By Josh Kramer
Notre Dame certainly hopes the third time is the charm as they take on a tough Michigan State Spartans team in South Bend. The Fighting Irish are off to their first 0 and 2 start since 2007, and tempers appear to be rising for one of College Football’s most storied programs. What didn’t Week 2 have?
Classic endings, unforgettable individual performances, and upsets galore. Week 2 was what College Football is all about. Luckily, Week 3 has the promise of being even better.
Here are the marquee matchups.
LSU at Mississippi State: Tigers by 7
Headline: LSU’s “lighting” (Michael Ford) and “thunder” (Spencer Ware) combination put on a show as the Tigers ride their dynamic running back duo to a huge road victory.
-Another early big time SEC matchup. Basically every matchup in America’s best conference is considered “big time,” due to the fact that all of the teams are very good. Due to this game being in Mississippi, the Bulldogs have a fighting chance against a very talented Tigers team. The Bulldogs nearly knocked off the defending champs on the road last weekend, but one glaring weakness came to fruition. The Mississippi State Bulldogs cannot stop the run. Auburn RB, Michael Dyer, had a field day averaging over eight yards a carry. In Week 1, Memphis freshman, Artaves Gibson averaged five yards a carry. Well sadly for the Bulldogs, LSU’s insanely good rushing attack, led by Spencer Ware and Michael Ford are coming to town. Expect this game to be close until the LSU running backs begin to have a field day in the second half against what will be a tired Mississippi State defense.
Michigan State at Notre Dame: Fighting Irish by 3
Headline: Kelly gets a much-anticipated first victory in another nail biter.
-Fool me once, shame on you Fool me twice, shame on me. Notre Dame has deceived me, and the majority of the country in both Weeks 1 and 2. This week, they host a team whom they have had some real classics against over the past decade. Do not expect this game to stray away from the traditional nail biter we have all become accustomed to seeing in this rivalry.
-The Spartans have looked outstanding in their first two games, while Notre Dame has had their hearts ripped out of them two straight weeks. This week, lady luck will be with the Fighting Irish. I do not think it is possible for Brian Kelly to begin a year 0 and 3. The man may seriously go into cardiac arrest sadly if they lose again. Kelly hates to lose just as much, probably more, than die-hard Fighting Irish fans. The Spartan defense has been outstanding the past two weeks, giving up an astounding three points a game. But they have only forced two turnovers. ND has committed five turnovers in both games thus far. Kelly’s crew cuts down on the turnovers, and Notre Dame escapes with a victory over a very tough Spartans team.
Tennessee at Florida: Gators by 10
Headline: Tyler Bray gets Gator “Chomped” in the Swamp.
-These are two teams that nobody has really been talking about in the SEC East. I never thought that I would see the day where these two very storied programs would be overlooked by the likes of South Carolina and Georgia (who is 0 and 2). Times have changed I guess. Either way, both of these teams have looked outstanding thus far this year and the winner of this one could really position themselves to have a great chance at the SEC East title.
-Tennessee sophomore quarterback Tyler Bray and his fleet of talented young receivers have done it all so far. Sadly for the Volunteers, they have not faced a defense that possesses the speed and the athleticism of the Florida Gators. In addition, they have not traveled to an atmosphere like the Swamp. Florida has won six consecutive games in this great rivalry for a reason. The Volunteers would love a shootout, but Florida’s defense is just too good for that to happen. Gators win this SEC East Rumble behind their defensive unit.
Ohio State at Miami (FL): Buckeyes by 7
Headline: The “Ineligi-Bowl” goes to the road team.
-Ohio State fell asleep at the wheel last week against a decent Toledo team. Miami has now had some time to think about their tough opening night loss and have regained the services of their starting QB, Jacory Harris. Neither of these teams are in ideal positions. But luckily for both, they still have very talented rosters. The difference is, Ohio State, despite many suspensions to key guys has more talent.
-Generally turnover margin is a very foretelling statistic in a football game. The Buckeyes have committed two total turnovers thus far this year (1 a game). The Canes committed four in their opener. Welcome back the “Human Turnover Machine” himself, in Jacory Harris, and the U could have some major problems. Buckeyes win the turnover battle, which leads to a victory in the game.
Oklahoma at Florida State: Sooners by 1
Headline: College Football’s best connection (Jones/Broyles) is unstoppable in willing the Sooners to a huge road victory.
-This is the best matchup of the year thus far without question. I had my skepticism about Oregon heading into Week 1. I do not have any doubts about either of these great teams in the second all top five matchup of the season. The winner of this game in my eyes is on the inside track to the National Title game to meet the SEC Champion.
-Last season, the Sooners embarrassed the Seminoles in Norman. This game is a whole new ball game, with a new QB under center in Tallahassee, and of course a completely different setting. No Norman advantage. The Sooners have won 37 consecutive games in Norman, but are just 5 and 9 in their last 14 games away from Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Both of these teams have lived up to the preseason hype and more thus far, but neither have played a quality opponent. Well get ready for a war in Tallahassee. And despite Florida State being loaded, I do not think any team in the country can contain the Jones/Broyles connection. The Sooners will win it on the last drive, and move to 30 and 6 all time versus current ACC teams.
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.