Week two of the college football season is here. Normally, the second week of the season is one where teams usually schedule a cupcake to heal injuries and give the backups some much needed playing team. The three games that are highlighting the weekend are Georgia vs. Notre Dame, Auburn vs. Clemson and TCU vs. Arkansas. All three matchups have the potential to be explosive games and churn out the best contests this weekend. Here is a brief look at all three matchups that could affect the SEC in a big way.
No. 15 Georgia at No. 24 Notre Dame
Both Georgia and Notre Dame are teams looking to take the next step and reclaim spots as two college football powerhouses. The Georgia Bulldogs had Jacob Eason go down last weekend with a knee injury. So Georgia will be led by true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm when they travel to South Bend on Saturday. Kirby Smart, in his press conference this week, did not seem concerned about starting Fromm, “Fromm is a mature freshman that’s going to be able to take over the offense and hopefully go out and execute.” The bottom line in this matchup is the Bulldogs’ defense should be able to keep them in the game; the offense will simply need to limit the mistakes.
The Fighting Irish looked impressive last week against the Temple Owls. Granted, Notre Dame played a rebuilding Temple team, but it was still an impressive victory. Fans watching this game should look for quarterback Brandon Wimbush to continue to run when the defense gives him an opportunity and throw with some accuracy, once he gets settled in. The Notre Dame-Georgia matchup has the potential to be a game that goes into the fourth quarter. I look for Notre Dame to win a close one, but I would not be surprised to see Georgia pull this one off.
No. 13 Auburn at No. 3 Clemson
The second big matchup of the weekend may be the one with possible playoff implications when Auburn travels to Clemson. Clemson came into the season with a new quarterback, but it looked like they did not miss a beat. Deon Cain did not allow the Kent State defense to just focus on the Clemson running game. Cain was accurate with the deep ball and that makes the defending national champions dangerous.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is concerned whether Clemson can maintain this level of play stating that, “I think the biggest thing is now can we be that consistent performing group week in and week out at a high level, especially as the competition ramps up.” Swinney and Clemson will find out whether they can keep up the strong play against Auburn on Saturday.
For the Auburn Tigers, the game against Clemson will be a test to see if they are ready to thrust themselves into the playoff picture conversation. Auburn will have former Baylor quarterback Jarrett Stidham controlling the offense for his second game in a row.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn was pleased with Stidham’s performance in week one but stated in his press conference this week, “I expect him to play better this week” that Stidham held the ball too long “at times.” I think this game will be a close contest as well. Clemson should win this one but it may be closer than what most fans expect.
No. 23 TCU at Arkansas
The final contest to keep an eye on is between old Southwest Conference rivals TCU and Arkansas. Both teams were not tested last week and this game is an important early season match up. Arkansas coach Bret Bielema is expecting Razorback Stadium to be much louder this season since it is being enclosed. The Razorbacks want the crowd to be raucous and cause the Horned Frogs some trouble this weekend. For Arkansas fans, this game is an early season indicator of whether Arkansas can put together solid performances.
The TCU Horned Frogs bring to Fayetteville an explosive offense led by Kenny Hill. The Horned Frogs did not have a good season last year and are looking to take a measure of revenge against Arkansas in Fayetteville. During the Big 12 conference call, Gary Patterson made the statement that Arkansas’ offense, “looks to break your will.” TCU is looking to get back into the Big 12 title picture and starting with a win against Arkansas would set the Horned Frogs up nicely. Fans should look for this one to be a high scoring affair, which could go into overtime.
For SEC fans, they have plenty of options to choose from this weekend, sit back and enjoy.