Your perfect Saturday: The ultimate TV guide to Week 2 in college football
It took a minute to sink in following Louisville’s 31-13 win over Miami on Labor Day. We had just been given the gift of six straight days of college football. It started with Georgia State snapping its losing streak at the Georgia Dome with a 38-37 victory over Abilene Christian on Wednesday. It ended with the Cardinals capturing their first-ever ACC win on Monday night.
We won’t see something similar to that stretch until November, when Thursday NFL games combine with weeknight MACtion to give us a nearly nonstop stream of football. It also reinforces how special college football’s opening week is. Georgia State is 1-0. South Carolina is 0-1. Both can zig (or zag) from here.
In the meantime, there is plenty more football to be watched. Let’s get ready with Your Perfect Saturday for Week 2.
The early slate
This is one of those sleepy noon schedules, so it’s understandable if you come back from brunch a little late. You’ll catch up quickly. But be forewarned, these weeks have a tendency to produce the strangest outcomes.
Noon: No. 24 Missouri at Toledo (ESPN)
Earlier this week Missouri athletic director Mike Alden said the Tigers would try to phase out road games against non-Power Five opponents. So, enjoy this one, as it might end up being as endangered as a red panda. The Glass Bowl is a fun place to take in some college football, and there should be a packed house to watch former Toledo coach Gary Pinkel try to avoid an upset at the hands of the Rockets.
Noon: No. 4 Oklahoma at Tulsa (ABC/ESPN2)
This is another sneaky road game for a ranked team, as Oklahoma could face an early test from the Golden Hurricane. Tulsa passed for 438 yards in a 38-31 double-overtime win over Tulane last Thursday, and sophomore receiver Keevan Lucas made 13 catches for 233 yards and three scores. Getting him and the rest of the aerial attack going could take some of the pressure off a running game that will likely have a tough time against a stingy Sooners’ front seven.
Second screen special
These are games that are tailor-made for your tablet, extra laptop, giant phone or any other device you use to stream things. Go crazy.
Noon: Akron at Penn State (ABC/ESPN2)
It would’ve been easy to go with Alabama-Florida Atlantic, Western Illinois-Wisconsin or McNeese State-Nebraska here. But those games should be blowouts. Penn State is coming off a 26-24 win over UCF in Ireland. The Nittany Lions might have a bit of jetlag. Akron is riding a four-game winning streak dating back to last season, which is roughly the equivalent of a 20-game winning streak any place else. Coach Terry Bowden has his guys playing hard, and don’t forget: The Zips almost beat Michigan in Ann Arbor last year.
Dog day afternoon
3:30 p.m.: No. 14 USC at No. 13 Stanford (ABC)
I’m thinking the folks who made Real Steel were hoping to tap into something like the Pac-12. Two ranked teams (or at least one ranked team and another top-40 opponent) are guaranteed to square off in conference play every week. There are varied styles in the league, from Air Raid to power football. This contest has both.
3:30 p.m.: Ball State at Iowa (ESPN2)
Iowa needed to come together late to beat Northern Iowa 31-23 last Saturday. It likely won’t have that luxury against coach Pete Lembo’s team. Ball State runs an inventive and entertaining offense. It should be a fun contrast of styles when Iowa’s physical defense attempts to slow the up-tempo Cardinals.
3:30 p.m.: Northern Illinois at Northwestern (Big Ten Network)
Quarterback Jordan Lynch is gone, but that didn’t seem to affect the Huskies in their 55-3 stomping of Presbyterian in Week 1. Northern Illinois rushed for 424 yards. Northwestern is coming off a 31-24 loss to Cal, and the Wildcats badly need a win. Yet the Huskies have a habit of making things tough on Big Ten foes.
Second screen specials
3:30 p.m.: Ohio at Kentucky (ESPNU)
Sure, there’s a heavy dose of MAC in the midday slate, but this one is worth monitoring. Coach Mark Stoops has recruited well and appears to be building something real at Kentucky. That doesn’t mean the Wildcats can’t slip up. Frank Solich’s Bobcats are seemingly always feisty.
4 p.m.: Georgia Tech at Tulane (ESPNews)
The Green Wave have a shiny new stadium to debut, and for their troubles they get Paul Johnson’s option attack. Be sure to watch Tulane running back Sherman Badie, who ran for 215 yards on 14.3 yards per carry against Tulsa last week.
6:30 p.m.: No. 7 Michigan State at No. 3 Oregon (Fox)
Look, if the only game to watch this weekend was the Spartans facing the Ducks, I think we’d all be pretty happy. Pick whichever storyline you want: the contrast in styles, Oregon fighting to stay among the elite or Michigan State building a powerhouse in East Lansing. Here’s my personal favorite: Football is fun.
7:30 p.m.: Michigan at No. 16 Notre Dame (NBC)
Much like energy, a rivalry can neither be created nor destroyed. So, Michigan’s hatred for Notre Dame will (probably) turn into more hate for Ohio State. Notre Dame’s disdain for Michigan will (presumably) scatter all over this great nation. It’s a shame, too, because both teams are likely underrated in 2014. The Fighting Irish looked much improved against Rice with quarterback Everett Golson running the show. The Wolverines’ offense was refreshingly free of anemic play calls against Appalachian State under first-year coordinator Doug Nussmeier.
7:35 p.m.: BYU at Texas (Fox Sports 1)
Last year’s meeting may not have led directly to the end of the Mack Brown era, but it was certainly a factor. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was removed after the game in favor or Greg Robinson, and the 550 rushing yards the Longhorns allowed still stand out. With Texas' depth dwindling like some sort of Survivor: Austin, the Longhorns are in for a battle. Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill has grown since last September. Charlie Strong’s defense must set the tone early.
8 p.m.: Virginia Tech at Ohio State (ESPN)
The Horseshoe always looks terrific at night, and it’ll look even better with a smattering of maroon and orange in the stands. Ohio State managed to pull it together against Navy last week (and cover the spread!), but it faces a much tougher defense in Virginia Tech. The training wheels are off for quarterback J.T. Barrett. He’ll need to make plays with his arm to keep the Hokies from keying on the Buckeyes’ rushing attack.
Second screen special
7 p.m.: East Carolina at No. 21 South Carolina (ESPNU)
This game would be front and center most weeks, as I make it a priority to watch quarterback Shane Carden and the Pirates as often as possible. But with four major nonconference tilts, this gets relegated to the iPad, with the understanding that East Carolina’s hurry-up spread offense could give the Gamecocks fits.
Late night theater
10 p.m.: Memphis at No. 11 UCLA (Pac-12 Network)
UCLA has title aspirations with Brett Hundley under center, but the Bruins must figure things out on the offensive line. Virginia’s defense made life really tough on Hundley, and the Cavaliers played better than anyone expected in a 28-20 loss. Memphis will travel a long way to play what appears to be a ticked off UCLA team.
Second screen special
10:15 p.m.: Colorado State at Boise State (ESPN2)
Feel free to do a little shuffling if UCLA races out to a big lead against Memphis. You have Oregon State at Hawaii and Texas Tech at UTEP to keep you warm at night, too. Rams tailback Dee Hart rushed for 139 yards against Colorado, and he’ll try to replicate that success at Boise State. The Broncos hope to minimize turnovers on the heels of last Thursday’s sloppy 35-13 loss to Ole Miss.