- Bill Connelly is a staff writer for ESPN.com.
After the fire hose of Week 1, the second week of the college football season might be a little more selective in the information it gives us. Alabama, Oklahoma, Clemson and Cincinnati play FCS opponents, and there are only two ranked-versus-ranked games on the slate. But those two games will be awfully enlightening, and we’ll learn quite a bit more about some important young quarterbacks and coordinators. Let’s walk through the most interesting questions and matchups of the weekend.
All listed times are Eastern.
Can Oregon take C.J. Stroud out of his comfort zone?
No. 12 Oregon at No. 3 Ohio State (12 p.m., Fox)
It’s one thing to have talent. It’s another to deploy it in a system perfectly structured to take advantage of said talent. LSU and Alabama certainly did that during their national title runs in 2019 and 2020, respectively, but Ohio State, with head coach Ryan Day and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, has mastered the art as well. And with seemingly about 17 blue-chip quarterbacks on the roster, all with the ability to throw strong passes from sideline to sideline, the Buckeyes will have one of the most perfect offensive structures known to man.
Despite allowing 31 points and 408 yards to Minnesota last week, and despite sending a first-time starting quarterback out to run the show, the Buckeyes’ talent and structure drove them to a two-touchdown win.
What’s scary is, Stroud looked like a redshirt freshman quarterback making his first start. He finished the first half just 8-for-14 for 58 yards, got pressured into an interception over the middle and went 0-for-3 on passes more than 10 yards downfield. The Buckeyes trailed only 14-10 thanks to Miyan Williams’ 71-yard touchdown run, but there was reason for concern.
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