Clear Your Schedule 2016 | Week 2

By Brian Wilmer -

It’s not very often that one can say that a week of college football lasts 17 hours, but last week gave us that “gift”. The day started with the first game of our six last week, and closed with Wyoming collecting somewhat of an upset victory. The Cowboys clipped NIU, 40-34, in a three-overtime game that ended as the hour neared 5:00 in the morning in the east.

The action won’t be as good — or as long-lasting — this week, though we should admit that the first week is a bit of a tough act to follow.

We’ll unveil this week’s six games (and the link to submit your picks!) in just a bit, but first, here’s how last week’s games unfolded (rankings as of last week):

#15 Houston 33, #3 Oklahoma 23
Texas A&M 31, #16 UCLA 24
#18 Georgia 33, #22 North Carolina 24
#1 Alabama 52, #20 USC 6
#2 Clemson 19, Auburn 13
#4 Florida State 45, #11 Ole Miss 34

If you want to test your skills — in a contest with no prizes (I think) and not officially endorsed by FBSchedules — come place your picks here. All of your picks need to be submitted by the time each game starts.

Off we go to break down Week 2…right after trivia!

Trivia, Week 2 (answer at the end of the column): How much rock will compose the base of the football field constructed for the Virginia Tech-Tennessee game this Saturday?

Keyword Search (all times Eastern and rankings AP)

Western Kentucky (1-0) at #1 Alabama (1-0)
3:30pm | ESPN2

  • Follow the leader: Quick – raise your hand if you predicted Western Kentucky’s Mike White to be the NCAA’s passing leader after one week. White, a junior transfer from South Florida, unleashed on Rice to the tune of 25-for-31 passing, 517 yards and three scores in a 46-14 battering of the Owls in the season-opener. White compiled just shy of one-third of the yards total he recorded in his final year at South Florida in last week’s victory; he completed 122-of-242 passes for 1639 yards and eight touchdowns against seven rips in his sophomore year (2014) in Tampa.
  • Just once: Western Kentucky coach Jeff Brohm has recorded 21 victories in his first 28 games at the helm in Bowling Green, but only one of those victories has come against an SEC team. The Hilltoppers scraped by Vanderbilt, 14-12, in last year’s season-opener. Brohm was also a part of the Louisville team that defeated Alabama, 34-7, in the 1991 Sunkist Fiesta Bowl, backing up eventual New York Jets quarterback Browning Nagle.
  • Everybody Hurts: It’s been fifteen years since an Alabama quarterback recorded two passing touchdowns and two running scores in the same game, but freshman Jalen Hurts accomplished the feat in last week’s thrashing of USC. Hurts, a freshman from Channelview, Texas, who started the game listed third on the depth chart, connected on 6-of-11 passes for 118 yards and two scores (one interception), then added 32 yards rushing and two ground touchdowns.

Print that, tweet that, whatever: The Hilltoppers would be easy to dismiss as a threat, on paper. However, WKU’s offense will always keep them competitive.

Middle Tennessee (1-0) at Vanderbilt (0-1)
4:00pm | SEC Network (alternate)

  • Righting the ship: Middle Tennessee was 0-for-12 in school history against Vanderbilt, before finally recording a 37-28 win against the Commodores in 2001. That win launched a three-game winning streak by the Blue Raiders against their Interstate 24 neighbors, before Vandy finally held on for a 17-13 win last season at MTSU’s Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium.
  • Taking Stock: Middle quarterback Brent Stockstill — yes, son of head coach Rick — started last week’s contest against Alabama A&M by completing his first 21 passes of the game. The sophomore played just one half of that contest, but finished 30-for-36, throwing for 329 yards and five touchdowns, versus one pick. Stockstill was the C-USA Freshman of the Year last season, and was placed on this year’s Davey O’Brien Award watch list.
  • A tangled Webb: Commodore rusher Ralph Webb is just shy of 1,000 yards away from becoming Vanderbilt’s all-time leading rusher. The junior has averaged 4.2 yards per carry, and assuming that he has 23 games remaining, it would take roughly 235 additional carries for Webb to set the mark. He rushed 277 times last year, and recorded 20 carries and 97 yards in his team’s first contest against South Carolina.

Print that, tweet that, whatever: Vandy coach Derek Mason took a lot of heat last week for untimely QB rotations. If that happens again, they could be staring down 0-2.

Arkansas (1-0) at #15 TCU (1-0)
7:00pm | ESPN

  • A return trip on Southwest: Both schools were members of the now-defunct Southwest Conference. The last contest between the two occurred with both as SWC members, as Arkansas took home a 22-21 victory in 1991. The Razorbacks have won six of the last seven games against the Horned Frogs, and 29 of 32 since 1960.
  • Quarterback newbies: Both teams will roll out signal callers for their second starts — with their current schools, at least. Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen (brother of former Razorback quarterback Brandon Allen) connected on 20-of-29 passes for 191 yards and two scores in an opening-week victory against Louisiana Tech, while Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill enjoyed a successful debut for his new squad. Hill went 33-for-49 for 439 yards in the Horned Frogs’ 59-41 victory over South Dakota State, tallying two scores and two picks.
  • 20/20: Bret Bielema will be trying for his 20th win as Arkansas’ head coach. A win would level his record as the head Razorback at 20-20. 20 was also a good number for Bielema and his Hogs in Week 1, as they defeated Louisiana Tech 21-20.

