What to Watch: Week 2 primer

September, 5, 2008

Posted by ESPN.com 

Here's the final word on what you need to know heading into the second weekend of the 2008 season:

1. Miami gave a glimpse of its future -- and its past -- in the 52-7 defeat of Charleston Southern. But Florida had four sacks and four interceptions against Hawaii. Miami freshmen quarterbacks Robert Marve and Jacory Harris will have a lot less time to make decisions Saturday night. That will make the most difference. -- Ivan Maisel

2. Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin, who has accounted for more than 200 yards from scrimmage in each of the past three games he's played, returns from a heel injury, and Tim Tebow now has some help so he takes fewer hits. Miami has a monumental task in trying to slow the speedy Gators, let alone stop them. -- Heather Dinich


3. Moving forward has been a catchphrase around the Notre Dame football program during fall camp and the Irish will attempt to do just that in their season opener against San Diego State. Notre Dame finished 3-9 last season and ranked near the bottom of nearly every offensive category. The Irish shouldn't have trouble building up those numbers against a San Diego State team that lost to Cal Poly last weekend. -- Graham Watson


4. The last time West Virginia quarterback Pat White played at East Carolina, he threw three interceptions. The Pirates will see a much different quarterback on Saturday. New Mountaineers offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen has helped White become a much more confident passer, which showed in last week's 48-21 win over FCS opponent Villanova. White completed 25 of 33 passes for 208 yards with a career-high five touchdowns. White might not be able to throw as much against East Carolina, especially if the weather forecasts are correct.Tropical Storm Hannah is expected to bring several inches of rain to Greenville, N.C., before kickoff. -- Mark Schlabach


5. The last time Oklahoma played a Big East team, Boomer Sooner went bust against West Virginia in the Fiesta Bowl. Cincinnati doesn't have the same speed as the Mountaineers, but the Bearcats will take a veteran team with a turnover-grabbing defense and an efficient spread offense to Norman. Oklahoma probably has too many horses, especially at home, but don't be surprised if this stays interesting well past halftime. -- Brian Bennett


6. Ohio State will gauge its running back depth without Beanie Wells against Ohio, but the team also is well stocked at wide receiver. Sophomore Dane Sanzenbacher turned heads during preseason camp , and heralded freshman DeVier Posey also looks ready to make an impact this fall. With starter Brian Robiskie still nursing a shoulder injury, the Buckeyes likely will look to their young wideouts often in the USC tune-up. -- Adam Rittenberg

7. In an ideal world, Ole Miss would be healthy and full strength heading into a game at Wake Forest that could shape the Rebels' season one way or the other. A win, and Ole Miss could easily be 4-0 heading into its game at Florida on Sept. 27. A loss, and who knows how this team will respond? Regardless of what happens, this is an Ole Miss team that should only get better once defensive end Greg Hardy returns and once defensive tackle Peria Jerry fully recovers from his knee injury. Jevan Snead will also be a better quarterback when he gets a couple of games under his belt.  -- Chris Low


8. Arizona State's offensive line is tired of hearing about the 55 sacks it surrendered in 2007, but that figure won't go away until the unit proves it can protect QB Rudy Carpenter. Redemption could start against Stanford, a squad that sacked Carpenter five times in the first half of last year's game. At the time, that only ranked as a side note to the Sun Devils' 41-3 victory in their Pac-10 opener. Now, it's the critical question for their 2008 season. If Carpenter, who's making his 33rd consecutive start gets time, he'll pick apart a lackluster Cardinal secondary. -- Ted Miller


9. Look for a lot of points and yards when Texas Tech and Nevada hook up in a meeting of two of the nation's top four offenses. Tech has traditionally struggled as a road favorite and will need a big defensive performance in the trenches to contain the Wolf Pack's vaunted "Pistol" offense. -- Tim Griffin


10. We may be barely into Week Two, and the games at first glance are lackluster. But already, upsets of South Carolina and Tennessee have redefined expectations in the SEC East. Keep an eye on games such as Stanford at Arizona State, Ole Miss at Wake Forest and Louisiana Tech at Kansas for the possibility of changing the way we view other conference races. -- Ivan Maisel




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