College football is a fickle sport and anything can happen from one week to the next but this week is shaping up to be one of the wildest ones this season simply because there are a ton of games that could go either way. Here are some story lines to keep an eye on this weekend.
- Two key road games for ACC heavy weights – Both the Clemson Tigers and the Florida State Seminoles will play pivotal weeknight road division games this week. The Tigers will make their first ever trip to Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium which is always a hostile environment on Thursday nights. This match up has lost a little of it’s luster since the Cardinals have started the season 0-2 but Louisville Head Coach Bobby Petrino can never be counted out of any situation on the football field. The Seminoles will have a Friday night date with the Boston College Eagles this week in a series which the Noles have won 5 straight but needed an epic comeback in their last trip to Chesnut Hill when the Seminoles found themselves trailing 17-3 at the end of the first quarter. Both Florida State & Boston College are 2-0 so far this season but the Eagles will be playing their first FBS opponent of the season when they face the Seminoles.
- Four key SEC conference games – The obvious headliner will be when Ole Miss makes the trip down to Tuscaloosa to tangle with Alabama after upsetting the Crimson Tide 23-17 last season in the Rebels’ first win over Alabama since 2003. The Crimson Tide will surely be looking to keep Ole Miss from having a two game winning streak against Alabama but the Rebels will be without their top offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil for the third straight game as he is being investigated by the NCAA. The Auburn Tigers will be looking to put last week’s performance against Jacksonville State behind them when they head to Death Valley to take on LSU on Saturday afternoon who held on to beat the Mississippi State Bulldogs 21-19 in their first game of the season last Saturday night. Those two games are in the West but the East will be just as entertaining as the Ole Ball Coach and South Carolina head to Athens to take on the Georgia Bulldogs where Coach Spurrier has lost two of his last three. Meanwhile in Lexington, the Wildcats will be looking to finally snap a 28-game losing streak to the Florida Gators on Saturday night. The last time that the Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Gators, Ronald Reagan was in office.
- Final ‘easy’ week for Washington Huskies – Saturday the Huskies will line up against the Utah State Aggies who won 10 games last season and have do-it-all quarterback Chuckie Keeton back from injury. Washington will need a great performance from their defense and a much better offensive performance than they had in Week 1 against Boise State where they were only able to scrape together 13 points. From here on out, it is a murderer’s row of Pac-12 teams. Next Saturday the Huskies will play California who is much improved from last season before their bye week. Then the month of October features road games at USC and Stanford with home games against Oregon & Arizona, the two Pac-12 division winners from 2014. Then November begins with a home game against the Utah Utes and a road game against the Arizona State Wildcats. Those teams finished the 2014 season a combined 64-29 and are currently 11-3 in 2015.
- Interesting game/situation in Austin, Texas – This week the grumblings finally grew too loud and University President Greg Fenves made the decision to fire Longhorns Athletic Director Steve Patterson. Saturday a plane flew around Darrell K Royal Stadium during the Longhorns 42-28 win over Rice towing a sign in favor of the firing of the embattled AD. Needless to say things have become a bit toxic around the Texas athletic program and a win on Saturday would surely help smooth things over during this time of transition. That will be easier said than done given the Longhorns performance thus far and the fact that a 2-0 and improved California Golden Bears team will be lined up across the line of scrimmage. Let’s just say this, Longhorns Head Football Coach Charlie Strong needs a win on Saturday; badly.
- Week 3 on the Mangum Magic Train – Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last two weeks you know who Tanner Mangum is. He’s the quarterback at BYU who came in for an injured Taysom Hill and tossed a Hail Mary for the win in Lincoln, Nebraska, and then did the same thing as the starter the next week against Boise State. Mangum finished the Nebraska game with 111 yards passing but had a really good game at home against the Broncos when he threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns, with his second one being another Hail Mary go-ahead score in the final meeting. This week will be the Cougars’ toughest test yet when they travel down to Los Angeles to play the 2-0 and 10th ranked UCLA Bruins. If Mangum can somehow generate a third week of heroics in the final minutes against UCLA, we’ll just have to start believing in magic for real.