College football season has arrived and Week 2 will be the real kick-off special with a flurry of games, featuring plenty of top-25 teams on the schedule. As we look ahead to this week’s NCAA football action with the ACC and Big 12 returning to play, we predict fans will see big scores from the top games.
Unfortunately, we won’t get to see the Big Ten or Pac-12 play college football this fall. However, both Power 5 conferences are working towards a return to the gridiron amid the COVID-19 pandemic with innovative solutions and increasing optimism for football to come back.
With the SEC football schedule not kicking off until later this month, the spotlight in Week 2 of the college football season centers on the ACC, Big 12 and some smaller programs. With the action closing in, let’s dive into the upcoming football schedule with our college football score predictions for the top games.
Week 2 college football predictions: ACC and Big-12 games
UAB Blazers at Miami Hurricanes
Time/television: Sept. 10 at 8:00 PM EST, ACC Network
UAB-Miami point spread: Hurricanes -13.5 (54.0 over/under)
If playing amid a pandemic wasn’t difficult enough, the Blazers entered the fall with heavy hearts after freshman Jamari Smith passed away in a tragic accident. UAB played in his honor in Week 1, delivering a 45-35 win over Central Arkansas. The driving force behind the win, UAB’s running game racked up 233 rushing yards and three scores. Unfortunately, this week’s clash against Miami will be far more challenging.
While the Hurricanes aren’t a top-25 team entering the season, that could change rather quickly. The arrival of D’Eriq King might make this one of the most improved offenses in college football and it will make Miami’s offense far more exciting. We’re also keeping an eye on tight end Brevin Jordan, a potential first-round pick in 2021. On the defensive side, losing edge rusher Gregory Rousseau is a blow. However, transfer Quincy Roche could replicate his production this season.
Week 2 college football prediction: Hurricanes 38, Blazers 17
Syracuse Orange at North Carolina Tar Heels (18)
Time/television: Sept. 12 at 12:00 PM EST, ACC Network
Syracuse-North Carolina point spread: Tar Heels -19.5 (63.0 over/under)
Syracuse will be dealing with the realities of playing during the coronavirus pandemic immediately. The Orange are set to start a redshirt freshman at running back, a tight end will be at left guard and their linebackers are widely inexperienced. Quite simply, this team is far worse than the five-win team that took the field in 2019.
While the fans won’t be able to watch the Tar Heels in-person to begin the college football season, the opener should be a treat for everyone. Everyone is talking about quarterback Sam Howell and for good reason, he could be the No. 1 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. We saw greatness from him as a freshman with 38 touchdowns and he could be even sharper in his second season. Given their opponent, this should be a day for North Carolina’s offense to roll.
Week 2 college football prediction: Tar Heels 42, Syracuse 20
Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns at Iowa State Cyclones (23)
Time/television: Sept. 12 at 12:00 PM EST, ESPN
Louisiana-Iowa State point spread: Cyclones -11.0 (56.0 over/under)
Coming off an 11-3 campaign, Louisiana is feeling good about the direction of its football program. They have reason to be happy with senior quarterback Levi Lewis (3,050 passing yards, 29 total touchdowns) and 1,000-yard rusher Elijah Mitchell returning. This is a team that loves to run the football, but a season-opening test against Iowa State is a daunting challenge. However, this team held its own against top competition last season with single-digit losses to Mississippi State and Appalachian State.
On the other side, Iowa State will rely on quarterback Brock Purdy to carry this team as far as possible. He earned second-team All-Big 12 honors this past year and will be looking to draw eyes from NFL scouts. The Cyclones won’t have home-field advantage on Saturday, playing in an empty stadium, but it’s better than the devastating financial toll if the season was canceled. If Iowa State can start the season hot, perhaps the fans could return in October for a ranked-versus-ranked battle against Oklahoma.
