Like last year, the season started out with several good matchups, but teams mostly went back to cupcakes for their second game. There’s only one pairing of ranked teams this week, so we’ll start there.
#3 USC at #8 Ohio State. After last year’s beating, Ohio State looked like they might have been closing the gap. USC lost eight defensive starters and turned to a freshman QB, whereas Ohio State has a veteran D and an extra year of experience for Terrell Pryor. However, they were unconvincing against Navy last week, while USC’s game against San Jose State was too easy to be informative. Obviously, the winner of this game joins Florida and Texas at the forefront of the national title discussion.
Clemson at #15 Georgia Tech. As usual, the ACC is wide open, especially since the preseason division favorites, Virginia Tech and Florida State, lost their openers. These teams each have the talent and experience to push those teams, and Clemson in particular would be looking at a favorable schedule after this game, missing VT and hosting the Seminoles.
#18 Notre Dame at Michigan. Notre Dame is loaded with talent – their last four recruiting classes have been in the national top ten – and, in smoking Nevada, they looked like a team ready to show it. They’ve also put together an uncharacteristically soft schedule, with USC their only opponent in the current Top 25. Michigan is another talented team looking to produce more on the field this year, cruising to an easy opening win of their own. They added two highly rated freshman QBs to an otherwise complete set of returning offensive starters, and Rich Rodriguez’s dual threat offense looked much sharper than last year. A win here could propel them to making noise in the Big Ten, where they will host both Penn State and Ohio State.
USC (71/29). The Trojans’ inexperience at key spots is enough to start me thinking about leaning Buckeyes, but then I remember last year was 35-3 and Ohio State struggled last week with a service academy. Sometimes it’s best not to overthink it.
Georgia Tech (66/34). Two to one is about right. Clemson has the ability, and their O-line and run game matches up well. But GT is at home, has more players back and isn’t starting a freshman QB off the baseball team. Clemson may well be better by the end of the year, but I don’t think they’re there yet.
Notre Dame (59/41). I’m not sure what the question is here. Notre Dame is more athletic, more prepared, and looked more impressive in their opener. Michigan seems a year away, like ND last year. This has all the makings of a statement game for the Irish, and I think it would be a much bigger upset than Clemson/GT if it goes the other way.
Last Week: 70-35, .667
Year to Date: 70-35, .667