Games to Watch: Week 2

Jacob Martella

No. 14 USC vs. No. 13 Stanford

The first Pac-12 match up of the season features a heavy-weight showdown between a team that has dominated the conference the past few seasons and a team that dominated the conference in the past. Stanford, led by senior quarterback Kevin Hogan, is looking to set itself up for another run at the Pac-12 title and possibly a berth in the College Football Playoff. USC is looking to finally get back on top of the conference with new head coach Steve Sarkisian, after opening with an impressive 52-13 win over Fresno State last Friday. Aside from the similar rankings, the biggest reason to watch this game is that each of the last four meetings between the teams have come down to the fourth quarter, and that will likely be the case again Saturday afternoon.

No. 7 Michigan St. vs. No. 3 Oregon

The first meeting between two teams ranked in the top ten will be quite the contrast in styles Saturday night. Michigan State is known as a power-running team with strong defense, similar to Texas, while Oregon has made its name with its fast-paced offense, designed by former head coach Chip Kelly. Also, the Ducks feature a Heisman candidate in redshirt junior quarterback Marcus Mariota, and Autzen Stadium will be rocking. With the winner of this matchup likely having an inside track to a spot in the playoffs, this will be the game to watch Saturday night.

Michigan vs. No. 16 Notre Dame

One of the great college football rivalries will come to an end for the foreseeable future Saturday night when Michigan and Notre Dame take the field in South Bend, Indiana one last time. No matter the result of the game, the Wolverines will retain the all-time series lead, but college football fans will be the big losers in all of this. The two teams stack up as two of the greatest all-time college football programs, with both of them in the top three on the all-time wins list. Neither side is considered a favorite to make the playoffs, but the end of a great rivalry is worth tuning in for.

No. 15 Ole Miss vs. Vanderbilt

On the surface, this doesn’t look like much of a matchup, even in the SEC. Neither team has been a real power in the conference, but that could be changing, especially for Ole Miss. The Rebels are ranked and, despite a slow start against Boise State, are poised to at least make some noise in the SEC West — a charge that will be led by senior quarterback Bo Wallace. The Commodores are looking to build on their success from the last couple of seasons, even without former head coach James Franklin, who left for Penn State. With each of the last two meetings coming down to the wire, this is an under-the-radar matchup that could be one of the best games all weekend.