2015-09-10 07:55

Most of the time, week 2 of the college football season are quite boring.
The big teams which had big opponents in week 1 normally do schedule a relaxing game after that, many big teams do schedule relaxing games in general before all conference games do start and that leave only a few really good games worth the attention.

But before I start the preview part I like to have a list of my 10 favorite teams to get into the playoffs.
Remember, there are 4 spots for the playoffs and it's likely they will come from the power 5 conferences or maybe Notre Dame or even BYU could crash in.
A participation of any non-power 5 team is quite unlikely. But I will also put in the top 3 of those teams in, from my point of view.

TOP10 teams for the playoff spots (sorted by likeliness)
#1 Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes did maybe profit from the injury of the Hokies QB, but I think they would have beaten them anyway.
Their offense looked good most of the time, their defense front was crazy and so there is good reason to believe they will be able to get back into the playoff mix.

#2 Alabama Crimson Tide
That game looked like I expected it to be.
Alabama looked very strong and Wisconsin did look not strong enough to keep them away from the endzone.
The Tide will play many more strong teams, so they will be tested regularly, but for now, they look like a lock for the spot.

#3 TCU Horned Frogs
The Frogs did look like they might fall to Minnesota, but won it and for now they are by favorite to win the BIG12.

#4 Oregon Ducks
The Ducks did win with a high score against Eastern Washington, but they did let them also score 42 points.
That was a FCS team, so it will be interesting to see, how the defense will be against good PAC12 teams.

#5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
This is the if-then-team with a lot of ifs.
If they can keep that performance up and if their defense stays as good as they played against Texas, they might get through their schedule without a stumble.
If they do that and if some of the above teams DO stumble, they might get a chance.

#6 Clemson Tigers
The Tigers are my pick for the ACC at the moment and that's close before the Seminoles.
The real test will come against FSU and Louisville.

#7 Auburn Tigers
They almost stumbled over Louisville and that might be a sign for a weaker team as expected out of Alabama, a stronger team as expected out of Kentucky or a week 1 not really in synch performance.
So far, Auburn stays my 2nd option for the SEC.

#8 Michigan State Spartans
They won, but not as dominant as I expected them to win.
They are my 2nd best BIG10 candidate so far.

#9 Baylor Bears
They blasted SMU, which is OK, but far from being a test worth to mention.
A good thing is, they were able to test their offense.
Time will tell, if their defense can hold better teams.

#10 USC Trojans
I'm not sure if the Trojans are really back, but they do look at the moment very good and are my 2nd option for the PAC12.

Here are the 3 most likely non power 5 teams to crash the party:
#1 Boise State Broncos
They are now ranked at #20 in the AP polls and they might rise fast.
They do have a quite manageable schedule and are the favorite to win the MWC.

#2 Marshall Thundering Herd
They did look very good in their win against Purdue. They are my favorite to win the CUSA. Very likely unbeaten.

#3 Appalachian State
They might get eliminated fast, but they are at the moment the best bet for another non power 5 conference winner.
The Clemson game next week will probably be a loss and their end in this list.

All other potential non power 5 conference teams do have quite strong teams on their schedule, which is the reason I did not put them here.
Granted, that's the same case as for Appalachian State, but here I think they have a slim chance to win, while with other teams a don't see any chance at all.
All other possible teams do face Boise or Marshall during the season, which I expect them to lose, hence they will not crash the party.

I think this list will get updated often.

