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National Games to Watch: Week 2

NCAA Football: Northern Iowa at Iowa State Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

The opening week of the college football season gave us five matchups between ranked teams and a handful of ranked teams getting upset by unranked, or worse yet, FCS opponents *cough*Washington*cough*. Whether it was Virginia Tech upsetting the 10th ranked North Carolina Tar Heels or the sloppy slugfest of the marquee matchup between #5 Georgia and #3 Clemson, the contenders have already started to separate themselves from the pretenders. Unfortunately, those types of thrilling matchups will be harder to find in week two. There are only two games between ranked opponents and a whole lot of FCS teams traveling into Power Five territory for what should be some fairly lopsided victories. Thankfully, rivalry week is keeping things more interesting locally.

North Dakota vs Utah State - Friday 7:00 PM - CBS Sports Network

Feel free to peruse the week two schedule and tell me which games excite you the most. Illinois vs Virginia? Virginia Military Institute vs Kent State? Maybe Wyoming vs Northern Illinois tickles your fancy? Ah, Auburn vs Alabama...oh, wait...that’s Auburn vs Alabama State. The truth of the matter is, the week two schedule is mostly abysmal. Sure, you’ve got Oregon taking on Ohio State in the early morning, but you can read all about that in the “PAC-12 Games to Watch”. It’s rivalry week, and most of the state of Utah will be laser-focused on Utah vs BYU. Take some time Friday night to give the blue team from the north a little love after beating the PAC-12’s own Washington State last week as they move to what could be their first 2-0 start since 2012.

#10 Iowa vs #9 Iowa State - Saturday 2:30 PM - ABC

ABC’s early game features the #13 Florida Gators against the Bulls of South Florida, who have lost nine straight, dating back to last season. Unsurprisingly, the Gators are a -28.5 point road favorite, but thankfully the afternoon game is shaping up to be much more exciting as #10 Iowa takes on #9 Iowa State. This is the first time these two programs will meet each other as ranked teams, and they just so happen to be inside the top ten. The Cyclones are -4.5 favorites, likely thanks to senior quarterback Brock Purdy’s near-perfect game against the University of Northern Iowa in week one, where he was 21/26 with 199 passing yards. Still, Iowa State allowed UNI to hang close, beating them just 16-10. On the other hand, Iowa just steamrolled the then #17 Indiana Hoosiers, 34-6 off the back of junior running back Tyler Goodson, who amassed 99 yards on 19 rushing attempts. Whoever loses will still likely be ranked ahead of the Utes once the week two polls are released, barring a complete blowout, but take advantage of whatever quality football you can find this week.

#15 Texas vs Arkansas - Saturday 5:00 PM MT - ESPN

Future conference foes face off in Little Rock as the Longhorns take on the Razorbacks. New head coach Steve Sarkesian got things rolling with a ho-hum week one win over the former #23 Ragin’ Cajuns, while Arkansas had to string together 31 unanswered points to come from behind and put away lowly Rice. While the fine folks of Austin are already declaring “Texas is back” for the umpteenth time over the last ten years, the -7 point favorite Longhorns will need to get past a stingy Arkansas team that is slowly becoming better than bad.