College football Week 2: Picks and preview

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South Carolina (1-0, 0-0 in SEC) at No. 16 Arkansas (1-0, 0-0 in SEC), Noon, Saturday, ESPN
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On to Week 2 of the 2022 season. There might be fewer intriguing matchups than we had in Week 1, but there are still some interesting matchups nonetheless.

Here are our previews and predictions (point spreads courtesy of DraftKings and current at the time of publication, but subject to change) for games featuring teams in The Associated Press Top 25 and some other notable contests.

All times Eastern, statistics in parentheses are from this season unless otherwise noted.

 

1 of 25

South Carolina (1-0, 0-0 in SEC) at No. 16 Arkansas (1-0, 0-0 in SEC), Noon, Saturday, ESPN

South Carolina (1-0, 0-0 in SEC) at No. 16 Arkansas (1-0, 0-0 in SEC), Noon, Saturday, ESPN

Nelson Chenault/USA TODAY Sports

The quarterbacks will be front and center when Arkansas tries for a seventh win in the last 10 meetings with South Carolina in this SEC crossover. The Razorbacks’ KJ Jefferson threw for 223 yards with three touchdowns and ran for 62 and a score in last week’s 31-24 win over then-No. 23 Cincinnati. Meanwhile, Spencer Rattler’s debut for the Gamecocks seemed better than his stats (227 passing yards, one touchdown, two interceptions) indicated during a 35-14 win over Georgia State. However, Rattler and the South Carolina offense need to improve this weekend after its special teams accounted for 20 points against the Panthers.

Prediction: Arkansas (-8 1/2)

 

2 of 25

Southern Miss (0-1) at No. 15 Miami, Fla. (1-0), Noon, Saturday, ACC Network

Southern Miss (0-1) at No. 15 Miami, Fla. (1-0), Noon, Saturday, ACC Network

Sam Navarro/USA TODAY Sports

For just the second time in five years, Miami is looking to start 2-0. Rolling over Bethune-Cookman 70-13 last weekend was quite the start, but the competition gets a step up this weekend. Now, Southern Miss fell in four overtimes to Liberty at home last weekend, but this is still a game the Hurricanes should dominate. If they can do so, then we can start thinking seriously about their chances in the ACC.

Prediction: Miami, Fla. (-24 1/2)

 

3 of 25

Arkansas State (1-0) at No. 3 Ohio State (1-0), Noon, Saturday, Big Ten Network

Arkansas State (1-0) at No. 3 Ohio State (1-0), Noon, Saturday, Big Ten Network

Adam Cairns/USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State doesn’t need injured star receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigb to win this weekend. The Buckeyes might have the deepest receiving corps in the country, as proven by Emeka Egbuka (nine receptions, 90 yards) and Xavier Johnson catching touchdown passes last week. However, the Buckeyes’ defense holding Notre Dame to 10 points and 253 total yards was a statement for the unit and new coordinator Jim Knowles. Arkansas State rolled to a 58-3 win over Grambling but was outscored 112-7 in its last two games against top-5 teams (No. 1 Alabama in 2018, No. 3 Georgia in 2019).

Prediction: Arkansas State (-43 1/2)

 

4 of 25

No. 1 Alabama (1-0) at Texas (1-0), Noon, Saturday, Fox

No. 1 Alabama (1-0) at Texas (1-0), Noon, Saturday, Fox

Gary Cosby Jr./USA TODAY Sports

The Nick Saban-Steve Sarkisian storyline will get plenty of traction leading up to kickoff. But, the truth is that the Longhorns will likely have a hard time keeping up with the Crimson Tide. Sure, the Longhorns’ defense was solid during last weekend’s 52-10 rout of Louisiana-Monroe. But, Bryce Young is already in Heisman form after throwing five touchdowns against Utah State in Week 1. This is certainly a proving-ground moment for Texas, which has some relatively high expectations this season.

