Week 2 college football games to watch this weekend

After an exciting opening weekend, there's another excellent slate of college football games -- which games should you be watching in Week 2?

After a slate that featured every program in the nation stretched out over six nights, you could be forgiven for thinking that Week 2’s college football games are something of an anti-climax. You would, however, be wrong. There’s a sensational slate of college football games, with some sneaky good matchups packed with 2022 NFL Draft prospects.

Week 2 college football games to watch this weekend

Friday night sees Coastal Carolina entertain Kansas, Duke looking to avoid another embarrassing defeat when they host North Carolina A&T, and North Dakota traveling to Utah State. In the final game, Boise State and exciting 2022 NFL Draft prospect Khalil Shakir host UTEP. While there are four enticing matchups on Friday night, here are the best college football games in Week 2.

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College Football Games, Week 2 “Main Event”: Oregon at Ohio State

Both Oregon and Ohio State suffered Week 1 wobbles before emerging victorious. The Buckeyes rallied behind first-year starter C.J. Stroud to beat Minnesota 45-31. Meanwhile, the Ducks had to come from behind after being frustrated by Fresno State. Anthony Brown’s 30-yard touchdown run with under three minutes remaining secured a 31-24 win.

Oregon is expected to be without elite defensive talent Kayvon Thibodeaux for this crucial early-season clash. The premier pass rusher in college football suffered a sprained ankle in Week 1. As a result, the Ducks are already at a disadvantage as they seek a first-ever win against the Buckeyes. Ohio State is 9-0 against Oregon, with their last matchup in the 2015 National Championship Game (a 42-20 Buckeyes win).

2022 NFL Draft prospects to watch in Oregon at Ohio State

Despite the one-sided historical nature of the matchup, Oregon at Ohio State is the must-watch matchup of all the Week 2 college football games. The Buckeyes were gashed on the ground by Mohamed Ibrahim last week, and the Ducks racked up 186 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground.

The Oregon ground game will be led once again by senior running back CJ Verdell. The diminutive back rushed for 74 yards and a score in the win over Fresno State. Verdell is incredibly physical despite his size limitations, possesses incredible explosiveness, and displays exceptional vision both between the tackles and in the open field.

If there was any doubt that Ohio State possesses the best wide receiving room in the nation, that was cast aside during the win over Minnesota. Chris Olave flashed his speed and route-running savvy on the way to 117 yards and 2 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Garrett Wilson tallied 80 yards and a score. Wilson’s ability to wreak havoc was best evidenced by a beautifully executed double move that left him with a wide-open touchdown.

Other notable NFL Draft prospects

Oregon

  • Mykael Wright, CB
  • Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu, OT
  • Alex Forsyth, C
  • Verone McKinley III, S
  • Johnny Johnson III, WR

Ohio State

  • Nicholas Petit-Frere, OT
  • Zach Harrison, DE
  • Tyreke Smith, DE
  • Haskell Garrett, DT
  • Jeremy Ruckert, TE
  • Thayer Munford, G
  • Dallas Gant, LB

Iowa at Iowa State

Although they were both victorious last week, there couldn’t have been a more contrasting pair of performances than Iowa and Iowa State. While the Cyclones struggled to blow past Northern Iowa, the Hawkeyes produced one of the shocks of the week with a consummate 34-6 win over conference rivals Indiana.

The El Assico rivalry promises to be one of the best college football games in Week 2. College Gameday would appear to agree as the show will be live from Ames before the game. Current form and history are with Iowa, with a five-game win streak and 45-22 overall record in one of college football’s greatest rivalry games.

2022 NFL Draft prospects to watch in Iowa at Iowa State

The last matchup between the two was a tight 18-17 game. Despite the differing performances from last week, it should be a close-fought college football game in Ames this Saturday. The matchup will also allow us to see two of the best running backs in the 2022 NFL Draft clash.

Iowa’s Tyler Goodson rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown in the win over Indiana. The dynamic running back demonstrated his raw athletic ability with an incredible hurdle. His creativity, change-of-direction ability, and vision make him a dangerous proposition for the Iowa State defense.

