NCAA Division 1 college football is back and, after an exciting opening weekend, it's time to turn the page and carry on.
Week 2 of the NCAA football season kicks off on Friday evening in the U.S, with the TCU vs SMU game. The kickoff is at 8 p.m. EDT at Gerald Ford Stadium, and SMU has to rebound from a disappointing result from their season opener (a 46 - 23 Loss to North Texas on the road in week 1).
There are more games on Saturday than you can shake a stick at, and we call that 'madness' here in the States. Some refer to the college basketball tournament as March Madness, but in football every Saturday is full of games and provides plenty of storylines.
The Liberty Flames are one of those storytellers, as they are in their first season in Div1 NCAA football. Liberty started their 2018-19 campaign on fire, as they handed Old Dominion a 52 - 10 thrashing last weekend. The line setters have revealed Liberty as +10 point underdogs at Army for this coming Saturday.
The Liberty vs Army game might not be the most anticipated game of week 2, so let's find some of the big games on deck for this weekend.
There are 72 lined games being played on Saturday and granted not all of them feature the big-name teams, but, nonetheless, there is plenty to soak in.
The Georgia Tech vs South Florida game is an early kickoff on the Saturday slate. South Florida is in rebuilding mode with a new QB in Charlie Strong's second season with the Bulls. Quinton Flowers was succeeded by Blake Barrett, a grad-transfer who has 2 years of eligibility left. Barnett was an Alabama product, but got lost behind Jalen Hurst two years ago. Barrett won the starting job over four other players who were trying out for the position, although he only has one start in his career at Alabama.
UCLA travels to Norman, Oklahoma to take on the Sooners at 1 p.m EDT. Before the season started, many had this as a game to watch in week 2, but UCLA opened their season with an ugly loss to Cincinnati at home. Chip Kelly's Bruins were -14.5 favorites over the Bearcats, and out came the boo-birds! Kelly's signing at UCLA was supposed to rejuvenate his new California outfit, but so far -- so poor!
The Bruins are +29.5 underdogs this weekend, which tells you that the line setters have already lost faith in them.
Georgia (3) travels to South Carolina (24) as they both open their SEC schedule this weekend. Georgia is naturally hoping to get another chance at the BCS title game. Last season, a freshman named Tua and an overtime TD left Georgia watching Alabama celebrate another title.
Georgia are -3 point favorites on the road against the Gamecocks, although S.C's Will Muschamp has a bevvy of offensive talent at his disposal this year.
For the 66th time, Iowa State and Iowa will renew their college football rivalry in week 2. The Cy-Hawk Trophy will be on the line, and I mention this game for another important reason. The game is in Ames, Iowa, which means you need to watch the end of the 1st Quarter. The Children's Hospital overlooks the playing field, and ALL THE FANS, PLAYERS and COACHES share a wave with the kids who are watching the game looking through the windows. That tradition is simply incredible to watch, and any human who has a heart will tear up every time.
Hey, Alabama State is playing Auburn this weekend at Jordan-Hare Stadium! Something tells me that it won't be quite like November 24, when Auburn takes on THE ALABAMA in Tuscaloosa -- just sayin'.
Kentucky heads to The Swamp to take on the Gators on Saturday, and this will be no cake-walk for Florida. The Wildcats will not be going down lightly, although the oddsmakers are issuing the Gators as two TD favorites. Watch for a little surprise to possibly happen in this contest, because the Cats have a dangerous team this year.
Penn State and Pittsburgh will lock claws at Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers, of course. Penn State didn't exactly look all that convincing in their season opener against Appalachian State. Once again the Sun Belt Conference found a way to compete with the big boys. And who can forget when the Appalachian State team went into Michigan a dozen years ago and got that huge upset! They almost pulled it off again, but now Penn State has some work to do.
Speaking of rivalry games as we did with the Iowa matchup, how about Cincinnati and Miami OH going at it again this coming weekend. Out of all the rivalries you think you know in sports, can you take it back to 1888? That is not a typo people, because these two first met on December 8, 1888, and you can Google that if you'd like.
The Victory Bell will be ringing once again and that is a Pick 'Em game too (meaning the handicap spread is even at Pk/0). If we are going by what we watched go down in week 1, the Redhawks have some issues to fix, even with Gus Ragland back at QB. Marshall came away with a big road win of their own to open the season against Miami OH, and I already mentioned what Cincy did to UCLA.
On the West Coast, USC will be traveling to Stanford to take on the Cardinal at 5:30 PT. These two teams are expected to be in the fight for the Pac-12 title, with many expecting them to meet in the Pac-12 Championship Game in December. That would make that a repeat of last year when the two met in the 2017 Pac-12 title game, which USC won 31- 28.
Michigan State will be visiting Sun Devil Stadium to take on first-year Head Coach Herm Edwards and Arizona State. This game became a lot more interesting when Arizona State won their opener against UT San Antonio in woodshed fashion! Meanwhile, Michigan State struggled with Utah State and barely escaped with a 38 - 31 win to open their campaign. Utah State actually has a decent squad this year, so don't be all that surprised that Michigan State had some trouble with the Aggies.
The line setters feature Michigan State favored at -6 for that contest, but Arizona State should be able to keep pace with the Spartans. This has the feel of a close game, which could come down to the final possession of the contest. Nothing wrong with thinking about a home dog who feels like they still have to prove something.
Late in the night out west, the California vs BYU game holds some interesting storylines. Each came away with opening weekend wins, and a 2 - 0 start is what they both seek this weekend. Only one of them will be able to do that, and the line setters feel it will be a tight one. BYU is listed at -3 at most major sites, although I see 3.5 at a handful of sites as well. Oh, how fun, those 3-1/2-point spreads can be tricky, as anyone who fancies sports betting probably knows.
California got past North Carolina to open their season at home in week 1, although they did the same last year and ended up 5 - 7. Almost all of the Bears' offense is back from last season, but BYU will provide a nice test in Provo, Utah.
The weekend ends in Hawaii, which is where I would like to be, so I am starting a Go Fund Me page. This way, you can all send me there, and I can wave hello from Honolulu. I am kidding, so please don't go looking for my Hawaiian Vacation Funding Page -- LOL.
That is just a few of the big matchups for week 2 around the landscape of NCAA football. I know why I look forward to these games and I hope there is interest out here for it all. I have been giving out NCAA basketball and football betting advice for 25+ years, so that makes the weekend for me. Leave me a note and say hello, and I wish you all a good weekend!Published 06 Sep 2018, 03:37 IST