Tucker’s Pick ‘Em 2018: Week 2 college football picks and previews

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Record last week 14-2

Record this season: 14-2

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All times Eastern

Associated Press rankings

 



There are plenty of Power 5 vs. cupcake games on this week’s schedule, but there are also plenty of intriguing match-ups. From the Georgia-South Carolina game in Columbia to the Clemson-Texas A&M clash in College Station, there’s plenty to look forward to this Saturday.

 

No. 18 Mississippi State (1-0, 0-0 SEC) @ Kansas State (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Saturday, September 8 at 12 p.m. ESPN
Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald will return from his one-game suspension for a violation of team rules.

The Bulldogs didn’t need him against Stephen F. Austin last week:

Mississippi State 35, Kansas State 17

 

 

Nevada (1-0, 0-0 Mountain West) @ Vanderbilt (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Saturday, September 8 at 12 p.m. SEC NETWORK
The Wolf Pack put up the third-most points in all of Division I in their 72-19 win over Portland State last week.

They’re 0-4 all-time against members of the SEC and 1-13 in their last 14 road games:

Vanderbilt 37, Nevada 20

 

 

Georgia Tech (1-0, 0-0 ACC) @ South Florida (1-0, 0-0 AAC)
Saturday, September 8 at 12 p.m. ABC
Georgia Tech’s new 3-4 defense looked about as solid as possible in the Yellow Jackets’ season opener against Alcorn State.

The Bulls beat Elon by three scores and will go for their fourth straight win over a Power 5 opponent.

Alabama transfer Blake Barnett and Co. will come up just short:

Georgia Tech 31, South Florida 27

 

 

Georgia State (1-0, 0-0 Sun Belt) @ NC State (1-0, 0-0 ACC)
Saturday, September 8 at 12:30 p.m. ACC NETWORK
Georgia State and NC State both struggled with Football Championship Subdivision teams in their openers.

The Wolfpack didn’t need a last-minute touchdown though:

NC State 31, Georgia State 10

 

 

UCLA (0-1, 0-0 Pac-12) @ No. 6 Oklahoma (1-0, 0-0 Big 12)
Saturday, September 8 at 1 p.m. FOX
The Chip Kelly era at UCLA started off, well, bad.

Grad transfer quarterback Wilton Speight went down with another back injury in the second quarter of the Bruins’ 26-17 loss to Cincinnati, and he might not be back this week.

Oklahoma will cruise even if Speight does play:

Oklahoma 45, UCLA 13

 

 

Arkansas State (1-0, 0-0 Sun Belt) @ No. 1 Alabama (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Saturday, September 8 at 3:30 p.m. ESPN2
Jalen Hurts is “officially” replaced as Alabama’s starting quarterback.

He’ll get plenty of playing time this week and should be able to convert some third downs against the Red Wolves:

Alabama 45, Arkansas State 10

 

 

No. 3 Georgia (1-0, 0-0 SEC) @ No. 24 South Carolina (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Saturday, September 8 at 3:30 p.m. CBS
There is absolutely no way South Carolina wins this game.

Yeah, I said that.

I don’t even think it will be close:

Georgia 31, South Carolina 17

 

 

Jacksonville (1-0, 0-0 Pioneer) @ Mercer (0-1, 0-0 SoCon)
Saturday, September 8 at 6 p.m. ESPN3
The Bears got whipped at the Liberty Bowl last week.

Good news–Jacksonville is no Memphis:

Mercer 38, Jacksonville 10

 

 

UMASS (1-1) @ Georgia Southern (1-0, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Saturday, September 8 at 6 p.m. ESPN+
UMASS was the nail in the coffin for Georgia Southern coach Tyson Summers last season.

The previously winless Minutemen beat the Eagles 55-20 to drop them to 0-6:

Georgia Southern 27, UMASS 17

 

 

Fort Valley State (0-1, 0-0 SIAC) vs. Valdosta State (1-0, 0-0 GSC)
Saturday, September 8 at 7 p.m.
The Wildcats and Blazers will meet in Bill Shanks’ hometown: Waycross, Georgia.

They were supposed to play there last year, but Hurricane Irma forced a cancellation:

Valdosta State 42, Fort Valley State 7

 

 

UAB (1-0, 0-0 C-USA) @ Coastal Carolina (0-1, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Saturday, September 8 at 7 p.m. ESPN+
UAB is fired up after posting its first shutout in a decade.

Georgia, Georgia Tech and Air Force were the only other teams to hold opponents scoreless:

UAB 35, Coastal Carolina 21

 

 

Florida A&M (1-0, 0-0 MEAC) @ Troy (0-1, 0-0 Sun Belt)
Saturday, September 8 at 7 p.m. ESPN+
I was shocked by my Trojans’ performance against Boise State.

Yes, there’s a new quarterback this year, but Troy usually does better than that in “big” games at home:

Troy 35, Florida A&M 10

 

 

No. 2 Clemson (1-0, 0-0 ACC) @ Texas A&M (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Saturday, September 8 at 7 p.m. ESPN
Clemson will be the highest-ranked non-conference opponent to play at Kyle Field since 1987.

Remember, early season losses aren’t season killers.

I still think the Tigers will win the College Football Playoff championship:

Texas A&M 28, Clemson 23

 

 

Kentucky (1-0, 0-0 SEC) @ No. 25 Florida (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Saturday, September 8 at 7:30 p.m. SEC NETWORK
I can’t wait to see what Dan “The Man” Mullen does at Florida.

You’ve probably heard me rave about him being one of the best coaches (and quarterback recruiters/developers) in the country.

Mark Stoops is underrated too, but his team will be outmatched here:

Florida 31, Kentucky 13

 

 

Alabama State (1-0, 0-0 SWAC) @ No. 7 Auburn (1-0, 0-0 SEC)
Saturday, September 8 at 7:30 p.m. SEC NETWORK ALTERNATE
Fifty-four miles separate these two campuses.

Auburn should win the game by about 54 points, but this is Auburn we’re talking about:

Auburn 34, Alabama State 6

 

 

No. 17 USC (1-0, 0-0 Pac-12) @ No. 10 Stanford (1-0, 0-0 Pac-12)
Saturday, September 8 at 8:30 p.m. FOX
It’s a rematch from last year’s Pac-12 Championship Game, which USC won 31-28.

Same score, different winner:

Stanford 31, USC 28

 

 

No. 15 Michigan State (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten) @ Arizona State (1-0, 0-0 Pac-12)
Saturday, September 8 at 10:45 p.m. ESPN
A 10:45 p.m. Big Ten vs. Pac-12 match-up deserved to make the list.

Michigan State struggled to get by Utah State last week, but the scoreboard didn’t tell the whole story.

The Spartans had two costly turnovers and also settled for two field goals on drives that reached USU’s one-yard-line:

Michigan State 41, Arizona State 38