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Wayne Staats | | September 7, 2019

College football Week 2 preview: Top games, what to watch, rankings

Here's 5 FBS games to watch in week two

Week 2 of the 2019 college football season should do more to separate College Football Playoff contenders from the rest, thanks to two huge showdowns. Check out our top games, what to watch and Top 25 rankings below.

Can Texas A&M upset No. 1 Clemson? Can LSU halt Texas' rise with a primetime win in Austin? Also, could Army (gulp) already end what could be a special season for Michigan?

College football Week 2 preview: Top games

SCOREBOARD: Live updates, scores for every game

No. 5 Ohio State vs. Cincinnati | 12 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 | ABC

Cincinnati has been on a roll under former Ohio State interim coach and player Luke Fickell. After going 4-8 in 2018, the Bearcats went 11-2 last season and finished No. 24 in the AP Poll. Cincinnati is 1-0 this year after beating UCLA, but Ohio State figures to be a much, much tougher foe. But Cincinnati comes in with no pressure. It will be fun seeing Fickell's and DC Marcus Freeman's (a former OSU player) defense against Buckeyes QB Justin Fields.

No. 7 Michigan vs. Army | 12 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 | FOX

After Clemson-Texas A&M and LSU-Texas, this might be the most intriguing game, simply because of what craziness an Army upset would create. This is, by far, Army's toughest game — and it's not even close. If Army can somehow pull this off, it would be fun to think about an undefeated Black Knights team as a New Year's Six candidate. Yes, it's September. But what fun is college football without having some fun projection? And Army pushed eventual College Football Playoff participant Oklahoma to overtime just last year.

No. 21 Syracuse at Maryland | 12 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 | ESPN

Maryland has a history of upsetting ranked teams early in the season. In 2017 and 2018, the victim role belonged to Texas. Might Syracuse be next?

The Big Ten East is rough enough with Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State all ranked. A rising Maryland would make the division even more difficult to traverse.

RANKINGS: The Top 25 Polls for Week 2

No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 12 Texas A&M | 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 | ABC

Texas A&M almost upset Clemson in one of the Tigers' rare close games in 2018. So top-ranked Clemson is going to be prepared. The Aggies might need a career game from Kellen Mond to complete the upset, as it's difficult to imagine Clemson struggling to score with all that offensive firepower.

No. 25 Nebraska at Colorado | 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 | FOX

The long-time day after Thanksgiving game when the pair were in the Big 12, these two met a year ago in Lincoln, where the Buffaloes won 33-28 as part of the Huskers' 0-6 start. Nebraska struggled to put away South Alabama in their 2019 debut, so the Huskers still have to prove their preseason national ranking is more than offseason hype.

No. 6 LSU at No. 9 Texas | 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 | ABC

The one thing holding the Tigers back has been a dynamic offense. Though it was against Georgia Southern (a Sun Belt team that won 10 games in 2018), LSU QB Joe Burrow passed for 278 yards and five touchdowns. But the focus will be on the LSU defense vs. Texas QB Sam Ehlinger. This is only the programs' second meeting since LSU won 13-0 in 1963. In the 2003 Cotton Bowl, the Longhorns beat the Tigers 35-20.

Tulane at No. 10 Auburn | 7:30 p.m. | Saturday, Sept. 7 | ESPN2

Tulane's impressive Week 1 dominance might have been overlooked, especially when it comes to Auburn and freshman QB Bo Nix's late-game heroics. Playing an FIU team that went 9-4 in 2018, the Green Wave picked up 545 yards and won in a rout, 42-14. If Auburn QB Nix can work on his accuracy (13-for-31 against Oregon with two interceptions), Tigers coach Gus Malzahn could see his team have another odd year of success (BCS National Championship game for 2013, SEC runner up in 2017).

No. 23 Stanford at Southern California | 10:30 p.m. | Saturday, Sept. 7 | ESPN

The Trojans lost QB J.T. Daniels for the season in the 31-23 season-opening win against Fresno State. Freshman Kedon Slovis came in and threw for 57 yards. But now USC gets physical Stanford, which powered through Northwestern 17-7 after losing its quarterback, K.J. Costello (hit to head). With Oregon's loss to Auburn in Week 1, the Pac-12 could use a big season from one of these two programs. But the Cardinal announced Costello will not play, meaning Davis Mills will make his first career start.

College football Week 2 preview: What to watch out for, big questions

1. Can Army really beat Michigan?

Yes, Army almost beat Oklahoma last year. But this year's Army team comes in with the hype and attention last year's didn't. Winning a school-record 11 games and ranking No. 19 in the final AP Poll will do that.

The Black Knights didn't look overly impressive in Week 1, needing a late touchdown to escape Rice. Michigan is a completely different beast. It also won't underestimate the Black Knights, who will likely need to limit possessions like they did against OU, score touchdowns and not field goals on most possessions and maybe even force a turnover or two. That might be too talk a task. After all, Army had drives of 9:31, 8:54, 10:47 and 10:06 against the Sooners — and still lost.

