Welcome to Week Two of The Lowe Down. Famed announcer Keith Jackson used to say it best, “Whoa, Nellie!” I imagine he would have said that a few times after watching Alabama throttle Michigan in Week One. Once again, the Crimson Tide looks like it will be a player for yet another national title. And what about Oklahoma State? Eighty-four to zip over Savannah State? Seriously? Does that make you a man for that kind of beat down over a high school team? Total lack of sportsmanship in my humble opinion. Open up with an SEC team and let’s see what that high-powered offense can do Cowboys. Playing a team like that is a joke. Last week’s record was 17-2. To the games we go…
UCF (1-0) at No. 18 Ohio State (1-0) 11:00 a.m. CT
The Buckeyes looked sharp in the team’s blowout win over Miami of Ohio last weekend, but look for the UCF nights to give Urban Meyer’s club a much better game in Week Two. The Knights have two outstanding defensive ends in Troy Davis and Victor Gray, and the secondary returns three of four starters from a team that finished 23rd nationally in pass defense a year ago. Ohio State will pull out the victory behind bruising quarterback Braxton Miller and a new and improved running game, but this game could be closer than expected. Watch the matchup between the UCF offensive line and Ohio State D-line. With UCF quarterback Blake Bortles making just his second college start, the Knights front wall will need to keep him upright.
The Lowe Down: Ohio State 34, UCF 17
Auburn (0-1) at Mississippi State (1-0) 11:00 a.m. CT
The Tigers had their chances against Clemson a week ago, but, in the end, Tajh Boyd and the Tigers’ offense was too much for Auburn’s defense to handle. Once again, tackling was an issue for Gene Chizik’s team and it will have to improve or the Tigers could be in store for a long season. Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen likes to spread the field and get the ball to his playmakers in space, so keep an eye on the effectiveness of Mississippi State’s offense early on. If young quarterback Tyler Russell can get into a groove, and the Bulldogs offensive line can tame the solid Auburn D-line, then State can pull out a win over a team that it has struggled to beat. However, something is telling me Auburn’s game against a good Clemson team will really help them this week.
The Lowe Down: Auburn 26, Mississippi State 20
East Carolina (1-0) at No. 9 South Carolina (1-0) 11:21 a.m. CT
South Carolina QB Connor Shaw has been nursing a shoulder injury that he suffered in the Vanderbilt game, but don’t expect the junior to be on the sidelines Saturday. Shaw is a bulldog and a team leader, and he’s the type of player that will play through pain. Last week, East Carolina had trouble with Appalachian State early on before pulling away late. This week, they are going up against a different animal. Look for Marcus Lattimore and the Gamecocks defense to dominate this game.
The Lowe Down: South Carolina 38, East Carolina 10
No. 23 Florida (1-0) at Texas A&M (0-0) 2:30 p.m. CT
If you believe all the chatter surrounding this game, then Texas A&M will likely defeat the Gators. I, for one, tend to think differently. Yes, Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel is on the inexperienced side, but he’s played more football than new Aggies starter Johnny Manziel, a redshirt freshman. That’s right. All the talk in this game surrounds Driskel and the Gator offense, but why no questions about Manziel? Is he that good? We’ll see when he goes up against a talented Florida defense. Either way, this game will likely be a nail-biter.
The Lowe Down: Florida 27, Texas A&M 26
No. 1 USC (1-0) vs. Syracuse (0-1) (New Jersey) 2:30 p.m. CT
The Cuse lost a heartbreaker to Northwestern a week ago and is now faced with unenviable task of attempting to slow the high-powered USC offense. Last week, the Trojans jumped all over Hawaii 35-0 at half before calling off the dogs. Heisman favorite Matt Barkley and his two outstanding wideouts, Marqise Lee and Robert Woods, could all be playing in the NFL now, which isn’t a good thing for a Syracuse defense that allowed 42 points to a good, but not great, offense a week ago. This game could get ugly quick, but USC must watch its injuries with depleted depth. Defensive end Wes Horton sat out the game last week due to injury and starting defensive end Devon Kennard is out indefinitely and possibly for the season.
