Week 2 Viewing Guide: Scouting Future OSU Opponents, the Cy-Hawk Showdown, and a Late-Night Holy War

By George Eisner on September 11, 2021 at 9:35 am
Brian Powers | The Register, Des Moines Register
Brian Powers | The Register, Des Moines Register

With Ohio State playing early today, here are five other college football matchups from around the country we have our eyes on this Saturday.

NoonersJerome Miron | USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Jerome Miron | USA TODAY Sports

Tulsa vs. Oklahoma State, 12 p.m. on FS1

W I L D C A R D   of the   W E E K

Given Tulsa will play Ohio State next weekend, it would be wise for Buckeye fans to consider flipping the channel between their game and the showdown with Oregon at noon today.

Tulsa is perhaps the most peculiar of the non-conference teams on Ohio State's schedule this season, but they figured to present more of a threat on paper last week than they do a week out from their game with the Buckeyes. The Golden Hurricanes lost to the UC Davis Aggies at home last week after giving up an early touchdown in the first quarter and failing to score any points in the final 20+ minutes of the game.

The modern defense for which the Golden Hurricanes are mostly known for had some key red zone stands in the 4th quarter, but ultimately could not make up for the late-game execution failures of its offense. Tulsa allowed UC Davis to throw for over 100 more yards, committed a dozen penalties, and surrendered three turnovers to the Aggies' zero. In truth, Tulsa probably should have won this game given they had nearly three times as many rushing yards — but mistakes can cost any team any victory.

Oklahoma State by no means has a walk-in victory today, however. Tulsa will be eager to redeem themselves following an embarrassing opener, and the Cowboys had their hands full themselves with Bobby Petrino's Missouri State Tigers last weekend. Oklahoma State's usually sound rushing attack looked a bid discombobulated last week and their task today against Tulsa's sound front will not be any easier.

Last year, this game resembled something of a Big Ten Hangover Saturday slugfest — with the final score ending at 16-7 in favor of Oklahoma State. If Tulsa can redeem themselves for their shortcomings last week and the previous season, they will have some nice momentum on next Saturday as they head into a second game against OSU in as many weeks.

AfternoonersBrian Powers | The Register, Des Moines Register

Photo: Brian Powers | The Register, Des Moines Register

#10 Iowa vs. #9 Iowa State, 4:30 p.m. on ABC

The best game on the slate today, mercifully clear of coinciding with any time dedicated to watching Ohio State play Oregon. One of the best in-state-out-of-conference rivalries that college football has to offer, the battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy this afternoon figures to be the most significant for these two schools in quite some time.

But there are some interesting considerations around both of these teams for Buckeye fans, as well. Obviously, Iowa appears to be the team-to-beat in the Big Ten West after one of their cornerbacks doubled-up Indiana's entire offense in points last week.

Iowa jumped into the Top 10 for the first time since 2015 following the win. They are riding high on the heels of a dominant victory over a school that gave Ohio State a bit of a scare last season. A consecutive victory today in what figures to be the most significant game in the history of its in-state rivalry would have to put the Badgers, Buckeyes, and the rest of the Big Ten on notice that the Hawkeyes firmly have eyes on Indianapolis — and maybe even more.

As for Iowa State, Matt Campbell enters today with arguably his best Cyclones team to date, but has yet to score a victory over his in-state rival in four contests. In fact, despite falling short by merely a point in their last meeting in 2019, Iowa State hasn't forced Iowa to so much as commit a turnover since the fourth quarter of their game six years ago.

Campbell has been a speculative hiring candidate for the Michigan job should Jim Harbaugh be shown the door at the end of the football season. Provided that happens despite a loss to Iowa today, it would be quite rich if U-M replaced an outgoing Harbaugh with a coach that failed to beat his greatest rival in five tries at his previous stop.

Both teams will line up today ranked in the College Football AP Top 10 for the first time in their 125+ year rivalry that spans 67 meetings. There can only be one champion of the corn, and it surely isn't Nebraska.

