Posted: Thursday September 6, 2012 9:30AM ; Updated: Thursday September 6, 2012 9:30AM
Stewart Mandel
Stewart Mandel>WEEKEND PICKOFF
College Football Pickoff: Week 2
 
Saturday, Sept. 8
 
7 p.m. ET (ESPN) Washington (1-0) at No. 3 LSU (1-0)
Kudos to Washington coach Steve Sarkisian for making absolutely sure his team is prepared for its trip to Death Valley by importing a live tiger to practice Tuesday. But there's little he could do to prepare the Huskies' defense for the punishing rushing attack LSU has in store. The Tigers' pass rush will also help contain Washington's star quarterback, Keith Price.
 
7:30 p.m. ET (FOX) No. 16 Nebraska (1-0) at UCLA (1-0)
Both teams' offenses looked sharp in their openers, though the Huskers may be without star running back Rex Burkhead (MCL sprain). Nebraska has depth at that position with Ameer Abdullah (15 carries, 81 yards last week) and Imani Cross (11 carries, 62 yards), however, plus a veteran quarterback in Taylor Martinez. That's not the case for UCLA: Freshman Brett Hundley will face his first BCS opponent.
 
10:30 p.m. ET (Pac-12) No. 18 Oklahoma State (1-0) at Arizona (1-0)
The Cowboys won't be putting up 84 points this week. They might not even reach half of that total as true freshman quarterback Wes Lunt faces his first legitimate competition. But while Rich Rodriguez's offense should move the ball, it's not yet at the level of Mike Gundy's fine-tuned product. Cowboys' running backs Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith will have their way with Arizona's defense.
 
Noon ET (FX) Miami (1-0) at No. 21 Kansas State (1-0)
Mailbag readers are well aware of my expectations for the Hurricanes' young squad, so this prediction should come as no surprise. Miami allowed 441 passing yards against Boston College last week. Bill Snyder is the last coach who would have his quarterback throw 50 times, but expect quarterback Collin Klein to surpass his current career-high mark of 281 aerial yards.
 
3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) No. 24 Florida (1-0) at Texas A&M (0-0)
This should be fun. One team looked unimpressive in its opener, the other has a new offense and a new quarterback, neither of which we've seen. Will Muschamp saw plenty of the Air Raid at Texas, so here's guessing he'll be prepared. The Gators will frustrate Aggies freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel and get just enough offense out of running back Mike Gillislee.
 
Noon ET (ESPN) Auburn (0-1) at Mississippi State (1-0)
Starkville is where SEC teams almost lose their conference opener. Two years ago, Cam Newton-led Auburn barely survived the Bulldogs, 17-14. Last year, LSU led just 9-6 before pulling away in the fourth quarter. This year's Tigers won't win the SEC, but they're not about to start 0-2, either. Defensive end Corey Lemonier will frustrate Bulldogs quarterback Tyler Russell.
 
3:30 p.m. ET (BTN) Iowa State (1-0) at Iowa (1-0)
The Cyclones tend to give the Hawkeyes fits, and before the season I pegged them to win this one. But Iowa got its annual early reality check in last week's 18-17 win over Northern Illinois, and Kirk Ferentz's team should be able to overcome even its dreadful junior high throwback uniforms. Sophomore back Damon Bullock, who rushed for 150 yards last week, will have another big game.
 
8 p.m. ET (BTN) Vanderbilt (0-1) at Northwestern (1-0)
Vandy showed off a surprisingly tough defensive front in last week's opener against South Carolina. Northwestern quarterback Kain Colter and running back/wide receiver Venric Mark provide a more dynamic spread look that could cause problems, but it's hard to have much faith in the Wildcats' defense. Northwestern allowed Syracuse to rack up 596 yards in last week's 42-41 escape.
 
10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN) Illinois (1-0) at Arizona State (1-0)
Tim Beckman's Toldeo teams were known for their high-scoring offenses, but the Illini managed just 24 points in their opener against Western Michigan -- the same team that Beckman's Rockets beat 66-63 last season. Furthermore, third-year quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase suffered an ankle injury. Illinois doesn't have the firepower to exploit the Sun Devils' potentially leaky D.
 
*UPSET SPECIAL*
 
Saturday, 7:45 p.m. ET (ESPN2) No. 7 Georgia (1-0) at Missouri (1-0)
Tigers defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson made a mistake by proclaiming Georgia plays "old-man football," and you can be sure the Bulldogs will rub it in his face if they win. But the fuel of one incendiary comment will not be enough to help Georgia overcome its suspensions and injuries, nor an assuredly electric prime-time atmosphere in Mizzou's first SEC game.
 
Record last week: 9-1
 

 
SI.com
Hot Topics: NBA Draft Yasiel Puig NHL Playoffs NBA Playoffs Mark Cuban Jabari Parker
TM & © 2014 Time Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you. Read our privacy guidelines, your California privacy rights, and ad choices.
SI CoverRead All ArticlesBuy Cover Reprint