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College football: 5 things to watch for in week 2

College football is underway after a fun week 1. Now that more is known about all teams involved, fans can know what to watch for in the coming weeks. This list will narrow it down to five things to watch for in week 2.

1. Florida’s 31-game win streak against Kentucky on the line

That may seem like a typo, but the longest active winning streak for one FBS team over another is Florida over Kentucky. The last few seasons the Wildcats have had close calls and a team of similar talent levels and have still not been able to beat Florida. Kentucky will try to beat Florida for the first time since 1986, the same year Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Crocodile Dundee and Top Gun came out.

Dan Mullen, the former Florida offensive coordinator, is back now as head coach. He inherited 17 starters from a 4-7 team. In his first game at the helm, the Gators dominated Charleston Southern 53-6. Beating FCS schools won’t do much other than boost confidence, but Florida had to be happy that quarterback Feleipe Franks threw five touchdown passes and the defense looked strong.

Kentucky beat Central Michigan 35-20. After a lot of first-half turnovers, it was impressive Kentucky was able to win by that much. They have a strong offensive line and one of the best running backs in the country in Benny Snell. Their defense also played well, ranking in the top 10 in yards allowed per play. There is some reason for optimism, but that has been there in recent games and hasn’t panned out.

Florida is favored by 14 at home and should be able to extend their winning streak to 32. They haven’t been tested yet under Mullen though, so anything can happen.

2. Ed Oliver vs. Khalil Tate

College football
Ed Oliver (Photo by draftblaster.com)

Ed Oliver is one of the most highly-coveted players in the 2019 NFL Draft class, while Khalil Tate was a Heisman hopeful heading into the season. They’ll square off Saturday in a game that will feature a cat and mouse game between the two.

Oliver got his season off on the right foot with 13 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries. That is nothing new for the stellar junior. In the game against Arizona, he’ll not only be asked to get pressure on Tate in the passing game, but also to prevent him from picking up yards as a scrambler.

The Wildcats lost to BYU in their season opener and Tate didn’t look comfortable throwing passes downfield. He’ll want to bounce back in week two, but that’s easier said than done with Oliver chasing after him. If he can evade Oliver and the pass rush, look for him to make plays with his legs.

On Saturday at noon EST, Oliver and Tate will square off in one of the best chances to see good talent go head to head.

3. South Carolina’s offense vs. Georgia’s defense

The SEC had a great opening weekend, outside of the Tennessee Volunteers. The good opening weekend has set up a few good SEC matchups in the next couple of weeks. South Carolina playing Georgia will be the first of these matchups.

Georgia had a great season last year and got this season opened up with an easy win over Austin Peay. The game against South Carolina will prove to be the first real test for Georgia’s defense, which returns just four starters. Cornerback DeAndre Baker is a player to watch, as one of the best in college football. He will be matched up with South Carolina star receiver Deebo Samuel.

South Carolina wasn’t a great offense last year, but getting Samuel back from last season will help them greatly. Another year of Jake Bentley under center to go with running back Rico Dowdle in the backfield. They have the skill to be a solid offense, but have a lot to prove after ranking 99th in points last season. The Gamecocks scored 49 points against Coastal Carolina in the opener and will want to score more than the 10 points they had against Georgia last season.

The Bulldogs are favored by 10 on the road and if their defense steps up, that should be about the end result.

4. Jimbo Fisher vs. Dabo Swinney

College Football
Jimbo Fisher (Photo by theeagle.com)

Jimbo Fisher and Dabo Swinney squared off for the last several years as the head coaches of Florida State and Clemson respectively. Fisher jumped ship to Texas A&M this offseason, so the ACC rivalry might be over, but the two will square off again this weekend when Clemson travels to College Station to play the Aggies.

Fisher has a whole new roster to work with, but he is working on getting them a champion’s attitude. They have some solid players, but not what Fisher was used to working with in Tallahassee. This will be the first big game for him with Texas A&M and he’ll have to use all of his knowledge of Clemson over the past few years for the Aggies to have a chance.

Clemson has so many good players on the roster that they are appointment television. They are clear favorites heading into this game, but will see Fisher’s familiar face on the other sideline and a raucous environment to play in. After playing Furman in week 1, this will be the first real look at Clemson this season.

The Tigers should come out victorious, but there is always a chance Fisher has something up his sleeve.

5. J.T. Daniels’ first big start

USC and Stanford will headline the schedule on Saturday night. The game always has intrigue, but this year there is even more to be excited about. J.T. Daniels was named the starting quarterback and is one of the few to lead the team as a true freshman.

In his first start, Daniels orchestrated a 43-21 win over UNLV. The Rebels hung in the game, but USC ran away with it late. Daniels completed 22 of 35 passes for 282 yards and a touchdown. He protected the football with his throws, but will need to make more plays later this season to help USC reach their goals.

Daniels will play a tougher opponent this week in Stanford. The Cardinal shut down San Diego State for a 31-10 win. Stanford has six returning starters from last year’s team and holding the Aztecs to 10 points is a good start to the year. Daniels will have to be at his best to help USC win on the road.

This is not a game to be missed as it has Pac-12 Championship Game implications and could be the start of a storied career for Daniels.

 

Make sure to check out our college football page for more updates and rankings.

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