This week’s game against Southern Miss. is scheduled for Saturday, September 10th at 12:00 p.m. ET on the ACC Network.
When you’re not watching the Hurricanes, college football’s Week 2 is a bit of a snoozer compared to Week 1. But there’s still a few matchups that might be of interest. Here’s a run down of this week’s games of interest to Canes fans:
Friday Night Game of the Week
Louisville Cardinals (0-1) v. UCF Golden Knights (1-0)
Location: Orlando, FL
Date/Time: Thursday, September 9, 2022 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Draft Kings Line: UCF (-6.5)
Story Lines: This is the second leg of a home-and-home series between the Golden Knights and the Cardinals. Last year, Louisville prevailed in one of 2021’s wildest endings. Tied 35-35 with less than a minute remaining in the 4th, Louisville was driving when UCF picked off QB Malik Cunningham after an ill-advised rollout toss was tipped at the line, giving UCF the ball with 25 seconds remaining in Louisville territory. The very next play, UCF QB Dillion Gabriel’s pass bounced off WR Amari Johnson’s hands right into Louisville LB Jaylin Alderman’s paws, and he proceeded to march 66 yards for the game winning pick-six!
One year later, Louisville is off to a frustrating start after getting shellacked 31-7 by Syracuse in one of the more surprising results from week 1. QB Malik Cunningham stunk, throwing no touchdowns and 2 interceptions. The allegedly dual-threat quarterback also ran 13 times for only 34 yds. This was against Syracuse - a potential bowl team, but not exactly the cream of the ACC crop. Former Tennessee RB Tiyon Evans was one of the Cardinals’ few bright spots, averaging 6.8 yds per carry and accounting for Louisville’s only touchdown.
UCF, meanwhile, has all the momentum and is salivating for revenge at the Bouncehouse. It seems like just yesterday when UCF closed out Coach Gus Malzahn’s first season with a Gasparilla Bowl victory over Florida, the first time in program history the Golden Knights topped the Gators. UCF looked sharp in its week 1 warmup against SC State, comfortably prevailing 56-10. John Rhys Plumlee, an Ole Miss transfer, somewhat surprisingly won the QB job this offseason, and he performed well last week.
Why Canes Fans Should Care: Neither team is nationally ranked or on the Canes’ schedule this season. However, there could be recruiting implications since Miami has battled both teams for several prospects this year. Louisville has been a particular pain in the rump for snagging several south Florida commitments. Normally I’m of the attitude to root for ACC teams in their non-conference matchups, but I think Canes fans should make an exception here especially since Louisville isn’t on the schedule this year. An early season collapse for Louisville might get some of their commits to rethink their pledges.
Canes Interest Factor (0-10): 5
Canes’ Commercial Break Game of the Week
No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0) v. No. 22 Texas Longhorns (1-0)
Location: Austin, TX
Date/Time: Saturday, September 11, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. ET
Draft Kings Line: Alabama (-20)
Story Lines: Texas’ early welcome gift to the SEC is 60 minutes of staring at the stiff scowl of Nick Saban while being pummeled by his top to bottom roster of NFL talent. Look, I’m as big of an SEC hater as they come. While I would immensely enjoy the Longhorns shocking the Crimson Tide in Austin, I would be equally delighted to see Texas get hammered and have them rethinking the wisdom of joining the SEC. This game will likely be a blowout, and unlikely to give Canes’ fans a reason to switch channels even if our game is under control.
Canes Interest Factor (0-10): 0...it’s always zero opposite the Canes’ game.
Other Commercial Break Games
No. 21 Wake Forest Demon Deacons (1-0) at Vanderbilt Commodores (2-0) (12pm ET, SECN)
Duke Blue Devils (1-0) at Northwestern Wildcats (1-0) (12pm ET, FS1)
Story Lines: A few other ACC teams hit the road against major conference competition. If Alabama and Texas is the blowout we all anticipate, these might offer more competitive matchups during the commercial breaks.
