Week 2 in college football offers an interesting blend. There are a plethora of top teams on byes (Alabama, Florida State, UCLA, to name a few,) and a handful of marquee matchups (South Carolina-Georgia, Miami-Florida, Notre Dame-Michigan.) Outside of that, Week 2 looks like an awful lot of haves versus have-nots. In short, there are almost too many options to exploit. It's a schedule that shouldn't lead to much second guessing when choosing team units.
Arizona State (vs. Sacramento State) - The Sun Devils watched the rest of the college football nation kick off the season last week, and Week 2 represents their turn to join the party. Marion Grice and D.J. Foster lead an attack that averaged 205 yards per game a year ago. Foster is also a dynamic threat receiving. Sacramento State, on the other hand, allowed 142 yards last week on the ground to a normally pass happy San Diego State team.
Wisconsin (vs. Tennessee Tech) - There aren't many weeks when the Badgers backfield isn't a top option, but it is an absolute must start for a second week in a row. After rushing for 393 yards (yes, 393 yards) against UMASS in Week 1, Wisconsin won't have to try too hard to pile up nearly 300 yards against Tennessee Tech. Melvin Gordon and James White will get theirs early, but freshman Corey Clement may give the Badgers a second consecutive week with three 100 yard rushers.
Boise State (vs. Tennessee-Martin) - Not much worked for the Broncos in their opening-week dismantling at the hands of Washington. The passing game really struggled (175 yards, INT) thanks largely to a lack of playmaking wide receivers. Expect Boise State to ride running backs Jay Ajayi and freshman Aaron Baltazar often this week.
Penn State (vs. Eastern Michigan) - The Nittany Lions had a brutal 58 yards on 37 carries last week against Syracuse. Eastern Michigan allowed 202 yards a week ago to Howard. Look for Zach Zwinak, Bill Belton and Akeel Lynch to find plenty of room to run this time.
Southern Cal (vs. Washington State) - The Wazzou defense was a sieve against Gus Malzhan's spread attack in Auburn a week ago, and the Trojans are licking their chops as they open conference play. With the quarterback situation still not fully figured out in Los Angeles, look for more rushing success regardless of who's in the backfield. Silas Redd may return, but it won't matter. Even a balanced attack should yield 150-200 yards.
Louisiana Tech (vs. Lamar) - The Bulldogs looked like a team without an identity last week in Raleigh against North Carolina State, and new quarterback Scotty Young struggled. While coach Skip Hotlz could look to boost his signal caller's confidence, expect the tandem of Kenneth Dixon and Tevin King to carry early and often against a Cardinals' defense that is seeing a major step up in competition after facing Oklahoma State a week ago.
East Carolina (vs. Florida Atlantic) - FAU was surprisingly successful against Miami's passing attack last week, but the Pirate offense simply loves to pass. Quarterback Shane Carden threw 54 times a week ago, totaling 447 yards and five touchdowns. Led by Justin Hardy (16 grabs, 191 yards,) the Pirates are a near must start weekly.
Maryland (vs. Old Dominion) - The Terp offense looked nearly perfect in the season opener against Florida International, as quarterback C.J. Brown completed 20-of-23 passes while backup Caleb Rowb hit on 5-of-6 passes as the two combined for 325 yards. They welcome an Old Dominion defense fresh off being shredded by the aforementioned East Carolina passing unit. Stefon Diggs and Deon Long form one of the top pass-catching duos nationally, and Nigel King gives Maryland a third dangerous option.
Louisville (vs. Eastern Kentucky) - Speaking of near perfection, the Cardinals threw for 416 yards and six touchdowns last week against Ohio, allowing just six balls to fall incomplete. They'll be able to name their score Saturday against in-state Eastern Kentucky, and spreading the ball around won't hurt owners of the Cardinals receiving unit. DeVante Parker, Michaelee Harris, Kai De La Cruz, Eli Rogers and company should have a lot of fun in Week 2.
Virginia Tech (vs. Western Carolina) - With all of the soft matchups this week, it's probably not the right time to play a hunch. Anyone who watched the Hokies' opener against Alabama saw that quarterback Logan Thomas wasn't solely responsible for his dismal 5-of-26 performance. The guess is the Hokies' staff isn't conservative early, and works to get its receivers some confidence. Maybe it backfires and the drops rear their ugly head again, forcing a lot of handoffs. Or maybe Demitri Knowles, D.J. Coles and Joshua Stanford get loose for big plays. It's a gamble, but one others aren't likely to take.
California (vs. Portland State) - New coach Sonny Dykes wasted little time unleashing his spread attack. Despite the scoreboard tally, the Golden Bears' offense looks like it will be a fun one to watch. Freshman quarterback Jared Goff threw 63 times, completing 38 of those while wide receiver Bryce Treggs (13 catches, 145 yards,) and Chris Harper (11-151) formed a solid duo against Northwestern. They won't need to throw as often, but could be just as successful against Portland State.
Fresno State (vs. Cal Poly) - The Bulldogs aren't going to throw 73 times as they did a week ago against Rutgers. But they also don't have a workhorse running back like they've had in the past. As a result, quarterback Derek Carr will use his arm to stake Fresno State to a large lead. The Bulldogs saw three receivers catch at least 13 passes last week, and until they prove otherwise, they need to be in everyone's lineup.