Week 2 of the college football season is here, and it’s a day where we hope you’ll have no prior arrangements and can enjoy the afternoon from the comfort of your couch. It’s a loaded slate this weekend with a couple of ranked matchups and plenty of betting lines at one score or less. If you’re one of those people, we’ve got the preview you won’t want to miss to guide you through the action.
We’ll highlight the prospect matchups and the big game of the week you need to have your eyes on. Sound off in the comments below and enjoy a loaded Week 2 of college football.
Texas A&M Interior Offensive Line (Bryce Foster & Layden Robinson) vs. Miami’s Interior Defensive Line (Leonard Taylor & Ahkeem Mesidor)
There will be plenty of talent on the field in Miami Gardens on Saturday afternoon. A lot of that talent will be underclassmen, especially in the case of the Aggies. But one draft eligible matchup to watch is the battle on the interior of the trenches when Texas A&M is on offense and Miami is on defense.
Miami boasts one of the more electric interior pass-rush duos in the country in Leonard Taylor and Ahkeem Mesidor. Taylor projects as a true explosive three technique at the next level while Mesidor has some tweener physical makeup to him that will allow him to create havoc as an interior rusher. The two combined for 10 sacks in 2022.
The new-look A&M offense led by offensive guru Bobby Petrino is set to be an explosive one with a star-studded wide receiver corps. If they want to light up the scoreboard on Saturday, the interior offensive line combo of Bryce Foster at center and Layden Robinson at right guard will need to slow the Miami interior rushers.
While it’s sometimes difficult to see what’s going on in the interior trenches, keep an eye out for who controls that line of scrimmage and if the Hurricanes can cause headaches up the middle.
Ranked QB Battle — No. 20 Ole Miss (Jaxon Dart) vs. No. 24 Tulane (Michael Pratt)
The best quarterback battle of the week is featured in one of the two ranked matchups in Week 2. Ole Miss’ Jaxon Dart and Tulane’s Michael Pratt are two of the better quarterbacks in college football. The former has steadily improved as a passer throughout college and is already off to a solid start in 2023. The USC transfer has a big opportunity against the Green Wave.
Pratt is a game-time decision this week after an injury late in the game last week against South Alabama, per ESPN’s Pete Thamel. If Pratt plays, it’s a huge opportunity for him to showcase against an SEC defense. He was darn near perfect last week going 14-of-15 for 294 yards and four touchdowns. Pratt is a player you need to know as we progress through the season. Fingers crossed he plays Saturday.
Texas Skill Players (TE Ja’Tavion Sanders, WR Xavier Worthy, WR Isaiah Neyor, and WR AD Mitchell) vs. Alabama Defense (CB Kool-Aid McKinstry, CB Terrion Arnold, DB Malachi Moore, LB Deontae Lawson)
The Longhorns have one of the most loaded skill groups in the country in 2023 with NFL talent all over the place from the pass catcher position. Sanders and Worthy are the biggest freaks of the bunch — plus athletes at the position who have been the primary offense in the passing game as youngsters. Now draft-eligible, it’s time for those guys to grow up along with transfers Isaiah Neyor and AD Mitchell. Each one of them could be in the NFL in 2024 and all could hear their name called in next April’s NFL Draft.
The Alabama defense has a bit of a youth movement going on. Juniors Kool-Aid McKinstry and Terrion Arnold are the primary outside corners as true juniors, while Moore is the veteran of the group. He was injured last week, but it seems he’s set to suit up on Saturday. McKinstry has a real argument as the best cornerback in the country and will have a major challenge this weekend. Lawson may be the next in line to be Alabama’s premier linebacker. He may draw Sanders at times on Saturday, which will be an intriguing matchup to watch.
Game of the Week
No. 11 Texas @ No. 3 Alabama
Saturday, 7:00 PM EDT
One of the best individual games of 2022 gets its proper matchup as the Longhorns head into Tuscaloosa looking for revenge after a close loss in Austin just a year ago.
As mentioned above, Texas has one of the best skill units in college football and are led by junior quarterback Quinn Ewers who has proven to be a hot-and-cold player early in his career, but he’s a former five star with all of the arm talent to be a legit NFL prospect. One player we didn’t mention above is Longhorns running back Keilan Robinson who can really scoot.
The Alabama defense up front is boosted by edge rushers Dallas Turner and Chris Braswell. Those two will be looking to give Texas’ youth issues all evening. Behind that group is Lawson at linebacker along with McKinstry, Arnold, and Moore at defensive back.
When Alabama’s offense is on the field, Jalen Milroe is likely to start the game as the signal caller. Milroe is not the cemented starter and there has been a lengthy quarterback battle going back to the spring. He has natural arm talent, excellent athleticism, and a physical build resembling a running back. Keep an eye on processing and decision making for him in this game.
Jase McClellan is a talented tailback for the Tide who will be featured. JC Latham is the man on the ‘Bama offensive line this year. The former five-star has cemented a position at right tackle. I’d like to see Latham express more core strength in his game in the 2023 season. We’ll see how he fares to Texas’ rushers in this one. Center Seth McLaughlin is another talented player.
On defense for the Longhorns, they’re loaded with much more talent than years past specifically at defensive tackle. T’Vondre Sweat and Byron Murphy II is a powerful duo that could give the Tide fits Saturday night. The Tide interior isn’t as talented as their tackles. This is a potential mismatch to keep an eye on.
Linebacker Jaylan Ford is one of the best pieces on the 2023 Texas team. He’s a massive body at 6’3” and 240 pounds who moves like a player much smaller than that. He will be a household name in draft circles sooner rather than later. At defensive back, it’s Jahdae Barron at corner and Arkansas transfer Jalen Catalon at safety to note.
For the first time in a long time, Texas may have more draftable talent than Alabama in 2023. This should be an excellent game. If Ewers is on, it’s easy to see the Longhorns going in and stealing one from the Crimson Tide.