Depending on where you are in the world, this week is a reminder that summer is about to close its eyes as autumn awakens. For some, this may not be the best news in the world. But for those of us here, that means one important thing: the heart of the football season is upon us.
As for college football, we’re just wrapping up the non-conference slate this week, with the majority of teams entering conference action next weekend. This weekend is certainly lighter on games, but there is still plenty of intrigue surrounding this Saturday.
No. 1 Georgia at South Carolina
12:00pm – ESPN
The Bulldogs came out against Oregon in Week 1 looking like arguably the best team in the country, and frankly, I don’t expect much to change on that front. South Carolina does have some intriguing pieces on offense — Spencer Rattler at QB, MarSean Lloyd at RB and Antwane Wells Jr. at WR – but Georgia is a different breed.
Prediction: Georgia 38, South Carolina 17
Purdue at Syracuse
I know I shouldn’t be picking games with Big Ten programs, but I’m super intrigued by this matchup for a few reasons. The first, Syrcause is fun as hell with former Penn State quarterback Garrett Schrader off to a hot start. Second, I’m really interested to see exactly what Purdue is all about, and going to the Carrier Dome to face a 2-0 Orange team will be a nice little test. Obviously, as Penn State fans, a Purdue win would be a nice boost to the old strength of schedule.
Prediction: Purdue 31, Syracuse 27
Mud at Notre Dame
2:30 p.m. – NBC
This game is just here for crazy in case Notre Dame loses again. The Fighting Irish will be without starting quarterback Tyler Buechner and will instead play Drew Pine, who didn’t look very hot against Marshall last weekend in limited action. I do feel for Notre Dame fans, though, as they took second for Drew Allar last spring. Just think of that different world where Drew Aller commits to Notre Dame instead and he comes in on Saturday and lights it up — ah, too bad. This isn’t the real world, Notre Dame fans. Drew is aaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllllllllly ours.
Prediction: Notre Dame 20, Cal 10
Texas Tech at No. 16 NC State
7 p.m. – ESPN2
There is a 100% chance that this will be a fun game. Texas Tech has fully returned to its “air attack” roots, while NC State is led by one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country in Devin Leary (also a former almost Penn Stater). NC State is a 10-point favorite here, which might be too high, but Raleigh is a tough place to play.
Prediction: NC State 34, Texas Tech 28
UTSA at No. 21 Texas
8:00 p.m.—Longhorn Network
The Longhorns playing Alabama extremely hard last weekend showed that Steve Sarkisian has gotten the Texas program back on track, but I’m interested to see how they bounce back from a devastating loss. UTSA is no joke – they are the defending Conference USA champions and quarterback Frank Harris is one of the most dynamic QBs in the country. Texas is obviously expected to win (even without starting QB Quinn Ewers), but room for an emotional upset is certainly possible here.
Prediction: Texas 35, UTSA 24
No. 13 Miami at No. 24 Texas A&M
9 p.m. – ESPN
The NIL Bowl lost some steam with A&M’s disastrous loss to Appalachian State last Saturday, but it will still be a good test for either team. If Texas A&M wins, it’s big time to put them back in the game for the upcoming SEC West schedule. If Miami wins, they will solidify their spot as the favorite in the ACC Coastal.
Prediction: Miami 21, Texas A&M 20
Fresno State at No. 7 USC
I would love to just have Fresno State play a Pac 12 team every week. They don’t join the conference, they stay in the Mountain West in all sports, we just have them play a full schedule of Pac 12 teams in football. Their game against Oregon State last Saturday was great, with the Beavers escaping with a win on the last play of the game.
Fresno hits the road this week to take on USC. While I have no doubt the Bulldogs will score some points against the Trojans, the USC Transfer Portal offense will simply be too much to keep up with.
Prediction: USC 49, Fresno State 34