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3 Games to Watch Today

NCAA Football: Battle at Bristol-Features Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

After all of the great games in week one, the week two slate is light on marquee match ups. There are no games between ranked teams today, and only one of the games we will highlight below even feature a ranked team. For the Pac-12 and the SEC, the first week of the season did not go as planned. The Pac-12 went 7-5 when they were expected to go 10-2. The SEC went 7-7, which is the most losses for the conference since it expanded to 12 teams in 1992. Both of these conferences will look to bounce back in week two, and we will focus on three games where each conference can help rebuild their perception after some poor showings in week one. Without further adieu, here are the three games to watch today.

Battle at Bristol No. 19 Tennessee vs Virginia Tech - Bristol Motor Speedway Bristol, Tenn. 6:00 p.m. MT

Usually in these articles we try to highlight games Utah fans should care about and how it could affect Utah. This game has no effect on Utah, but you should watch it. Why? Well, it is likely to smash the college football attendance record with over 150,000 fans expected to attend. ESPN’s College Gameday broadcast live from Bristol for the game. With Cal’s game against Hawaii in Sydney, Australia, LSU and Wisconsin playing at Lambeau Field, and now Tennessee playing Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway, college football has expanded its brand into new locations. Morgan Moriarty of SBNation did a great job highlighting the transformation of Bristol from a NASCAR track to a college football stadium, which you can read about here. Bristol Motor Speedway is so large it could easily hold the Big House and could smash the attendance record set by the Michigan-Notre Dame game in 2013, which had 115,109 fans in attendance.

Who should Utah fans cheer for and who will win?

If Utah wants to move into the top 25, they need to first hand their business and win their games, but they also need teams ahead of them to lose. A Tennessee loss to Virginia Tech would likely knock Tennessee out of the top 25, which would not be enough to move Utah up from 29 to 25, it would certainly help. However, I do not see Tennessee losing. I think the scare against Appalachian State will focus the Volunteers, and they win this game.

Texas Tech at Arizona State 8:00 p.m. MT Fox Sports 1

After the poor start for the Pac-12 in week one, this is a game that could help the Pac-12 Conference improve its perception. Arizona State beat Northern Arizona 44-13 in week one, but it took the Sun Devils until the fourth quarter of that game to get their offense going and pull away from the Lumberjacks. Texas Tech coasted to an easy 69-17 win over Stephen F. Austin. ASU had to replace much of their offensive production from last season including quarterback Mike Bercovici and wide receiver Devin Lucien. Texas Tech on the other hand brought back underrated quarterback Patrick Mahomes. The Sun Devils gave up a lot of big plays in 2015 and are facing a high-powered Red Raiders offense.

Who should Utah fans cheer for and who will win?

An Arizona State win would bolster the perception of the Pac-12, notching a win over a fellow Power 5 team. I think though that the Texas Tech offense will have too much for Arizona State’s defense, and I don’t think the Sun Devils have the offense to score with the Red Raiders.

Washington State at Boise State 8:15 p.m. MT ESPN2

Possibly the worst loss for the Pac-12 in week one was Washington State losing at home to FCS Eastern Washington. WSU was considered a dark horse to win the Pac-12 North with quarterback Luke Falk throwing the ball to a bevy of talented receivers including Gabe Marks and what was supposed to be an improved defense. It was the defense that let the Cougars down in week one. They just could not stop Eastern Washington from scoring. Boise State is one of the better Group of 5 teams and is favored by double digits in this game. ESPN’s FPI gives Boise State an 83.0% chance to win. Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien is the nephew of former WSU quarterback Mark Rypien.

Who should Utah fans cheer for and who will win?

if WSU can rebound from a horrendous week one loss as double digit underdogs on the road, it would certainly help the perception of the Pac-12. I just do not see the Washington State defense stopping Rypien throwing the football. Boise State also has a much better defense, so I think they will be able to get a few more stops than Washington State can, and the Broncos will come out on top.