Prediction: Alabama (-20 1/2)

 

5 of 25

No. 23 Wake Forest (1-0) at Vanderbilt (2-0), Noon, Saturday, SEC Network

No. 23 Wake Forest (1-0) at Vanderbilt (2-0), Noon, Saturday, SEC Network

Corey Perrine/USA TODAY NETWORK

The big news here is that Wake could have star quarterback Sam Hartman available after he was cleared for action following his blood-clot issues. The Demon Deacons looked pretty good with Mitch Griffis (288 passing yards, three touchdowns) leading an offense that totaled 506 yards in a 44-10 rout of VMI, so we’ll see how that plays out. Vandy allowed 31 points against Elon last weekend but has also scored 105 in its first two games. The Commodores, who have already matched their win total from the previous two seasons, last started 3-0 in 2017.

Prediction: Wake Forest (-13 1/2)

 

6 of 25

Charleston Southern (0-1) at No. 18 North Carolina State (1-0), 12:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN3

Charleston Southern (0-1) at No. 18 North Carolina State (1-0), 12:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN3

James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports

The Wolfpack have moved on from eeking out a one-point win at East Carolina, and they shouldn’t have a hard time here in their home opener. Then again, Devin Leary (17-for-33, 211 passing yards, one touchdown, one interception) might need a dominant game to keep the N.C. State diehards from thinking there is something wrong with their star quarterback following a middling performance in the opener. The Wolfpack have won 33 consecutive games against FCS opponents — all coming at home.

Predictions: North Carolina State (OFF)

 

7 of 25

Southern Utah (1-0) at No. 13 Utah (0-1), 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Pac-12 Network

Southern Utah (1-0) at No. 13 Utah (0-1), 1:30 p.m., Saturday, Pac-12 Network

Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

Following a 29-26 loss at Florida, Utah returns home for a game that should not be in doubt for too long. However, blowing out Southern Utah really won’t prove much of a point. We expect running back Tavion Thomas (23 rushes, 115 yards, one touchdown) to churn out the yards and the Utes’ defense to be better after allowing the Gators to go 7-for-12 on third down and convert both fourth-down chances. Southern Utah has lost its last seven games versus Pac-12 opponents by an average margin of 31.1 points.

Prediction: Utah (OFF)

 

8 of 25

Marshall (1-0) at No. 8 Notre Dame (0-1), 2:30 p.m., Saturday, NBC/Peacock

Marshall (1-0) at No. 8 Notre Dame (0-1), 2:30 p.m., Saturday, NBC/Peacock

Joseph Maiorana/USA TODAY Sports

The Irish gave a valiant effort at Ohio State, but there might be cause for concern with their offense. Quarterback Tyler Buchner had his moments, but Notre Dame managed just 76 rushing yards in Week 1. Marshall held outmatched Norfolk State to 114 total yards in a 55-3 rout, but, obviously, faces a stiff challenge here. The Thundering Herd have dropped 13 straight road games versus top 25 teams. Meanwhile, Notre Dame has won 24 consecutive home contests against unranked opponents.

Prediction: Marshall (+20 1/2)

 

9 of 25

Furman (1-0) at No. 5 Clemson (2-0), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ACC Network

Furman (1-0) at No. 5 Clemson (2-0), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ACC Network

Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports

The Clemson offense still has some kinks to iron out, and it seems DJ Uiagalelei will stay at quarterback. But, we know the defense can play. The Tigers held Georgia Tech to 10 points and 237 total yards. Defensive tackle Bryan Bresee looks strong, and linebacker Barrett Carter could be something special. Since 1988, Clemson owns a 287-53 scoring advantage while winning its last nine meetings with Furman. The Tigers have also won 24 straight non-conference home games.

Prediction: Clemson (OFF)

 

10 of 25

No. 24 Tennessee (1-0) at No. 17 Pittsburgh (1-0), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ABC

No. 24 Tennessee (1-0) at No. 17 Pittsburgh (1-0), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ABC

Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC/USA TODAY

Pitt’s 41-34 win at Tennessee was one of the more entertaining games of 2021. Fans would be so lucky to have another high-scoring, close contest this year. The Panthers held on for a 38-31 win over West Virginia last weekend but allowed 404 yards, including 190 on the ground. Tennessee, meanwhile, didn’t have trouble beating Ball State by 49 points. The Volunteers rolled up 218 rushing yards, and should again try to pound the ball at a Pitt defense that needs to be better than last week’s performance.

