College preview: Week 2
The DCTF staff previews college action across the state
DCTF’s Greg Tepper and EJ Holland preview all the FBS college football action across the state. And they make their picks! Disagree? Leave a comment below.
Northwestern State (0-1) at No. 10 Baylor (1-0), 6:30 p.m. Saturday (TV: Fox Sports SW)
The fun fact for this one: in six games against sub-FBS teams, Art Briles’ Baylor teams have won by a combined score of 318-48. Northwestern State is not considered to be a particularly fierce sub-FBS team, and their trip to McLane Stadium will likely not be particularly pleasant. There are a couple of things to watch, though: Northwestern State can throw the ball a little bit — QB Zach Adkins threw for 318 yards and two touchdowns last week against Missouri State — so this will be at least a bit of a test for the still-raw Baylor secondary. And, of course, there’s the injury situation: WR Levi Norwood is out for a few weeks, WRs Antwan Goodley and Corey Coleman are not expected to play, and QB Bryce Petty was banged up in the win vs. SMU. This will be an opportunity to see a lot of backups, as this one could get out of hand in a hurry.
Tepper’s pick: Baylor 63, Northwestern State 7
EJ’s pick: Baylor 50, Northwestern State 13
Lamar (1-0) at No. 9 Texas A&M (1-0), 6:30 p.m. (TV: SEC Network)
This could get ugly fast. Texas A&M is the hottest team in the state after drubbing No. 9 South Carolina, 52-28, in the opener. Malcome Kennedy was a beast, catching 14 passes for 137 yards while the defense, which had plenty of question marks coming into 2014, did what it needed to do to limit the Gamecocks. And oh yeah… Kenny 4 Heisman! In his first start, Southlake Carroll product Kenny Hill — or should we say Kenny Trill — lit the world on fire with 511 yards through the air and three touchdowns en route to breaking Johnny Manziel’s single-game passing record. We can only imagine what Hill is going to do to FCS opponent Lamar. No offense to the Cardinals, who took down Grambling State in Week 1, but the Aggies are too good.
Tepper’s pick: Texas A&M 65, Lamar 3
EJ’s pick: Texas A&M 73, Lamar 14
BYU (1-0) at Texas (1-0), 6:30 p.m. Saturday (TV: Fox Sports 1)
In a rematch of last year’s game that signaled the beginning of the end for Mack Brown in Austin, it’s hard to even recognize the Texas program from the one that took the field last season. And, really, the team that takes the field Saturday night will look significantly different from the one that took the field against North Texas last week: QB David Ash is out with a head injury; C Dominic Espinosa is likely out the entire season with a broken ankle; and just this week, OLs Desmond Harrison and Kennedy Estelle have been suspended for this week’s game. So it’ll be QB Tyrone Swoopes and an offensive line with a combined five starts between them taking the field. That’s…not promising, offensively. Of course, the defense is the bread-and-butter for the Longhorns, and that — fresh off a dominant effort vs. North Texas — will be tasked with keeping them in the game. Easier said than done, especially with burnt orange nemesis Taysom Hill coming to Austin. Remember last year, when Hill ran for an astonishing 259 yards and three touchdowns against Texas? Now he’s an even better passer (at least, he looked it in BYU’s win over Connecticut) and still a dangerous runner. The odds were slightly but clearly in Texas’ favor last week; now, it’s at best a push for the Longhorns. Their best chance of victory is a low-scoring, ugly game in which Swoopes — still developing as a passer — or RB Malcolm Brown break off a couple of big runs to serve as the difference. It’s a tight line to walk, and one can’t help but wonder if Taysom Hill will burn the Longhorns again.
Tepper’s pick: BYU 24, Texas 17
EJ’s pick: Texas 23, BYU 21
Texas Tech (1-0) at UTEP (1-0), 10 p.m. Saturday (TV: Fox Sports 1)
A special late night presentation of college football in Texas could turn out to be fairly intriguing. As teams have come to learn, playing in the Sun Bowl is no easy task. Texas Tech knows this first hand — the last two times the Red Raiders have traveled to El Paso, they’ve won by a combined seven points. And guess what? The time before that, UTEP came out victorious. So how realistic is a UTEP upset? Well, Texas Tech didn’t exactly look like a world-beater in a close win over FCS opponent Central Arkansas. As expected, the Red Raiders struggled defensively, especially up front, which bodes well or UTEP. The Miners’ use a smash-mouth approach, are extremely physical along the offensive line and feature a talented running back in Aaron Jones, who rushed for 237 yards and three touchdowns in UTEP’s opening victory over New Mexico. It might be a closer game than people expect, but we’re just not sure the UTEP defense can stop Davis Webb and company.
Tepper’s pick: Texas Tech 44, UTEP 28
EJ’s pick: Texas Tech 45, UTEP 27
Grambling State (0-1) at Houston (0-1), 7 p.m. (TV: ESPN3)
Houston is somewhat of a mystery at the moment. We had extremely high expectations for the Cougars heading into 2014 and even thought they had a chance to finish the year undefeated thanks to talented quarterback John O’Korn and a salty defense. Then bam! UTSA storms into new TDECU Stadium and absolutely dominates the game. We believe Houston will bounce back and have a nice year, but this game won’t tell us too much about the Cougars. It, will, however serve as a platform for Houston to gain its confidence back. Let’s face it, Grambling State plays at a lower level of foot and just isn’t very good. The Tigers are 2-21 since winning the 2011 Southwestern Athletic Conference title and are coming off a 42-27 loss to Lamar. Houston picking up its first win at TDECU Stadium is pretty much a forgone conclusion.
Tepper’s pick: Houston 51, Grambling State 10
EJ’s pick: Houston 55, Grambling State 6
SMU (0-1) at North Texas (0-1), 11 a.m. Saturday (TV: Fox Sports SW)
The numbers are ugly. North Texas and SMU combined for 161 yards in their opening week losses at Texas and Baylor, respectively. To put that in perspective, only one team besides UNT and SMU gained fewer than 161 yards last week (Wake Forest). So really, if you’re going to handicap this game based on last week’s results, you’re going to come up with a scoreless tie. As a result: forget last week. I know it’s tough, but view this week as a clean slate, a chance to start over. Who’s got the advantage? North Texas’ quarterback play from Josh Greer and Andrew McNulty has got to get better, but so does SMU’s with Matt Davis and Neal Burcham. If you’re looking for a decent measuring stick, it’s probably along the defensive front seven, where North Texas may have the very slightest advantage with LBs Derek Akunne and Anthony Marshall. If anything, North Texas has a couple of different ways to beat you offensively — running with Antoinne Jimmerson and, hypothetically, passing — while SMU is almost completely reliant on the emergence of a quarterback. That, combined with being at home, makes North Texas the pick here in what could be an ugly game.
Tepper’s pick: North Texas 28, SMU 21
EJ’s pick: SMU 20, North Texas 16
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