Breaking down Week 2 of the 2017 college football schedule

By Amy Daughters -

Week 2’s college football schedule is all about Saturday night, eight top-ranked teams clashing in four games that kickoff within an hour and a half of each other.

Overall, there are 75 games on tap, down 12 from the 87 we enjoyed in Week 1. FBS vs. FCS contests are slashed from 46 to 26, constituting 34% of the total. Seven include an SEC team, meaning that half of that conference’s Week 2 action is vs. an FCS opponent.

That leaves 49 FBS vs. FBS games, of these 15 feature two Power 5 schools squaring off. Though that’s only 20% of the total, it’s up from the 14% (12 of 87) offered in Week 1.

With the NFL kicking off, there’s only one college game on Thursday night, three on Friday and then a full slate of 71 on Saturday.

Check out this week’s statistical “Perfect Storms” – Week 2 could go down in history as the Week of the Running Back.

RANKED vs. RANKED (4) 

  • (13) Auburn at (3) Clemson – Saturday, 7pm EST, ESPN
  • (5) Oklahoma at (2) Ohio State – Saturday, 7:30pm EST, ABC
  • (15) Georgia at (24) Notre Dame – Saturday, 7:30pm EST, NBC
  • (14) Stanford at (6) USC – Saturday, 8:30pm EST, FOX

OFF THIS WEEK (6)

  • ACC: Miami (game canceled)
  • Big 12: Texas Tech
  • MWC: Air Force
  • Sun Belt: Arkansas State (game canceled), Coastal Carolina, Georgia State

FIRST-EVER MEETINGS (10)

  • Charlotte at (19) Kansas State
  • Cincinnati at (8) Michigan
  • Florida Atlantic at (9) Wisconsin
  • Fresno State at (1) Alabama
  • Middle Tennessee at Syracuse
  • (11) Oklahoma State at South Alabama
  • San Jose State at Texas
  • Texas State at Colorado
  • UAB at Ball State
  • UTSA at Baylor

REUNITED…And it feels so good.

  • Hawaii at UCLA (last played in the 1938-39 Poi Bowl).
  • Houston at Arizona (last played in 1986).
  • Ohio at Purdue (last played in 1988).

STREAKERS

9: UCF has won 9 straight over Memphis (only loss in 1990).

10: Michigan State has won 10 straight over Western Michigan (last loss in 1919).

NEVER-LAND

  • San Diego State has NEVER beaten Arizona State (0-10-1 all-time).
  • East Carolina has NEVER won AT West Virginia (0-13 all-time).
  • Ohio has NEVER beaten Purdue (0-7 all-time).

PERFECT STORMS – ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS IDEAL FOR TORRENTIAL GROUND YARDS

The stars align in Week 2 for the ground game – six rushing defenses that struggled epically in 2016 taking on six rush offenses that were wildly successful. Each presents an opportunity for a fortunate back to have a career day.

(17) Louisville at North Carolina (Saturday, 12pm EST)

2016’s No. 13 rushing attack (Louisville) vs. the No. 108 ranked rush defense (North Carolina). Who to watch: Louisville junior quarterback Lamar Jackson (#8), the No. 1 rushing quarterback in college football last season. Rushed for 107 yards on 21 carries in the 35-28 Week 1 win over Purdue.

East Carolina at West Virginia (Saturday, 12pm EST, FS2)

2016’s No. 25 rushing attack (West Virginia) vs. the No. 111 ranked rush defense (East Carolina). The Pirates gave up 422 yards rushing in their 34-14 loss to FCS James Madison last week. Who to watch: WVU senior running back Justin Crawford (#25), the team’s top back in 2016. Rushed for 106 yards on 13 carries in the Mountaineers’ Week 1 loss to Virginia Tech. The Hokies finished last season ranked No. 32 vs. the run, 79 places higher than ECU.

Buffalo at Army (Saturday, 12pm EST, CBSSN)

2016’s No. 2 rushing offense (Army) vs. the No. 124 ranked rush defense (Buffalo). Who to watch: Army senior quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw (#17), rushed for 177 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1’s 64-6 rout of Fordham.

Fresno State at (1) Alabama (Saturday, 3:30pm EST, ESPN2)

2016’s No. 12 rushing offense (Alabama) vs. the No. 123 ranked rush defense (Fresno State). Who to watch: Alabama junior running back Damien Harris (#34), the team’s top rusher last season, scored the Tide’s only rushing TD vs. Florida State in Week 1. The Seminoles finished 2016 ranked No. 21 vs. the run, 102 slots better than Fresno State.

San Jose State at Texas (Saturday, 3:30pm EST, Longhorn Network)

2016’s No. 17 rushing offense (Texas) vs. the No. 122 ranked rush defense (San Jose State). The Spartans coughed up 315 yards to USF in their 42-22 loss last week. Who to watch: Texas junior running back Chris Warren III (#25), despite rushing for only 31 yards in Week 1’s loss to Maryland this big guy has breakout potential, especially if he gets more than the six carries he had in the opener.

New Mexico State at New Mexico (Saturday, 8pm EST)

2016’s No. 1 ranked rushing offense (New Mexico) vs. the No. 118 ranked rush defense (New Mexico State). Who to watch: New Mexico junior running back Tyrone Owens (#25), rushed for 8.01 yards per carry last season, the fifth best mark in the entire FBS.

HARDWARE UP FOR GRABS

The Cy-Hawk TrophyIowa at Iowa State – series started in 1894 – Iowa leads 42-22-0 and has won six of the last ten.

After meeting 24 times between 1894-1934, the Hawkeyes and Cyclones took a 43-year break, finally reuniting in 1977. The original version of the Cy-Hawk trophy was first awarded in 1978, was revamped to not-so glowing reviews in 2011 and then finally debuted in its current form in 2012. Iowa has won the trophy 25 times vs. Iowa State’s 14.

The Beehive Boot – Utah at BYU – series started in 1922 – Utah leads 56-31-4 and has won six straight.

The BYU/Utah rivalry is known as the “Holy War.” Though there is no traditional physical award for that game, the Beehive Boot is the prize given to the annual winner three-way rivalry between BYU, Utah, and Utah State. The Boot itself, first awarded in 1971, is a 100-year old pioneer boot sourced from where else, the Beehive State (the state’s nickname was chosen because it’s the symbol of hard work and industry). BYU has won 22 boots vs. Utah’s 15 and Utah State’s 9. The Utes have won two straight and three of the last four. The Cougars haven’t worn the boot since 2009.

BYU plays Utah State on Friday, Sept. 29 in Logan. Given that Utah and Utah State aren’t slated to meet in 2017, that game will determine the winner of the Boot.

MIND-BLOWER

Florida Atlantic’s road trip to (9) Wisconsin this Saturday not only marks the first time in history the two programs have met on the gridiron, it’s Lane Kiffin’s first head coaching appearance vs. a Power 5 team in 1,442 days.

Kiffin, now in his first season at FAU, last led a team vs. a Power opponent on Sept. 28, 2013, when he and USC traveled to Arizona State and got pounded 61-14. He was fired the next day.

Kiffin hasn’t scored a win over a Top 25 program since Nov. 19, 2011, when then (18) USC upset (4) Oregon 38-35 in Eugene. Overall, he’s 1-6 vs. the Top 10 and 3-10 vs. the Top 25 as a college head coach.

Historical data courtesy of Sports Reference-College Football. Statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com.

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