Week 2 college football prediction: Cyclones 31, Ragin’ Cajuns 24
Louisiana Tech Bulldogs at Baylor Bears
Time/television: Sept. 12 at 12:00 PM EST, FOX
Louisiana Tech-Baylor point spread: Baylor -18.5 (55.0 over/under)
Since hiring Skip Holtz, the son of iconic college football coach Lou Holtz, Louisiana Tech has turned into a perennial winner. The Bulldogs have won at least seven games in each of the past six seasons and are coming off a 10-win campaign in 2019. Louisiana’s running game will be core to its success this season, but that will all depend on how the offensive line fares. Of course, a Week 1 test against Baylor will be a sizable test for this team.
Losing head coach Matt Rhule to the NFL was a massive blow for Baylor’s football program, but it might have landed a gem in Dave Aranda. He boasts one of the sharpest defensive minds in football and his work with the Bears’ defense should go a long way. If Aranda’s defense steps up and quarterback Charlie Brewer stays healthy, Baylor could make another run at the Big 12 Championship.
Week 2 college football prediction: Baylor 28, Louisiana Tech 13
Duke Blue Devils at Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Time/television: Sept. 12 at 2:30 PM EST, NBC
Duke-Notre Dame point spread: Notre Dame -19.5 (53.5 over/under)
In an offseason full of marquee quarterback transfers, like D’Eriq King and Jamie Newman, Duke’s addition of Chase Brice flew under the radar. A four-star recruit in the 2015 class, the junior will finally get his chance to shine as a starter. The situation is made for success with a strong supporting cast of weapons and head coach David Cutcliffe putting Brice in position to succeed. Granted, we might not see signs of progress in Week 1.
Brian Kelly guaranteed a 2020 college football season and he delivered, joining the ACC in the process. Things might look a little different this year with former quarterback Tommy Rees designing the offense, but Ian Book’s return is huge for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame trounced Duke last season 38-7 in a game where Book wasn’t particularly sharp, which shouldn’t be an issue this time around. Things will get tougher for Kelly and Book in the ACC, but the 2020 season should begin on a bright note.
Week 2 college football prediction: Fighting Irish 38, Duke 17
Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets at Florida State Seminoles
Time/television: Sept. 12 at 3:30 PM EST, ABC
Georgia Tech-Florida State point spread: Florida State -12 (54.5 over/under)
It would be an understatement to call Geoff Collins’ first season with the football program a failure. The Yellow Jackets were routinely blown out by their opponents and struggled to find the end zone each week. However, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Transitioning this team out of the triple-option offense into the modern game takes time, which will be evident again in 2020.
Florida State isn’t exactly in great standing, either. Willie Taggart didn’t even last two seasons, but the Seminoles hope Mike Norvell can turn things around. If you’re looking for excitement, receiver Tamorrion Terry brings it on offense. On the other side, Florida State could have two potential 2021 first-round picks in defensive tackle Marvin Wilson and cornerback Asante Samuel Jr. An ACC Championship Game trip won’t happen, but this team should be fun to watch.
Week 2 college football prediction: Florida State 30, Georgia Tech 17
Arkansas State Red Wolves at Kansas State Wildcats
Time/television: Sept. 12 at 3:30 PM EST, FOX SPORTS 1
Arkansas State-Kansas State point spread: Kansas State -10.5 (57.0 over/under)
Arkansas State’s 2020 season started on a rough note, dropping its opener to Memphis. Unsurprisingly, a defense that allowed 480 passing yards per game in 2019 is still bad as we saw with Brady White’s four touchdowns. As for the offense, Arkansas State’s quarterback rotation doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in this unit.
The Wildcats will once again depend on Skylar Thompson to make plays with his legs. He ran for 11 scores in 2019 and was an effective passer, completing 59.6% of his passes with a 12-5 TD-INT ratio. A matchup against Arkansas State’s defense is favorable, but Kansas State is dangerously thin at receiver and along the offensive line due to COVID-19 issues. So, it will be up to Thompson to carry this team once again.
Week 2 college football prediction: Kansas State 28, Arkansas State 13
Austin Peay Governors at Pittsburgh Panthers
Time/television: Sept. 12 at 4:00 PM, ACC Network
Austin Peay-Pittsburgh point spread: Pittsburgh -24.5 (49.5 over/under)
We will always appreciate Austin Peay for giving us the first touchdown of the 2020 college football season, an explosive play at that. Things didn’t go well for the Governors after the season-opening score, given they lost 24-17 despite winning the turnover battle. Unfortunately, things are about to get much worse for this team.
