There was only one Top 25 matchup last week, using the AP rankings as the measurement, and there are just two such games this week. No. 3 Alabama hosts No. 11 Texas, and No. 20 Ole Miss visits No. 24 Tulane. Nonetheless, there are some other quality matchups. Let's take a look at the games that stand out on this week's slate.
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2)
The Rebels and Green Wave are both ranked, adding extra intrigue to an old between two former SEC foes.
Ole Miss opened by handling Mercer behind four touchdown catches from Louisiana Tech transfer WR Tre Harris. Meanwhile, Tulane avoided a potential landmine by blasting underrated South Alabama, 37-17. QB Michael Pratt was sharp, and the defense got big efforts from LB Corey Platt and linemen Patrick Jenkins and Kameron Hamilton. The Green Wave can take a huge step toward back-to-back New Year’s Six bowl berths by snapping its 10-game losing streak to Ole Miss and 11-game losing streak to SEC teams.
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
Two name-brand programs get an enormous opportunity to build momentum after going 5-7 last season.
The Aggies and the Hurricanes were two of college football’s biggest disappointments in 2022, but Week 2 could catapult the winner to new heights. Both teams are well-coached and loaded with blue-chippers on both sides of the ball. All eyes will be on the quarterbacks in Miami. A&M sophomore Conner Weigman was dealing in the opener with New Mexico, but the Kamren Kinchens-led Cane secondary presents an entirely different challenge. And this is an especially big moment for Miami QB Tyler Van Dyke as he looks to rebound from a rough sophomore slump.
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET (FOX)
Before the season began, Texas Tech was a trendy sleeper in the Big 12. Starting 0-2 could dig the Red Raiders a hole that they can’t dig out of this fall.
Tech suffered a crushing opening night loss in Laramie, falling to Wyoming, 35-33, in double-overtime. Now, here comes No. 15 Oregon, which set a modern program record by hanging 81 points on Portland State on Saturday. This matchup will be especially important to Red Raider QB Tyler Shough, who spent his first two seasons as a Duck. Tech’s bigger concern will be on D, though, because Oregon is littered with speedy playmakers flanking veteran QB Bo Nix.
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Texas had Alabama on the ropes last September in Austin but couldn’t contain Bryce Young late. The stakes are even higher in Part II of this epic home-and-home series.
Are the Longhorns finally ready to return to title contention? Is the Tide on the verge of taking a step back this year? Is Bama QB Jalen Milroe about to put the starting job under lock and key? Sark vs. Saban. Quinn Ewers and his flashy receivers vs. Kool-Aid McKinstry and a loaded secondary. The game of the week has no shortage of juicy storylines, ramifications and future NFL starters. If Texas is truly back as they prepare to join the SEC in 2024, it’ll finish this time against Alabama, which is 103-8 at home under Saban.
Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (FOX)
Last week, Colorado became the talk of the college football world with its 45-42 upset win at TCU. This week is the home opener vs. Nebraska. The 'Huskers lost 13-10 at Minnesota by blowing a late 10-3 lead. If the Buffs win this week, and next week vs. Colorado State, everything surrounding Deion Sanders' rebuild will get very interesting as the next two games are a road trip to Oregon and a home date with USC.
TCU was complicit in the upset by tossing two red zone interceptions and, apparently, not fixing the defensive issues that aided and abetted the 65-7 blowout loss to Georgia in the national championship game in January.
Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Utah goes to Baylor for the first meeting between these teams. It won't be the last as Utah joins the Big 12 next season. Utah was 24-11 winner last Thursday night over Florida while Baylor was a 42-31 upset loser to Texas State on Saturday, flipping the spread by 37.5 points.
The Bears will be without starting quarterback Blake Shapen for at least two to three weeks because of an MCL injury suffered in the loss. He was 21-of-31 passes for 303 yards with 2 TD's in the loss, plus a rushing TD. The second passing TD came in the 4th quarter when he returned for a series with his knee fully taped and in a brace. He was pulled again during the following series with 6 minutes left and Sawyer Robertson led Baylor to the 5 before throwing an end zone interception. Robertson, a sophomore Mississippi State transfer, also fumbled on the Bears' next (final) drive. For Utah, Cam Rising is still questionable, but the Utes seem to be in comfortable hands with Bryson Barnes and Nate Johnson at QB. Barnes opened the game with a 70-yard TD pass and rushed for another score. Florida was just 1-of-13 in converting 3rd downs, 2-of-5 on 4th downs, and 44 yards (excluding 5 sacks).
Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET (ABC)
Fourth meeting all-time and first since the teams traded home wins in 2016-2017. It's early to be banking on stats, but Notre Dame is 25th in total offense and 6th in defense after routing Navy and Tennessee State. NC State is 80th on offense and 43rd on defense after visiting UConn for a 24-14 win. For Notre Dame, Sam Hartman faces a familiar foe as the Wake Forest transfer is 1-2 vs the Pack and 0-2 in Raleigh. But Hartman has more talent around him at Notre Dame and has started the 2023 season with 82.5% completions for 6 TD's and 0 picks. NC State QB Brennan Armstrong had 96 yards rushing and 2 TD's vs UConn.
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ABC)
Both teams were 5-7 a year ago. This will be our first indication as to whether or not Miami is finally back. A Texas A&M loss puts Jimbo Fisher on the hot seat.
