No. 19 Washington at Illinois
-Washington quarterback Keith Price and running back Bishop Sankey absolutely dismantled a Boise State defense that just a year ago replaced nine starters, and still managed to finish 12th in the nation in total defense. Price and Sankey combined for 510 yards and four TDs in their impressive week one win, and now travel to Champaign to unleash their fury on a defense that has been soft defending the pass. Even allowing 341 yards through the air against Southern Illinois in week one. The Illini sit at 2-0, but with their defense giving up so much yardage, the Huskies could be due for another big day on offense.
Vanderbilt at No. 13 South Carolina
-The popular take all week has been, “Jadeveon Clowney is a bum!” How is it a player with so much hype before the season has been just another guy on defense? ESPN Insider Travis Haney pointed out in his blog this week that Clowney had almost identical numbers last season after two games. What’s wrong with Clowney? Nothing.
In fact, after two weeks it is not hard to see despite no ravishing numbers, he is very much a factor. Game planning around a quarterback is a whole different beast than a defensive lineman. How do you contain Clowney? You can double team, or simply scheme plays to the opposite side.
But is that not showing how much an offensive coordinator has to include the Clowney factor in their prep? If you double team Clowney, you are then leaving room for another player to make an impact. The problem for South Carolina is no one else on defense was able to step up and take down Aaron Murray last week.
No. 25 Ole Miss at Texas
-A quick glance at the Rebels’ schedule prior to the start of the season suggested a brutal beginning that would easily define their season. So much hinged on the opener at Vanderbilt, and now as they go into Austin with a 2-0 record, Ole Miss can keep the direction of 2013 in the win column.
Next week, the Rebels have a bye before they have to travel to Bryant-Denny Stadium. If the Longhorns tackle they way we have become accustomed to seeing the last couple years, Ole Miss can cruise to a 3-0 start and can give themselves two weeks to prepare for the Tide.
After the showdown in Tuscaloosa the road doesn’t get any easier. Mississippi then has a road game against Auburn and then returns home to battle Texas A&M and LSU.
Western Michigan at No. 17 Northwestern
While the Pat Fitzgerald to USC, or Texas rumors have plenty of time to rev up, the nerds in purple continue to garner respect. The Wildcats opened as 35 point favorites over Western Michigan, and it’s not crazy to predict them to cover the spread. The NU offense is averaging 7.2 yards a play and has put up over 40 points in both victories this season. The Wildcats will need to keep winning to solidify any type of respect nationally.
With a win tonight, Northwestern will have three wins against not very convincing opponents, but they’re ranked and teams in the Big 10 should take notice.
No. 20 Wisconsin at Arizona State
Arizona State head coach Todd Graham brings his team into the spotlight tonight on ESPN. Not only can you make the case he needs a signature win to continue the positive vibes in Tempe, but he also needs a win to erase the concern of his teams’ performance against ranked opponents.
Last season, ASU lost four straight to ranked teams, but Graham was able to rally his team to a victory over Arizona and a bowl win en route to an 8-5 finish. Tonight, along with next weeks’ road game against the Stanford Cardinal, will give the season an early identity. Imagine the amount of confidence the Sun Devils can have going into next week with a win tonight.