Saturday Afternoon Game of the Week
No. 6 Texas A&M Aggies (1-0) v. Appalachian State Mountaineers (0-1)
Location: College Station, TX
Date/Time: Saturday, September 11, 2022 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Draft Kings Line: Texas A&M (-18.5)
Story Lines: This matchup holds MY greatest interest on Saturday afternoon. Appalachian State, fresh off their heart breaking 63-61 shoot out loss against UNC, travels to College Station to face the Canes’ premier non-conference opponent. Texas A&M breezed through its rain-delayed week 1 opener against Sam Houston, winning 31-0. The Aggies defense was stout, forcing two turnovers and holding Sam Houston to 1-12 on third down. Although Texas A&M put up only 31 points, they piled up 497 total yards. The score would have been higher but for QB Haynes King throwing two interceptions. Our SB Nation colleagues at goodbullhunting.com felt the Aggies were experiencing growing pains on offense while the defense dominated.
Why Canes Fans Should Care: This is our real look at Texas A&M, especially their supposedly dominant defense. Appalachian State’s defense may be leakier than a rusted faucet, but it seems their offense can put on a show. If Texas A&M shuts them down, Canes fans will know that TvD and company will have their work cut out for them next week. But if this is a close, high-scoring affair, Cristobal and Gattis will have plenty of film to scrutinize every hole they can find.
Canes Interest Factor (0-10): 8
Co-Saturday Afternoon Game of the Week
No. 17 Pittsburgh Panthers (1-0) v. No. 24 Tennessee Volunteers (1-0)
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Date/Time: Saturday, September 11, 2022 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Draft Kings Line: Tennessee (-6.5)
Story Lines: Back-to-back weeks now the Panthers are one of our featured games. Even though Pitt prevailed in a tough rivalry game, Tennessee is the betting favorite to take the down the Panthers on their home turf. Pitt won the “Backyard Brawl” last Thursday thanks to a 53yd pick-six with three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. The defense then iced the game with a couple of critical sacks in the final minute, and WVU receiver Reese Smith was just barely unable to scrape the ball off the turf in the endzone. All-in-all, that was a fairly even matchup but Pitt, particularly its defense, just made more plays down the stretch.
Meanwhile, Tennessee slapped the sense out of Ball State to the tune of 59-10 in its week 1 opener. Head Coach Josh Heupel, the former Heisman Trophy runner-up at Oklahoma, and more recently UCF Head Coach, is hoping to improve on his first 7-6 season at Tennessee that ended with a Music City Bowl loss to Purdue. Last year, Tennessee lived and died by its offense - the Vols were 7-1 when they scored 35 points, and 0-5 when they couldn’t. Tennessee returns its starting QB from 2021, Hendon Hooker (great alliteration to his name), as well as top target Cedric Tillman. The strength of the 2021 Vols defense was backfield penetration, finishing 7th in the nation in tackles for loss.
Why Canes Fans Should Care: While Texas A&M holds greater interest for me, this game can do much more for shutting down the “ACC is weak” narrative. Pitt is ranked higher and the home team, and yet the Volunteers are a nearly touchdown favorite. For the sake of the ACC’s reputation, I’ll be rooting for Pitt to beat one of the SEC’s upward-trending programs.
Canes Interest Factor (0-10): 8
Other Saturday Afternoon Games
Furman Paladins (1-0) at No. 5 Clemson Tigers (1-0) (3:30 pm ET, ACCN)
Virginia Cavaliers (1-0) at Illinois Fighting Illini (1-1) (4pm ET, ESPNU)
No. 25 Houston Cougars (1-0) at Texas Tech Red Raiders (1-0) (4pm ET, FS1)
Story Lines: Clemson returns home from their “neutral site” game against Georgia Tech in Atlanta with a tune-up opportunity against Furman, and Virginia heads to a B1G Ten bottom feeder. And...that’s about it. The only other game of possible interest to Canes’ fans might be Houston, arguably the Group of 5’s best chance to crash the CFP, heading to future Big XII conference-mate Texas Tech.