Prediction: Tennessee (+6 1/2)

 

11 of 25

Appalachian State (0-1) at No. 6 Texas A&M (1-0), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN2

Appalachian State (0-1) at No. 6 Texas A&M (1-0), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN2

Maria Lysaker/USA TODAY Sports

Don’t expect Appalachian State to score 61 points on an Aggies’ team that handled a solid FCS team Sam Houston in a 31-0 victory. This should be a stiffer test for Texas A&M, but we don’t expect Jimbo Fisher’s group to be on upset alert at the moment. What we do want to see is if the Aggies’ defense that held Sam Houston to 198 total yards can dominate again against an App. State offense that totaled 649 yards against a porous North Carolina squad.

Prediction: Texas A&M (18 1/2)

 

12 of 25

Washington State (1-0) at No. 19 Wisconsin (1-0), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, FOX

Washington State (1-0) at No. 19 Wisconsin (1-0), 3:30 p.m., Saturday, FOX

Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin executed its game plan to perfection during a 38-0 rout of Illinois State. Running the ball (221 yards on the ground — 148, two touchdowns from Braelon Allen) and playing some stifling defense (243 total yards allowed). The Badgers have won their last five straight non-conference home games by a 201-21 margin. Washington State needed to work to get by Idaho at home and is 1-8 versus ranked Big Ten teams on the road during the regular season since 1983.

Prediction: Wisconsin (-17 1/2)

 

13 of 25

Samford (1-0) at No. 2 Georgia (1-0), 4 p.m., Saturday, SEC Network

Samford (1-0) at No. 2 Georgia (1-0), 4 p.m., Saturday, SEC Network

Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports

Here’s what we learned from Georgia’s 49-3 dismantling of then-No. 11 Oregon. 1) The reigning national champion Bulldogs will not rebuild but reload. 2) Stetson Bennett (25-of-31, 368 passing yards, two rushing touchdowns, one rushing TD) should be considered a Heisman Trophy candidate. This matchup against Samford ranked 24th in the STATS/TSN FCS Poll, won’t be a good indicator of where Georgia goes from its impressive opening win, but let’s just say Kirby Smart’s group is a serious threat to repeat.

Prediction: Georgia (OFF)

 

14 of 25

Akron (1-0) at No. 14 Michigan State (1-0), 4 p.m., Saturday, Big Ten Network

Akron (1-0) at No. 14 Michigan State (1-0), 4 p.m., Saturday, Big Ten Network

Junfu Han/USA TODAY NETWORK

Losing linebacker Darius Snow to a season-ending injury in last week’s 35-13 win over Western Michigan is a blow for Michigan State. However, that likely won’t make difference as the Spartans seem in a good position to extend their winning streak over Mid-American Conference opponents to 15 games. Keep a further eye on Wisconsin transfer Jalen Berger, who rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown against WMU. Since 1996, Akron is 1-22 against Big Ten teams.

Prediction: Michigan State (-34 1/2)

 

15 of 25

No. 25 Houston (1-0) at Texas Tech (1-0), 4 p.m., Saturday, FS1

No. 25 Houston (1-0) at Texas Tech (1-0), 4 p.m., Saturday, FS1

Mickey Welsh/ Advertiser/USA TODAY NETWORK

Houston remains in the Top 25 after squeaking out a 37-35, triple-overtime victory against UTSA in its opener. Things won’t get any easier against Texas Tech, which has an apparent issue at quarterback but is coming off a 63-10 rout of Murray State. There are plenty of questions — on both sides of the ball — for the Cougars, and they might not be answered this week. Houston could win the American Athletic Conference this season but should have trouble prevailing this weekend.

