Week 1 produced a number of meaningful results, Some teams took a huge step forward, while others found out that they will have a lot of work to do. We’ll focus on the teams that have work to do in today’s roundtable discussion.
Q. Which team must win in week 2?
On Twitter: @CFBZ
Butch Jones and the Vols were supposed to take the next step this year and be the cream of the crop in the SEC East. That didn’t happen last week as they literally fumbled their way to victory against Appalachian State.
The good news for the Vols is that they are 1-0. The bad news is that they are playing a Virginia Tech team that has a new coach and is looking for a signature victory in a game that has a lot of interest due to where it is being played.
Win this game convincingly and Tennessee is back to where they were in the pre-season. Lose this game or win in spite of themselves again and the Vols will start overthinking things and the downward spiral could begin quickly.
On Twitter: @TheCoachBart
So here’s your deal. Sometimes you need wins because you genuinely need a W in the column. Sometimes you need them because it matters in some standings race. Sometimes you need them because your team really could just use some positive vibes.
Enter Southern Cal. After a paddling by Alabama to the tune of 52-6, tensions reportedly erupted this week in practice when JuJu Smith-Schuster got into a skirmish with a teammate that turned into a multi-player affair and left an offensive lineman wishing that anger would have been directed at the actual opponent. By the way, that’s 1-0 Utah State.
The Trojans have been nothing but a bucket of negativity since … oh … about the mid-first half of the game against Alabama, and really, they just need a win to feel good about a sour start to the season and to give them something to build off of. Another weekend of negativity, and this stuff could go straight off the rails for good.
So while there are teams that need wins for all the other reasons listed above, the positive vibes win for USC is the most pivotal on the docket this weekend.
On Twitter: @PhilHarrisonCFB
I’m going with North Carolina. It was always going to be a tough matchup to brush aside a talented Georgia team, but now that there’s one loss under its belt, another one could potentially spiral the program into a state of low confidence that could set back all the good that has come in the Larry Fedora era.
This is still a very talented team with great skill position players, a superb secondary, and a talented quarterback who just needs time to settle into things. On the heels (no pun intended) of a disappointing loss, it now has to go to Champaign to play a dangerous Illinois team looking to make a statement under new head coach Lovie Smith. If Carolina still wants to be in play for the Coastal division and have a shot at some bigger milestones, a loss to the Illini would be a tough one to come back from.
While there are several teams that need a “W” this weekend, I’ll go with Mississippi State.
Make no mistake about it: the Bulldogs must beat South Carolina this weekend if they’re going to qualify for a bowl game. Thanks to last week’s disappointing loss to South Alabama, Dan Mullen’s squad has little margin for error. Wins are extremely hard to come by in the SEC West, which makes it imperative that the Dawgs win every other game on the schedule, including winnable contests against South Carolina and Kentucky.
Should State fail to beat the Gamecocks this weekend, it will more than likely finish the season with a losing record for the first time since 2009. That could ultimately lead to Dan Mullen’s dismissal given the highly competitive nature of the SEC West.
Please note that I would disagree with such a move, but it is a possibility, especially after the Dawgs laid an egg in week 1.
However, Mississippi State can prevent that from happening with a win over the Gamecocks this weekend.
As Leslie Neilsen would say, “I just want to tell you both good luck, we’re all counting on you”.