Saturday Night Game of the Week
No. 12 Florida Gators (1-0) v. No. 20 Kentucky Wildcats (1-0)
Location: Gainesville, FL
Date/Time: Saturday, September 11, 2022 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Draft Kings Line: Florida (-4.5)
Story Lines: Well, that was disappointing to see our rival (if they’d ever play us) jump onto the national scene thanks to a goal-line stand against the defending Pac 12 champions. Between Utah and Oregon, the Pac 12 had an absolutely awful week making any perceived ACC struggles seem inconsequential.
Bring on Kentucky to hopefully bring the Gators back to earth. This used to be a lopsided series. The Gators had won every game in the annual series between 1987 and 2017. But Kentucky is 2-2 since, including a 2018 win in Gainesville - it’s first since 1979. Last year, the Wildcats knocked off what was a Top 10 Florida team 20-13 in Lexington thanks to a 4th quarter goal-line stand. The win propelled the Wildcats to a 10-3 finish capped off with a New Years day victory over Iowa in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.
Last week we saw what the Gators had to offer. As for Kentucky, Coach Mark Stoops has to fill a gapping hole due to the departure of Wan’Dale Robinson to the NFL. The talented playmaker collected 104 (!!) catches last year. The good news is that the offensive line has NFL talent to support Penn State transfer QB Will Levis. Last week, Kentucky had a slow start against Miami (OH), leading only 13-10 at half, before outscoring the RedHawks 24-3 in the second half. Levis settled in and threw for 300 yds and 3 touchdowns.
Why Canes Fans Should Care: Is Florida good again or is the Pac 12 weak? Hopefully Saturday will prove the later not the former. Miami has been in a number of recruiting battles this year with UF, and a quick return to prominence for the Gators could make Coach Cristobal’s recruiting efforts more difficult.
Canes Interest Factor (0-10): 7
Other Saturday Night Games
Arizona State Sun Devils at No. 11 Oklahoma State Cowboys (7:30pm ET, ESPN2)
No. 10 USC Trojans at Stanford Cardinals (7:30pm, ABC)
Boston College Eagles at Virginia Tech Hokies (8 pm ET, ACCN)
No. 9 Baylor Bears at No. 21 BYU Cougars (10:15pm ET, ESPN)
Story Lines: USC takes the primetime center stage in hopes of reminding the nation that there’s at least one west coast team left that could possibly, maybe make the playoffs. Canes fans can also take a peak at just high bad Virginia Tech has sunk coming off the Old Dominion debacle. The late-late game features a Big XII favorite heading to its future Big XII colleague in a Top 25 showdown.
Games of the Week - Cheat Sheet
For those who scrolled to the end, here’s a tl’dr run down of our games of the week:
- Friday Night: Louisville at UCF (7:30pm ET, ESPN2)
- Hurricanes Game: Southern Miss at No. 15 Miami (12:00pm ET, ACCN)
- Commercial Breaks: No. 1 Alabama at No. 22 Texas (12:00pm ET, Fox)
- Saturday Afternoon (1A): Appalachian State at No. 6 Texas A&M (3:30pm, ESPN2)
- Saturday Afternoon (1B): No. 24 Tennessee at No. 17 Pittsburgh (3:30pm, ABC)
- Saturday Evening: No. 20 Kentucky at No. 12 Florida (7:00pm, ESPN)
Which Game of the Week are you most excited for?
This poll is closed
Louisville at UCF
No. 1 Alabama at No. 22 Texas
Appalachian St at No. 6 Texas A&M
No. 24 Tennessee at No. 17 Pittsburgh
No. 20 Kentucky at No. 12 Florida
Other (leave a comment!)