Meanwhile, Breece Hall struggled for 69 yards at 3 yards per carry and scored a touchdown. While the matchup with Northern Iowa is historically tight and their defense performed outstandingly, you’d expect more than his 12-yard longest run on the night. You can expect to see him utilize his vision, explosion, and elusiveness more against the Hawkeyes. 

Other notable NFL Draft prospects

Iowa

  • Tyler Linderbaum, C
  • Mark Kallenberger, G
  • Jack Koerner, S
  • Riley Moss, CB
  • Zach VanValkenburg, DL
  • Sam LaPorta, TE

Iowa State

  • Charlie Kolar, TE
  • Colin Newell, C
  • Brock Purdy, QB
  • Mike Rose, LB
  • O’Rien Vance, LB
  • Will McDonald IV, DE
  • Greg Eisworth II, S

Texas at Arkansas

Despite the fanfare and excitement of Steve Sarkisian’s arrival in Austin, the first two college football games of his tenure had potential banana skin written all over them. However, the Longhorns handled the Louisiana litmus test with relative ease and travel to Arkansas full of confidence.

It’s an optimism fueled by a lackluster Razorbacks performance in their opener. Arkansas had to overcome a 17-7 deficit against perennial strugglers Rice, rallying to a 38-17 win. A rivalry game dating back to 1903, the Longhorns hold a 56-22 advantage. Will Arkansas build on the 2014 victory (the last time the two teams tangled)?

2022 NFL Draft prospects to watch in Texas at Arkansas

Jalen Catalon might not have been a household name in the 2022 NFL Draft class before Saturday. Still, the Arkansas safety was the talking point of the Razorbacks’ opening game of the college football season. The redshirt sophomore led the team in solo tackles, while his 2 interceptions were the headline-making plays of his performance.

Catalon plays with a hot motor while making the most of his incredible athletic profile. He can click and close with ease while having enough twitchiness to play sticky in man coverage. Furthermore, he’s aggressive as a tackler, whether against the run game or exploding into the backfield to be disruptive.

For the Longhorns, linebacker DeMarvion Overshown can be a first-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. Although he’s a converted safety playing linebacker for just the second season, he could emerge as one of the best at the position in this class. Overshown has a rare size at 6’4″ and 224 pounds. His combination of size and length makes for a rangy, long-striding linebacker who is explosive and hard-hitting while possibly possessing the best coverage skills of any linebacker in the class.

Other notable NFL Draft prospect

Texas

  • Keondre Coburn, DT
  • B.J. Foster, CB
  • D’Shawn Jamison, CB
  • Denzel Okafor, G
  • Derek Kerstetter, OT

Arkansas

  • Treylon Burks, WR
  • Ricky Stromberg, C
  • Myron Cunningham, OT
  • Bumper Pool, LB

Missouri at Kentucky

Although probably not high on most people’s list of college football games to watch in Week 2, the all-SEC matchup between Missouri and Kentucky is a sneaky good game with several ascending 2022 NFL Draft prospects.

Despite the Tigers emerging with a comfortable 20-10 win over the Wildcats last season, Kentucky has a 7-4 lead in the head-to-head series. Furthermore, the two programs had contrasting performances in their season opener. While Missouri labored to a win over Central Michigan, the Wildcats tore apart Louisiana-Monroe for an easy 45-10 victory.

2022 NFL Draft prospects to watch in Missouri at Kentucky

It’s important not to put too much sway into an opening day win over a poor side, but Kentucky looked like a different beast from the team that ranked 108th in FBS for scoring offense last fall. One of the catalysts for the change in offensive performance is quarterback Will Levis.

In an impressive performance, Levis threw for 367 yards, completed 69.2% of his passes, and racked up 4 touchdowns. While statistics alone are outstanding, he showed off some of the attributes that make him a genuine NFL Draft prospect. Levis has exceptional arm strength and ball placement, with impressive mechanics that make his deep ball look effortless.

