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Dr. Saturday

What to watch: College football Week 2

Graham Watson
Dr. Saturday

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(ICON SMI)

The second week of football is a lot like the first — a dud.

Not a lot of great games on tap this weekend, but a few good storylines, including two new SEC teams playing in their first SEC games and a happy birthday for one of the country's best quarterbacks.

Here's what to watch on this second college football Saturday:

• Prior to the season, no one would have put Alabama on upset watch against Western Kentucky — and it's still a little crazy — but Western Kentucky has been talking up a storm about its ability to give the nation's No. 1 team a test when they play at 3:30 p.m. ET. Now, will it happen? Probably not. Western Kentucky will probably come out with fire and give the Crimson Tide some issues early, but as the game wears on, Alabama's defense will be too much for the Hilltoppers. Still, you have to like seeing a 40-point underdog come into a hostile environment with a confidence, even if that underdog has never beaten a member of the "Big Six" conferences as an FBS team.

[Related: Nick Saban berates media for praise of Crimson Tide]

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(US Presswire)

• Happy Birthday to USC quarterback Matt Barkley, who is spending the weekend in New York as the Trojans play Syracuse at 3:30 ET p.m.. Barkley is 22 years old and unless things go horribly awry, should have a pleasant birthday full of completions and touchdown passes against a suspect Syracuse defense. If he plays his cards right, this won't be his only trip to the Big Apple this season.

• Missouri makes its foray into the SEC and while that will be part of the focus for Saturday's game against Georgia at 7:45 p.m. ET, a lot of eyes will be on Georgia running back Todd Gurley, who gained quite a few fans after a strong outing against Buffalo last weekend. In his debut, Gurley rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries and returned a kickoff 100 yards for another score. Many have called for him to be the starter — something that's still up in the air for Saturday — but regardless of when he comes onto the field, Gurley will certainly be one of the most exciting players to watch in Columbia, Mo.

• As if there wasn't enough excitement surrounding the annual Cy-Hawk game between Iowa and Iowa State at 3:30 p.m. ET, President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will be campaigning in Iowa City on the Iowa campus making an already crazy scene even crazier. Let's just hope if Biden decides to give a pep talk to one of the two teams before the game that it goes better than Paul Ryan's pep talk to Miami-Ohio last week.

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(Getty Images)

• Are you a Texas State believer yet? OK, it was one game and it was against Houston, but Texas Tech should at least be a little worried that the Bobcats are going to put up a fight when the two meet at 7 p.m. ET. The Bobcats were six-touchdown underdogs against Houston last week and beat the Cougars so badly that it caused their offensive coordinator to "resign." When Texas Tech and Texas State met last year, the Bobcats actually led 10-9 at the half before eventually losing 50-10, but I bet new head coach Dennis Franchione has a couple tricks up his sleeve for an old Big 12 rival.

• South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw suffered a shoulder injury last week against Vanderbilt ad has been limited in practice. Coach Steve Spurrier said he'd be dressed for Saturday's game against East Carolina at 12:21 p.m. ET, but didn't say whether he'd start or play.

There are multiple reasons why South Carolina might be better off if Shaw sits this one out. Not only does it give Shaw a chance to heal ahead of a grueling SEC slate, it also gives quarterback Dylan Thompson some much-needed in-game reps. Thompson looked awful during the two series he played last week while Shaw was getting treatment, consequently, Shaw had to come back into the game to ensure a victory. South Carolina can beat East Carolina without Shaw, especially if running back Marcus Lattimore gets the bulk of the offensive touches, so there's no reason for South Carolina to get it's starting quarterback injured any more.

• Ohio State coach Urban Meyer knows Central Florida well and knows his Buckeyes are in for a challenge when the two teams square off at noon ET. Both teams scored 56 points last weekend against Mid-American Conference opponents and UCF comes into the game with an abundance of confidence. Meyer acknowledging that the Knights matched up well with the Buckeyes probably bolstered that confidence.

"They're a Big Ten talent," Meyer said of UCF. "There's no question there's people on that team at certain positions that are as good or better than our [guys]. They have five or six NFL players on their roster. That tells you what we're getting ready to face. We'd better be ready. This is going to be a brawl."

• It's probably unfair to expect Oklahoma State to put up 84 points in every game this season, but the Cowboys will certainly have a chance to add to their NCAA-leading point total this weekend against Arizona at 10:30 p.m. ET. Arizona had some trouble with Toledo last week and needed overtime to beat the Rockets 24-17. The Cowboys didn't show a lot of their playbook last week, so look for quarterback Wes Lunt to get more involved in the offense.

• Jeff Driskel won Florida's starting quarterback job and will lead the Gators against Texas A&M at 3:30 p.m. ET in his first collegiate start. Last week, Driskel was 10 of 16 for 114 yards, which included a 50-yard fourth-quarter touchdown pass. It wasn't the best start for the Gators, but Texas A&M coaches believe they were very vanilla with the playbook. We'll see if they open things up this weekend.

• Heisman Trophies aren't won in September, though they can be lost (sorry Denard). The main role September has in the Heisman race is fattening up statistics against weaklings. When voters look and see that eye-popping touchdown total in late November, they probably won't remember that a half dozen came against a directional FCS school.

USC's duo of Barkley and Marqise Lee put up some good numbers last week against Hawaii, and now get a crack at Syracuse, which gave up 42 points to mighty Northwestern in Week 1. They'll need to have a nice week, because plenty of players chasing them have much easier matchups.

[Related: Thrash-for-cash not so bad for Savannah State]

Oklahoma's Landry Jones gets Florida A&M (7 p.m. ET), Florida State's E.J. Manuel plays Savannah State (6 p.m. ET), Arkansas' Tyler Wilson faces Louisiana-Monroe (7 p.m. ET) and Virginia Tech's Logan Thomas meets Austin Peay (1:30 p.m. ET), to name some of the softer matchups for top players this week. There will be plenty of yards and touchdowns added to Heisman resumes in those games.

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