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|College Football 2018 Week 2 Preview||Friday, 2018 September 7 - 12:50 pm|
|Michigan and NCSU are both heavy favorites at home; Penn State faces another test at Pitt.|
Michigan vs Western Michigan, 12:00 PM FS1
This is no longer a P.J. Fleck-coached WMU team, though there are vestiges of his legacy still visible. They don't have Zach Terrell, but they have a capable passer in Jon Wassink, and the receivers are capable of taking advantage of any coverage busts.
But the WMU offensive tackles are not a strong point, and I suspect Winovich and Gary will wreak havoc on the passing game. Wassink is also not the running threat that Wimbush was for ND, so that's another comforting factor.
And then there's the WMU defense, which is... terrible. Well, maybe more tiny than terrible; the DEs are LB-sized, and the LBs are safety-sized, and if Michigan decides to grind out four running yards at a time, that would probably be enough to win. WMU will probably want to stack 8 or 9 guys at the line for most snaps, so watch for an early play-action pass to a wide-open Grant Perry or Zach Gentry to loosen things up.
After last week's outing we can't take anything for granted, but this doesn't seem like the same level of competition.
Prediction: Michigan 45, WMU 20.
N.C. State vs Georgia State, 12:30 PM ACC/WatchESPN
Georgia State's claim to fame here is that they're 1-0 and technically ahead of App State in the Sun Belt standings, having beaten... the mighty Kennesaw State Owls.
The thing to watch here is whether NCSU can generate any kind of rushing attack, because it looked pretty dismal last week. If the Pack can't rush for more than the 181 yards that Kennesaw State put up, there's a serious problem here.
Prediction: NCSU 40, Georgia State 10.
Penn State at Pitt, 8:00 PM ABC
Penn State is an 8-point favorite over Pitt, and I'll bet there's some serious concerns about this game after the near-debacle versus App State last week. Pitt is relying on their experienced Narduzzi-coached defense to give their young offense some cover, and that's a strategy that just might work against the Lions.
If you're Penn State and you see Pitt completing a lot of contested passes and putting together some semblance of a running game, then you should probably start to worry. But on the flip side, if you see Miles Sanders ripping off 20-yard rushes against defensive linemen who rush too far upfield, then you can start to breathe easier.
Prediction: Penn State 26, Pitt 21.
Games to Watch on TV
Pretty slim pickings this week. Michigan plays on FS1 at noon. There are only two other games at noon that involve a ranked team, so maybe flip over to Duke at Northwestern game on ESPNU. Or if you're looking for comedy, try Eastern Michigan at Purdue on BTN. Georgia State at NCSU is at 12:30 on the ACC network.
At 3:30 PM there's Georgia at South Carolina, which might be competitive. Colorado plays at Nebraska on ABC, and that could be worth watching if for nothing else than to see Scott Frost's debut game (since Nebraska's opener against Akron was cancelled due to weather). Ohio State has a conference game on BTN, but it's against... Rutgers. Look for OSU to try to top is 77-point total from last week.
At 7:00, Clemson plays at Texas A&M on ESPN. At 8:00 Penn State at Pitt is on ABC. At 8:30, your Game of the Week is #17 USC at #10 Stanford on Fox. USC is a perennial bugaboo for Stanford and it'll be interesting to see if Stanford is really a top-ten team as advertised.
At 10:45, Michigan State plays Arizona State in a Pac-12 jet-lag special. Could be interesting.
Posted by Ken in: sports
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