Week 1 of the 2019 season is in the books with the Top 25 results about what was expected. Only Auburn defeating Oregon in the last 6 seconds was a surprise, but the way Oregon played in the second half, anyone could see it coming.
With that in mind, let’s look at Week 2 games and what we can expect, for there are two critical games that could affect the Playoffs in January to be played.
No. 13 Texas A&M at No. 1 Clemson (-18.5):
What a way to start out Week 2! Texas A&M goes to Clemson for a game that could have major playoff implications, win or lose.
A&M took Clemson on last year, fighting them all the way down to the end of the game, before losing. Can they do it again?
Going against A&M is that they play in Death Valley this year. That alone is worth 7 points to Clemson.
The Aggies had to rebuild their defense this year after losing so many starters last year. The secondary picked 3 passes last week against Texas State, but they are not playing Texas State this week.
Clemson performed admirably against Georgia Tech, a team that is nowhere near the Tech teams of old. But QB Trevor Lawrence was not as sharp as expected.
This week, the Trevor Lawrence of old should return. If he does not, then his Heisman hopes begin to dim. And Lawrence can’t do the job, the running back Travis Eitenne will take over and win it for the Tigers.
Clemson wins but DOES NOT COVER the spread.
UPDATE: Clemson proved once again why they are one of the top teams in the nation. They defeated Texas A&M handily, 24 – 10. The score was not indicative how thoroughly the Tigers dominated the Aggies. The Tigers remain the #1 team in PU’s rankings.
New Mexico State at No. 2 Alabama (-54)
Not much you can say about this game. Alabama will win easily. The only question is whether they can cover the spread.
Tua Tagovailoa had a solid game last week, going 26-for-31 with 336 yards and four touchdowns. Jerry Jeudy hauled in 10 of those completions for 137 yards and a score.
The ground game was more disappointing with no one really taking off. Leading rusher Jerome Ford only picked up 64 on 10 carries. The good news is that the front of the schedule is weak, with South Carolina and Southern Miss to play early. Bama will be able to work on the ground game and get it ready for the big games ahead.
Bama wins, but DOES NOT COVER the spread.
UPDATE: Bama won, as expected. 62 – 10 was the score, but Bama did not cover the spread. Very hard to cover a 54 point spread.
Murray State at No. 3 Georgia (-50)
In another meaningless game, Murray State goes to Georgia.
Georgia had an impressive first game victory against Vanderbilt, winning 30-6 behind the running of D’Andre Swift, Brian Herrien and Zamir White who combined to rush for 263 yards on only 33 carries.
Georgia QB Jake Fromm was less than impressive against Vandy, but makes up for it this week.
Georgia wins and COVERS the spread.
UPDATED: Georgia did as expected, defeating Murray State 63-17. They did not cover the spread.
South Dakota at No. 4 Oklahoma (-39)
Jalen Hurts had his debut game for Oklahoma last week. He combined for six touchdowns and over 500 yards of offense. This week, he continues his numbers production in his chase for the Heisman.
South Dakota? Hope the site seeing is good. The game will not be.
Oklahoma wins and COVERS the spread.
UPDATE: Jaylen Rose continued his quest for Heisman consideration with a passing performance of 14-18, 279 yards and 3 tds as Oklahoma rolled to a 70-14 victory.
Cincinnati at No. 5 Ohio State (-17)
Cincinnati comes to visit the Buckeyes after winning against UCLA last week in a gutsy performance. The Buckeyes had an easy victory over Florida Atlantic in a tune up game.
Buckeye QB Justin Fields did okay against FAU. He totaled 5 touchdowns but his first quarter of play was the only impressive one. Meanwhile, the Bearcats are not an FAU team and will play much stronger defense.
This game will be won or lost on the play of the Buckeyes defense and Bearcats offense. Ohio State should limit Bearcat scoring and grab the win.
Ohio State wins, but DOES NOT COVER the spread.
UPDATE: Well, PU did not do well with the spread. Ohio State destroyed the Bearcats 42 – 0. They remain a legitimate contender for the playoffs in January.
No. 6 LSU at No. 9 Texas (+4.5)
The second major game of the week takes the LSU Tigers to Texas to play the Longhorns. Though a non conference, a win or loss could play havoc with the Playoff hopes for each team.
LSU brings their new offense to town, and hopes to repeat their performance last week. They will be going up against Texas QB Sam Ehlinger who had his own capable performance last week.
Watch the LSU offensive line during the game. If LSU can keep the QB safe, then the Tigers have a chance of defeating Bama and Georgia later in the season. If not, their chances for the Playoffs are nil.
A Texas win should vault them into the Top 5 when one of the teams falter, which they will. It also sets up the OU/Texas game as must watch tv. The winner should likely be in the Playoffs.
Texas wins UPSET of LSU.
UPDATE: We learned two things from the LSU victory over Texas. 1) LSU is for real. Texas has a long ways to go to compete against the Sooners later in the season.
