- College Football Week 2 features Texas vs. Alabama, a major showdown.
- The winner of Texas/Alabama will have an early inside track for a CFP bid.
- Texas A&M vs. Miami features a pair of 2022 underachievers.
- App State vs. North Carolina cannot possibly be weirder than last year’s game.
|1||Texas at Alabama|
|2||Utah at Baylor|
|3||Texas A&M at Miami (FL)|
|4||Oregon at Texas Tech|
|5||Notre Dame at NC State|
|6||Ole Miss at Tulane|
|7||App State at North Carolina|
|8||UCF at Boise State|
|9||James Madison at Virginia|
Texas vs. Alabama
- Spread: Alabama -7.5
- Total: 56.5
An S-tier showdown with major implications in the College Football Playoff odds market, the winner of this game will have a big-time win in its back pocket for December.
And as I recently discussed on an episode of The Lion’s Edge – my handicapping podcast for BetMGM – don’t just write this off as an automatic Alabama win. Texas has a major advantage in this game at quarterback, as Alabama’s quarterback competition is expected to drag into the season.
Quinn Ewers vs. an Alabama QB committee gives a huge – and unexpected – advantage to the Longhorns.
Utah vs. Baylor
- Spread: Utah -7
- Moneyline: Utah -275 | Baylor +220
- Total: 49.5
Both Utah and Baylor have flirted with CFP relevance in recent years, and this underrated Week 2 game will yield a high-quality non-conference win.
That said, Utah quarterback Cam Rising has had an unclear status for weeks now – he is still rehabbing a torn ACL from January’s Rose Bowl – so it’s very possible Utah enters this game expecting to play third-string quarterback Bryson Barnes. (Second-string QB Brandon Rose suffered a severe injury during training camp in August that required a trip to the hospital.)
That would certainly take some of the wind out of this game’s sail.
Texas A&M vs Miami
- Spread: Texas A&M -4
- Total: 49.5
Is the 2023 preseason hype for Texas A&M justified? Our first real data point will be this marquee trip to Miami, where Hurricanes coach Mario Cristobal will be looking to launch a bounceback campaign of his own.
Oregon vs. Texas Tech
- Spread: Oregon -6.5
- Total: 66.5
As I noted in my preseason Big 12 football rankings, Texas Tech has officially reached darling status in Big 12 betting circles. The Red Raiders bring back 17 starters, as well as continued uncertainty at quarterback.
To beat Oregon, they’ll likely need more consistency on offense. Tech is 0-2 against Oregon, with the last game played in 1992.
Notre Dame vs. NC State
- Spread: Notre Dame -7.5
- Moneyline: Notre Dame -350 | NC State +270
- Total: 50.5
Notre Dame easily dispatched Navy in Ireland during Week 0, as expected. Transfer quarterback Sam Hartman and the Fighting Irish will face their first real test in Week 2, as they travel to Raleigh to play an old Hartman rival: NC State.
The Wolfpack brought back 12 starters (seven on offense) and lured former UVA quarterback Brennan Armstrong to cross the state line down into North Carolina. He’s now reunited with former UVA offensive coordinator Robert Anae, who will likely find success in spurring Armstrong’s numbers to look less like his 2022 production and more like 2021 numbers.
Ole Miss vs. Tulane
- Spread: Ole Miss -7
- Total: 62.5
Tulane beat USC in the Cotton Bowl, 46-45, capping its first 10-win season since 1998 with a victory over Heisman Trophy odds favorite Caleb Williams. It was a memorable season in New Orleans.
Willie Fritz remains the head coach of the team despite a mountain of offseason speculation, but there are a number of offensive pieces to replace. Despite that, Tulane entered the season with top-25 hype. A home win over Ole Miss would certainly justify that.
App State vs. UNC
- Spread: North Carolina -17.5
- Total: 61.5
App State played North Carolina last season in one of the most preposterous college football games I have ever seen. The Mountaineers lost, 63-61, despite scoring two touchdowns in the final 31 seconds of the game.
scholars have argued that app state/unc and iowa/sdsu was the original yin/yang
— Chase Kiddy (@chaseakiddy) September 3, 2022
The rematch this year will likely feature fewer points but could be just as key for North Carolina’s national relevance and Drake Maye’s early Heisman campaign. App State was just 6-6 last year but is likely to get back into the mix this season as a top-end Sun Belt team.
UCF vs. Boise State
- Spread: UCF -3.5
- Total: 58.5
It’s the best G5 team of the 2000s against (arguably?) the best G5 team of the 2010s. Here’s the kicker: one of these teams is no longer considered a G5 team.
This road trip to the northwest should give us a few hints at how competitive UCF could be in its opening Big 12 campaign.
James Madison vs. Virginia
- Spread: JMU -7
- Total: 43.5
UVA will struggle to hit four wins this year, and JMU isn’t even present in the Sun Belt championship odds markets because it’s still ineligible to win the conference as part of its transition up to FBS. So why does this game matter?
As a Virginia resident (and a JMU alumnus), I can tell you this game has major regional implications. The ACC used to rule the Commonwealth, but this isn’t 2004 anymore. Virginia Tech and UVA are in major decline, with G5 squads like JMU and Liberty filling the power vacuum.
A dominant JMU win in Charlottesville would underscore what many in the area already know – the old ACC powers no longer run college football in the state of Virginia.
Many Cavs fans bemoaning this as a low point in the program. Perhaps that’s true.
But anyone who’s actually been paying attention knows that JMU has been a better FB team/program than UVA for a few years now. That’s just reality.
— Chase Kiddy (@chaseakiddy) September 4, 2023
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