Although his opposite number in this matchup didn’t post such gaudy statistics last week, Connor Bazelak remains a guy who should be considered a breakout QB prospect this fall. The Missouri quarterback is accurate, throws the ball with anticipation, and has the arm strength to hit all three levels of the field.

Other notable NFL Draft prospects

Missouri

  • Allie Green IV, CB
  • Akayleb Evans, CB
  • Trajan Jeffcoat, DE
  • Tyler Badie, RB
  • Blaze Alldredge, LB

Kentucky

  • Darian Kinnard, OT
  • Dare Rosenthal, OT
  • Yusuf Corker, S
  • Josh Paschal, DE
  • Jordan Wright, LB

Washington at Michigan

Almost 14 years to the date of their embarrassing shock defeat to Appalachian State, Michigan took care of business in a clash with Western Michigan. A few hours later, the Washington Huskies were suffering a seminal shock of their own. Jimmy Lake’s team lost to Montana for the first time in over 100 years.

Can Washington bounce back with a win, or will the Wolverines continue to take the pressure off Jim Harbaugh with a strong start to the season?

2022 NFL Draft prospects to watch in Washington at Michigan

Pressure could be the defining term of the game in this primetime college football bout. Although there were multiple reasons for Washington’s malaise against Montana, the offensive line’s inability to take pressure off both the passing and ground game was apparent.

That’s going to be a problem when facing Michigan’s defensive dominator Aidan Hutchinson. One of the top 2022 NFL Draft pass rush prospects, Hutchinson was outstanding against WMU. The statistics were modest (4 tackles and 1 sack), but there’s a reason why we watch the games and not the box score. The Michigan defensive end was everywhere on Saturday afternoon, and he’ll be a problem all night long for the Huskies.

Surprisingly, the offensive line struggled, given the experience and excellence available. Left tackle Jaxson Kirkland is a prospect to watch in this college football game as the Huskies look to rebound. Kirkland has earned first-round attention early in the 2022 NFL Draft cycle, with his combination of size, length, and technical ability incredibly alluring for NFL teams.

Other notable NFL Draft prospects

Washington

  • Cade Otton, TE
  • Trent McDuffie, CB
  • Kyler Gordon, CB
  • Edefuan Ulofoshio, LB

Michigan

  • Daxton Hill, S
  • Chris Hinton, DT
  • Michael Barrett, LB
  • Andrew Stueber, G

College Football Games, Week 2: Utah at BYU closes out the week

It would be remiss to end an article entitled college football games to watch without including one of the greatest college football rivalries that there is. Holy War brings together Utah and BYU in a fiery and passionate football tilt with a clash of religious beliefs bubbling just below the surface.

While Utah’s nine-game win streak would suggest dominance, the 54-10 blowout of 2010 is the only game that has been decided by more than a possession. After winning starts for both teams last weekend, we should be treated to a ferocious battle, which could be defined by the best 2022 NFL Draft prospect for each team.

2022 NFL Draft prospects to watch in Utah at BYU

While the Cougars may not have an ascending first-round prospect like Zach Wilson, in Tyler Allgeier they have a running back who is one of the best in the nation. The 5’11”, 220-pound RB notched up 94 yards and a score in BYU’s win over Arizona last weekend. Allgeier has the power you’d expect from a player of his stature.

Yet, he also possesses exceptional burst, quick feet, and the impressive vision of a dangerous playmaker.

Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd will be one of the Utes tasked with stopping Allgeier in a delicious “meet me in the alley” matchup. Lloyd has a glorious combination of athletic ability and football intelligence. He’s adept at reading the game but also has movement skills to react to any situation effectively.

Other notable NFL Draft prospects

Utah

  • Brant Kuithe, TE
  • Cole Fotheringham, TE
  • Simi Moala, OT
  • Charlie Brewer, QB

BYU

  • James Empey, C
  • Keenan Pili, LB
  • Payton Wilgar, LB
  • Gunner Romney, WR

Oliver Hodgkinson is an NFL Draft and College Football Analyst for Pro Football Network. Check out the rest of his work here, and you can find him on Twitter @ojhodgkinson.

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