PrimetimeJason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Jason Getz | USA TODAY Sports

Appalachian State vs. #22 Miami, 7 p.m. on ESPNU

Playing the defending national champion to open a season is never fun (just ask Virginia Tech). However, Miami looked overmatched from the very first snap last Saturday in their opener against Alabama despite starting the preseason ranked inside the AP Top 15. The points came early and often for the Crimson Tide, including this field-spanning touchdown pass to former Buckeye wideout Jameson Williams.

This should be a much better opportunity to evaluate a Miami team that received considerable praise heading into this season — particularly preseason Heisman-candidate D'Eriq King. However, the Hurricanes will be getting no pushover as a rebound opponent, given the Appalachian State Mountaineers are fresh off a victory over East Carolina in which two of their running backs rumbled to performances of over 100 yards each.

King committed three turnovers in the loss to Alabama while also taking four sacks, and those two factors today are likely to determine the outcome of this game for both teams. If the Mountaineers' pass rush can generate similar pressure to what the Crimson Tide were able to achieve last week, this could be another frustrating night for the Hurricanes' offense.

Assuming King plays safe football, Miami can take this game if their defense does a better job of tackling and helps their team win the turnover battle. That would mean several flauntings of the infamous turnover chain, which had perhaps its most hilarious appearance to-date in the loss to Alabama last week.

Washington vs. Michigan, 8 p.m. on ABC

In line with keeping an eye on Tulsa earlier today, be sure to keep another on the end of the regular season as well. Yes, it may have been against a lowly MAC team, but Michigan at least showed signs of life last week in a 47-14 win that provided its own pessimistic fans some encouragement for what could unfold later this year.

Losing Ronnie Bell early to a season-ending knee injury was devastating, but the day overall offered a great deal of optimism to a fan base that has of late lamented the general direction of Michigan football. Even this garbage time touchdown pass J.J. McCarthy made was objectively impressive.

That could very well be the greatest throw I have ever seen a Michigan quarterback make.

We will have a better idea of whether or not the Wolverines merit the status of an impending threat after this evening, as Michigan will take on Washington under the lights at The Big House. While the Huskies did drop their home opener to Montana last weekend, it will be interesting to see how Michigan's offense reorganizes itself following the lost of their most talented skill-player.

Given Washington failed to score over the final three quarters of their game last week and their starting quarterback threw three interceptions, the Wolverines could have plenty of time to figure out how to tweak their offense in this one. However, Washington does have a five-star freshman quarterback waiting in reserve should they become impatient with the performance of their offense again.

The Huskies' lackluster offensive line will likely keep them from winning this one, but this could be a nice game to check in on during commercial breaks for the other primetime matchups.

Saturday Night FeverJeff Swinger | USA TODAY Sports

Photo: Josh Morgan-USA TODAY Sports

#21 Utah vs. BYU, 10:15 p.m. on ESPN

End the day with yet another hotly contested in-state rivalry, this time with some "PAC-12 After Dark" flavoring.

Following a hiatus last season after its 100th meeting in 2019, the Holy War between Utah and BYU is back in 2021. The Utes enter the game ranked in the AP Top 25 with the goal this season of returning to the PAC 12 Championship game for the first time since 2019. However, BYU just beat another PAC 12 South opponent last week in Arizona, and the Cougars tend to always play ranked opponents close. The state of affairs in Provo could get weird quickly.

If BYU's passing offense can find some success, this may turn into a back-and-forth high-scoring affair that nicely rounds out the end of the college football day. Utah will almost certainly have no problem with new quarterback Charlie Brewer throwing on BYU, as the latter surrendered well over 330 passing yards to Arizona last week.

However, if BYU's offensive game plan relies too heavily on running back Tyler Allgeier, then the Cougars may find themselves falling too much behind. Utah's rush defense has been the best in PAC-12 for three straight years, which means the road to victory goes through the air.

Worst case scenario, if this ends ends up being a dud, then get some rest for the return of NFL Sundays tomorrow.

On the Radar for Next Week

  • Buckeyes: Tulsa vs. #3 Ohio State, 12 p.m. on FS1
  • Afternoon: #1 Alabama vs. #13 Florida, 4:30 p.m. on CBS
  • Evening: #25 Auburn vs. #11 Penn State, 7:30 p.m. on ABC
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