Week 1 of the college football slate gave us great performances by Trevor Lawrence, Sam Ehlinger and Spencer Rattler. However, Ehlinger and Rattler are idle this week and Lawrence plays Citadel, so he won’t play long. But, here are some exciting games with exciting players to watch this weekend.
Teams, Time (Central Time), TV Network
Tulsa @ Oklahoma State, 11:00 am on ESPN
Oklahoma State is loaded with talented players. Most notably, running back Chuba Hubbard and wide receiver Tylan Wallace. The dynamic duo has already made a name for themselves but each player has a new narrative this season. Wallace is coming off an ACL injury and looking to return to the Biletnikoff Award form we saw pre-injury. Hubbard is not recovering from injury but is out to prove he can duplicate the season he had in 2019. Hubbard led the nation in rushing last year with 2,094 yards but will be the focal point of every defense in the Big 12. Quarterback Spencer Sanders cannot be left off the list. The third year passer won the starting job last year but had an up-and-down season. Sanders should see a blowup with a talented supporting cast returning in 2020, as well as being uber talented himself.
More notable players: TE Jelani Woods, OT Tevan Jenkins, DB Kolby Harvell-Peel, DB Tre Sterling.
Austin Peay @ Cincinnati, 11:00 am on ESPN+
The Bearcats’ defense is LEGIT! Led by senior safeties James Wiggins and Darrick Forrest, the AAC will have their hands full trying to throw against Cincy and their loaded secondary. They also return All-AAC corner Ahmad Gardner and junior safety Ja’von Hicks, who led the team with five picks in 2019. On the offensive side of the ball Desmond Ridder had a nice 2019 despite fighting through injuries for most of the season. Ridder has “plus” mobility and rushed for 675 yards last year. Another year as starter should see the young QB more comfortable and confident in Cincinnati.
Louisiana @ Georgia State, 11:00 am on ESPN2
The Ragin’ Cajuns stunned Iowa State in Week 1 but they aren’t sneaking up on Georgia State this week. The Fun Belt matchup will give us a look at three senior players that caught my eye last week. Quarterback Levi Lewis and running backs Elijah Mitchell and Trey Ragas look like NFL prospects and should light up a Georgia State defense that struggled against the run in 2019.
Syracuse @ Pittsburgh, 11:00 am on ACC Network
Last week we were able to see what Andre Cisco could do against a top quarterback and he didn’t disappoint – grabbing his 13th career interception. Syracuse corners Trill Williams and Ifeatu Melifonwu will also be must watch players after solid performances against the talented UNC receivers. On the other sideline, the Pitt Panthers have a solid defense even without Jaylen Twyman who has opted out. Defensive linemen Patrick Jones, Rashad Weaver and Deslin Alexander were already on the radar but now they have to prove they can perform when Twyman isn’t on the field. And that shouldn’t be a problem against a terrible Syracuse offensive line. Junior safety Paris Ford is another player to watch on the Pitt defense. Ford hits like a truck and runs like a mustang and is already a fan favorite for Panther fans.
App State @ Marshall, 12:30 pm on CBSSN
App State and Marshall offer a great quarterback battle with senior Zac Thomas for App State and freshman Grant Wells for Marshall. Wells carved up Eastern Kentucky in his first start but will get a real test this weekend against App State. Wells has a live arm but was also able to get out of the pocket and make plays with his legs. The freshman will need a complete performance to compete with App State and quarterback Zac Thomas. Thomas is also a dual-threat QB and will rely on his legs to get him out of tough spots but also on designed runs. Look for a QB battle this weekend in West Virginia.
Miami @ Louisville, 6:30 pm on ABC
Neither team was truly tested in their first game, with Miami taking on UAB and Louisville hosting Western Kentucky, but this week will be different in a big ACC matchup. Miami has transfer quarterback D’Eriq King and even though he has struggled in his last five games, he was phenomenal his junior year in Houston and getting compared to Kyler Murray. Miami will also look to a transfer player on defense in Quincy Roche. The Temple grad recorded 13 sacks and 19 tackles for loss in 2019 and is now paired with an even better defensive line in Miami. Even though Miami enters this game as the higher ranked team, my pick to win is Louisville. Louisville has four players that I can’t wait to see in quarterback Micale Cunningham, running back Javian Hawkins as well as receivers Tutu Atwell and Dez Fitzpatrick. Louisville finished second in the ACC in scoring last year with 33.1 points per game and I expected that to continue this weekend against Miami. Cunningham and Hawkins can beat you on the ground in coach Scott Satterfield’s run heavy offense, but the receiver talent is where I think the Cardinals will be different. With most of its offense returning in 2020 I think Louisville will open up the playbook and air it out more in 2020. Either on the ground or through the air, Louisville is going to be tough to stop.