A look at five games to watch during Week 2 of the college football season.
Cincinnati at No. 5 Ohio State, Saturday, ABC, 9 a.m. PDT
The Buckeyes haven’t lost to an in-state opponent since suffering a 7-6 defeat against Oberlin College in 1921, so this isn’t a likely upset. But there is a chance Cincinnati, coming off a 24-14 win over UCLA, has the talent to make this one entertaining. The Bearcats had two extra days of preparation, and Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell should know Ohio State better than any opposing coach, given he’s a former player and longtime assistant who was the interim coach after the school fired Jim Tressel. You think Fickell didn’t want to be the guy to replace Urban Meyer instead of Ryan Day? This is also the first chance to see how Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields handles a real defense.
No. 12 Texas A&M at No. 1 Clemson, Saturday, ABC, 12:30 p.m. PDT
There are only so many contests on the schedule that could provide a stiff test for Clemson, and this is one of them. Texas A&M is young, but the Aggies challenged the Tigers last season in College Station before falling 28-26. In that game, Texas A&M quarterback Kellen Mond passed for 430 yards and three touchdowns. Playing at Clemson this time around, it will take that kind of performance to keep the game tight and put some late pressure on Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
No. 25 Nebraska at Colorado, Saturday, Fox, 12:30 p.m. PDT
Week 1 overreactions would lead one to believe Nebraska was overrated entering the season and Colorado was underrated, making this game a lot more of a contest than it originally looked. Nebraska, a trendy pick to win the Big Ten West Division in Scott Frost’s second season in Lincoln, struggled offensively against South Alabama before winning 35-21. Colorado, largely forgotten with new coach Mel Tucker coming in, rolled over Colorado State 52-31. If this week is anything like last, this could be the game of the day.
No. 6 Louisiana State at No. 9 Texas, Saturday, ABC, 4:30 p.m. PDT
Ed Orgeron’s taking his Tigers to Austin to take on Tom Herman’s Longhorns is the day’s headliner for good reason. Now LSU and Texas just have to make sure it lives up to the hype. Either way, the winner will suddenly have a feather in its cap that will carry it deep into the season as a College Football Playoff contender, providing some margin for error the rest of the way. The Texas offense led by the gritty Sam Ehlinger against the talent-rich LSU defense is strength versus strength. The question will be which of the lesser units — LSU’s offense and Texas’ defense — has come far enough along. The Tigers have finally opened up their offense with senior quarterback Joe Burrow and a scary group of formerly underused wide receivers. Can they shine on a starry night deep in the heart of Texas?
California at No. 15 Washington, Saturday, FS1, 7:30 p.m.
USC-Stanford will draw more attention nationally, but with freshman quarterback Kedon Slovis starting for USC and K.J. Costello out for Stanford, California-Washington is a better barometer game for those teams. The Golden Bears upset Washington 12-10 last season in Berkeley, so it’s a revenge game for the Huskies. Cal still boasts one of the best defenses in the Pac-12 if not the nation, so new Washington quarterback Jacob Eason will have his work cut out for him.