After a long offseason, college football returns this week. There are always things to watch every week of the season. Here are 5 things to watch in college football week 2.
1. Steve Sarkisian Against his Former Team
Steve Sarkisian is in his second season as the head coach of Texas. He missed a bowl game in year one, but has hit the transfer portal hard, which has expectations higher for year two. One of the places he was able to get transfers from was Alabama, his former employer as an offensive coordinator. Now, he will face off against Alabama in week 2.
Alabama is favored by over two touchdowns in this game and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Bryce Young already looks like he is in midseason form. On top of that, the defense pitched a shutout in week 1. It looks like Texas has a long way to go before they can reach Alabama, but this game will be a good measuring stick.
2. SEC East Battle
Florida made headlines in week 1 after upsetting Utah. Quarterback Anthony Richardson emerged as a star in that game, showing off his dual-threat abilities in the process. The redshirt sophomore registered 168 passing yards, 106 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He will have to do similarly in Florida’s week 2 matchup against Kentucky.
The Wildcats have been one of the more physical teams in the SEC over the last few years and have two 10-win seasons since 2018. Kentucky defeated Miami (Ohio) in week 1, pulling away in the second half after a slow start. They will also need their quarterback, Will Levis, to be at his best after throwing an interception in week 1. He was able to finish with a good performance and over 300 passing yards, so he is very capable of playing well. The winner of this game is in a good position to challenge Georgia in the SEC East.
3. Tennessee at Pitt
One of the best nonconference games of week 2 is Tennessee traveling to Pittsburgh. The Volunteers defeated Ball State in week 1 and figure to have a high-powered offense this season. Hendon Hooker played great in 2021 and his chemistry with Cedric Tillman should come in handy against a Pitt defense with a few impact players. Tennessee can make a statement that they are ready to take the next step forward this season, after winning seven games last season.
Pittsburgh won a crazy game in week 1 against their rivals, West Virginia. They proved they could score points, as they finished the game with 37. That was a concern after Kenny Pickett went pro and Jordan Addison transferred away. Quarterback Kedon Slovis will need to be at his best against Tennessee if his team will overcome a seven-point spread.
4. Baylor at BYU
Two teams who had successful seasons in 2021 are meeting up this week. Baylor is traveling to BYU to take on the Cougars. The Bears won the Big 12 last year and won in week 1 against Albany. Baylor has turned to Blake Shapen at quarterback this season, who will improve their ability to attack through the air. Their defense is still talented, as they held Albany to 10 points in week 1.
BYU has their sites on a New Year’s Six Bowl berth this season. They are ranked in the top 25 and are coming off two seasons straight of double-digit wins. Jaren Hall took over for Zach Wilson at quarterback last season and was good. They have a good offensive line and a tough defense as well. After breezing past USF in week 1, BYU looks primed for a big-time showdown.
5. Pac-12 Nonconference Games
The Pac-12 did not have a great showing in week 1, but have plenty of good nonconference matchups this week to make up for it. Of these matchups, Oregon State and Fresno State might be the best game. The Bulldogs will be hoping to make a New Year’s Six Bowl as the best Group of Five team, while Oregon State is coming off a great performance against Boise State, which resulted in a win.
To go with that matchup, Arizona hosts Mississippi State, Arizona State travels to Oklahoma State and Washington State will play Wisconsin in Madison. The Pac-12 does not need to go undefeated in these games, but winning a few of them would greatly help their perceived status as a conference.
Check out our College Football Page for more news and updates like 5 Things to watch in college football week 2.