The early weeks of the college football season are usually rife with matchups that could best be described as “preseason college games.” But this set of four games are worth checking out, whether you’re a super-freak fan or an NFL fan just waiting for Sunday to finally hit.
Many of these games will have next year’s Fantasy Football stars in them, so catch ‘em now, before you draft ‘em and end up hatin’ em.
4 Best Week 2 College Football Matchups
In just a few weeks, we’ll be inundated with amazing conference matchups and some awesome rivalry games. Luckily, we’ll get a few of those this week, too!
No. 14 USC at No. 13 Stanford, 3:30pm ET
The Cardinal (singular) owns the nation’s longest home win streak right now (18 games), and the Trojans are going to try to end it in one of the best Pac-12 rivalries.
Steve Sarkisian brings his up-tempo offense to USC, and while he was with Washington, he lost four of his last five games to David Shaw and Stanford. Last year, Shaw’s team was accused of faking injuries to slow down Sarkisian’s Huskies, as U-Dub was working on a comeback. We’ll see if that rolls over into this new Trojan era.
Player to watch: Nelson Agholor, WR, USC – McShay touts him as the third-best NFL WR prospect.
No. 7 Michigan State at No. 3 Oregon, 6:30pm ET
Easily the biggest matchup of the weekend, as the Spartans travel to the Great Northwest to take on one of the best offenses in the country. Both teams have national championship aspirations, and both teams have plenty of stars. For Michigan State, they boast a star on each line of defense, with DE Shilique Calhoun, LB Taiwan Jones and S Kurtis Drummond. The Ducks, on the other hand, have a Heisman hopeful in QB Marcus Mariota, who we likened to Colin Kaepernick last week.
Player to watch: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon – There’s a great chance that that 6-foot-4, 224-lb. quarterback ends up being the No. 1 overall draft pick next season.
Michigan at No. 16 Notre Dame, 7:30pm ET
You’d be hard-pressed to find a rivalry game early in the season that’s as awesome as this one is. Sure, neither team is currently in the FBS Playoffs mix, but this game is bigger than that. This game dates back to 1887, which is pre-Desmond Howard and Chris Zorich!
This rivalry is going on hiatus for who knows how long!!! Now’s the time to catch it for the last time for a while, and Notre Dame is likely a little peeved that Michigan played “The Chicken Dance” over the loudspeakers last season, implying the Fighting Irish are chickening out of the rivalry.
Player to watch: Devin Funchess, TE, Michigan: Todd McShay has him ranked as the top tight end prospect for next year’s NFL Draft.
Oregon State at Hawaii, 10:30pm ET
Finally, for your late-night viewing pleasure, Sean Mannion, the other awesome quarterback in Oregon, travels to Aloha Stadium to take on the Rainbow Warriors. Don’t overlook Hawaii, who barely lost to No. 25 Washington last week. Norm Chow heads Hawaii these days, and you might remember him as the guy that mentored the following quarterbacks: Jim McMahon, Ty Detmer, Philip Rivers, Carson Palmer and Matt Leinart. While Hawaii QB Ikaika Woolsey won’t make you think of those QBs, you’ll at least enjoy watching Mannion.
Player to watch: At 6-foot-5, Mannion is one of the tallest incoming NFL prospects, and McShay ranks him fourth at the position, behind Mariota, FSU’s Jameis Winston and UCLA’s Brett Hundley. Better yet, Mel Kiper Jr. has Mannion ranked as the second-best senior QB, behind Baylor’s Bryce Petty.