Week 2 College Football Preview

Week 2 of College Football is finally here! Hussam Patel gives his top three week 2 college football preview and games that you need to watch.

Photo Credit: SCOTT WACHTER/USA TODAY SPORTS

Week 2 of the 2022 college football season is finally here. Here are the top three college football previews and games you need to watch

Alabama vs. Texas preview

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide vs. Texas Longhorns. 12 P.M. EST, FOX

  • Line: Alabama -20, o/u: 61.5

Alabama week 2 college football preview

This is a fully-focused Alabama team that lost a slew of star parts, and yet still ran for 278 yards last week and threw for 281 yards.

The offensive line has been worked on and tweaked to be better in pass protection. This allows Bryce Young time to to spread it around more.

The only noteworthy thing the Crimson Tide have to worry about is the notorious “horns down” penalty that Nick Saban did not even know existed.

You think Alabama is going to flinch for an instant when Texas connects on a 78-yard touchdown pass? 

Texas week 2 college football preview

This will be the biggest week 2 college football game. Texas has the guys to at least hang with Bama at home, but they need a good start and to believe they really can do this

Steve Sarkisian and the coaching staff have settled in, there’s a healthy Bijan Robinson in the backfield, Quinn Ewers – at least prospect-wise – is as promising as any quarterback in the country. You’re not crazy to hype Xavier Worthy among the best wide receivers in college football, either.

How will the Longhorns react if Will Anderson Jr. sacks Ewers twice on the first drive? What happens when the Crimson Tide stops Bijan Robinson and the run?

Prediction

Alabama 45, Texas 27

Tennessee vs. Pittsburgh preview

#24 Tennessee Volunteers v Pittsburgh Panthers. 3:30 P.M. EST, ABC

  • Line: Tennessee -6.5, o/u: 66

Tennessee week 2 college football preview

The Tennessee offense is going to go off. The Vols’ offense looks as potent as ever, scoring 59 points in the season opener against Ball State. Hendon Hooker has a plethora of help.

Four of last year’s offensive line starters are back, but that unit allowed an SEC-worst 44 sacks last season. How effective this Vols offense can be is dependent on the guys up front. 

Tennessee didn’t have a sack in last week’s game, and only had two tackles for loss. Linebacker Jeremy Banks will be looked upon to create some negative plays, as will defensive end Byron Young.

Pittsburgh week 2 college football preview

The running game was held in check, but Kedon Slovis had a terrific debut, throwing for over 300 yards. Now he gets to throw on a Tennessee secondary that struggled last season.

The Vols secondary has some experience in Trevon Flowers and Jaylen McCollough, but they were also a big reason why the Vols’ pass defense struggled in 2021. Slovis needs to feast on them.

Pitt finished third in the nation in sacks last fall, and their top havoc producers, Calijah Kancey and Habakkuk Baldonado, are still around to cause problems. If the Panthers D can create chaos and force three-and-outs, the Vols’ defense can expect to be on the field for much of the game.

Prediction

Tennessee 44, Pittsburgh 38

Kentucky vs. Florida preview

#20 Kentucky Wildcats at #12 Florida Gators. 7:30 P.M. EST, ESPN

  • Line: Florida -5, o/u: 52

Kentucky week 2 college football preview

The offense has a mayo-loving pro prospect of its own in quarterback Will Levis, coming off a 303-yard performance. He’ll keep pushing a Gator secondary that had issues with the Utah passing game late last week.

With only one starter returning, along with Auburn transfer Tashawn Manning, the Wildcats return only 45 career starts. Kentucky’s “Big Blue Wall” is young, inexperienced, and a work-in-progress.

Offensive coordinator Rick Scangarello will want to get Tayvion Robinson, who was marvelous in his Kentucky debut (6 receptions, 136 yards), the ball early and often on Saturday night.

Kentucky is also very deep at linebacker; it’s been an area of strength in Stoops’ recruiting operation. This means the Wildcats are less likely to tire late compared to Utah. If Kentucky wins, it’ll be likely because it won this battle.

Florida Gators week 2 college football preview

Led by quarterback Anthony Richardson, the Gators piled on 283 ground yards and four TDs, while averaging over seven yards per touch against a very good, and physical, team last week.

The Gators have plenty of talent up front, and start multiple five-star players on the defensive line. Still, Florida surrendered over 200 yards rushing to Utah last Saturday and was too often pushed back easily at the point of attack.

