College Football Week 2 Preview – Welcome to Cupcake Week
After a bunch of good games and upsets last week, this week looks more like a traditional September weekend with the top teams playing a laundry list of weak competition.
None of the Top 25 teams play each other, six are playing FCS foes, and only five are playing opponents from automatic-qualifying conferences. Still, history has taught us that we can’t take anything in college football for granted, so here are some of the questions as we go into Week 2 of college football:
Should Anyone Be on Upset Alert?
With no games between ranked opponents, most of this week’s games should (and likely will) be cakewalks. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few teams who couldn’t fall into a trap game.
Arkansas struggled in a 21-20 win over Louisiana Tech but should improve and could threaten No. 15 TCU after the Horned Frogs gave up 41 points and 461 yards to South Dakota State. (According to Vegas oddsmakers, this is the only game this week in which the Top 25 team is not favored by double digits.) No. 13 Louisville must go on the road against Syracuse. And, while No. 16 Iowa is clearly a better team than Iowa State, you’re always rolling the dice a bit in an in-state rivalry game.
Who Will Be the Flavor of the Week?
This time last week, you had to look well down into the “Others Receiving Votes” section of the AP poll to find Wisconsin and Texas. Fast forward just a few days and they’re magically the No. 10 and 11 teams in the country.
Yes, they got the job done in Week 1. But why does a double-overtime home win over Notre Dame or a two-point victory over a one-dimensional LSU suddenly brand you as one of the nation’s best teams? Most poll voters seem to have just two settings: inertia, which keeps an underachieving big-name team in the poll; or hype, which results in artificially jumping someone up based on one good performance. So mark it down — someone who pulls off an upset this week will jump into the Top 15 and be an unranked afterthought by mid-October.
Can Anyone Be This Year's Appalachian State?
Sure, we’d all love to see another monster upset. But it’s not likely this week as none of the FCS teams playing Top 25 opponents are in the top tier of even their own division. So it’s tough to pick that big of an upset this week. But you might keep one eye on the Akron/Wisconsin game. The Badgers’ pass defense was not really tested by an anemic LSU offense. But they should get a little more of a challenge from Akron quarterback Thomas Woodson (more on him in a minute)
Which Unknown Player Could Make a Name for Himself?
Playing big-time competition is a good opportunity for a small college prospect to get his name out there. While we're not likely to see many upsets, a strong performance by an underdog won't go unnoticed. So here are a few players that could make a difference this weekend.
Western Kentucky quarterback Mike White threw for 517 yards last week, but will face the toughest challenge of his life at No. 1 Alabama. Wisconsin will face Akron quarterback Thomas Woodson, who threw for 407 yards and six touchdowns against an admittedly overmatched VMI. And UTEP running back Aaron Jones comes into the Miners’ matchup with Texas after going for 249 yards and two touchdowns against New Mexico State.
While it’s unlikely any of these unknowns will lead their team to an upset, but don’t be surprised if you see some plays show up on the highlight reels Saturday night.