Penn State at Virginia
Life right now for Penn State isn’t very good, and the long term future looks to only get worse. Virginia can make the immediate future more miserable for the Nittany Lions by sending them to 0-2 this week. After a disappointing season-opening loss at home to Ohio, Bill O’Brien continues his search for his first win as a head coach on the road in Charlottesville. The Cavaliers are out to prove last year wasn’t a fluke. UVa defeated Richmond 43-19 to get this season started and quarterback Michael Rocco looks like he’s improved since a mediocre campaign last season.
It’s hard to gauge how bad Penn State is after one game, but this weekend’s game will be a good measuring stick for how woeful the future may be for the team. If it can go into Charlottesville and snag its first win, it could do wonders for morale. Similarly, if Virginia goofs against a team that it can and should beat, the team's momentum will take a big hit.
These are two teams heading in opposite directions. All things considered, Mike London’s boys should make life even harder for Bill O’Brien and Penn State.
Maryland at Temple
For the third straight year, the Terps have opened up the season with a win, although a 7-6 victory over Football Championship Subdivision school William & Mary will only turn heads for the wrong reasons.
The Terps are a team in rebuilding, with a true freshman quarterback, who looks his age. After a close win over arguably their easiest opponent of the year, The Terrapins have a schedule will only get tougher from here. The Owls and running back Matt Brown could very well run all over a weak Terrapin defense. Expect a whipping similar to the 38-7 one Temple gave the Terps last year.
North Carolina State at Connecticut
The Wolfpack will be playing its second non-conference game against a team in a automatic-qualifier conference in as many weeks. After turning the ball over too many times to in a 35-21 loss to Tennessee, NC State needs a road win here after expectations this preseason to compete in the Atlantic Division.
Even though the Huskies shut out UMass, they still have a lot to prove after a 5-7 campaign last season. UConn is one of the better teams in the Big East, but beating an ACC opponent like NC State would be a huge statement for them. The Wolfpack’s worst enemy was itselves in its loss to Tennessee with four turnovers. If quarterback Mike Glennon can cut down on his interceptions, this team will be much improved this week against Connecticut.
This NC State-UConn matchup could go either way, and if the ‘Pack wins, it just might restore some respect for the ACC it seemed so eager to get rid of last week.
Miami at Kansas State
Kansas State and Miami (Fla.) are two teams who can certainly run the ball, which actually may play into the Hurricanes favor. In the team’s season opening 41-32 win over Boston College, Miami allowed just 96 yards on the ground.
But Miami coughed up a ton of yards through the air to a Boston College team not known for its high-octane offense in recent years. Kansas State didn’t throw the ball particularly well against Missouri State but it was mostly because it didn’t need to. Miami is talented but young, and Kansas State is eager to prove last year wasn’t a fluke.
This game should was a back and forth affair last season with the Hurricanes being stuffed at the goal line at the end of regulation and the Wildcats hanging on for a 28-24 victory. If Miami can improve its pass defense, it may have a shot at an upset.