2. What would a Texas A&M shocker over Clemson mean for the College Football Playoff?

Clemson has been so dominant it's easy to simply assume the Tigers won't be challenged. But this game is expected to be a little different. Kellen Mond and the Aggies were close to upsetting Clemson in College Station last year in Jimbo Fisher's first season.

If A&M can get the shocker, what does that mean for CFP purposes? Well, with games against Auburn, Alabama, Georgia and LSU still on the schedule, the Aggies still have a handful of landmines that would make a semifinal appearance more unlikely than likely. But it would leave more room for error should (when?) Texas A&M loses. Could a two-loss A&M team that's SEC Champion even get in, if one of those wins is against Clemson? No two-loss team has made the CFP yet, but it's been only five years. Projections aside, a win against Clemson would officially mark Fisher's program as a player on the national scene.

As for Clemson, the ACC won't present as many challenges as the SEC. But that also means not many opportunities to get wins against ranked teams, so a slip up this week could be permanently damaging to CFP hopes. Even if the Tigers lose to Texas A&M, they would likely remain the huge ACC favorite. Plus, if Clemson does get by the Aggies, it then must travel to face Syracuse.

COLLEGE GAMEDAY: All-time locations, records

3. Is Texas back? OK, kidding aside, can Texas complete its resurgence?

Last season, the Longhorns beat Oklahoma in Dallas, played OU again for the Big 12 title and then knocked off Georgia in the Sugar Bowl to finish in the top 10. Beating another SEC school would further cement Texas' status as a contender. It would also help be a cushion for any loss down the road; Texas would be hard to be kept out of the CFP at 12-1 with a Big 12 title if one of those wins came against LSU.

But LSU might finally have an offense other teams need to worry about. If that's the case, this might be too much of a task even for Texas QB Sam Ehlinger and a raucous home crowd in this week's College GameDay spot.

College football rankings: Week 2

The top 9 teams in both the AP and Coaches Poll are the same. There is a change at No. 10, however. Auburn is 10th in the AP and Florida is there in the Coaches. The AP also has a tie for No. 25 with Iowa State and Nebraska.

Clemson (54) (1-0)

Clemson (58) (1-0)
Alabama (8) (1-0)

Alabama (6) (1-0)
Georgia (1-0)

Georgia (1-0)
Oklahoma (1-0)

Oklahoma (1-0)
Ohio State (1-0)

Ohio State (1-0)
LSU (1-0)

LSU (1-0)
Michigan (1-0)

Michigan (1-0)
Notre Dame (1-0)

Notre Dame (1-0)
Texas (1-0)

Texas (1-0)
Auburn (1-0)

Florida (1-0)
Florida (1-0)

Texas A&M (1-0)
Texas (1-0)

Washington (1-0)
Utah (1-0)

Auburn (1-0)
Washington (1-0)

Penn State (1-0)
Penn State (1-0)

Utah (1-0)
Oregon (0-1)

Wisconsin (1-0)
Wisconsin (1-0)

UCF (1-0)
UCF (1-0)

Oregon (0-1)
Michigan State (1-0)

Iowa (1-0)
Iowa (1-0)

Michigan State (1-0)
Syracuse (1-0)

Washington State (1-0)
Washington State (1-0)

Syracuse (1-0)
Stanford (1-0)

Stanford (1-0)
Boise State (1-0)

Boise State (1-0)

Nebraska (1-0)

Iowa State (1-0)

Nebraska (1-0)

Week 2 college football schedule

All times Eastern. All schedules and networks subject to change.

Friday, Sept. 6

Virginia 52, William & Mary 17
Wake Forest 41, Rice 21 
No. 24 Boise State 14, Marshall 7
Arizona State 19, Sacramento State 7

