That’s quite the leap, but early college football results perennially produce overreactions. Still, there are teams already feeling pressure entering Week 2 after coming up woefully short of expectations in their season openers. Let’s hit on five teams looking for quick turnarounds entering the week:
Boise State Back On Blue Turf Following Road Collapse
The Broncos raced out to a 21-0 lead in Orlando against UCF last Thursday in a battle of two of the nation’s top Group of Five teams, dominating following a delay of nearly three hours. An interception that Tyric LeBeauf returned 100 yards immediately changed momentum and produced the game’s opening score, and Boise State piled it on after that.
Unfortunately for the visitors, safety Tyreque Jones dropped another pick late in the half which resulted in a Knights’ touchdown that cut the deficit to 24-14 at halftime. UCF rallied to take the lead, lost it again and ultimately came back to post a TD with about minutes left in what ended as a 36-31 victory. Boise struggled up front at both ends, couldn’t run it consistently and failed to stop the opposing ground game.
Andy Avalos lost in his head coaching debut against veteran Gus Malzahn, who was making his first appearance as UCF’s new head coach after being hired following his tenure at Auburn at ended. He admitted afterward that he has a lot to learn. That starts this Friday back home in Boise against UTEP. The Miners have outscored New Mexico State and Bethune-Cookman by a combined margin of 68-31 but should be overmatched here, coming in as 25.5-point underdogs at BetRivers. It’s up to the Broncos to ensure UTEP leaves Boise as disappointed as they were last Thursday as they left Orlando.
North Carolina Looks To Prove their Coach Wrong
North Carolina lost 17-10 last Friday to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg in a game that drew a lot of attention as the biggest show in town that night. The Tar Heels lost their Top-10 ranking and QB Sam Howell saw his Heisman hopes dashed in Week 1.
Not only did conference title hopeful UNC come out of the gate 0-1 in ACC play, head coach Mack Brown called his team overrated as they failed to overcome Howell’s three interceptions. The Heels trailed 14-0 at the break and failed to rally as Howell threw one last pick to seal the deal on the upset.
The Heels did lose top backs top backs Javonte Williams and Michael Carter in addition to primary targets Dyami Brown and Dazz Newsome, so the offense may indeed take a step back this season. Tennessee transfer Ty Chandler came aboard to help make up for the losses on the ground but Howell clearly needs more help getting his work done through the air.
UNC hopes to rebound back in Chapel Hill against a Georgia State team that was crushed 43-10 by Army at home as 2.5-point favorites. Top WR Sam Pinckney and CB Quavian White were held out of the game with two other Panthers due to COVID protocols, certainly affecting the game plan. GSU averaged 33.3 points last season and opened as a 25.5 point underdogs with books banking on a determined North Carolina team coming out strong at home eager to make amends following such a big letdown.
Stanford Hopes To Be More Competitive After Rough Start
The Cardinal opened the season as a slight underdog in Arlington against Kansas State and was destroyed 24-7. They barely avoided their first shutout loss since 2006, scoring with just over three minutes remaining once the outcome was already decided.
With former QB Davis Mills now in the NFL with the Houston Texans, Stanford is auditioning two new passers and got little out of both. Second-year freshman Tanner McKee threw for the only score while third-year sophomore Jack West got more time but managed to throw for just 76 yards on eight completions and was intercepted twice.
Kansas State outrushed Stanford 200-39 as leading returning rusher Austin Jones managed just 25 yards on nine carries. When a team struggles that much to gain traction, it usually lies with an inability to block up front. Stanford’s young offensive line may be a huge problem against a USC defense that comes off a commanding effort against reigning Mountain West champ San Jose State in a 30-7 win.
The Trojans excelled despite captain and star free safety Isaiah Pola-Mao sitting due to COVID protocols. His return is expected this week, which should make it even more difficult for the Cardinal to bounce back at the LA. Coliseum, where FanDuel has installed USC as a 17.5-point favorite. Stanford isn’t likely to win but covering the spread would at least be a step forward after failing so miserably last Saturday.
Washington Hits The Big House Following Brutal Debut
Fans left Seattle’s Husky Stadium in a foul mood after watching their beloved team drop what was undoubtedly Week 1’s most surprising result. Montana, an FCS power who was limited to just two games last season due to COVID, defeated Washington 13-7.
The Huskies came in ranked 20th in the nation, bolstered by one of the Pac-12’s top offensive lines and an elite defense. They were a 22.5-point favorite against the Griz and may have been looking ahead to Saturday’s visit to Michigan instead of focusing on their business. QB Dylan Morris threw three interceptions and was the biggest culprit in the setback, which marked the fifth time since 2007 that a ranked FBS team was upset by an FCS side. It was also Washington’s first loss to Montana since 1920.
The Huskies lost receiver Ja’Lynn Polk to a chest injury on the first play of the game that required surgery. Washington’s other top receivers, Terrell Bynum, Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan, are week-to-week with injuries, which doesn’t bode well for their chances in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines are 7-point favorites according to DraftKings after opening as a 4.5-point ‘chalk.’ We’ll see if the Huskies can respond and avoid an 0-2 start in a nationally-televised affair.
Tulsa Hopes To Save Face At OK State Coming Off Horrific Loss
The Golden Hurricane fell to FCS member UC Davis at home 19-17 last Thursday, blowing a fourth-quarter lead. They’re now stuck playing an Oklahoma State team that they’ve lost to eight consecutive times in a big brother-little brother in-state scenario.
Last season’s matchup was the season opener for both and was closer than expected as the Cowboys posted a 16-7 victory, so Tulsa could be a decent bet if it shows up as a 13-point underdog (DraftKings).
Tulsa was hindered by nine players being suspended but is expected to be back at full strength for this contest. New starting QB Davis Brin was picked off twice and failed to throw a touchdown, so he’ll have to improve significantly for the Golden Hurricane to challenge. In Shamari Brooks and Deneric Prince, they do have a pair of running backs who could do enough damage on the ground to chew up clock and keep this close in Stillwater. The Cowboys’ opener in 2021 was disappointing too as they struggled in the second half and won just 23-16 against FCS member Missouri State despite being favored by 33.5 points. QB Spencer Sanders missed the game due to COVID protocols and was one of eight players out of action, so Oklahoma State will be looking to prove something as well. It should be a fun one.
LSU and Clemson also suffered high-profile Week 1 losses but those teams get to recover against FBS opponents. The SEC’s Tigers host McNeese State while the ACC’s version squares off against South Carolina State.