Here we are, the middle of week two and the time that most teams are exaggerating, whether that is positive or negative. Teams coming off week one wins feeling like title contenders and week 1 losers fervently searching for answers. My advice, and from the words on the great Aaron Rodgers, R-E-L-A-X! Week 2 could change everything, so let’s dive in to the matchups we have in store for tonight.
oregon vs. texas
Let’s take a look at our first matchup of the night as the Oregon Ducks (0-1) travel to Austin to face the reigning National Champion Texas Longhorns (0-1). Oregon dropped a shootout to Clemson in week one of the season in what was the highest scoring game as both teams combined for 103 points, making bettors very happy in the process. The Longhorns, facing the toughest road as reigning champs, lost an overtime thriller to Auburn in a rematch of last season’s National Title game.
The Oregon offense picked up from where they left off last season, as the Ducks gained 550 yards on offense, led by senior signal-caller DeVonta Cribbs, who accounted for 498 yards through the air and five touchdowns, three of those to star studded receiver Dijon Swann. The Ducks struggles came in the ground game, where highly regarded tailback Jimmy Tickle was stifled by the Tigers defense. Newcomer at safety, Cai Brummer, played extremely well for the Ducks defense; but, that was the only bright spot for them on defense as they were struggled to stop the run. The Ducks will need to rebound quickly as they get an even tougher matchup with Texas, who features probably the top running quarterback in the nation.
Texas found themselves playing from behind most of the game last week against Auburn but battled back and got themselves into overtime against the re-loaded Auburn Tigers squad. The offense for the Longhorns was struggled compared to seasons past. Instead, Texas turned to Penn State’s quarterback transfer, Walker Mills, to lead the offense. Mills is a terrific runner, but the knock on his game has always been his throwing ability, specifically his accuracy. That story played true again in this one as Texas did most of their damage on the ground with Mills who touted 22 carries, 137 yards, and a score. Halfback Tarraj Walker complimented that performance with a score of his own and 44 yards off 16 carries with another 10 catches. The Texas defense kept them in the game, led by two-time defensive player of the year, safety Jimbo Smithers. Texas has to get the pass game going against a team who will surely be keying the run.
This game is a set up to be a trap game for Texas as their secondary does not match up well against the high powered offense of Oregon. Oregon will be geared up against Mills and the run so Texas needs to get the pass game going or they could find themselves playing from behind again and possibly 0-2. However, Texas is at home for the first time and national title ceremonies will have Texas Memorial Stadium rocking. Give me Texas, albeit in a close one.
Oregon 35, Texas 41
nebraska VS. alabama
Here is where we might be getting in to the exaggeration talk. Nebraska (1-0) looked incredible last week as they put up 65 points and routed Florida in their first game as a CFSL program and their home opener. We don’t want to take anything away from Nebraska but some might say that Florida isn’t the best opponent to gauge a team’s talent on. Alabama (1-0) surprised some people in their first CFSL game, with a 36-31 win against USC, who many thought would win that football game. Nebraska was firing on all cylinders last week against Florida as they exploded for 65 points. Much of those 65 points can be attributed to the player of the week performance by senior quarterback James Kovach. Kovach put up 447 yards passing and six scores with no turnovers. Kovach overshadowed the performance of freshman and top ranked tailback Dowdy Dowell, who ran for 163 yards and a touchdown as well. Receivers Blazer Gunner and Bill Volk each topped 100 yards receiving and pulled in touchdowns of their own, Volk with two. Defense and Special Teams helped dominate the Gators, as the Cornhuskers snagged three interceptions and added a kick return touchdown by Gunner. Who knows if this pace can be held by the Huskers, but the Nebraska faithful have to be excited about their team.
Alabama, another first year program, showed a lot of grit to pull off a win against a tough USC squad. We all knew that Notre Dame’s halfback transfer, Joe Pantoja, was talented and he showed it again in this one with 114 yards rushing and a touchdown. What we didn’t know was what we were going to get out of freshman signal-caller Balion Siege, but we quickly found out. Siege looks like the next great dual-threat QB in the CFSL and he was very accurate when he had to throw, completing 11 of 17 passes for 153 yards and a score. However, it was his legs that left many talking about his potential. Siege then carried the ball 20 times for 180 yards and a pair of touchdowns, baffling the Trojan defense the whole night. This running attack from Tuscaloosa looks like the best in the league so far. The Crimson Tide defense looked average against USC, but they are very young, led by five true freshman, so they will only improve.
Exaggerations aside, Nebraska looked very very good in week 1 and shows potential to contend for a B1G playoff spot in their inaugural season. They will however be tested this week as they get a gritty Alabama squad who features a dangerous dual-threat offense. If the Huskers can contain Siege on the ground, they will roll. Early here in the season, I think Nebraska continues its’ hot start as they match up extremely well against a young Alabama team. Give me the Cornhuskers to start their season 2-0.
Nebraska 38, Alabama 31