College Football 2011 Week 2: 3 Games to Watch For

Allen SmithContributor ISeptember 9, 2011

COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 11: Tailback Washaun Ealey #3 of the Georgia Bulldogs runs with the ball during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Columbia, South Carolina. The Gamecocks beat the Bulldogs 17-6. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)
Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images

Well, I had too much faith in one SEC team and not enough in the new addition to the conference (lawsuit pending). 

Texas A&M and Georgia made me look like an idiot last week, so I start out 1-1, and really whiffed on the Upset Alert.   

Anyway, I will make a better attempt at these three games this week.  


#12 South Carolina at Georgia - Saturday, September 10 - ESPN - 4:30 pm EST

This has so much on the line for both teams, as it's the ultimate swing game of the 2011 SEC season. Just two weeks in, the winner of this game will be sitting pretty atop the SEC East, though both will have to deal with Florida later, while the loser is pretty much sulking in their wounds and pondering what the season might have been. 

After what I saw last week Georgia got their tails whipped by an undersized Boise State team on the line of scrimmage. (My apologies to Bronco fans, I won't doubt your abilities again.) For that reason, I smell a blowout win for South Carolina.  

I think Aaron Murray and the Dawgs will press and play nervous due to being behind the "8-ball" early in the season.  Plus South Carolina has probably the second-best running back in the league, and best receiver in the league (Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery, respectively). 

I see Stephen Garcia having a solid game, both Lattimore and Jeffery going north of 100 yards and probably a couple of touchdowns apiece. I don't see how Georgia can muster enough on either side of the ball to beat the Gamecocks.

While the fact that South Carolina's defense allowed more than 30 points last week is a cause for concern, they should have enough offensive firepower to see this out.

South Carolina 35, Georgia 10


Notre Dame at Michigan - Saturday, September 10 - ESPN - 8:00 pm EST

Another swing game early in the season, and both teams are the complete opposite of where we all thought they would be. 

Instead of Michigan being the question mark, Notre Dame's lousy performance against South Florida aroused some serious quarterback concerns. Head coach Brian Kelly was disappointed enough in the loss to demote Dayne Crist, and give Tommy Rees the nod against the Wolverines.

Meanwhile, I do believe Michigan found some semblance of defense in the offseason. Welcome back Wolverines. 

I think this game hinges on Michigan, because I think the only way Notre Dame wins is if Michigan allows them to win with senseless turnovers and dumb play.  Even though Notre Dame statistically looked solid offensively, something isn't right when you are reopening a quarterback issue. 

I don't know why Brian Kelly is doing it, I'm sure there is a valid reason.  However, with that said I see a lot of issues with the Fighting Irish getting traction offensively under the lights at the "Big House" (a new concept in Ann Arbor), thus I see a big win for Michigan

Michigan 28  Notre Dame 14


#3 Alabama at #23 Penn State - Saturday, September 10 - ABC - 3:30 pm EST

Two reasons that I'm putting Alabama on upset alert, one the quarterback issues maybe resolved, but it is still their first road game of the year. 

Second, it is a very stiff road test, with the atmosphere and the whiteout in Happy Valley, etc.  Alabama will have to attempt to end the game early, providing no hope for Penn State to think they have a realistic shot. 

Penn State will have to survive three quarters and hope to have a shot to win in the end. I don't think Alabama loses, but anytime a top-five team is on the road against a major non-conference opponent the chances are certainly there for weird things to happen.