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College Football Week 2 Preview

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Speedway Showdown highlights second week of the college football season

NCAA Football: Lambeau Field College Classic-Louisiana State vs Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

After a week of multiple upsets and comebacks, college football returns Friday night for week two. Though there are not any ranked matchups this week, there are still some interesting matchups on tap. With many teams rising and falling in the polls, week two gives them a chance to put things right early.

*All rankings taken from Coaches Poll.

#13 Louisville at Syracuse. Friday 8pm, on ESPN2

The Louisville Cardinals head to Syracuse to take on the Orange in an ACC Atlantic division matchup. Both teams enter 1-0 with Louisville blasting UNC-Charlotte 70-14 and Syracuse beating Colgate (FCS) 33-7. Louisville is expected to challenge Florida State and Clemson in the Atlantic this season. Led by star sophomore QB Lamar Jackson, who had as many touchdowns as incompletions last week (6), Bobby Petrino’s Cardinals expect to be in the conversation for the College Football Playoff. Next week Louisville hosts Florida State. If they want that game to mean what it should, they must first take care of business in upstate New York. Syracuse welcomed new head coach Dino Babers with a victory last weekend. Coach Babers brought his fast-paced offense from Bowling-Green to Syracuse. Sophomore QB Eric Dungey seems to be getting a grip on the offense, completing 34 of 40 passes in their week one victory. It will be much more difficult for the Orange this Friday. Both teams like to score and Louisville may be looking ahead, so this one could be entertaining to start the weekend.

NC State at East Carolina. Noon, on ESPNU

Before travelling to Columbia to take on the Gamecocks next week, East Carolina hosts North Carolina State. Both the Pirates and Wolfpack got off to a winning start, ECU beating Western Carolina (FCS), NC State defeating William & Mary (FCS). In the 29th meeting of the two schools, NC State is looking to end a two game skid to the Pirates. The last meeting was a 42-28 victory for ECU in Raleigh in 2013. The Wolfpack will lean heavily on the running game to keep the ball away from the Pirates. Senior RB Matthew Dayes racked up 138 yards and two touchdowns last week. ECU QB Philip Nelson will be looking to continue his hot start against the Wolfpack. Last week, Nelson completed 28 of 32 passes for 398 yards and five touchdowns, he also added another score on the ground. The Wolpack will be a step up in competition for Nelson. It should be a good indicator of what to expect from the QB before taking on the Gamecocks next week.

Kentucky at #25 Florida. 3:30pm, on CBS

In the second SEC matchup of the season, Kentucky travels to Gainesville to take on Florida. Kentucky has failed to beat the Gators in their last 29 attempts, with the Wildcats last victory occurring in 1987. Last week the Wildcats got off to a fantastic start, opening up a 35-10 first half lead on Southern Mississippi. But Southern Mississippi was the only team to score after that, handing the Wildcats a 44-35 home loss on the opening week. The Wildcats must now travel to “The Swamp” to face one of the nations’ best defenses. The Gators will want to get off to a better start on offense, only scoring 10 first half points vs UMass last week. QB Luke Del Rio was able to settle in the second half and lead the Gators to a 24-7 win vs the Minutemen. The Wildcats must be able to put two halfs together if they want to leave with a victory, one thing going for them is Florida still struggles to score points. The Gators will lean heavily on the defense again in a must win game if they want to reclaim the Eastern division this season.

Arkansas vs. #13 TCU. 7p,m on ESPN

After escaping Louisiana Tech last week, Arkansas travels to TCU to take on the Horned Frogs. Arkansas needs a faster start this week if they are to hang with TCU. The Razorbacks should like their chances of putting some points on the board. The Horned Frogs were in a shootout last weekend with South Dakota State (FCS). It was a three point game in the fourth quarter. The Jack Rabbits hung 41 on Garry Patterson’s defense, but the Frogs were able to pull away late to win by a few scores. Former Texas A&M QB Kenny Hill was able to overcome some early turnovers to help the Frogs pull away. Arkansas QB Austin Allen also struggled early. With two first half interceptions, Allen had put the Hogs in a hole heading into the fourth quarter. He played better in the second half, and threw a touchdown in the fourth that proved to be the game winner. If Arkansas defense can force some stops, and Allen starts well, the Hogs have a chance to upset TCU Saturday night.

#14 Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway. 8pm, ABC.

Last week was a tough one for Tennessee. After a preseason of much promise, the Volunteers started off surviving an overtime scare against Appalachian State. The Vols credibility has been damaged, but not permanently. They will try and rebound by taking on the Virginia Tech Hokies at Bristol Motor Speedway. Head Coach Justin Fuente began his tenure in Blacksburg with a comfortable victory over Liberty (FCS). Virginia Tech has a very young football team and the outcome of this game could be how they grasp the situation. Playing the 150,000 seat race track will cause nervousness for all players involved. The Hokies Freshman QB Jerod Evans threw four touchdowns last week. The Hokies will need more of the same from the freshman. As for Tennessee, it is time for them to show if they truly are the team many predicted to win the SEC East. After the Hokies they will host Ohio before opening up SEC play against Florida. They need to iron out the problems before the Gators get to Knoxville, or the streak will get a year longer.

Texas Tech at Arizona State. 10pm, on Fox Sports 1

One of the final games of the night, for those who enjoy offense then tune in to this one. Texas Tech racked up 69 points last week, Arizona State scored 44. The Red Raiders led by QB Patrick Mahomes II, hung 45 on Stephen F. Austin (FCS) in the first half last week. Mahomes threw for 483 yards and four touchdowns, adding a pair on the ground as well. The Sun Devils game was a little closer against Northern Arizona (FCS), but behind the run game, ASU cruised late. The Sun Devils had five different players score a rushing touchdown. Both teams are expected to be in the middle of their league this season, but with defeats last week by rivals, this one could spring-board the winner to challenging within their league. For Tech, the Big 12 is wide open this season and they have one of the leagues better QBs. As for ASU, they were one of only three teams in the Pac-12 South to win on the opening weekend. For those on the east coast, it is a late kick-off, but the fireworks will start early.

Others to Watch:

Utah State at Southern California. 2pm, Pac-12 Network

Iowa State at #10 Iowa. 7:30pm, Big Ten Network

BYU at Utah. 7:30pm, FOX

North Carolina at Illinois. 7:30pm, Big Ten Network

Virginia at Oregon. 10:30pm, ESPN