Kentucky’s top running backs are out, one with a suspension and another with an injury, so the Gators may get a break in the running game. But they still have to deal with Will Levis and his strong arm. Jason Marshall Jr. will have to keep up with Tayvion Robinson.

Anthony Richardson will be contained by the Wildcats defense, he will have to rely on his arm more than his legs. It needs to be the next step in his development in week 2 of college football.

Prediction

Florida 27, Kentucky 24

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College Football storylines to watch this season

2022 college football season kick off soon. So with the season about to start, here are the top five college football storylines to watch.

Week 0 kicks off this Saturday before Labor Day weekend’s huge slate of games. So with the season about to start, here are the top five college football storylines to watch.

Conference realignment

Arguably the biggest college football storyline this season, it remains to be seen only how big the SEC and Big Ten want to get, especially with their new media deal.

Oklahoma and Texas are in their final seasons within the Big 12 before transitioning to the SEC. BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF are set to join the Big 12 next season.

The ACC is taking away divisions in 2023, as the Atlantic and Coastal will be no more.

The Pac-12 on the other hand, looks to be disassembled as Oregon is in talks to join the Big Ten along with USC and UCLA.

Mo’ Money, No Problems

The second top college football storyline is the fact that NIL is making athletes into small corporations.

Millionaires. Cars. Shiny bling. Endorsements. These are among the parts of NIL rights after its first calendar year. We enter the second season of NIL with somewhat of a calm that has centered over the landscape.

2022 sure feels set to be the first season where NIL deals are widely accepted and no longer a novelty in the world of college sports. NIL contracts established a standard for recruiting and team personnel, but some of the deals in 2022 have created a national buzz. Then there’s the booster funded collectives that garner recruitment for teams like Texas A&M and the University of Miami.

Here are some of the most unique NIL deals of 2022:

  • Bijan Robinson signs with Lambroghini Austin
  • DeColdest Crawfords signs with HVAC company
  • Jaden Rashada’s $9.5 million NIL Contract
  • Texas Tech players receiving base pay of $25,000

Are they really back?

Another top college football storyline this season is the emergence of the Texas Longhorns and Miami Hurricanes. 

After 20 years getting lost in the championship wilderness, Miami may have finally figured it out. The solution? Money. Miami native Mario Cristobal got a $80 milllion contract.

Miami finally got a coach who understands the culture and can recruit, added an NIL battleship in John Ruiz, and a plan to spend their way to a championship that doesn’t seem outlandish — and not that far off for the Hurricanes.

But will it translate on the field?

Head coach Steve Sarkisian has a slew of all-star talents across the board, and he’s got the skill guys that could, and should, be as good as any in the country outside of Alabama and Ohio State.

Arch Manning, Quinn Ewers, Bijan Robinson, and not to mention the glorified football powerhouse transitioning into the SEC. However, with its stars and money — can Texas win the Big 12?

Alabama vs. Texas A&M

The date is Oct. 8. Texas A&M at Alabama. Circle it in red. Hell, circle it in blood. This has immediately escalated into the most bitter rivalry of 2022 — if not ever.

One of the biggest college football storylines, if not THE biggest storyline, is the fuel-raged inferno between Alabama head coach Nick Saban and Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher. 

May 18th, Nick Saban opened Pandora’s box and launched an attack on Jimbo Fisher saying the Aggies “bought every player on their team.” Jimbo Fisher fired back and called his former boss’s statements “despicable”, stating that Saban is a “narcissist who thinks he’s God.”

Texas A&M beat Alabama last year 41-38 last year, but the Crimson Tide have dominated the matchup over the years. One day, the Aggies could post a problem for the Saban led Crimson Tide.

Per 24/7 sports, the Aggies landed four five-star recruits in the 2022 class and finished with the No. 1 signing class for the 2022 cycle.

October 8th, 2022 will just mean more.

College Football games to watch

Of course, there are no college football storylines without games actually being played. Here are the top three games to watch this college football season:

Notre Dame at Ohio State, September 3rd 

Marcus Freeman has done everything right since taking over the Fighting Irish. Now, he must face his alma mater in his first game as a head coach. Heisman hopeful C.J. Stroud and his Buckeyes, of course, are aiming to start a potential national title season with a bang.