The Lowe Down: USC 38, Syracuse 14
Purdue (1-0) at Notre Dame (1-0) 2:30 p.m. CT
Once again, there has been a lot of chatter about Purdue pulling the upset over the Irish, but I just don’t see it happening. Yeah, Navy hurt the Irish through the air last week, and Purdue quarterback Robert Marve had a big game throwing the ball versus Eastern Kentucky, but I liked what I saw from new Irish starting quarterback Everrett Golson. Golson has good zip on his throws and appears as if he commands a whole lot of respect from teammates. Last year the Irish were a good QB away from being a real good team. This year, it looks as if they’ve found that guy.
The Lowe Down: Notre Dame 34, Purdue 17
Washington (1-0) at No. 3 LSU (1-0) 6:00 p.m. CT
Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian brought a tiger to practice this past week to simulate LSU’s Mike the Tiger, who usually sits beside the visitor’s entrance as they take the field. Just what the move insinuates, I don’t know, but I guess Sarkisian thinks it will help get his team ready for the wild environment they will be thrown into. On the field, LSU should handle the Huskies with its powerful running game and stout defense, but the loss of All-SEC left tackle Chris Faulk is a major blow to the Tigers offensive line. I also want to see what the LSU defense will do against a good passing team. With the recent dismissal of Tryann Mathieu, LSU’s secondary now has some experience issues. With that being said, I think Washington quarterback Keith Price can find some seems in the passing game to make this a halfway decent game.
The Lowe Down: LSU 38, Washington 21
No. 17 Nebraska (1-0) at UCLA (1-0) 6:30 p.m. CT
Taylor Martinez was lights out in the Cornhuskers win over Southern Miss, and he will have a chance to do so again against a UCLA defense that was average against Rice a week ago. Martinez worked on his mechanics, especially his footwork, all offseason and it appears to have paid big dividends. Nebraska I-Back Rex Burkhead is questionable with an MCL sprain which means Ameer Abdullah could be the man on the spot Saturday. Abdullah has a lot of speed and is battle tested, and the Bruins defense will need to slow he and Martinez if it wants to pull the upset. Like Martinez, UCLA freshman quarterback Brett Hundley is a talented dual-threat who is a big guy at 6-4, 225 pounds. If Hundley and talented tailback Johnathan Franklin get going on the ground, this could be a game that comes down to whoever has the ball last.
The Lowe Down: Nebraska 33, UCLA 30
No. 6 Georgia (1-0) at Missouri (1-0) 6:45 p.m. CT
Memorial Stadium will be off the hook when Missouri hosts its first ever SEC game, but do the Tigers have what it takes to knock off the mighty Bulldogs? All signs point to yes and here’s why. Faurot Field is one of the toughest places in the country to play, and the suspensions of key Georgia starters, notably All-American safety Baccari Rambo, could play a major role in the outcome of this game. James Franklin is one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the country, and the Tigers’ running game is always among college football’s elite. Last week, Buffalo tailback Branden Oliver and quarterback Alex Zordich gave Georgia fits on the ground with a zone-read attack. With that said, look for Franklin and tailback Kendial Lawrence to have big games and the Tigers to pull the upset.
The Lowe Down: Missouri 30, Georgia 27
In other games:
Miami 33 at No. 21 Kansas State 37
Ball State 17 at No. 12 Clemson 42
No. 11 Michigan State 37, Central Michigan 10
Air Force 10 at No. 19 Michigan 35
Western Kentucky 7 at No. 1 Alabama 45
No. 13 Wisconsin 27 at Oregon State 14
Fresno State 30 at No. 4 Oregon 62
La-Monroe 7 at No. 8 Arkansas 35
No. 18 Oklahoma State 38 at Arizona 26
Duke 24 at No. 25 Stanford 34
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