The full slate of Week 2 college football picks and predictions are here as the season continues. With games on Friday and Saturday, the picks and predictions have aimed their sights on the weekend slate to give you the best bang for your buck.
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Week 2 college football picks and predictions
Ohio (+25) vs. Penn State
Yes, the Ohio Bobcats needed some magic to topple Florida Atlantic. And yes, the Penn State Nittany Lions defeated Big Ten rival Purdue to open their season. But one thing is for sure, this Ohio team is not to be overlooked.
Kurtis Rourke proved to be a capable downfield thrower against FAU, tossing four touchdowns and 345 yards. That kind of downfield accuracy that he showed as well as his ability with his legs and Sieh Bangura running the way he did, is a cause for concern for a cover. Ohio can keep it within range given their offensive power, but the defense gives them an even better advantage in keeping this game close.
Additionally, Sean Clifford’s game-saving drive marred what was an ugly performance for the majority of the game against Purdue. Fans were clamoring for true freshman Drew Allar to take over after he subbed in for a drive. They’ll get to see Allar take on the Bobcats, but it may not be until well into the fourth quarter as the Bobcats keep it close.
Prediction: Penn State 37, Ohio 24
North Carolina (-7) vs. Georgia State
The cardiac Tar Heels are back to once again give a Sun Belt team their all. North Carolina’s been up against it to start the year, slow out of the gates in Week 0 against Florida A&M and then their barn burner against App State in Week 1.
But never in question has been their quarterback Drake Maye. A terrific debut performance led way to a game-changing second outing for Maye as he’s thrown nine touchdowns already in his first two starts.
Georgia State gave South Carolina fits for the opening 30 minutes, but the talent gap showed up late. You can bet North Carolina has learned from their mistakes on how to put away games. (Or, at the very least, cover.) Expect that from the Tar Heels here as they get ACC play following this one.
Prediction: UNC 31, Georgia State 17
UTSA (-2.5) vs. Army
Giving it all they could, the UTSA Roadrunners lost a heartbreaker to in-state rival Houston. UTSA was on top for the majority of the game as their defense largely held the Houston attack in check. Keying in on how they saw success, the designed running plays for the Cougars only went for 89 yards on 29 carries. That kind of stymying run defense will absolutely be tested against Army’s triple-option attack.
Still, the better quarterback running the better offense is Frank Harris and UTSA. Expect some fireworks from this UTSA team as well as some top-notch safety play in and around the box from senior Rashad Wisdom.
Prediction: UTSA 28, Army 14
South Alabama vs. Central Michigan (over 58.5)
The Chips ran wild on Oklahoma State’s vaunted defense in Week 1. Central Michigan was dominant, and it wasn’t just in mop-up duty against the Cowboys last week. Sure, they lost by 14 points, but they made it a game late with a 22-point fourth quarter that saw the birth of a two-headed monster at RB with Lew Nichols III and Myles Bailey running tough all game long.
South Alabama played well against Nicholls State, limiting their offense to just 165 total yards. However, this CMU offense is another animal and is one tough ask to stop. Carter Bradley and Jalen Wayne will have to bring their A-game to stay in it because it appears CMU has the chops to put up points in a hurry with their rushing attack and both Carlos Carriere and Jalen McGaughy at receiver.
Prediction: Central Michigan 38, South Alabama 34
Tennessee vs. Pittsburgh (+6)
The Tennessee Volunteers were never really tested in Week 1. They were given favorable field position on their first drive after a trick play went awry for Ball State. Tennessee’s starters essentially played a half of football and should be rested for Pittsburgh, who had to play all four quarters against West Virginia in the Backyard Brawl.
Still, Pittsburgh being given a touchdown here seems a bit rich given the growth we saw from the Pitt team down the stretch. Their offense is nothing like it was last year, but that isn’t to say it cannot take over games. Kedon Slovis got more comfortable with every down, and the rushing attack slowly started wearing down the Mountaineers. This is all without mentioning their defense, which won the game for them. Can Tennessee’s offensive line hold up against this vaunted pass-rushing attack? Not for four quarters.
Prediction: Pittsburgh 27, Tennessee 24
Colorado vs. Air Force (under 49)
Check this line often between now and game time. If you can grab Colorado +17.5 or even higher, take it. The Buffs are not afforded the benefit of the doubt here after losing to TCU in Week 1. But rewatching that game showcases how effective the Colorado defense was for the majority of the game had it not been for a few short fields and questionable decisions.
