By ERIC OLSON
Two games offer by far the most intrigue in Week 2: No. 12 Texas A&M at No. 1 Clemson on Saturday afternoon and No. 6 LSU at No. 9 Texas at night.
The Aggies want payback after falling just short against Clemson at home last year, losing 28-26 after Kellen Mond’s sensational day was spoiled by an intercepted two-point conversion in the final minute. The Tigers went on to win the national championship, and the Aggies have been stewing since.
Mond, who threw for 430 yards in last year’s game, got off to a strong start this season against Texas State. Clemson is looking for Trevor Lawrence to be sharper than he was against Georgia Tech last week.
The LSU-Texas matchup is their first since the 2003 Cotton Bowl — Mack Brown’s Longhorns beat Nick Saban’s Tigers — and only the second since 1963.
Boise State, which entered the rankings at No. 24 following its big win at Florida State, gets the weekend started with a home game against Marshall on Friday night. The Broncos are 26-1 in nonconference home games since 2006 and will be breaking in a newly installed roll of their famous blue turf.
GAME OF THE WEEK
LSU at Texas
Both returned starting quarterbacks and harbor high hopes, with Texas looking to build off a 10-4 Sugar Bowl season and LSU coming off a 10-3 Fiesta Bowl campaign.
The Longhorns are four-point underdogs in their first home game against a top-10 nonconference opponent since 2006. The spotlight will shine hot on QB Sam Ehlinger, who will be without injured five-star freshman RB Jordan Whittington against an LSU defense featuring two NFL prospects in the secondary.
LSU QB Joe Burrow, who transferred from Ohio State, was recruited by Texas coach Tom Herman in 2014 when Herman was the Buckeyes’ offensive coordinator. Herman left for the Houston head coaching job before Burrow signed his letter of intent.
Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts, who established himself as a Heisman Trophy favorite with his smashing performance against Houston, might be needed for only a handful of series when FCS South Dakota visits Norman.
Clemson’s Travis Etienne is solidly in the mix after running for a career-high 205 rushing yards and three TDs on just 12 carries against Georgia Tech. He gets a bigger stage this week against A&M.
Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor showed an expanded game against South Florida. The 2018 Doak Walker Award winner raised eyebrows by catching four balls for 48 yards. In 13 games last year he had a total of eight catches for 60 yards.
NUMBERS TO KNOW
4 — San Diego State’s number of wins against Pac-12 teams since 2016, the most by any nonconference team against the league during the span and the most wins by any Group of Five school against a Power Five school.
64-0 — Oklahoma State’s record since 2003 when holding its opponent under 20 points.
83 — Alabama’s consecutive wins against unranked opponents under Nick Saban, the longest streak in FBS history.
UNDER THE RADAR
— Miami at North Carolina in an ACC Coastal Division game. The Tar Heels looked better than a team picked sixth in the division while beating the SEC’s South Carolina. Some grist for the mill: Mack Brown, now the Tar Heels coach, in 2013 fired Hurricanes coach Manny Diaz two games into Diaz’s second season as his defensive coordinator at Texas.
— Maryland, after pounding FCS Howard 79-0, hosts No. 21 Syracuse. Virginia Tech graduate transfer QB Josh Jackson figures to get a tougher test against an Orange defense that posted a shutout last week, albeit against first-year full-fledged FBS member Liberty.
— Co-No. 25 Nebraska travels to Colorado for the first time since 2009, when the teams were Big 12 rivals. The Buffaloes won in Lincoln last year and knocked QB Adrian Martinez out of the game on what the Huskers alleged was a dirty play.
HOT SEAT WATCH
— UCLA is 21-0-1 against San Diego State and for Chip Kelly to keep the wolves at bay better be 22-0-1 come Sunday.
— An easy win over Akron made for a feel-good week at Illinois. Now Lovie Smith’s team must take care of business on the road against a UConn team that hasn’t beaten an FBS opponent since October 2017.
— Fresh off a stunning loss to Georgia State, Tennessee’s Jeremy Pruitt will really have the heat cranked up if the Volunteers drop a second straight game at home when BYU comes calling.