Print that, tweet that, whatever: These teams will resume pleasantries again next season, but this game should show us that it should be an annual affair.

BYU (1-0) at Utah (1-0) | Deseret First Duel (aka Holy War)
7:30pm | FOX

  • Long time, no see: You’ll recall that these schools faced off in the Las Vegas Bowl at the end of last season. The crazy finish to both the game and Bronco Mendenhall’s tenure at BYU was among the more memorable moments of the 2015 season. That 35-28 Utah victory gave the Utes their 55th win in 90 tries (four ties) against the Cougars.
  • Ruling the rivalry: Kalani Sitake is just the third BYU coach since legendary Cougar leader LaVell Edwards’ departure following the 2000 season. A win would make him the second coach of the three to beat Utah in his first try — though Mendenhall was not the first to do so. Gary Crowton took down the Utes, 24-21, in his first season (of four) guiding Brigham Young. Sitake coached for Kyle Whittingham at Utah for ten seasons, despite graduating from BYU.
  • Continued coincidences: Along with Sitake having coached alongside Whittingham at Utah, the Utes’ sports information department points out an interesting additional item the two share. Both leaders secured their first non-bowl victories against Arizona. Whittingham’s came in a 27-24 decision at home in 2005, while Sitake’s came last week against the Wildcats in a neutral site in Glendale.

Print that, tweet that, whatever: BYU showed a lot of the grit we can expect from Sitake’s teams last week. They come by it honestly — they’re a mirror image of Utah.

Virginia Tech (1-0) vs. #17 Tennessee (1-0) | The Battle at Bristol (Bristol Motor Speedway, Bristol, TN)
8:00pm | ABC

  • A mass of humanity: This game will represent the largest crowd in front of which either of these schools has ever played, and will do so by over 40,000 fans. Neyland Stadium’s attendance record for a Tennessee game is 109,061, logged in their 30-28 win against Florida in 2004. The largest number of fans to see Virginia Tech play came in their 35-21 victory at Ohio State in 2013, as 105,517 attendees packed the Horseshoe. The expected crowd for Saturday night’s contest will near or exceed 150,000.
  • Not-so-familiar neighbors: Despite the two schools’ obvious geographical proximity to the SEC and ACC (respectively), it’s been a while since either team has claimed a victory over the other conference. The last time Virginia Tech defeated a current SEC squad, they were celebrating a 37-14 victory over — wait for it — Tennessee in the 2009 Chick-fil-A Bowl. Their last regular-season victory over a team now in the SEC came in September of 2003, as they beat Texas A&M 35-19 at Lane Stadium in 2003. Tennessee claimed a 35-21 victory over NC State to begin the 2012 season, the last time they played an ACC squad.
  • Give me Liberty: Virginia Tech junior quarterback Jerod Evans found himself in the school’s record book after just one outing under center for the Hokies. Evans found the end zone four times against FCS opponent Liberty last week, which is the most ever in a first start for Virginia Tech. Evans played at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas, last year, where he threw for 38 scores.

Print that, tweet that, whatever: Was Tennessee’s scare against Appalachian State a hiccup or a harbinger? A record crowd and Justin Fuente’s team will give us that answer.

Texas Tech (1-0) at Arizona State (1-0)
10:00pm | FS1

  • Rollin’ with Mahomes: Texas Tech had the luxury this season of returning the fourth-leading passer from 2015 in Patrick Mahomes. Mahomes slung the proverbial rock for 4,653 yards in his sophomore campaign, logging 36 touchdowns and 15 picks. Mahomes continued that success in a 69-17 bashing of Stephen F. Austin last week, making good on 30-of-43 passes for 483 yards and four touchdowns in limited action. He also scored twice on the ground, running for 57 yards.
  • Dual-threat Devil: Sophomore ASU quarterback Manny Wilkins completed 20-of-27 throws for 180 yards last week against Northern Arizona. This performance was particularly notable, in that Wilkins had never attempted a throw at the college level prior to that start. Wilkins’ 14 carries for 89 yards and a score offered an added dimension, but were not his first yards gained on the ground. The second-year player ran seven times for 55 yards as a freshman last year.
  • Sun Devil Stadium success: Arizona State has never lost a home non-conference tilt under Todd Graham, a streak that spans nine games. Graham’s Sun Devils have won 23 of 29 games played at home overall since he took over. A win here would also mark the fifth consecutive year in which Arizona State has defeated a Power 5 school at home.

Print that, tweet that, whatever: Mahomes is as impressive a quarterback as there is at the FBS level. ASU’s record of success in Tempe is hard to argue, however.

Trivia answer: I asked earlier: How much rock will compose the base of the football field constructed for the Virginia Tech-Tennessee game this Saturday?

8,500 tons of rock will form the base of the field at Bristol Motor Speedway.

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