Auburn at Cal - The first Power 5 game for Hugh Freeze as head coach of the Tigers
Texas State at UTSA - The Roadrunners offense failed to show up vs. Houston. The Bobcats scored the upset at Baylor by posting 42 points under first-year head coach GJ Kinne who led Incarnate Word to the semifinals of the FCS playoffs last season is in his only year as head coach.
Stanford at USC - Can Stanford keep the margin under 60?
Appalachian State at North Carolina - Last year's game saw UNC pull put a 63-61 win in Boone. The two teams combined for 62 points in the 4th quarter with the Mountaineers 40 of those in the wild comeback effort.
The offseason was a disaster for the PAC-12, but the opening two weekends have seen its conference teams start 13-0. Of course, most of the 12 schools haven't played anyone that was expected to pose a serious challenge. The conference has played 6 games against MWC teams, 3 FCS schools, an American Conference team and a Sun Belt school. Only the two games that we highlighted above - Colorado at TCU, and Utah vs. Florida have been a Power 5 matchup.
PAC-12 Results, so far:
Week 1: USC 56, San Jose State 28
Week 2: USC 66, Nevada 14
Oregon State 42, San Jose State 17
Arizona 38, Northern Arizona 3
Arizona State 24, Southern Utah 21
California 58, North Texas 21
Oregon 81, Portland State 7
Stanford 37, Hawaii 24
UCLA 27, Coastal Carolina 13
Washington 56, Boise State 19
Washington State 50, Colorado State 24
Colorado 45, No. 17 TCU 42
Utah 24, Florida 11
PAC-12 Games this week:
Arizona at Mississippi State
Oklahoma State at Arizona State
Nebraska at Colorado
Auburn at California
Oregon at Texas Tech
UC Davis (FCS) at Oregon State
Stanford at USC (Conference games)
UCLA at San Diego State
Utah at Baylor
Tulsa at Washington
Wisconsin at Washington State
(SEE: Coaching Changes)
There were 25 teams in the FBS that kicked off the season with a different head coach than the one they had at the start of the 2022 season.
Navy's Brian Newberry had his debut in a week zero blowout loss to Notre Dame in Ireland, while two others made their debut at various stages of the 2022 campaign. Brent Key already had 8 games under his belt at Georgia Tech (4-4) in 2022, and Zach Arnett had a bowl win after taking over at Mississippi State following the tragic passing of Mike Leach.
That left 22 head coaching debuts this week and they were picked to go 12-10. Instead, they went 15-7.
Including Newberry, here are the 8 that are looking for a breakthrough win:
Coastal Carolina: Tim Beck. Hosts Jacksonville State
Kent State: Kenni Burns. Visits Arkansas
Navy: Brian Newberry. Hosts Wagner (FCS)
Nebraska: Matt Rhule. Visits Colorado
North Texas: Eric Morris. Visits FIU
Northwestern: David Braun (interim). Hosts UTEP
Purdue: Ryan Walters. Visits Virginia Tech
USF: Alex Golesh. Hosts Florida A&M (FCS)
This season has 117 of the 133 FBS schools facing one FCS opponent, and Army playing two such games for a total of 118 FBS-FCS matchups.
Of the 16 FBS schools that do NOT play a FCS program, 7 are in the B1G (Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Purdue, Wisconsin). 6 more are evenly split between the Big 12 (Houston, Oklahoma, Texas) and Pac-12 (Colorado, USC, Washington). The other three are Liberty (CUSA) , UTSA (American), and Virginia Tech (ACC).
A whopping 42 of the 87 games last weekend featured a FBS-FCS matchup. There are 38 more this week out of 85 games featuring a FBS school.
The 42-0 mark last weekend improved the collective FBS record against FCS schools to 1,728-148 (.921) since we began tracking this in 2003.
The FBS was 112-8 (.933) vs. the FCS last year when 116 of the 131 FBS schools played at least one such game while Appalachian State, Army, Marshall and New Mexico State each played two.
Here are the FCS wins in 2022:
September 2: William & Mary 41, Charlotte 24
September 3: Delaware14, Navy 7
September 10: Weber State 35, Utah State 7
September 10: Incarnate Word 55, Nevada 41
September 10: Holy Cross 37, Buffalo 31
September 10: Eastern Kentucky 59, Bowling Green 57 (7 OT's)
September 17: Southern Illinois 31, Northwestern 24
September 24: Sacramento State 41, Colorado State 10
GEORGIA - Won 18 straight over-all. Won 11 straight true road games.
Last: Won 48-7 over FCS member UT-Martin on Saturday, September 2 to kick-off 2023 season.
Next: Hosts Ball State on Saturday, September 9.
ALABAMA - Won 21 straight home games.
Last: Won 56-7 at home over Middle Tennessee on Saturday, September 2 to kick-off 2023 season.
Next: Hosts Texas on Saturday, September 9.
MICHIGAN - Won 15 straight conference games.
Last - Won 30-3 at home over East Carolina on Saturday, September 2 to kick-off 2023 season.
Next: Hosts UNLV on Saturday, September 9.
NORTHWESTERN - Lost 12 straight over-all, and 8 straight at home.
Last: Lost 24-7 at Rutgers on Saturday, September 2 to kick-off 2023 season.
Next: Hosts UTEP on Saturday, September 9.
USF - Lost 13 straight conference games, 17 straight FBS games, and 19 straight road games.
Last: Lost 41-24 at Western Kentucky on Saturday, September 2 to kick-off 2023 season.
Next: Hosts FCS remember Florida A&M on Saturday, September 9.