Saturday, Sept. 7

Ohio at Pitt | 11 a.m. | ACC Network
Old Dominion at Virginia Tech | 12 p.m. | ESPNU
UAB at Akron | 12 p.m. | CBSSN
Kennesaw State at Kent State | 12 p.m. | ESPN3
Rutgers at No. 20 Iowa | 12 p.m. | FS1
No. 21 Syracuse at Maryland | 12 p.m. | ESPN
Army at No. 7 Michigan | 12 p.m. | FOX
Cincinnati at No. 5 Ohio State | 12 p.m. | ABC
West Virginia at Missouri | 12 p.m. | ESPN2
Charleston Southern at South Carolina | 12 p.m. | SEC Network
Vanderbilt at Purdue | 12 p.m. | Big Ten Network
Bowling Green at Kansas State | 12 p.m. | FSN
Southern at Memphis | 12 p.m. | ESPN3
Western Carolina at N.C. State | 12:30 p.m. | ACC Network Extra
Northern Illinois at No. 13 Utah | 1 p.m. | Pac-12 Network
Lafayette at Monmouth (FCS) | 1 p.m. | ESPN+
Dayton at Indiana State | 1 p.m. | ESPN+
Mars Hill at VMI | 1:30 p.m. | ESPN3
Fordham at Ball State | 2 p.m. | ESPN3
South Florida at Georgia Tech | 2 p.m. | ACC Network
Howard at Youngstown State | 2 p.m. | ESPN+
Tennessee Tech at Miami (OH) | 2:30 p.m. | ESPN+
Central Arkansas at Austin Peay | 3 p.m. | ESPN+
Charlotte at Appalachian State | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN+
Grambling at Louisiana Tech | 3:30 p.m. | NFL Network
Richmond at Boston College | 3:30 p.m. | ACC Network Extra
No. 25 Nebraska at Colorado | 3:30 p.m. | FOX
Central Michigan at No. 17 Wisconsin | 3:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network
Illinois at UConn | 3:30 p.m. | CBSSN
Eastern Illinois at Indiana | 3:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network
Southern Miss at Mississippi State | 3:30 p.m. | ESPNU
No. 12 Texas A&M at No. 1 Clemson | 3:30 p.m. | ABC
Southern Illinois at UMass | 3:30 p.m. | FLOSPORTS
North Dakota at North Dakota State | 3:30 p.m. | ESPN+
UTSA at Baylor | 4 p.m. | Fox Networks
New Mexico State at No. 2 Alabama | 4 p.m. | SEC Network
Murray State at No. 3 Georgia | 4 p.m. | ESPN2
Western Illinois at Colorado State | 4 p.m. | AT&T Sportsnet
Southeastern Louisiana at Bethune-Cookman | 4 p.m. | ESPN3
San Diego State at UCLA | 4:15 p.m. | Pac-12 Network
Northern Colorado at No. 22 Washington State | 5 p.m. | Pac-12 Network
UL Monroe at Florida State | 5 p.m. | ACC Network
Southern Utah at Northern Iowa | 5 p.m. | ESPN3
North Carolina A&T at Duke | 6 p.m. | ACC Network Extra
Maine at Georgia Southern | 6 p.m. | ESPN+
Gardner-Webb at East Carolina | 6 p.m. | ESPN3
Virginia Union at Hampton | 6 p.m. | ESPN+
Shaw at Campbell | 6 p.m. | ESPN+
Louisiana College at Stetson | 6 p.m. | ESPN+
Wyoming at Texas State | 7 p.m. | ESPN+
Furman at Georgia State | 7 p.m. | ESPN3
Jackson State at South Alabama | 7 p.m. | ESPN3
Western Kentucky at Florida International | 7 p.m. | ESPN+
No. 18 UCF at Florida Atlantic | 7 p.m. | CBSSN
Tennessee State at Middle Tennessee | 7 p.m. | ESPN3
North Texas at SMU | 7 p.m. | ESPN3
Eastern Kentucky at Louisville | 7 p.m. | ACC Network Extra
BYU at Tennessee | 7 p.m. | ESPN
Coastal Carolina at Kansas | 7 p.m. | ESPN+
South Dakota at No. 4 Oklahoma | 7 p.m. | PPV (Click here)
McNeese State at Oklahoma State | 7 p.m. | ESPN+
Arizona Christian at Abilene Christian | 7 p.m. | ESPN+
Texas Southern at Incarnate Word | 7 p.m. | ESPN+
Tarleton State at Stephen F. Austin | 7 p.m. | ESPN3
Mississippi Valley State at Lamar | 7 p.m. | ESPN+
Chattanooga at Jacksonville State | 7 p.m. | ESPN+
Long Island at South Dakota State | 7 p.m. | ESPN3
Tulane at No. 10 Auburn | 7:30 p.m. | ESPN2
UT Martin at No. 11 Florida | 7:30 p.m. | ESPNU
Eastern Michigan at Kentucky | 7:30 p.m. | SEC Network
No. 6 LSU at No. 9 Texas | 7:30 p.m. | ABC
Arkansas at Ole Miss | 7:30 p.m. | SEC Network
Western Michigan at No. 19 Michigan State | 7:30 p.m. | Big Ten Network
Buffalo at No. 15 Penn State | 7:30 p.m. | FOX
Nevada at No. 16 Oregon | 7:30 p.m. | Pac-12 Network
Liberty at Louisiana | 7:30 p.m. | ESPN+
Stony Brook at Utah State | 7:30 p.m. | Facebook
Morehead State at Illinois State | 7:30 p.m. | ESPN+
Shorter at East Tennessee State | 7:30 p.m. | ESPN+
Prairie View A&M at Houston | 8 p.m. | ESPN3
Miami at North Carolina | 8 p.m. | ACC Network
UTEP at Texas Tech | 8 p.m. | FSN
Tulsa at San Jose State | 9 p.m. | ESPN3
Arkansas State at UNLV | 10 p.m. | Facebook/Stadium
Minnesota at Fresno State | 10:30 p.m. | CBSSN
California at No. 14 Washington | 10:30 p.m. | FS1
No. 23 Stanford at Southern California | 10:30 p.m. | ESPN
Northern Arizona at Arizona | 10:45 p.m. | Pac-12 Network
Oregon State at Hawai'i | 11:59 p.m. | Spectrum Sports

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