Both of the better games are in the West in Week 2. The SEC has gone cream puff for the week.
Michigan State travels to Oregon to take on the Ducks in what could be a tremendous battle between the irresistible force and the immovable object. Obviously the Ducks are the irresistible force and the Spartans are the immovable object. The Ducks have struggled in recent years against tough defenses and have lost to the Stanford Cardinal the last 2 seasons.
The Cardinal and the Spartans are much alike as far as defenses. The Spartans are ranked #5 and the Ducks #7 in my polls. Some people have Oregon ranked as highly as #3.
Everyone knows about the Ducks and their powerful offense. Marcus Mariota is a Heisman candidate and threw for 267 yards against South Dakota last weekend. The Ducks rolled 62-13, so none of the stars played all that long. The Ducks nearly had 700 yards of total offense and got their back ups some meaningful snaps.
The Spartans, on the other hand, gave up a miserly 244 with only 22 yards given up on the ground. If the Oregon Ducks can move the ball on the Michigan State Spartans, it will be impressive.
This game should be a really fun and exciting game. It could also be an elimination game. Losing this game could be devastating for either team long term. The loser would have their backs against the wall the rest of the season if they have any shot at all of making the playoffs. The winner, would increase their shot at making the playoffs.
This is a big, big game for those reasons if for nothing else. Oregon beating Michigan State would increase their confidence going up against Stanford on November 1st.
Michigan State probably has their best team since way back in the 1960s when they played Notre Dame in the Game of the Century. Beating Oregon makes them look really good later on to the playoff selection committee. If they beat Oregon, they still have to beat rival Michigan and Ohio State, but with this defense that is very doable.
This game is a must see and is on at 5:30 Central Time on Fox.
Don’t miss it. It’s green on green for a shot at more green down the road.
Most polls have Oregon ranked higher than Michigan State, but I am going with Michigan State because of defense. Oregon does have home field advantage, and could easily win it. But, Michigan State has one of the top defenses and one of the top Defensive Coordinators in the entire nation. Defense still wins championships.
In the other big game out West, USC travels up to Stanford to take on the Cardinal.
First of all, these teams really don’t like each other all that much. The two head coaches don’t like each other all that much.
Everybody in the Pac 12 really doesn’t like USC and Stanford has been the new powerhouse in the conference and the team to beat.
Stanford is old school. They love to pound the football and beat their opponents into submission. They also love great defense. The defense lost some super standout players in Shayne Skov, Ed Reynolds and Trent Murphy, but they look to be as salty as always with plenty of talent coming back. Their defensive line is just flat out tough and intimidating.
Stanford did lose 4 out of 5 Offensive Lineman. The 1 they do have returning happens to be probably the best Left Tackle in all of football, in Andrus Peat, but the other starters are new. They are new, but Stanford has improved so much as a program in the last few years that they still have some talent up front.
Another huge loss for the Stanford is 225 pound Running Back Tyler Gaffney. Gaffney was tough, tough, tough and the perfect back for David Shaw’s offense. He will be missed because of his punishing style of running. He just wore down defenses and was deceptively fast.
But, the Cardinal have some backs returning including Barry Sanders Jr. Newcomer to keep an eye on here is Christian McCaffrey the son of Ed McCaffrey of Stanford and Denver Broncos fame. Christian is a lot faster than his dad, although much shorter as well. In his very first time to see the football he took it 52 yards for a TD. McCaffrey has speed to burn.
Kevin Hogan returns at QB and is a bit underrated. He’s got experience, is a lot quicker than people think running the football and he throws a great deep ball.
The Cardinal have some talent returning at WR with Ty Montgomery and Michael Rector, both speedsters. Austin Hooper is the talent that they missed last season at Tight End and he should have a huge year.
Can the Trojans stop the Cardinal’s running attack? They do have the front 7 that might can just get it done.
The Trojans started 2 true freshmen in the Offensive Line in week 1. Damian Mama and Toa Lobendahn started at the Offensive Guard positions for USC and they looked good. But, they weren’t playing Stanford.
Stanford, in turn, will be tested by QB Cody Kessler, RB Buck Allen and WR Nelson Agholer. Another huge test for Stanford will be slowing down new super freshman, JuJu Smith. JuJu Smith was a 5 star recruit that some had pegged for safety. But, he’s an outstanding young WR so far and just exploded onto the scene last Saturday night. If last Saturday is the standard for Juju, then he’s a sure thing freshman All-American. Then, there’s Adoree Jackson the 5 star throw back two way player.
The USC defense is led by Defensive Tackle Leonard Williams, a returning All-American, and ILB Hayes Pullard.
This game takes place at 2:30 and a college football fan needs to pull up a chair or set up the recorder.
I am picking Stanford, but would not be surprised at all if the Trojans won. I do think the Trojans will be back in the national title picture soon, but maybe not this year. They have a really solid freshman class in 2014 which will lead to bigger and better things in years ahead.
Michigan at Notre Dame for the last time in a while.
The Wolverines look to be improved this season, but so do the Irish. I went into the season thinking the Irish were overrated until I saw Everett Golson last Saturday. I do realize that it was only Rice they were playing but Rice is a much improved program that went 10-4 last season. They are not on the same level as Notre Dame, obviously, but they aren’t the cupcake that some might think.
Golson was unbelievable and in one game won me over. I love his arm strength and mobility and I love the Irish Wide Receivers this season.
Michigan has some true freshman talent much like USC. They started outstanding freshman Jabrill Peppers at Nickel back and Left Tackle was Mason Cole. Cole was playing last season at East Lake High School in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Peppers was at Peramus Catholic High School in Ramsey, New Jersey. How many times do I need to tell people about these Florida and New Jersey kids?
Peppers was rated the Number 2 recruit in the entire country by most recruiting services and they hit it out of the park with this guy. Peppers is going to be a superstar for the Wolverines and maybe as soon as this season.
Also, Michigan has one of the most exciting players in the entire country at WR in Devin Funchess. Last Saturday Funchess had 7 catches for 95 yards and 3 TDs. At 6-5, 230, it’s said that he has 4.4 speed in the 40 and while that may be an exaggeration slightly, he is still very big and very fast and has the hands and play making ability.
In spite of that, I am picking Notre Dame to squeeze by the Wolverines.
This should be a fun game and maybe the last one in this series for a long, long time. It’s a must watch. Instead of recording the game and going to the wedding, I say record the wedding and watch the game.
This game will be televised by the Notre Dame Network, NBC, at 6:30 Central time.