Devastating loss for Notre Dame in Week 2 as quarterback Malik Zaire broke his ankle in Saturday's win at Virginia and will miss the rest of the season. So hopefully you didn't put any money down on his Heisman chances -- or the Irish's national title chances, because I think they just vanished.
Redshirt freshman DeShone Kizer will take over as the team's starting quarterback. He looked solid in place of Zaire against the Wahoos, completing 8-for-13 for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Kizer was a four-star member of Notre Dame's 2014 recruiting class but redshirted last season. He's nowhere near the running threat that Zaire was.
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"He can win games for us," Kelly said of Kizer. "But I want to win a championship with him. We need to get him to the next level."
Remember that Notre Dame lost top running back Tarean Folston to a season-ending injury in Week 1. The No. 8 Irish have a tough one this week at home against No. 14 Georgia Tech, which actually opened as a 2.5-point favorite. That clearly wouldn't have been the case if Zaire was healthy. The Jackets are averaging a cool 67 points per game and have allowed only 16, albeit against cupcakes Alcorn State and Tulane. I like Tech here.
Air Force at No. 4 Michigan State (-26.5): This screams letdown game for Sparty -- it's hard enough preparing for that Air Force triple-option offense as it is. MSU was the big winner of Week 2 with that thrilling 31-28 home victory over then-No. 7 Oregon. It was the first time two teams in the AP Top 10 met at Spartan Stadium since 1966, when No. 2 Michigan State and No. 1 Notre Dame played to a 10-10 tie in the "Game of the Century." Now Sparty could still potentially lose to top-ranked Ohio State late in the season, if it's competitive, and still make the College Football Playoff. The Ducks' margin for error disappeared. They are going to need to win out. The pick: Air Force.
Nebraska at Miami Fla. (-3.5): This game could well determine Miami coach Al Golden's future. If he can get a solid nonconference win here then his seat will be a little less hot entering ACC play. The Hurricanes may have been looking ahead to this one last Friday as they didn't play very well in a 44-20 win at Florida Atlantic. In addition, the Canes lost linebacker Darrion Owens for the rest of the season with an injured knee. That already was likely their biggest weakness in terms of position depth. Miami faced FAU without top receivers Stacy Coley and Braxton Berrios, but both should go against Nebraska. The Hurricanes lost at Nebraska 41-31 last year. The pick: Miami.
No. 18 Auburn at No. 13 LSU (-7.5): Auburn took a huge dive in the polls after getting quite lucky in beating little FCS school Jacksonville State 27-20 in overtime on Saturday. That would have been one of the biggest upsets of this century (JSU was a 41-point dog). No FCS team has defeated a ranked FBS team since Aug. 31, 2013, when Eastern Washington upset No. 25 Oregon State. I thought Auburn QB Jeremy Johnson would have a huge season and might be a Heisman candidate. He hasn't played well at all yet, but Coach Gus Malzahn says he's not changing quarterbacks. Johnson has five interceptions already. That's the most interceptions an SEC quarterback has thrown in the first two games of a season since 2009 when Tennessee's Jonathan Crompton threw five. Thanks to three TDs from superstar running back Leonard Fournette, LSU opened its season with a 21-19 win at Mississippi State last week. The pick: If this drops below 7 I'd take LSU. But at that number, Auburn.
South Carolina at No. 7 Georgia (-17): The Gamecocks have lost starting quarterback Connor Mitch for at least 4-6 weeks with a shoulder injury suffered in Saturday's loss to Kentucky. Mitch separated his shoulder while diving along the sideline to recover a fumbled pitch in the second quarter. Junior Perry Orth, a former walk-on, will start this game. But expect Steve Spurrier to also use dual-threat freshman Lorenzo Nunez some. The pick: UGA wins, but I'll take the points.
No. 15 Ole Miss at No. 2 Alabama (-6.5): This is where ESPN GameDay will be. 5Dimes has Lee Corso at -530 to take the Tide and +350 the Rebels. Bama was understandably flat in Saturday's 37-10 win over Middle Tennessee. Coach Nick Saban hasn't yet said who will start at QB for this one. He said if it's best for the team to play two quarterbacks, then that's what he will do. Jake Coker played the first half against MTSU, but Cooper Bateman took the reps in the second half. Ole Miss is averaging 74.5 points in its two wins. The Rebels handed Alabama its only loss of last regular season 23-17 in Oxford. The pick: Alabama.
No. 19 BYU at No. 10 UCLA (-16.5): Don't laugh, but if BYU somehow wins this game, the Cougars might be in the playoff. They could well win out after this one. Of course, they opened the season by winning at Nebraska on a Hail Mary and then on Saturday beat No. 20 Boise State 35-24. Tanner Mangum, a freshman, threw that pass in Week 1 after Taysom Hill left injured (out for season) and this time hit Mitchell Juergens on a 35-yard TD pass with 45 seconds left to beat the Broncos. The score looks more lopsided because BYU added a returned pick for a score after the go-ahead score. The pick: BYU.
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