Colorado lost the ball on downs in the red zone to open the game, gave up a punt return for a touchdown, and a series of other misfortunate events stymied their chances at keeping the game close against TCU in the end.
The Air Force offense ran wild, as expected, against Northern Iowa, rushing for 582 yards and five scores. However, this UNI defense is night and day different from the Colorado defense that held the Horned Frogs in check for the majority of the game. Though it’s doubtful they get the victory, expect a bounce-back performance from the Buffs against their in-state rival.
Prediction: Air Force 21, Colorado 17
Iowa State (+3.5) vs. Iowa
Hunter Dekkers looked impressive in his first action as Iowa State’s full-time starter. He distributed the ball well, finishing 25 of 31 for 293 yards and four touchdowns.
Keying in on his top target Xavier Hutchinson is a good sign for Cyclone fans. Hutchinson is arguably one of the most underrated receivers in college football. Not to mention the next in line to be a Matt Campbell-coached NFL draft pick is Jirehl Brock. The Iowa State RB put his elusiveness and balance on full display in Week 1.
Iowa, on the other hand, couldn’t move the ball on offense at all. They struggled to do anything with much gumption besides punt and play good defense against a hard-nosed South Dakota State team who suffered multiple injuries in their game.
Whatever Iowa decides to do at quarterback is not promising. Spencer Petras just simply isn’t it, but he remained the starter through all four quarters. If there’s no confidence in anyone besides Petras, it’ll be another long day for Hawkeyes fans who want anything from their offense.
Prediction: Iowa State 28, Iowa 13
Old Dominion (+12.5) vs. East Carolina
The East Carolina Pirates gave the NC State Wolfpack their all. And in QB Holton Ahlers’ case, he nearly left everything he had on the field. Ultimately, they came up a single point shy or essentially a made kick short of an upset victory that would’ve rocked college football. Old Dominion, on the other hand, did pull off their upset bid against Virginia Tech with an impressive showing in all facets.
The talent gap between these two programs isn’t stark, and it actually favors the Monarchs. Grab ODU and the moneyline, and hinge your hopes on Hayden Wolff, Blake Watson, Ali Jennings III, and Zack Kuntz to ride you to an outright victory over a defeated Pirates team.
Prediction: Old Dominion 31, ECU 13
Hawaii vs. Michigan (under 67)
As great of a story as Timmy Chang returning to the Hawaii sidelines and rejuvenating the Rainbow Warriors is, the fact remains that Todd Graham ran the program into the ground and left a roster of bare-bones unlike anything we’ve seen recently. Chang has his work cut out for him to replenish talent and in making them competitive again. As Michigan is getting 51.5 points against Hawaii in Ann Arbor, the best play here is simply the under.
Michigan is going to score at will but will certainly play cordially with Chang and the Rainbow Warriors. J.J. McCarthy is out to prove he’s the best option at QB, but with his spot duty last week against Colorado State, we can expect to see Cade McNamara as well as Alan Bowman in this one.
Making matters even more enticing for the under, and as of their first two performances, it seems that Michigan would have to score all 67 points to break even. Hawaii’s offense has been lackluster, to say the least, scoring just 27 points in two games, including no passing touchdowns.
Michigan’s run defense will stuff the Rainbow Warriors’ attack, and their QB duo that has combined for five interceptions already will have their hands full.
Prediction: Michigan 55, Hawaii 3
Baylor (+3) vs. BYU
The game against Baylor and BYU will feature the nation’s two best offensive lines. As good as some other units are (Michigan, Arkansas), the fact remains that the best offensive line coach in the country (Eric Mateos) built both program’s offensive lines. Now, the nation gets to see them in action against one another for the second straight year.
Baylor, despite being without Khalil Keith to start the year, has six serviceable starters who can fire off the ball and win at every level. BYU’s offensive line is just as dominant and just as big. What gives Baylor the edge here, however, is their defensive line. BYU dominated against USF’s front four which was severely outmatched and outsized. But doing that against Siaki Ika, Jaxon Player, Gabe Hall, Garmon Randolph, Cole Maxwell, and Bryson Jackson is another feat.
This is as exciting of a game as there is in Week 1, and it’s the best offensive line game we have this entire season. BYU edges Baylor on a last-second field goal for the win as this one is truly a must-watch-every-play kind of game.
Prediction: BYU 31, Baylor 30
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