Cincinnati at (#5)Ohio State
I try to avoid Big Ten games since they are already covered in the conference preview, but couldn’t resist this one. Ohio State is uber-talented, but are entering the season with a brand new coach, quarterback and are making several other key replacements. Cincinnati has a lot of returning talent after an 11-2 2018 campaign, and head coach Luke Fickell is very familiar with the Buckeyes. This might just be the biggest game in program history for the Bearcats. After beating UCLA in week one, an upset of the Buckeyes could propel them to an undefeated season. If that happens, and Ohio State doesn’t collapse, the Bearcats have an awfully solid argument to be in the Playoffs. Cincinnati will give everything they have this game, and don’t be surprised if it goes down the to the wire.
Prediction: Ohio State-30, Cincinnati-24
(#12)Texas A&M at (#1)Clemson
3:30 p.m. , ABC
Trevor Lawrence was far from Heisman-worthy in week one, despite Clemson’s blowout victory against Texas A&M. He’ll need to be back to his normal self in week two as Clemson faces a much stiffer test. The defensing national champs are a strong favorite, but it’s early enough in the season where you don’t know what you don’t know, and the Aggies could be closer to the Tigers than we think. They gave Clemson all they could handle in a 28-26 loss in week two last season.
Prediction: Clemson-34, Texas A&M-24
(#6)LSU at (#9)Texas
7:30 p.m., ABC
Hey guys, did you know TEXAS IS BACK? Ever since the Longhorns upset Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, it’s been a long offseason hearing that TEXAS IS BACK. But are they? The first top-10 match-up of the season will help inform us if TEXAS IS BACK, or if they still have a ways to go like so many false alarms during the past decade. As LSU coach Ed Orgeron would say, “Haba slu shee minah fo nas tin. Gris gris. ALLONS!!”
Yes, this kicks off at the same time as Penn State-Buffalo, but I hereby give you permission to sneak a glance at the side TVs or flip over during commercial breaks.
Prediction: LSU-28, Texas-20
(#23)Stanford at USC
10:30 p.m., ESPN
I love, love, love, LOVE the timing of this game. Once the prime time games wrap up, you can get started on a crucial early-season match-up between two teams that have given us many compelling games in recent years. It’s not your usual #PAC12AfterDark game between Cal and Arizona. If you start the day off with the 11 a.m. kickoff between Ohio and Akron (Pa.) at 11 a.m., that’s a solid 15 consecutive hours of college football— which is how every Saturday should be spent, if we’re being honest. Stanford jumped into the rankings after taking down Northwestern in week one, while USC avoided an upset at the hands of Fresno State. USC has a difficult schedule ahead, and a loss here would ignite the Clay Helton Hot Seat narrative.
Prediction: Stanford-20, USC-16