College football is back, as are the lazy normalcies of your Saturdays. The second week of the slate features some exciting matchups. Elite programs seeking their former glory (Miami/Tennessee) face big tests from up and coming names (North Carolina/BYU). Two ranked non-conference matchups will headline the tally in both the afternoon (Texas A&M-Clemson) and evening (Texas-LSU).
Of course, the upset monster is also alive and well, so who are this week’s potential victims?
(@ Maryland, 12:00 p.m. ET, ESPN)
It’s admittedly tough to put a lot of stock in the Terrapins demolishing FCS Howard last week in 79-0 fashion. But if Syracuse, ranked 21st in the AP poll, are going to fulfill the biggest expectations they’ve faced since perhaps the Donovan McNabb days, their offense is going to have to put it together sooner rather than later. Syracuse beat Liberty 24-0 last week, but new quarterback Tommy DeVito struggled, managing just 176 yards on 35 passes, including a pair of interceptions. With mighty Clemson coming up the following week, the Orange can’t afford to be sputtering.
(Army, 12:00 p.m. ET, Fox)
Michigan handled Middle Tennessee State without much trouble at home last week. Army, on the other hand, needed a rare touchdown pass to top Rice. Yet the Wolverines shouldn’t be taking their West Point visitors lightly. Army has not lost a game dating back to September 22 of last year– when the Black Knights took eventual College Football Playoff representative Oklahoma to the brink in Norman. With the Ann Arbor visit their best chance to show New Year’s Six bowl representatives they can represent the Group of Five, they won’t go down without a fight. This could also prove to be a big opportunity for Army head coach Jeff Monken, whose name has surfaced in major program vacancy talks and could make the leap to a big name.
(@ Colorado, 3:30 p.m. ET, Fox)
The Cornhuskers are another team readjusting to the spotlight, as this season saw them appear in the AP’s preseason poll for the first time since 2014. Their opener was a sloppy victory over South Alabama in Lincoln and their non-conference slate continues with a trip to Boulder. Former Big 12 foe Colorado is likely still working out the kinks from an equally careless, yet victorious, showing against a mid-major opponent (Colorado State). While the Huskers have dominated the all-time matchup (49-19-2), the Buffaloes put a major wrench in their grand comeback plans last season with a 33-28 win on the road. Colorado now seeks their first winning streak against the Huskers since 2001-02.
(Nevada, 7:30 p.m. ET, PAC-12 Network)
This visit from the Wolfpack was supposed to be an early victory lap for the Ducks, a showcase from an adoring home crowd after picking up a big win at JerryWorld against Auburn. Bo Nix, of course, wasn’t subscribing to the Eugene agenda, and derailed that hope with a last-second comeback win over the Ducks.
Now, they comes home in a de facto must-win. Nix’s Auburn heroics didn’t cost Oregon too much in the polls (dropping to 16th from 11th in the AP), but Nevada’s trek serves as an early trap game. They already have a win over a Power Five program after making up a 17-point deficit against Purdue.