College Football, Week 2: Fixing the Preseason Polls

Maybe y’all are right about polling never being right.

The preseason polls got a big shakeup after Week 1. The defending national champions exceeded the polls’ expectations, the Florida Gators proved they are contenders, and the Top 25 overall now looks a little more right. There are plenty of solid match-ups this week, but we’re still in the early season and still seeing teams work out the kinks.

It’s another exciting week in college football. Here are the top match-ups of the week.

#12 Florida vs. #20 Kentucky

After the performance Florida put on last week, led by quarterback Anthony Richardson, they are definitely a team to watch. Utah’s rank last week may have been inflated, but they weren’t slouches either. There is a lot to look forward to out of the Gators, with Richardson leading the offense and plenty of options in the running and passing game.

Meanwhile, Kentucky quarterback Will Levis, a projected first-round NFL pick, has a lot to offer the Wildcats. But they are going to be down their top running back, so Levis is going to have to find other avenues for the Wildcats to be a threat to the Gators. Kentucky’s Coach Mark Stoops faces a big challenge – being on the road at Florida of all places – but it’s a game that can also bring about big rewards.

#1 Alabama vs. Texas

It’s always important to keep an eye on Alabama, and while the assumption is that Texas will struggle to keep up, there are some indications that the Longhorns may have some success on the field. Take running back Bijan Robinson, who had a solid season last year before being sidelined by injury. Alabama’s defense is definitely tough, but their pass rush game is truly formidable, making Robinson more necessary than ever for Texas.

These two teams have only met ten times in their history. Texas looks to make history versus a team that has weapons galore and a nearly impenetrable wall the Longhorns’ offense has to try to break.

#17 Pitt vs. #24 Tennessee

Another matchup between Top 25 teams, and a matchup that could prove very entertaining. The Tennessee Volunteers are coming in as favorites, despite being ranked lower. And while it’s true that they have several options when it comes to picking apart the Panthers’ defense, Pitt won’t just roll over. Their offense has shifted to being more focused on the run, and if the Vols defense thinks they’re playing another Ball State, they’ll soon realize this isn’t another 59-10 game like in Week 1.

#6 Texas A&M vs. Appalachian State

There were three games last week that woke the nation up. The first was Georgia’s dominating win over Oregon. The second was Florida’s upset over Utah. The third, but perhaps the most exciting, was App State’s near-win over North Carolina, with the Tar Heels winning 63-61.

But now, App State stares down Texas A&M, and a lot of people are hoping for an offensive repeat. And for good reason. App State’s quarterback Chase Brice led App State with 361 yards passing for six touchdowns against UNC. The Aggies, though, may struggle in the run game. App State’s defense gave up 6 yards per rush against the Tar Heels, while the Aggies had just 110 yards and 3.4 yards per carry against Sam Houston State, a team they otherwise shut out 31-0.

#9 Baylor at #21 BYU

Baylor has every reason to be hyped about this game. They are coming in after a dominant season opener, and BYU junior Puka Nacua and senior Gunner Romney are expected to miss the game. BYU coach Kalani Sitake had said earlier in the week that they would be game-time decisions, according to ESPN. But, Baylor put up more than 60 points against a much smaller FCS team. BYU is not that kind of team. They will be bringing a lot of heat, especially at the line of scrimmage. The Bears cannot take this one lightly.

The Other Stories Of The Week

Hidden beneath these (and other) Top 25 games on the slate for today is the unfolding drama in Louisiana. Brian Kelly had an extremely rough first week as an SEC coach, learning that he wasn’t in South Bend anymore. Now, he’s got an easier game against Southern, but there will be no room for the types of mistakes that cost the Tigers last week against Florida State. The critics were out in force from the start (as they are wont to do) and there was plenty of criticism to go around. He even fell victim to some brutal snark from a reporter after a media scrum showed up late. After teasing them about their tardiness, one of the reporters was heard saying “Maybe if you win, I’ll be on time.” Kelly’s got to fix the offensive line and the special teams if he wants to bring the Tigers out of that season opener’s shadow.

Notre Dame, meanwhile, should not be too disappointed with last week’s loss. They’ll take on Marshall this week and look to bring themselves back into the upper echelons of the Top 25 in the weeks to come. Georgia, meanwhile, has a few things to tighten up after last week, though it’s hard to fault them for much after their massive win.

 

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