Good news! Week one creampuffs are out of the way (for the most part). Now, the college football nation gets to witness some more interesting out-of-conference matchups. For the Big 12 and the Pac-10, it’s time to get out those measuring sticks.
Few games in week two will determine conference championships, but they will go a long way in measuring conference prestige. Let’s get to the big story lines …
No. 17 Florida State at No. 10 Oklahoma (3:30 ET)
THE LINE: Oklahoma -7
THE PLOT: This may be the most intriguing matchup for either the Pac-10 or the Big 12 this weekend. A rematch of the 2001 BCS National Championship game, the Sooners and the ‘Noles come off week one with different results. One one hand, Florida State manhandled Samford 50 bazillion – 6 with quarterback Christian Ponder looking sharp. Oklahoma struggled at home against Utah State, escaping 31-24.
The key in this game will be whether or not Oklahoma’s defense can make Ponder uncomfortable early. No quarterback, no matter how good, can play effectively when he’s on the run all the time. In a head-to-head qb battle between Oklahoma’s Landry Jones and Ponder, I’m taking Ponder every time. But if Oklahoma can get pressure on Ponder and keep it close, the ability to pound the ball goes a long way. In that instance, I’ll take Oklahoma’s DeMarco Murray.
THE PICK: Oklahoma has a 31-game win streak at home. That ends Saturday. Florida State has too much speed and athleticism in the trenches.
THE SCORE: Florida State 34, Oklahoma 20
Colorado at California (3:30 ET)
THE LINE: Cal -10
THE PLOT: Colorado and Cal have the potential to be two teams that sneak up and, before you know it, have 6 wins heading into November. Cal was impressive against Who Cares State in week one, winning 52-3. Colorado quietly dismantled in-state foe Colorado State 24-3.
I don’t project this game to be very close, but it will give us a preview of what’s to come in the soon-to-be Pac-12. Colorado dips heavily into California for recruits and a good showing by the Buffs could go a long ways to improving what has become an embarrassing program.
THE PICK: Cal is just too much for Colorado in the newly created “Battle for the Liberal Agenda” Trophy.
THE SCORE: Cal 30, Colorado 13
No. 7 Oregon at Tennessee (7:00 ET)
THE LINE: Oregon -12
THE PLOT: Tennessee doesn’t traditionally match up well against spread offenses. Unfortunately for the Vols, Oregon runs a super-crazy version of the spread that matches the super-crazy uniforms they adorn. With that said, Tennessee still has athletes and it’s still Neyland Stadium at night, which could make this game closer than the some people think. For the Ducks, going across the country to play in one of the hardest venues in college football doesn’t exactly guarantee a victory.
Running back LaMichael James will be back on the field for Oregon and Tennesse’s problems with depth and youth could prove to be too much entering the fourth quarter.
THE PICK: It will be a tough night for Tennessee as they try to handle Oregon’s high-powered offense and then try to handle showering afterward.
THE SCORE: Oregon 28, Tennessee 21
No. 25 Stanford at UCLA (10:30 ET)
THE LINE: Stanford -6
THE PLOT: It’s no surprise that in a league of quarterbacks, quarterback play will be the determining factor. Stanford’s Andrew Luck might be the best signal caller in the country. UCLA’s Kevin Prince isn’t fully healthy and his playing time could be limited. With his health uncertain, you have to believe John Harbaugh’s defense will pin their ears back in attempt to make Prince a withering pulp on the Rose Bowl’s turf. When it comes to quarterback play, offensive lines are key. Stanford far and away wins that battle.
THE PICK: Are you serious? Stanford, baby.
THE SCORE: Stanford 41, UCLA 10