Prediction: Texas Tech (-3)

 

16 of 25

No. 20 Kentucky (1-0, 0-0 in SEC) at No. 12 Florida (1-0, 0-0 in SEC), 7 p.m., Saturday, ESPN

No. 20 Kentucky (1-0, 0-0 in SEC) at No. 12 Florida (1-0, 0-0 in SEC), 7 p.m., Saturday, ESPN

Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports

If Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson (17-of-24, 168 passing yards; 106 rushing yards and three touchdowns) keeps playing like he did in the Gators’ upset win over then-No. 7 Utah last weekend, he could be in the Heisman conversation. He ran for 25 yards on five carries last season when the Gators lost to Kentucky for the second time in four meetings. However, the Wildcats needed a breakout second half to put away Miami (Ohio) last weekend and now face a rejuvenated Gators program. Kentucky quarterback Will Levis (303 yards, three touchdowns, one interception) might be overshadowed in this contest.

Prediction: Florida (-5 1/2)

 

17 of 25

Kent State (0-1) at No. 7 Oklahoma (1-0), 7 p.m., Saturday, ESPN+

Kent State (0-1) at No. 7 Oklahoma (1-0), 7 p.m., Saturday, ESPN+

Bryan Terry/The Oklahoman/USA TODAY NETWORK

The Brent Venables era at Oklahoma opened with a bang. The well-balanced Sooners’ offense was key during a 45-13 win over UTEP last weekend. Oklahoma’s defense essentially did what it had to do, and has the chance for a second straight solid effort against a Kent State squad that managed 20 points during a 25-point loss at Washington last weekend. Oklahoma is riding a 41-game winning streak against unranked non-conference opponents.

Prediction: Oklahoma (-33 1/2)

 

18 of 25

Central Arkansas (0-1) at No. 22 Mississippi (1-0), 7 p.m., Saturday, ESPN+/SEC Network

Central Arkansas (0-1) at No. 22 Mississippi (1-0), 7 p.m., Saturday, ESPN+/SEC Network

Petre Thomas/USA TODAY Sports

Ole Miss quarterback Jaxson Dart gets plenty of attention, but running back Zach Evans is worth watching after the TCU transfer ran for 130 yards on 20 carries during its 28-10 victory over Troy last weekend. The Rebels weren’t completely dominant in their opener, but got the job done, and likely will be more pronounced in their dominance during this contest. Ole Miss has won 10 straight meetings against FCS programs by an average margin of 30.9 points.

Prediction: Mississippi (OFF)

 

19 of 25

Arizona State (1-0) at No. 11 Oklahoma State (1-0), 7:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN2

Arizona State (1-0) at No. 11 Oklahoma State (1-0), 7:30 p.m., Saturday, ESPN2

Sarah Phipps/The Oklahoman/USA TODAY NETWORK

Arizona State held Northern Arizona to just 120 total yards of offense during its opening 40-3 victory. But, the Sun Devils’ defense faces a massive hurdle in Oklahoma State. Notably, quarterback Spencer Sanders, who went 28-of-41 for 406 yards with four touchdowns and also ran for 57 yards and two more scores during a 58-44 win over Central Michigan. The Cowboys were generous defensively in the second half after building a big lead last weekend, but we expect both sides of the ball to be on their game against the Sun Devils.

Prediction: Oklahoma State (-11)

 

20 of 25

No. 10 USC (1-0, 0-0 in Pac-12) at Stanford (1-0, 0-0 in SEC), 7:30 p.m., Saturday, ABC

No. 10 USC (1-0, 0-0 in Pac-12) at Stanford (1-0, 0-0 in SEC), 7:30 p.m., Saturday, ABC

Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

The Trojans will show off their new high-powered offense in primetime. Looks like Caleb Williams made the right choice to follow Lincoln Riley to Los Angeles after going 19-for-22 with 249 yards, two touchdowns, and 68 rushing yards during that 66-14 rout of Rice. Stanford rolled to a 41-10 win over Colgate, but this is a serious early test for David Shaw’s group. The Cardinal have won two straight and four of the last five home meetings against USC, but this year is different. The Trojans seem to have more fight in them than in recent seasons.