Now let's have a look at the BLOCK OF GRANITE TOP GAMES FOR WEEK 2

Sat. Sept. 12 - 6:00 pm ET
#19 Oklahoma @ #23 Tennessee
If this would be in Norman, Oklahoma, I wouldn't blink and would pick the Sooners.
They are kind of redesigned with a new offense and Tennessee still has to prove they can play again against the big boys.
But this is played in Knoxville, Tennessee and suddenly the teams are handled with a 1.5 spread at the moment.
Oklahoma is still the favorite, but this is slim.
Last week did Oklahoma handle Akron very efficient, but without driving up the score.
More important with that game is, that Akron did only score 3 points.
Tennessee on the other hand did play Bowling Green and had to swallow 30 points.
That's a lot of points facing off a MAC offense against a SEC defense.
With that performance on defense will they lose against Oklahoma, I guess, because the Oklahoma defense will for sure not allow the 59 points Bowling Green did allow.
My pick is, that Oklahomas defense will keep Tennessee out of the endzone often enough to win the game by the points the Oklahoma defense will scoop out of the Vols defense.
I'm not really sure, this will be a close game within a 1 or 2 point margin.
My gut says, it will be either 7+ points for the home team, or 7+ points for the guests.
I pick Oklahoma as the winner.

Sat. Sept. 12 - 8:00 pm ET
#7 Oregon @ #5 Michigan State
This one is my favorite game this weekend.
Oregon looked like ... well ... Oregon, but had allowed a lot of points against Eastern Washington, a FCS team. They did score around 20 points more than they allowed, but it's valid to say, that the Spartans defense will be better than the Eagles defense.
I'm not sure, if the Spartans offense is capable of scoring as often as Eastern Washington did, for sure they will try.
This is played on Spartans ground and they are at the moment a 4 point favorite to win this.
Interesting is, many fans do see the Ducks up front.
Most feared is their offense of cause and many have the same thoughts as I have, weather the Spartans can score more than the Ducks can.
Here is my take: The Ducks offense can be stopped.
Ohio State did show that last season, holding them at only 20 points.
And the Spartans defense should be able to cover that.
Even with a new coordinator.
They did score only 37 points against Western Michigan last week, so they need to get better here.
My pick is that the Spartans will win by a score difference.

Sat. Sept. 12 - 9:15 pm ET
##14 LSU @ #25 Mississippi State
LSU did play only around 5 minutes so far.
Their game against McNeese State was canceled because of bad weather after a few minutes in the 1st quarter and a long delay period while the thunderstorm did came down.
So we will see an untested Tigers team against a hosting Bulldogs team, which did beat Southern Miss by 18 points last week.
It's no wonder, the Tigers are still a 5 point favorite to win this.
Southern Miss could better be described as Southern Mess, based on last season performance.
For me it will be interesting to see, weather the last season Bulldogs can show up, or if the team has to reload.
In my preview I pick them to be the latter one.
It's a pity we did not see LSU last weekend.
Now it is a guessing game.
But under the given circumstances I pick LSU.
That Southern Miss game did not convince me to see a strong Bulldogs team and it looks like the Tigers are at least better than last season.
Enough for a win?
Not sure, but if I have to pick between the Tigers and the Bulldogs under those conditions, I would pick the Tigers every time.

Sat. Sept. 12 - 10:15 pm ET
#20 Boise State @ BYU
Some think this will be good.
I'm not sure, but because this week does lack better matchups I did chose this one.
Boise States HC did beat his Mentor last week by 3 points, including a miss FG in the last minute.
The most stunning fact on that day was, that Boise was only able to score 16 points.
That's not much for a regularly high scoring offense.
On the other hand did Nebraska score 28 points against BYU and did only lose because of 1 or 2 stupid defenders unable to know down a ball from the 50.
Nice play for BYU, but that won't happen every week.
Taysom Hill is gone for the season and the backup did through that Hail Mary, but you need more in your playbook to win many football games.
Granted, it could happen, that the backup-now-starter Tanner Mangum becomes the man at Provo, Utah, but as someone said, there is a reason he is the backup.
We will see it.
My main concern here is really the Boise State offense, which has to get better.
Played at BYU, this will get probably close.
Boise is only 2.5 points favorite at the moment, so it looks like the betters are not really clear regarding this game.
I pick Boise in this game, and my gut says, it will be won by 2 scores or more.

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