Week 1 of the college football season was paraded as its best ever. It only makes sense that the follow-up week is downright dreadful. You know, law of averages and all that.
But I’m here to tell you that while college football has never loved you back, rarely has it ever fully disappointed, either.
Sure, Week 2 doesn’t look promising at a glance. Troy vs. Clemson? UTEP vs. Texas? Nicholls State vs. Georgia? There are dozens more of those types of games. No thanks.
Despite all that, however, there are reasons to watch on Saturday. We’ve compiled four of them, hoping to restore your faith in what this beautiful and crazy sport can do.
5. Not all games are terrible. In fact, there’s a good one potentially between Arkansas and TCU in Fort Worth (7 p.m. ET). Both teams struggled in Week 1. The Razorbacks needed a late rally to upend Louisiana Tech 21-20 while the Frogs needed a late surge to put away South Dakota state 59-41. Certainly, both teams must play better this week or the outcome won’t be as friendly. Still, this is a fun clash of styles between Arkansas’ ground-and-pound vs. TCU’s spread. Neither team is a stranger to quirky endings, either.
4. There’s usually at least one game that unexpectedly creates heart complications. Sometimes, the crappiest weeks on paper end up producing the wildest finishes. I can’t tell you which game this is going to be, but I am confident it’s going to happen. That’s basic odds-making. Last year, Week 2 actually produced a number of unexpectedly close games, including Auburn’s 27-20 overtime victory over Jacksonville State. And it was two years ago when Virginia Tech went into Columbus and shocked Ohio State 35-21.
There’s no trend capable of predicting where the next upset or near-upset will occur. You’re just going to have to tune in to find out because it’s going to happen to some team. Just hope it’s not yours.
3. Let us remind you there’s a fun game in a NASCAR venue. Tennessee-Virginia Tech (7 p.m. ET) should pique your interest anyway, but the fact that this thing is being played in Bristol Motor Speedway is Vaudeville-esque. We’ve had football games in baseball stadiums and overseas, but this is tops as far as off-the-wall venues go. Put another way, holding a game a week early in Australia is now the second-most interesting thing college football has scheduled this year.
There are so many questions involved with this. What will the sight lines be like? Will people even know what’s going on? Even if the speedway is packed, will there be crowd noise? Just look at this…
Final Fours held at indoor football stadiums think this is absurd.
The first hope is that the game itself lives up to the hype, but you should tune in just to see what a football game in the middle of an arena far bigger than Tennessee’s Neyland Stadium.
2. #Pac12AfterDark could get really, really weird. We are here for all the goodness that is #Pac12AfterDark. The late-night specialty has a knack for producing outcomes dabbling in the obscure and outrageously hilarious. You like 500 yards passing? You got 500 yards passing. Want 17 points in the final two minutes? They’re yours.
Late-night kickoffs in Week 2 are excellent. Texas Tech at Arizona State (10 p.m. ET) could hit 100 total points… by the third quarter. Washington State at Boise State (10:15 p.m. ET) is mixing Mike Leach and, well, Boise State. Expect at least two trick plays and probably a failed two-point conversion that’s taken back by the defense for a score. Someone’s going to pass for 400 yards in this game and still lose. Meanwhile, Cal at San Diego State (10:30 p.m. ET) is a good opportunity to see one of the more underrated players in the country: Aztecs running back Donnel Pumphery, who will be going up against a Cal defense that allowed 6.53 yards per rush… against Hawaii.
Plus Cal quarterback Davis Webb’s headshot!
As you can see, the games kick off within 30 minutes of each other. The potential for absurd endings within a close proximity of one another is high. And before you gripe about 2:30 a.m. game endings, remember that Week 1 also produced a game with a dramatic finish near the witching hour.
1. Heated rivalries revisited. Conference realignment has been one of the worst things to happen to college football. That is the truth and I will die on the hill saying so, because no other shift in the sport has taken away so many great rivalries. Thankfully, some of those long-standing games will be restored on Saturday. The heated rivalries to watch are…
Penn State at Pitt (Noon ET). This game used to matter in college football back when Pennsylvania, not the Southeast, was one of the premier college football settings. These teams last played in 2000 and Penn State holds the overall series lead at 50-42-4.
BYU at Utah (6:30 p.m. ET). The Holy War is intense. perhaps more so than people realize nationally. Conference realignment is an especially touchy subject here with Utah now among the Power Fives while BYU hopes desperately it receives an invite to join the Big 12. Utah beat BYU 35-28 in the Las Vegas Bowl last season.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Five reasons you should be watching college football in Week 2