11 things you need to know about Week 2 in college football


The Michigan State-Oregon game might be the best matchup of the week in college football, and no doubt a game that will help shape college football's inaugural four-team playoff. But while the Spartans and Ducks do battle in Eugene, Ore., the week's most intriguing head-to-head matchup of NFL draft prospects will be taking place about 550 miles due south at Stanford.

That's where two standout juniors, Stanford left tackle Andrus Peat and Southern Cal defensive lineman Leonard Williams, will engage one another in a battle of two of the most promising draft prospects in the nation (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC). Stanford coach David Shaw, in fact, said NFL scouts have told him Williams is the top defensive prospect they've seen. It will be a matchup that NFL scouts watch on film until their eyes glaze over. A caveat: Williams can play any position on the defensive line, and the Trojans move him around, so Peat vs. Williams encounters might not be as frequent as scouts would like.

"I'm sure it will happen at some point during the course of the game," Shaw said on this week's Pac-12 media teleconference.

An AFC college scouting director told NFL Media insider Albert Breer that Williams reminds him of "a Richard Seymour type -- big and athletic."

Another scouting footnote to the matchup: Williams is nursing an ankle injury and might not be 100 percent healthy Saturday. As such, regardless of how he fares against Peat, look for the ankle injury to work its way into the scouting narrative on the matchup.

Here are 10 other things you need to know about Saturday's college football games:

  1. Back to Michigan State-Oregon. If either team is a true national championship contender, it will be most clear when the Ducks' offense is on the field against the Spartans' defense. Those are the units that will lead their respective teams to whatever postseason success might be in store for either. Two top NFL prospects to watch when those units are battling: Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Michigan State defensive end Shilique Calhoun (6:30 p.m. ET, Fox).
  1. A week after Blake Sims acquitted himself nicely as the starter in Alabama's 33-23 win over West Virginia, heralded transfer Jake Coker is expected to see some action in what is sure to be a lopsided win over Florida Atlantic Saturday (Noon ET, SEC Network). Sims earned another start with 24-of-33 passing against the Mountaineers, however, and his grasp on the job will be all the more firm if he outperforms Coker against the Owls.
  1. Florida's season gets started a week late after the schedule opener was canceled by severe weather. That means our first 2014 look at prospects like pass rusher Dante Fowler and cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III will be against Eastern Michigan (4 p.m. ET, SEC Network).
  1. It won't draw the hype of Andrus Peat vs. Leonard Williams, but if you want to check out another tackle-pass rusher matchup with NFL potential, witness Ole Miss sophomore tackle Laremy Tunsil working against Vanderbilt pass rusher Caleb Azubike (4:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). Tunsil is already on the NFL radar after just 14 career games. Azubike will make his season debut after missing last week's Vanderbilt loss to Temple.
  1. South Carolina's pass defense looked positively lost in allowing 511 passing yards to a first-time starting quarterback in Texas A&M's Kenny Hill last week. East Carolina is supposed to provide the ointment in Week 2, right? Maybe not. At least one ECU assistant coach believes the Pirates have a first-round pick in wide receiver Justin Hardy. If ECU can get enough pass protection to deliver the ball, Hardy could expose the Gamecocks' pass defense once again (7 p.m. ET, ESPNU).
  1. While the first week of the season often provides more than its share of competitive games, Week 2 is one filled with lopsided, name-your-score matchups between national powers and vastly overwhelmed teams. They take the beating so that the school can collect a much-needed paycheck from the host that can sometimes be in excess of $1 million. It's how small-school athletics make (or try to make) their budgets. A few of this week's David-Goliath matchups: The Citadel at Florida State, Lamar at Texas A&M, Florida Atlantic at Alabama, and Northwestern State at Baylor. Good luck, fellas. Your athletic department thanks you.
  1. Speaking of Baylor, quarterback Bryce Petty's availability this weekend remains in question. Petty suggested earlier this week that he'd be ready to go. Not so fast, said coach Art Briles.
  1. New Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett passed his first test against Navy last week in replacing injured star Braxton Miller, even if the Buckeyes' defensive line failed its first. This week, Barrett will get a much stiffer exam against Virginia Tech, which features one of the most talented cornerback duos in the nation (Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson). Fuller is the younger brother of Chicago Bears 2014 first-round pick and former Hokies star Kyle Fuller.
  1. Michigan plays at Notre Dame in a matchup of two of the nation's most exciting dual-threat quarterbacks: Devin Gardner (Michigan) and Everett Golson (ND). And a quick bit of advice to the Fighting Irish secondary: cover Devin Funchess.
  1. Three random intrigues: 1) Missouri coach Gary Pinkel will pace a visiting sideline where he once coached: at Toledo, where he replaced Nick Saban in 1991; 2) Why you don't leave the SEC if you can help it: The most notable thing about Saturday's Georgia Tech-Tulane game is that both are charter SEC members. Tech withdrew in 1964, Tulane in 1966; 3) BYU at Texas. If the Cougars manage to leave Austin with a W, the Charlie Strong honeymoon will come to an abrupt end.

*Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter **@ChaseGoodbread.*

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