By: Eric Finelli
NC State @ Connecticut, 12:00 PM
Connecticut looked strong in its debut game, beating UMass 37-0. Posting a shutout is impressive, and putting up 37 points to back it up gives the victory that little extra exclamation mark. NC State should be a tougher matchup for the Huskies, but UConn gets the benefit of playing on home turf, which is always an advantage. NC State is coming off a loss at home to Tennessee. The Volunteers may be one of the worse teams in the SEC, but they still have a good football team, so it is tough to judge NC State based off of that one defeat. This should be an entertaining game, and I’ll give the edge to UConn here.
Maryland @ Temple, 12:00 PM on ESPN-U
This is an interesting matchup. Maryland played an awful game last week, barely edging out FCS opponent William and Mary, 7-6. Meanwhile, Temple blew out Villanova 41-10. I’m not sure that the score will get that high, but these are both tough, physical football teams, so it could get ugly. I look for a bounce back game from Maryland, but I think the Big East newcomers get it done in this matchup.
Howard @ Rutgers, 3:30 PM
Rutgers gets an easy FCS matchup to start off week two and, to be honest, I’m expecting a blowout. Not only is Howard not a good football school to begin with, but also, according to ESPN, 14 of their starters will be suspended for this game. Mix that with a dominant Rutgers defense and we’re looking at a game that could be over by halftime. What I’ll be watching for in this game is to see if Gary Nova and the Rutgers offense can get their act together and dominate a lesser opponent.
Missouri State @ #23 Louisville, 3:30 PM
Louisville met expectations in their debut game, defeating Kentucky 32-14. They looked good on both sides of the ball, and I don’t expect them to get worse for this matchup. Missouri State is an FCS team that just gave up 35 points in the fourth quarter last game. Louisville’s offense was on fire with Teddy Bridgewater at the helm, and I don’t expect them to “pull a Pitt” in this one.
#2 USC vs. Syracuse, 3:30 PM on ABC
Another interesting game here. A lot of people are writing Syracuse off in this one already, but I’ll be honest – even though Syracuse lost in their first game, they played fairly well. They’ll need their defense to step up, but if they can stay within one or two scores come the fourth quarter, I could see them pulling the win away from USC. That being said, I think USC and Syracuse trade punches for a couple quarters, but USC ultimately comes out on top.
USF @ Nevada, 3:35 PM
USF handled its business last week against Chattanooga, but this week will provide a tougher test. Nevada is not a team to be overlooked just because it is in a weak conference. The team plays hard and tough, and I think this game will be a struggle for USF to win if they are not adequately prepared. Nevada has the home advantage in this one, but USF gets the nod from me.