Games to Watch: Week 2

Jacob Martella

No. 7 Oregon vs No. 5 Michigan State
Saturday — 7 p.m. — ABC

The game of the week features a rematch of last year’s contest which saw the Ducks pile on 28 points in the second half en route to a 46-27 win. There is, however, one noticeable difference this time around — no Marcus Mariota. Senior quarterback Vernon Adams proved he belonged as the starter for Oregon with 246 passing yards and two touchdowns and 94 rushing yards, but he’s going up against a traditionally stout Spartans defense. That, along with one of these teams’ playoff hopes going down with a loss, makes this the must-watch game of the week.

No. 19 Oklahoma vs No. 23 Tennessee
Saturday — 5 p.m. — ESPN

This game will get overshadowed by the Oregon vs. Michigan State game, but this is an intriguing matchup between two dark-horse teams for the playoffs. Oklahoma finds itself in the odd position of not being one of the favorites in the Big 12. But with a number of returners and transfer quarterback Baker Mayfield, this is the kind of statement game that can get the Sooners back in the mix. Meanwhile, Tennessee has been in the cellar in the SEC East, but a win at home against a Power Five opponent could change that perception. It’s not the sexy matchup that it would have been a decade ago, but this is an important game for the perception of each school.

No. 20 Boise State vs BYU
Saturday — 9:15 p.m. — ESPN2

The luster of this game wore off a bit following BYU quarterback Taysom Hill’s injury in the Cougars’ win over Nebraska last week, but this will be the best of the late-night viewing. After TCU’s move to the Big 12, these two teams have been biggest of the “mid-majors” hoping to crash the Power Five’s playoff party. Boise State barely walked out of Washington with a win last week and BYU backup freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum has big shoes to fill at the position, but these two sides still should put on a show in Provo, Utah.

No. 14 LSU vs No. 25 Mississippi State
Saturday — 8:15 p.m. — ESPN

The SEC schedule gets an early start with LSU traveling to Starkville, Mississippi, with revenge on its mind. Last year, Mississippi State went into ‘Death Valley’ and pulled off what many opponents only dream of doing — walking out with a win. But pulling off a win over the Tigers two years in a row will be no easy task. LSU sophomore running back Leonard Fournette is poised to take over the SEC this year, while Bulldogs senior quarterback Dak Prescott is looking to rekindle his success from last year. And even though Mississippi State isn’t getting the hype it was a year ago, as we saw last year, anything can happen in the SEC.