By: Matthew Terry
Is Louisville’s Lamar Jackson legit, or a product of poor competition?
University of Louisville starting quarterback Lamar Jackson has been the talk of the college football world with his other-worldly performances over the first two weeks of the season. In the first half of U of L’s season opener against UNC-Charlotte, Jackson went 17-for-23 with 286 yards and SIX touchdowns, adding another 119 yards and 2 TDs on the ground, setting an ACC record with 8 touchdowns. The Boynton Beach, FL sophomore followed that performance up with 411 passing yards, 199 rushing yards and 5 total TDs in their conference opener against Syracuse. Jackson has gotten a lot of hype after these two amazing games, but his first real test is this Saturday when the #10 Cardinals host freshman phenom Deondre Francois and the #2 ranked Florida State Seminoles. Jackson’s first two performances have certainly earned the hype, but will he be able to hold up against the cream of the crop in the ACC?
Will Mizzou’s revamped offense be enough to shock Georgia?
Last year, the thought of the Missouri Tigers’ offense putting up 61 points against anyone would’ve been laughable and met with instant ridicule. In fact, those 61 points are more points than Mizzou scored in their last seven games of the 2015 season combined (56). However, the Mizzou offense over their first two games has been anything but laughable. Despite the season-opening 24-11 loss, Mizzou put up 462 yards of offense at Milan Puskar Stadium against West Virginia, and followed that up with a 61-21 thumping of Eastern Michigan at Faurot Field. Sophomore quarterback Drew Lock has seemingly taken the next step for the Tigers, throwing for 450 yards and 5 TDs while the offense made plays around him, with Ray Wingo and Johnathan Johnson both putting up 100 yards receiving. Georgia has been lucky to be 2-0 so far, barely scraping by a tough North Carolina team in the Chick-fil-A kickoff game and then surviving a scary 26-24 victory over FCS’s Nicholls. While Georgia has enjoyed success against the Tigers in the past few years, primarily their last visit to Columbia which ended 34-0 in UGA’s favor, will this be the year that Mizzou shocks the touchdown-favored Bulldogs?
Will Houston run the table and crash the playoff?
Houston was the preseason favorite to earn the Group of 5 invite to the New Year’s Six, especially after a strong 2015 season ended with a victory over Florida State in the Peach Bowl. After a big 33-23 win against preseason #3 ranked Oklahoma to start off the season, Houston now faces the gauntlet of AAC teams that are all looking to play spoiler to the Cougars’ Cinderella story. With senior starting QB Greg Ward Jr. reportedly back for this week’s contest after sitting out last week versus Lamar, a game U of H won 42-0 regardless, he will look to start off conference play on the right foot against the Cincinnati Bearcats, who have also started 2-0 (admittedly against weaker competition in wins vs Tennessee-Martin and Purdue). Cincinnati nearly pulled off the upset against the Cougars last season, losing 33-30 in a tight contest that improved Houston to 9-0. This year, however, the 4th ranked Cougars have to travel to Nippert Stadium, so will Houston’s playoff hopes be dashed early, or are we witnessing the beginning of a magical run to the College Football Playoff for Tom Herman’s squad?
(Featured image: Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office, Flickr)