Pittsburgh isn’t exactly a powerhouse FBS program, but they can easily dismantle their FCS competition. We’re especially excited to watch this defensive line, even without future first-round pick Jaylen Twyman. This should be a good tune-up game for the Panthers, giving their passing attack a chance to establish some momentum early on.
Week 2 college football prediction: Pittsburgh 27, Austin Peay 7
Missouri State Bears at Oklahoma Sooners (5)
Time/television: Sept. 12 at 7:00 PM EST, pay-per-view broadcast
Missouri State-Oklahoma point spread: NONE
If you’re wondering where Bobby Petrino is now, the answer is coaching at Missouri State. After being fired by Louisville, Petrino took a year off and will be making his return to the sidelines this season with the Bears. Missouri State’s football program hasn’t won a conference title since 1990 and they went 13-42 from 2015-’19. Needless to say, this is a very bad football team and it’s going to take Petrino a lot of time to get anything from this program.
Oklahoma might treat this game like a scrimmage. We’ll see Spencer Rattler early, but head coach Lincoln Riley will likely sit his starters very quickly once the Sooners start rolling. Oklahoma may also be short-handed after multiple COVID-19 outbreaks in recent months sidelined more than 20 players. After signing a massive extension, expect Riley’s team to deliver an even bigger blowout.
Week 2 college football prediction: Oklahoma 55, Missouri State 7
Clemson Tigers (1) at Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Time/television: Sept. 12 at 7:30 PM EST, ABC
Clemson-Wake Forest point spread: Clemson -32.5 (60.0 over/under)
Coming off a disappointing end to their 2019 season, Clemson had a hectic offseason. A Tigers’ legend joined Dabo Swinney’s coaching staff, Travis Etienne shocked everyone by returning for 2020 and the team lost star receiver Justyn Ross and edge rusher Xavier Thomas (COVID-19) for the season. The good news, Heisman Trophy favorite Trevor Lawrence is back and Clemson has a great shot at winning it all.
Clemson Tigers preview: Will Trevor Lawrence finally be unleashed?
Things looked promising for Wake Forest last season. The Demon Deacons finished 8-5 and had a superstar quarterback-receiver combo with Jamie Newman and Sage Surratt. Unfortunately, Newman transferred and Surratt became the latest star to opt-out by declaring for the NFL Draft. It might not be easy to watch Wake Forest’s offense this season, but edge rusher Carlos Basham Jr. will bring fire to this defense before he makes his way to the NFL. As for this matchup, Wake Forest lost 52-3 last season with Newman. Safe to say this one won’t be pretty.
Week 2 college football prediction: Clemson 49, Wake Forest 7
UTEP Miners at Texas Longhorns (14)
Time/television: Sept. 12 at 8:00 PM EST, Longhorn Network
UTEP-Texas point spread: Texas -43 (60.5 over/under)
The Miners kicked off their season in style with a nice 24-14 win over Stephen F. Austin, with freshman running back Deion Hankins (113 rushing yards, two touchdowns) leading the way. It was a respectable showing for UTEP’s offense, which has been a rarity in recent years. We hope the team enjoyed the good feeling, because things will come crashing down this week with a brutal matchup against Texas.
We know the Longhorns’ offense will miss Devin Duvernay and Collin Johnson and Texas needs someone in its reworked receiving corps to step up. Of course, Sam Ehlinger returning to campus is huge, especially if he can take the next step and become a Heisman Trophy contender. He’ll be supported by a strong backfield featuring Keontay Ingram, Roschon Johnson and five-star signee Bijan Robinson.
We’ll be keeping an eye on how new defensive coordinator Chris Ash does after a summer training period that was impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A defense with safety Caden Sterns, a potential top-50 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and edge rusher Joseph Ossai should certainly make things easier for Ash.
Week 2 college football prediction: Texas 48, UTEP 10