Each week throughout the season check out the Games of the Week that are highlighted in the Rose Bowletin! Sign up for the Rose Bowletin by clicking here!

Colorado at Nebraska

COLORADO AT NEBRASKA

The Buffs and Huskers have a long history of playing ether, dating back to the late 1890’s. But the teams haven’t met on the football field since 2010, both schools final year in the Big 12.

Colorado headed west and joined the Pac-12, while Nebraska went east to join the Big Ten.The Buffaloes look like they may rebound nicely from a 2017 season that saw Colorado finish 5-7. CU opened the year with a convincing 45-13 win over rival Colorado State. Junior quarterback Steven Montez was on fire in the win, setting a school record for completion percentage by finishing the game 22-of-25 passing for 338 yards and four touchdowns. He added 38 yards and another touchdown on the ground. It was unknown who would carry the load in the running game for Colorado in 2018, but the Buffs may have found their man in Virginia Tech transfer Travon McMillian, who ran 10 times for 103 yards and a touchdown in the win. Defensively, the Buffs held Colorado State to 284 total yards of offense and allowed just 2.6 yards per carry. The Rams were just 7-of-19 on third down.

Nebraska will be playing their home opener against a significantly more difficult opponent than originally planned. Last week’s game against Akron was canceled due to thunderstorms, so Scott Frost and the Cornhuskers will have to learn on the fly against a much tougher opponent in Colorado. The Huskers will have true freshman Adrian Martinez under center as they start the year. Martinez was the No. 8 quarterback in the 2018 signing class. It’s also Frost’s debut at his alma mater, where he led the Cornhuskers to the National Championship in 1997. Frost comes to Lincoln from Central Florida, where he led the Knights to a perfect 13-0 season in 2017, while leading the country in scoring and finished No. 5 overall in offense. Nebraska has the pieces in the place to have a successful offense, like receivers Stanley Morgan and J.D. Spielman, but will need to reinvigorate a once proud Blackshirts defense. The Huskers surrendered more than 430 yards and 36 points per game last year on defense, which used to be the heart and soul of the team under legendary coach Tom Osborne.

Nebraska has some kinks to work out but could have a record crowd of 90,000-plus supporters behind them in this renewed rivalry game. Expect this one to come down to the waning moments of the fourth quarter, with the potential for a game-winning kick in the final moments.

USC at Stanford

USC AT STANFORD

For the second straight year, these two heavyweights will meet in week two of the season. Last year, the Trojans pulled away late in the Coliseum as USC scored 21 of the final 28 points to win, 42-24.

A year ago, the Trojans had a senior-laden squad, led by quarterback Sam Darnold, running back Ronald Jones II, and receivers Steven Mitchell and Deontay Burnett. All four players are now on NFL rosters. USC turned the page to 2018 and turned over the offense to a true freshman, quarterback JT Daniels. In the season opener, the Trojans defeated UNLV, 43-21, but the score didn’t indicate the story of the game. USC trailed, 14-12, until a late first half touchdown game the Trojans the halftime lead, 19-14. Daniels didn’t seem comfortable finding receivers other than his high school teammate, freshman wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. Trojans head coach Clay Helton has stated that a young quarterback’s best friend is a strong running game and USC showed that week one. The Trojans top three backs, Aca’Cedric Ware, Stephen Carr and Vavae Malepeai, combined for 201 yards on 27 carries and scored three touchdowns. But as effective as the Trojans were on offense running the ball, they struggled to stop UNLV’s running game. The Rebels ran for 308 yards on 43 carries, more than seven yards per rush. USC did hold the Rebels to 12-of-27 passing for just 97 yards through the air.

Stanford came into the season as one of the favorites in the Pac-12, with a lot of that hype centered on Heisman Trophy candidate running back Bryce Love. Love ran for 2,118 yards in his junior campaign last season and regularly broke off 50-plus yard runs. In week one, however, Stanford’s opponent, San Diego State, placed a heavy focus on stopping Love and the Cardinal run game. The Aztecs held Love to just 29 yards on 18 carries, but this focus on stopping the run made them vulnerable through the air. Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello, now the full-time starter after splitting time with Keller Chryst in 2017, threw for 332 yards and four touchdowns, while receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside caught six passes for 226 yards and three touchdowns. For the first time in a couple years, opponents won’t be able to stack the box defensively against the Cardinal. Defensively, Stanford is missing last year’s captain and stalwart in the middle Harrison Phillips, but the Cardinal held its own against a tough rushing attack of San Diego State. Stanford allowed just 10 points and 263 total yards to the Aztecs, while holding SDSU to 4-of-13 on third down.

This game will have plenty of points scored. The Trojans have skill all over the field offensively, but will come down to the comfort level of Daniels in his first game on the road. Stanford has proven they can pass if the opponent tries to take away Love. With the Trojans troubles stopping the run in week one, they’ll need to double down on trying to stop a much more talented running attack if they want to escape Palo Alto with a win. Stanford needs to pressure the young Trojan quarterback and force him into mistakes if they want to pick up the W.

Georgia at South Carolina

GEORGIA AT SOUTH CAROLINA

Will Muschamp and Kirby Smart worked together at Valdosta State early in their careers, then later down the road at LSU. Later, they became rivals when Smart became the defensive coordinator at Alabama, where he would face Muschamp while he was at Auburn, Texas, Florida and now South Carolina.

In his second year as the head coach at Georgia, Smart took Georgia to a new high, leading the Bulldogs to the College Football Playoff, a Rose Bowl Game win and a National Championship appearance. Georgia lost their top two running backs and many players in their front seven on defense, but should be one of the top teams in college football this season. Led by sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm, who started the final 14 games of 2017, the Georgia offense is stacked. Running back D’Andre Swift gained meaningful experience last year, and the receiving trio of Terry Godwin, Mecole Hardman and Riley Ridley who all developed relationships with Fromm in 2017. The Bulldogs also have one of the top returning secondaries in the country, with evidence of their 45-0 win over Austin Peay in week one.

Muschamp led the Gamecocks to an improved record in 2017 as South Carolina ed with a 9-4 record and an Outback Bowl win. Junior quarterback Jake Bentley returns to lead the Gamecock offense and he has one of the best targets in the country in senior Deebo Samuel. Samuel has missed time with injuries in his career but is among the nation’s top wide outs when healthy. Other passing options include junior Bryan Edwards, who led South Carolina in receiving in 2017 while Samuel was out, while rising sophomores Shi Smith and OrTre Smith combined for 59 catches, 735 yards and six scores. South Carolina amassed 557 yards of offense in their week one win over Coastal Carolina, while holding the Chanticleers to 238 yards. Defensively, the Gamecocks are built around speed, which may line up well against most SEC teams, but Georgia is one of the few power-run based teams in the conference.

Georgia has won the last three meetings between these two teams, but the last tws have been tight at halftime. If the Gamecocks can get out to a quick start and force the Bulldogs to throw the ball, they have a chance to pull of the upset. Georgia, like they have the last few years, will likely try to get a lead early and wear down South Carolina with their ground-and-pound offense, mixing in a quick pass or end-around here and there.