We learned a few things in week 1 of the college football season. I believe we learned that the PAC-12 isn't very good, but UCLA is a solid team based on their first two wins against Hawaii and LSU. Secondly, the Georgia Bulldogs proved they have a really good defense and a solid quarterback in J.T. Daniels. Lastly, to the shock of no one, the Alabama Crimson Tide look like they're in for another cakewalk to the National Championship. It's difficult to say how good the Miami Hurricanes are, but what I do know is teams should stop scheduling Alabama in week 1 of a neutral site game. It always ends poorly for the other team.
That said, I was very happy being lazy and sitting on my couch watching college football all day. Seeing fans in the stands and the atmosphere that surrounds the games was a sight to behold. It was awesome. It was fun. For the first time since 2019, it felt normal.
Here are my top five games for week 2 of the college football season.
1. Iowa at Iowa State
The Iowa Hawkeyes took care of business winning 34-6 against their in-conference foe Indiana Hoosiers. Indiana was ranked 17th heading into the year and Iowa was ranked 18th. Both were reasonable rankings for the two teams coming off pretty solid years, especially Indiana. But the Hawkeyes dominated from start to finish and proved they'll be tough to deal with in the Big Ten West. Iowa State, however, has been on the cusp winning the Big 12 the past few years. The Cyclones have a 36-28 record under Matt Campbell who took over in 2016.It's only a matter of time before he gets a bigger job. Iowa State also has one of the best running backs in the country in Breece Hall. The Cyclones struggled against FCS Northern Iowa, but still got the win 16-10. This is a very big rivalry game despite the schools being in different conferences. I expect it to be fun to watch.
2. Texas at Arkansas
Texas defeated the Louisiana Rajun Cajuns 38-18 Saturday. Redshirt freshman quarterback Hudson Card had a very efficient game in head coach Steve Sarkisian's new offense going 14-21 for 224 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Bijan Robinson, a sophomore, also is one of the top backs in the Big 12. Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman was formally the offensive line coach at Georgia moving over to Fayetville in 2020. He has instilled a lot of life in to the Razorback program and while he went 3-7 in his first year, things look to be moving on the right track.
3. Utah at BYU
BYU defeated Arizona in their opening game 24-16. It's a different team without former quarterback Zach Wilson who is now the quarterback of the New York Jets. This game is known as the “Holy War.” No matter who is quarterback for BYU, this games always seems to be a dog fight until the end. Former Baylor quarterback Connor Brewer takes the reins at quarterback for the Utes. In his first start, albeit against Weber State, he went 19-27 for 233 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore running back Tavion Thomas had 12 carries for 107 yards and two touchdowns. The head coach of the Utah football team, Kyle Wittingham has been the head coach since 2005 and has been coaching at Utah since 1994. Utah went 11-3 in 2019 and 3-2 in 2020. This should also be a fun game to watch.
4. Washington at Michigan
Yes, I'm biased. I love Michigan. Before the season, this game looked to be a “prove it” game for both teams. It was chosen as the premier night game on ABC. In week one, Michigan defeated the Western Michigan Broncos 47-14, but lost star wide receiver Ronnie Bell for the season with a knee injury in the process. Michigan has a stable of running backs in Hassan Haskins, Blake Corum and freshman Donovan Edwards. Losing Bell on the outside is a big loss for the Wolverine offense that for the first time in a while (my opinion) looked pretty darn good on Saturday. It's difficult to speculate how good the defense will turn out under new defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald, but they have two of the best at their positions in the country with senior Aidan Hutchinson at defensive end and Daxton Hill at safety.
Washington lost to FCS Montana. I suspect the Huskies will come into Ann Arbor Saturday night angry and frustrated that they lost. As they should be. The injury bug has bitten them in a big way as well, but despite their outing Saturday, I expect this game to be much better than what they showed last week. It's still going to be a “prove it” game. It's not necessarily going to prove which team is good, but it will likely now prove who is worse.
5. Oregon at Ohio State
Ohio State struggled in the first half in their win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers, but as expected, they put their foot on the gas pedal in the second half and won 45-31. Redshirt freshman quarterback C.J. Stroud went 13-22 for 294 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. He's not the reincarnation of Justin Fields yet, but as someone who strongly dislikes the Buckeyes as a team and a team that seems to have more luck than anyone, I'm sure Stroud will reach that point.
Going back to my comment that the Pac-12 proved they weren't very good. Similarly to the Washington-Michigan game, prior to the season it was a game I kept my eye on. But after Oregon barely escaped with a win over Fresno State this past weekend, I'm not confident this game will be even close. But we can hope, right? Or at least I can.
—Devlin can be reached at email@example.com