Army at No. 7 Michigan (-23)
Here we go…..a game I am looking forward. Army travels to Michigan to take on the 23 point favorite Wolverines.
Army had the best season it has had in many years, finishing in the Top 25. They hope to repeat this year and this game will indicate just how good Army is.
Army plays a ball control game, using a triple option offense with the passing game being limited. This eats up time and yardage.
Michigan must deal with the triple option and stop Army time and again. With Army’s offense, Michigan will be hard pressed to score time and again.
Michigan wins, but DOES NOT COVER the spread. Army proves it is for real.
UPDATE: Michigan barely won this game 24-21. It took 2 overtimes and the recovery of an Army fumble to seal the deal. It was Army’s ground game that kept them going and almost getting the upset.
The game has some important considerations. Army should now find itself ranked in the Top 25 within the next couple of weeks. And Michigan has a real concern now with their upcoming schedule. Army may have shown the way on how to defeat Michigan.
#8 Notre Dame does not play
#9 Texas at #6 LSU
Tulane at No. 10 Auburn (-17.5)
Auburn opened up its season last week with a last 6 second victory over the heavily favored Oregon Ducks. This vaulted them several spots up the rankings.
Bo Nix played his first game as the Tiger quarterback. He showed his lack of experience, but when it was time with the game on the line, he made the key pass to win the game.
This week, Nix gets to play a more relaxed game. He is not playing against a higher ranked team like Oregon. Instead, he gets the Tulane Green Wave, when is more like a ripple.
Unfortunately, this game does not give any indication of how Auburn will perform in the SEC.
Auburn wins and COVERS the spread.
UPDATE: Auburn won 26-6 over Tulane. It took them a while to get going. The Tigers are a long shot from beating the Top SEC teams.
UT Martin at No. 11 Florida (-41)
Florida gets back on the field after their almost disaster of a game against Miami previously. In that game, the Florida defensive secondary did everything it could to lose the game through pass interference penalties and missed coverages. And the offense did little better with four turnovers. Barely did they pull out the win.
Against UT Martin, Florida is going to win. Period. No doubt.
UT Martin will give Florida another week to get the kinks and bugs out before traveling to Kentucky next week.
Florida wins, but DOES NOT COVER the spread.
UPDATE: Florida came ready to play and won 45-0. But the Gators did not show enough to believe that they can compete for the SEC title.
#12 Texas A&M plays #1 Clemson
Northern Illinois at No. 13 Utah (-21.5)
Utah continues to prepare for the Pac 12 South race playing Northern Illinois this week. Utah must come out strong and show that they are the team to beat in the South.
Northern Illinois brings little into this game to compete against the Utes. They will have to put points up on the scoreboard, but have not the talent to do so.
The Utes win and COVERS the spread.
UPDATE: The Utes defeated NIU 35 – 17. They did not cover the spread.
Cal at No. 14 Washington (-13.5)
Washington returned to the gridiron for 2019 with Georgia transfer quarterback Jacob Eason leading the team. Though having a great outing last week against Eastern Washington throwing for 349 yards and 4 touchdowns, he faces a tougher test against Cal.
Cal comes into the game with problems in their passing game. Starter Jake Browning was benched, and Jake Haener who replaced him, was picked and lost the game.
Cal will attempt to keep the game close in the first half, but will wear down in the second half.
Washington wins to start the Race for the Roses and COVERS the spread.
UPDATE: In a surprise, Cal defeated Washington 20-19. This has harmed Washington’s march to win the PAC 12 title. And, they are no longer in any Playoff scenario.
Buffalo at No. 15 Penn State (-29.5)
Last week, Penn State had their way against Idaho. They were way beyond the talent of Idaho and had their way both offensively and defensively throughout the game.
This week, Penn State takes on Buffalo, another weak sister team.
Penn State wins and COVERS the spread.
UPDATE: Penn State defeated Buffalo 45-13. Penn State fans should be worried about the coming games against real opponents.
Nevada at No. 16 Oregon (-24)
Last week, Oregon opened the season to a last 6 second loss against Auburn. Favored to win, Oregon’s play in the 3rd quarter was such that most watchers expected the Ducks to lose the game.
QB Herbert will have to take things into his hands this week. Fortunately, he plays the Nevada Wolfpack, a team not to be feared by upper level teams.
Oregon will be out to prove they are a quality team, and this time, the defense will play like a quality team.
Oregon wins and COVERS the spread.
UPDATE: Oregon got back on track, defeating Nevada 77-6. After the Washington loss, the Ducks must be considered likely PAC 12 North favorites.
#17 UCF (-10) at Florida Atlantic
Alright, what is going on? UCF only a 10 point favorite against FAU? No way!
Yes, FAU did play the Buckeyes strong from the 5:00 minute mark in the 1st quarter, but that was only because the Buckeyes held the lead at 28-0 after the first 10 minutes, and just cruised to victory the rest of the way.
UCF will jump out to a large lead against FAU and not look back. Instead, they look forward to getting back into the Top 10 and securing another New Year’s Day Bowl game.
