NFL Mocks Staff Predictions: College Football Week 2
The NFL Mocks staff takes a look at some of the more intriguing Week Two college football matchups.
After a fantastic opening weekend that featured several top five teams getting upset, the college football season rolls on as we enter Week Two.
While the matchups this week lack the luster of the “The Greatest Opening Week Ever”, there are still plenty of storylines one can look forward to this Saturday. There are a pair of rivalry games that always make for entertaining football. After a surprising loss for Iowa State and a less than stellar performance for Iowa, the two face off in what is always a big battle between the two schools. Both the Panthers and the Nittany Lions are coming off of victories when they face each other in Week Two. After not playing each other since 2000, both teams look forward to renewing their in-state rivalry.
The NFL Mocks staff has gone through this week’s slate of games and have picked who they think will come with the victory in Week Two.
(16) Iowa vs. Iowa State
The Iowa State Cyclones have enjoyed recent success on their last couple of trips to Kinnick Stadium. They have won their last two matchups with the Hawkeyes, but this year’s team is still trying to find it’s identity. Under new coach Matt Campbell the Cyclones lost their opener to FCS Northern Iowa, and are in for a tougher matchup with the Hawkeyes.
Despite a shaky performance in Week One against Miami (OH), Iowa is still the 16th best team in the country. With a newly signed extension, coach Kirk Ferentz should have no trouble leading his team over a rebuilding Cyclones team.
Pittsburgh vs. Penn State
Penn State is coming off a Week One 33-13 win over Kent State. While their offense appeared to be out of sync at times, sophomore phenom running back Saquon Barkley helped carried the load. Against Kent State Barkley ran the ball 22 times for 105 yards and a touchdown. He will be counted on to shoulder the load against a tougher Pittsburgh defense.
Not to be outdone, the University of Pittsburgh have a talented running back of their own in James Conner. The junior running back is enjoying his first year back in football after suffering a season-ending knee injury followed by a diagnosis of Hodgkin Lymphoma in 2015. After a strong performance against Villanova, Conner should have a big day battling Barkley.
David: Penn State
George: Penn State
Kyle: Penn State
Matt: Penn State
Shawn: Penn State
BYU vs. Utah
The Holy War is always one of the more entertaining rivalries in college football. Utah has recently had the upper hand against BYU. They have won the last five matchups between the two schools, with their last matchup in December ending in a 35-28 win for the Utes. Against the Cougars, Utah will rely heavily on a defense that shutout Southern Utah last week.
The BYU Cougars have had a recent love affair with dramatic finishes. Last week BYU beat Arizona, 18-16, on a last second field goal. For them to win again this week they will rely heavily on running back Jamaal Williams and quarterback Taysom Hill. The Cougars also feature a tough defense, so this game could come down to who makes the least amount of mistakes.
Virginia Tech vs. (17) Tennessee
Tennessee failed to live up to their pre-season ranking as the ninth ranked team in the country. The Volunteers did just enough to get by Appalachian State with a 20-13 win in overtime. But a win’s a win and they sit at 1-0 as they prepare to face Virginia Tech in Week Two. For the Volunteers to continue their winning ways they will have to rely heavily on running back Jalen Hurd to lead the way. With 28 carries for 110 yards and a touchdown last week, Hurd is a true workhorse that the offense will lean on to help relieve the pressure on quarterback Joshua Dobbs.
With Joshua Dobbs’ shaky Week One performance look for the Hokie’s to rely on their defense. The Bud Foster led defense will throw every blitz package imaginable in an effort to keep Dobbs from getting into a rhythm. On the offensive side of the ball look for Virginia Tech to target first-team All-ACC wide receiver Isaiah Ford early and often.
Arkansas vs. (15) TCU
Despite both winning their opening games in Week One, they didn’t exactly have an easy time. South Dakota State made it difficult for the Horned Frogs while Arkansas struggled against Louisiana Tech.
After a slow start TCU Kenny Hill started to light up the Bison defense. He ended up finishing the game with 439 yards with two touchdowns. He also did some damage on the ground, rushing for 45 yards and three more touchdowns. If the TCU defense can improve they should be able to handle Arkansas with relative ease.
Arkansas’ offense is predicated around running the football. Which is something they struggled with against Louisiana Tech. For them to have success they will have to get the running game going to open the defense up for quarterback Austin Allen.
Cal vs. San Diego State
The Golden Bears began their season in Australia where they took down Hawaii 51-31. Led by graduate transfer David Webb’s 441 yards and four touchdowns, Cal was able to pull away after a sluggish start to the game. Their defense struggled early against the run but did not enough to keep the Rainbow Warriors at bay.
San Diego State also began their season with a victory over New Hampshire. The Aztecs feature a balanced offense. Quarterback Christ Chapman passed for 283 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Their rushing attack was led by Donnel Pumphrey who finished the game with 98 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
George: San Diego State
Kyle: San Diego State
Week Two Upsets of the Week
Eric: Boise State over Washington State
Kyle: Penn State over Pitt
Matt: FAU over Miami
Shawn: Ohio over Kansas
David: Isaiah Ford, WR, Virginia Tech – Despite being one of the top receivers in the ACC, Isaiah Ford is still one of the more underrated prospects in the country. Against Tennessee Ford proves he belongs in the discussion for best receiver with a big performance over fellow NFL Draft prospect Cameron Sutton.
Eric: JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC – After coming up invisible against Bama & rocky practices, Smith-Schuster has a dominate performance vs. Utah St.
Kyle: Trace McSorley, QB, Penn State – McSorley was efficient in his starting debut and will be asked to do even more Week Two. He’ll respond to the moment, leading the Nittany Lions to a statement victory over in-state rival Pitt.
Matt: Greg Howell Jr, RB, FAU – After breaking out 15 carries for 128 yards and 2tds, Greg is in the position to stun Miami and pull off the upset. Look for 20+ carries for 150yards and 2 more tds.
Hardy Nickerson, ILB, Illinois – The Cal transfer will be expected to help out as a pass defender against UNC, as well as slowing down RB Elijah Hood. In Lovie Smith’s Tampa-2, he should have the opportunity to record about 15 tackles in this game.