Depending upon where you are in the world, this week has been a reminder that summer is just about to close her eyes as autumn is awakening. To some, that might not be the greatest news in the world. But to those of us here, that means one major thing: the heart of football season is upon us.
For college football, we’re just about wrapping up the non-conference slate this week, with the large majority of teams entering into conference affairs next weekend. It’s certainly a lighter slate of games this weekend, but there’s still plenty of intrigue surrounding this Saturday.
No. 1 Georgia at South Carolina
12:00 p.m. — ESPN
The Bulldogs came out against Oregon during Week 1 and looked like far-and-away the best team in the country, and to be honest I don’t expect much to change on that front. South Carolina doesn’t lack for some intriguing pieces offensively — Spencer Rattler at QB, MarShawn Lloyd at RB, and Antwane Wells Jr. at WR — but Georgia is a different breed.
Prediction: Georgia 38, South Carolina 17
Purdue at Syracuse
12:00 p.m. — ESPN2
I know I’m not supposed to pick games with Big Ten programs in it, but I am super intrigued by this matchup for a couple reasons. One, Syrcause is fun as heck with former-almost Penn State quarterback Garrett Shrader off to a hot start. Two, I’m really interested to see just what Purdue is, and going to the Carrier Dome to face a 2-0 Orange squad will be a nice little test. Obviously as Penn State fans, a Purdue victory would be a nice boost to the ol’ strength of schedule.
Prediction: Purdue 31, Syracuse 27
Cal at Notre Dame
2:30 p.m. — NBC
This game is simply just here for the lolz in case Notre Dame loses again. The Fighting Irish will be without starting quarterback Tyler Buchner, and instead will be going with Drew Pyne who did not look too hot against Marshall last weekend in limited action. I feel for the Notre Dame fans, though, as they came in second place for Drew Allar last spring. Just think about that different world where Drew Allar commits to Notre Dame instead, and he comes in on Saturday and lights it up — ah, too bad. That’s not a real world, Notre Dame fans. Drew is aaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllllllllllll ours.
Prediction: Notre Dame 20, Cal 10
Texas Tech at No. 16 NC State
7:00 p.m. — ESPN2
There’s a 100% chance this will be a fun game. Texas Tech is fully back to its “air raid” roots, while NC State is led by one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the country in Devin Leary (also a former-almost Penn Stater). NC State is a 10-point favorite here, which might be bit too high, but Raleigh is a difficult place to play.
Prediction: NC State 34, Texas Tech 28
UTSA at No. 21 Texas
8:00 p.m. — Longhorn Network
The Longhorns playing Alabama extremely tough last weekend showed that Steve Sarkisian has the Texas program back in the right direction, but I’m interested to see how they bounce back after a devastating loss. UTSA is no joke — they’re the defending Conference USA champions and quarterback Frank Harris is one of the most dynamic QBs in the country. Obviously, Texas is expected to win (even without starting QB Quinn Ewers), but an emotional letdown spot is certainly possible here.
Prediction: Texas 35, UTSA 24
No. 13 Miami at No. 24 Texas A&M
9:00 p.m. — ESPN
The “NIL Bowl” lost a little bit of steam with A&M’s disastrous loss to Appalachian State last Saturday, but this will still be a good test for each team. If Texas A&M wins, it’s a big-time get them back on track game for the upcoming SEC West schedule. If Miami wins, they’ll solidify their spot as the favorites in the ACC Coastal.
Prediction: Miami 21, Texas A&M 20
Fresno State at No. 7 USC
10:30 p.m. — FOX
I would love if we just had Fresno State play a Pac 12 team every week. They don’t join the conference, they stay in the Mountain West in all sports, we just have them play an entire schedule of Pac 12 teams in football. Their game against Oregon State last Saturday was awesome, with the Beavers escaping with a victory on the last play of the game.
This week, Fresno heads out on the road to take on USC. While I don’t doubt that the Bulldogs will put up some points against the Trojans, USC’s Transfer Portal offense is just going to be too much to keep up with.
Prediction: USC 49, Fresno State 34