UCF wins easily and COVERS the spread.
UPDATE: UCF defeated FAU easily 48-14, in a game that was not as close as the score indicates. UCF should move up a bit in the polls.
Central Michigan at No. 18 Wisconsin (-35)
Wisconsin had a disappointing 2018 after a Pre-Season Ranking at #5. They were just unable to put all their talent together on the same page at the same time. In 2019, they hope to redeem themselves behind Jonathan Taylor and a powerful rushing attack.
Central Michigan? They just don’t have the talent to keep up with even the 2018 Wisconsin version.
Wisconsin wins and COVERS the spread.
UPDATE: Wisconsin came out and thoroughly destroyed Central Michigan 61 – 0. Expect Wisconsin to begin a climb up the polls.
Western Michigan at No. 19 Michigan State (-7)
Michigan State opened the year against Tulsa with a 28-7 victory. However, the score is more impressive than the actual play. Michigan State averaged just 3.9 yards per play against a woefully inadequate team.
Can Western Michigan defeat Michigan State? Just looking at the spread, in Western Michigan qb Jon Wassink has a good game, they may just win. But PU does not engage in hope.
Michigan State wins and COVERS the spread.
UPDATE: Michigan State won 51-17. They still have a lot of work ahead to compete in the conference.
Rutgers at #20 Iowa (-20)
Rutgers has Texas Tech transfer leading them in the quarterback position. In his first start, he threw for 340 yards with 2 touchdowns, but also 3 interceptions.
Iowa comes into the game with a strong defense to go with a decent offense. Rutgers cannot compete with that.
Iowa wins and COVERS the spread.
UPDATE: Iowa defeated Rutgers easily, 30 – 0.
No. 21 Syracuse (-3) at Maryland
Syracuse had a successful season in 2018, almost upending Clemson during the regular season and derailing the Tigers road to a national title. This year, once again, Syracuse hopes to challenge for the Conference Title with Clemson standing in the way.
Maryland goes into this game with a solid offense, scoring 79 points last week, and hoping for an upset behind the Virginia Tech transfer Josh Jackson who will be leading the offense.
Syracuse pulls out the win barely and just COVERS the spread.
UPDATE: Say goodbye to the Top 25 for Syracuse. The Terps totally dismantled them 63 – 20. This means that Clemson has no opponents in the AAC to challenge them for the Conference Title. And Clemson goes to the playoffs.
Northern Colorado at No. 22 Washington State (-36.5)
Washington State continues its non-conference play against lowly Northern Colorado. Junior college transfer quarterback Anthony Gordon performed admirably and was named Pac 12 Player of the Week after throwing for 420 yards and 5 touchdowns. This week, he continues to rack up the yards and td’s.
Northern Colorado allowed San Jose State 224 yards and 2 tds last week. Their defense has no answer for Gordon.
Washington State has another great offensive display against Northern Colorado. They win and COVER the spread.
UPDATE: Washington State performed as expected, defeating Northern Colorado 59-17.
No. 23 Stanford (-4.5) at USC
USC began the year losing for the year quarterback JT Daniels to a knee injury. Replacing him is freshman Kedon Slovis who in relief, won the game over Fresno State.
Stanford comes into the game after a win over Northwestern, 17-7. Their defense gave up 4.3 yards per play, as the offense missed several chances to score. The problem for Stanford is that they will be without KJ Costello for the game. His replacement, Davis, is a major step down at qb.
Offensively, Stanford is the better team. Defensively, Stanford and USC is about the same. Give this game to Stanford.
Stanford wins, but DOES NOT COVER the spread.
UPDATE: Stanford lost to USC 45-20, taking them out of the PAC 12 race and the Top 25. USC established itself as a contender for the PAC 12 South, with their only real opponent being the Utah Utes for the title.
Marshall at No. 24 Boise State (-12)
The Thundering Herd of Marshall goes to Boise State this week, as 12 point underdogs. Qb Isaiah Green had a good outing in last week’s game against VMI, tossing 4 touchdowns. Perform to this level and Marshall wins.
Boise State had a tough outing against Florida State, but their defense recorded 11 plays resulting in losses. The defense must perform again to this level. If not, then a potential upset is in the making.
Give this one to Boise State. They win, but DO NOT COVER the spread.
UPDATE: Boise State wins 14 – 7, but do not cover the spread.
No. 25 Nebraska at Colorado (+5)
Nebraska started the year with a win over South Alabama, but did not look good in the process, averaging only 4.2 yards per play. Will this be typical of play this year? They must up their offensive output to compete in the Big 10 West.
Colorado is a team that is designed to handle defenses like Nebraska. If the Nebraska defense is not as good against Colorado, a far better team than South Alabama, then the Huskers are in for a long day.
Colorado wins in an UPSET over Nebraska.
UPDATE: PU called this one. Colorado UPSET Nebraska 34 – 31. We can now say, Nebraska is NOT back.