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Official college football viewing guide: Week 2

Looking for games to watch? We’ve got you covered.



College football watch guide

The 2023 season is moving right along into Week 2. Here’s your official college football viewing guide for Week 2.

After a long Week 1 that featured games across four days, Week 2 of the college football season brings a much more traditional lineup. With temperatures dipping into the 60s across the Midwest, this is setting up as an ideal weekend of college football.

Here’s where your focus should be.

Friday, Sept. 8

  • Illinois at Kansas – 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2

These two basketball schools should give us a pretty entertaining night of football on Friday. Kansas is enjoying a revival under coach Lance Leipold. Quarterback Jalon Daniels is expected to be back for this game. The Big 12 Preseason Offensive Player of the Year will make his debut against an Illinois team that needed to come from behind to beat Toledo a week ago. Hosting Illinois should be a big deal for this Kansas fan base. The spread is tight. This game should be fun.

Saturday, Sept. 9

Noon window

  • Notre Dame at N.C. State – 12 p.m. ET on ABC
  • Utah at Baylor – 12 p.m. ET on ESPN
  • Nebraska at Colorado – 12 p.m. ET on FOX

After two easy wins, we’ll finally get a chance to see Notre Dame and Sam Hartman against a capable opponent. The Wolfpack lost quite a bit from a year ago. But transfer quarterback Brennan Armstrong is a talented player that is reunited with his offensive coordinator from his days at Virginia. At home, North Carolina State is a live underdog.

In Texas, we’ll get to see what this Baylor program is made of after losing at home as four touchdown favorites a week ago to Texas State. For Utah, all eyes remain on Cam Rising. The Utes have a solid team without him, but they’ll need him to return to make a serious run at the Pac-12 this season. Lastly, it’s the encore everyone will be waiting for.

Colorado hosts Nebraska in an old school Big 12 rivalry. Shedeur Sanders and Travis Hunter are appointment television right now. Both are legitimate Heisman Trophy candidates until proven otherwise. For Nebraska, Matt Rhule will have to collect his guys after yet another one possession loss against Minnesota. The good thing about this game from a viewing perspective is that all Nebraska does is lose close games – which means this one should be close as well.

3:30 window

  • Ole Miss at Tulane – 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2
  • Texas A&M at Miami – 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC
  • Iowa at Iowa State – 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX
  • Richmond at Michigan State – 3:30 p.m. ET on BTN

This group of games should give fans a nice variety of play styles. If you like offense and points, you’ll love Ole Miss and Tulane. If you like defense and special teams, well, you can turn the dial to FOX and leave it there all afternoon. If you like a little of both, you should see it with Texas A&M and Miami. I’m curious to see if there is any drop off with this Tulane team after their win in the Cotton Bowl last year. For Texas A&M, the offense remains fascinating because of the coaching staff. Is Jimbo Fisher calling the plays? Or is Bobby Petrino? Is what we saw last week their new normal? Or will they continue to struggle against prominent opponents?

Iowa and Iowa State is one of my favorite games of the year. It’s a genuine rivalry and it feels like the game plays out the same way every year. It’s like the leaves changing in September. It’s going to be 13-10 with seven minutes to go and the broadcast booth will over-use words like “gritty”, “tough”, hard-nosed”, and “discipline”. I love it. I can’t wait.

And then obviously there’s Michigan State versus Richmond which most of us will be watching.

Prime time

  • Texas at Alabama – 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
  • Oregon at Texas Tech – 7 p.m. ET on FOX
  • Wisconsin at Washington State – 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC

College football royalty squares off for the second year in a row in Tuscaloosa on Saturday night. Last year gave us a tremendously entertaining game and I suspect this year to be similar. For the first time in what feels like 70 years, Alabama has some actual questions that they’ll need to answer – particularly on offense. Conversely, once again, it feels like Texas might be on the doorstep of national relevance. But we’ve seen this before. Texas needs to win this game to be taken seriously. A moral victory was fine last year. But this year is different.

Speaking of Texas, how about this game in Lubbock? Yes – it’s still happening despite Texas Tech’s loss against Wyoming. Tyler Shough gets a shot at his old school at home for the Red Raiders. It feels like people are chalking this up as a win for Oregon already. Be careful.

Keep an eye on the Wisconsin game at Washington State. A year ago, when Washington State won in Madison, it was a sign that things might not be OK in Wisconsin. I’m getting similar vibes again this year. The Badgers didn’t look great in their opener. Now they go west against a capable opponent as they continue to break in their new offense. Smells fishy.

Late night

  • Stanford at USC – 10:30 p.m. ET on FOX
  • Auburn at California – 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

If you’re having trouble sleeping on the eve of the first NFL Sunday, you might as well stay up and watch some college football. USC is a heavy favorite at home against a rebuilding Stanford team. But the Cardinal did look improved in week one against Hawaii. At the very least, with a total set at 70, there should be plenty of scoring in Los Angeles.

Up the road in northern California, Auburn makes a long trip west to face Cal. The Bears looked shockingly competent on offense in week one and could be feisty underdogs against the Tigers. I’ll be curious to see how many Auburn fans make the trip west in what has to be the largest contrast in fan behavior of the season.