is year one under first-time head coach Dave Aranda. It was a complete overhaul of the coaching staff and the defensive side of the ball in Waco after a magical 2019. Comparatively, Dana Holgorsen is in his second year in Houston. These two former Southwest Conference rivals will meet for just the first time since 1995.
For the first time since World War 2, the Rajun Cajuns will run onto the field as a ranked team after their 17-point win over Iowa State. Louisiana has a solid offensive line and an experienced quarterback who doesn’t make mistakes. However, their biggest threat this weekend might be a letdown. Georgia State scored one of the biggest upsets a year ago over Tennessee and only lost one game at home. But, the Panthers will be breaking in a redshirt-freshman quarterback which could be problematic for a strong defensive unit for Louisiana.
The Turnpike series resumes in Stillwater this weekend. The two were scheduled to meet last week. But, the game was postponed due to only seven fall camp practices for the Golden Hurricane. If you like offense, this game should be exciting. For Tulsa, they have Baylor transfer Zach Smith at quarterback. Complimenting him is 1,000-yard receiver Keylon Stokes, and 1,000-yard rusher Shamari Brooks. The Cowboys respond with perhaps the biggest three-headed monster in the country with Spencer Sanders, Tylan Wallace, and Heisman hopeful Chuba Hubbard. Expectations are high in Stillwater this season where they have a realistic chance to contend for a conference crown.
The Knights come into the season opener looking for their 36th win in their last 40 games as they travel to Atlanta to face Georgia Tech. Dillon Gabriel is hoping to avoid the sophomore slump after throwing for 3,653 yards last season. However, scoring at ease might be more difficult against a much improved Yellow Jacket defense. Georgia Tech held Florida State to only three second-half points in their upset victory over the Seminoles. This has a chance to be the best game of the weekend.
The season-opening game on CBS has Appalachian State traveling to Marshall. The Thundering Herd dominated Eastern Kentucky 59-0 behind a four-touchdown effort from Freshman quarterback Grant Wells. Equally as impressive was the defense in holding the Colonels to 166 yards of total offense. Conversely, Appalachian State had a bit of an up and down performance against Charlotte last week in a 35-20 victory. Senior Zac Thomas will lead the charge for the Mountaineer offense that had over 500 yards of offense. This has all the makings of a four-quarter game.
A lone star state battle with a couple of 1-0 teams in Denton as North Texas entertains SMU on Saturday. Both teams have high powered offenses coming into this game. Even though they struggled somewhat in a seven-point win over Texas State, Shane Buechele threw for 367 yards in the win. The Mean Green rolled up 721 yards of total offense in their victory over Houston Baptist. Sophomore Jason Bean threw for just over 200 yards and three touchdowns. Additionally, North Texas ran for over 360 yards in the win.
The national game of the week with our only matchup of ranked opponents happens in the ACC as Louisville hosts Miami. Both teams are 1-0 after tune-up victories over UAB and Western Kentucky respectively. Louisville was one of the most improved teams in the country and started strong last week. Malik Cunningham threw for 343 yards and three scores for the Cards. Meanwhile, the D’Eriq King era got off to a slow start last week but ended strong. Miami’s new lightning-fast offense under new offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee will be tested in this ACC clash.