Prediction: USC (-8 1/2)

 

21 of 25

Hawaii (0-2) at No. 4 Michigan (1-0), 8 p.m., Saturday, Big Ten Network

Hawaii (0-2) at No. 4 Michigan (1-0), 8 p.m., Saturday, Big Ten Network

Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports

J.J. McCarthy is set to make his first collegiate start under center, and the Wolverines’ offense will roll over a Hawaii group that’s been outscored 112-27 in its first two games of 2022. So, there’s a good chance this contest won’t determine who should start at quarterback for Jim Harbaugh’s squad the rest of the way. And, expect the Michigan defense to remain stout after holding Colorado State to seven points and 219 yards. This one could get ugly early.

Prediction: Michigan (-51 1/2)

 

22 of 25

No. 9 Baylor (1-0) at No. 21 BYU (1-0), 10:15 p.m., Saturday, ESPN

No. 9 Baylor (1-0) at No. 21 BYU (1-0), 10:15 p.m., Saturday, ESPN

Jerome Miron/USA TODAY Sports

Baylor won 38-24 in last season’s meeting with BYU, but this year, both teams are ranked. That should raise the anticipation level for some late-night intrigue. Neither team had trouble in its opener, but this seems like more of a statement game for the Cougars, who have lost six consecutive home games against ranked top-10 teams since beating then-No. 1 Miami, Fla., in September 1990. The Bears, though, will look to end a 12-game road skid against ranked opponents.

Prediction: BYU (-4)

 

23 of 25

Iowa State (1-0) at Iowa (1-0), 4 p.m., Saturday, Big Ten Network

Iowa State (1-0) at Iowa (1-0), 4 p.m., Saturday, Big Ten Network

Reese Strickland/USA TODAY Sports

Iowa has won the last six Cy-Hawk matchups, but it managed just 166 total yards during its 7-3 victory over South Dakota State in the opener. Now, SDSU is one of the better FCS programs and was held to 120 total yards, but the Hawkeyes need more offense if they’re to continue streaking in this series. Iowa State rolled to a 42-10 win over its own FCS opponent in SE Missouri State last weekend. Jirehl Brock ran 16 times for 104 yards and a touchdown for the Cyclones, who have dropped their last two at Iowa by a combined 49 points.

Prediction: Iowa (-3 1/2)

 

24 of 25

Boston College (0-1, 0-0 in ACC) at Virginia Tech (0-1, 0-0 in ACC), 8 p.m., Saturday, ACC Network

Boston College (0-1, 0-0 in ACC) at Virginia Tech (0-1, 0-0 in ACC), 8 p.m., Saturday, ACC Network

Peter Casey/USA TODAY Sports

Virginia Tech last started 0-2 in 2010. Meanwhile, it was a year later, in 2011, when BC most recently dropped its first two games to open the season. Three turnovers and just 29 rushing yards played a part in the Eagles’ 22-21 home loss to Rutgers last week. The Hokies, however, allowed 10 unanswered fourth-quarter points in falling 20-17 at Old Dominion. Virginia Tech is the favorite here but has lost three of the last four against Boston College.

Prediction: Virginia Tech (-3)

 

25 of 25

Mississippi State (1-0) at Arizona (1-0), 11 p.m., Saturday, FS1

Mississippi State (1-0) at Arizona (1-0), 11 p.m., Saturday, FS1

Orlando Ramirez/USA TODAY Sports

This could very well be the best game of the week between teams not part of the Top 25. A winner of one game total in 2000 and ’01, Arizona turned some heads with last week’s 38-20 victory over San Diego State. Washington State transfer Jayden de Laura (299 passing yards, four touchdowns, one interception) was impressive during his Wildcats’ debut. However, Arizona truly has a chance to prove its worth against an SEC squad. De Laura committed to Washington State when current Mississippi State boss Mike Leach was coach, so there is some added incentive for the home team. Meanwhile, Bulldogs quarterback Will Rogers threw for 450 yards with five touchdowns and an interception during last week’s 49-23 win over Memphis and will be the best signal-caller on the field.

Prediction: Mississippi State (-11)

Jeff Mezydlo has written about sports and entertainment online and for print for more than 25 years. He grew up in the far south suburbs of Chicago, 20 minutes from the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting, Ind. He’s also the proud father of 11-year-old Matthew, aka “Bobby Bruin,” mascot of St. Robert Bellarmine School in Chicago. You can follow Jeff at @jeffm401.





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