Alabama at Texas, September 10th 

Two college football powerhouses will look to put on a spectacular show. This is not your old Texas Longhorns team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They will face a tough test as the Crimson Tide have reloaded with names like Jahmyrr Gibbs, Jermaine Burton, and Tyler Harrell.

Miami at Texas A&M, September 17th

First-year coach Mario Cristobal and the Miami Hurricanes get a tough test against the hyped up Aggies. Cristobal is a proven recruiter and winner, and has put together a legitimately great support staff. While the Hurricanes have Tyler Van Dyke at quarterback, can the Hurricanes protect him against a talented Aggie defense?

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Kartik Akkihal and the South Asian Athlete

Kartik Akkihal has always played sports as a little kid. Akkihal always dreamed about walking onto the field as a Longhorns player. That dream finally came true.

Nowadays, playing recreational sports as an Indian kid is not that uncommon at all.

Kartik Akkihal has always played sports as a little kid. Four vs. Four soccer, flag football, and almost every Indian American’s favorite sport, basketball. 

Akkihal always dreamed about walking into the DRK Texas Memorial Stadium field as a Longhorns player. That dream finally came true.

In high school, the former Longhorns wide receiver played some snaps at quarterback. However, he was mostly a wide receiver and at times a tight end. He even lettered in track before lettering in football.

Little did Akkihal know at that time he represented only 1.76% of Division I athletes during the 2020 season, according to the NCAA’s Race and Gender Demographics Database.

At 6-foot-2 192 pounds, Kartik Akkihal tied his cleats onto the Longhorns squad as a freshman in 2018.

Akkihal’s start in football made him realize the lack of a role that football played in the Asian community. He didn’t see players that looked like him on his high school’s field or many at Texas.

“It’s always been like that, I did not feel anything by just being the only Asian kid on the football field on my team or my opponents”

It’s not about the lack of interest from first or second generation Americans in athletics like football. It is more so about the way South Asian communities tend to look at sports in general. 

“Some kids in the community do not have the opportunity to get into sports, they are not able to do anything but focus on academics and studying”

Kartik Akkihal echoes the same message many understand, it all starts at home and in the community. Luckily for Akkihal, his parents were supportive to him as a child. He was a multi-sport athlete in high school and played for the Longhorns in college.

Akkihal says there has to be more representation in the community. It’s not necessarily about meeting a quota of diverse athletes, it’s to be good enough.

The Asian community prides itself on being the best at what they do and they have a passion for it. However, it is structured in a way that it is purely academically driven.

What many in the Asian-American community fail to understand that is you can still be studious and participate in athletics — it’s what Akkihal has been doing since he was a kid.

“The way we can get the community to open up more to it is by seeing others do it. They see what I have done, getting the good grades that I’ve had and being successful in sports. Now they are asking how can their children be like me, asking questions on how to get started, what to do.”

These are all talking points to get the buy-in of Asian American communities and especially the South Asian community in America.

While he was not recruited out of Vandergrift high school, Akkihal was convinced by his now WR coach. Former Longhorns wide receiver Mike Adams convinced Akkihal that he can play college football.

“He came during my senior year of high school and told me that I could play football at the next level, and I started to think about it.”

Donning number 82, Akkihal appeared in a handful of games his junior year before taking a back seat to the coaching change his final year as a Longhorn. College football not only taught him about practice and preparation in skills, but a valuable lesson in different leadership styles

Kartik Akkihal was present during Tom Herman’s last three years at Texas and Steve Sarkisian’s’ first year at Texas. Akkihal noted that Sarkisian is more of a technician and explains concepts well to players, whereas Herman was more of a disciplinarian.

Different styles resonate with different people and it was a great learning experience for Akkihal.

Akkihal’s biggest inspiration was not someone like him, instead it was the 2005-2009 Texas Longhorns football team.

An Austin native, Kartik Akkihal admired the way Vince Young and Colt McCoy led those teams and wanted to be a part of Texas’ rich college football history.

“I loved the longhorns and wanted to play for Texas, why would you not play for the best team down the street”

Akkihal was nurtured as a kid to have a healthy balance of school and sports by his parents. His father, from Dharwad, and his mother from Kerela, both from India had a kid growing up in Austin who also played college football.

Soon enough, Kartik Akkihal hopes there will be more people like him in college and the NFL.

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2023 Recruiting Class Update: Spring

How will the early reports of 2023 compare to the 2022 class?

The 2023 recruiting class is in full swing, and were already starting to see highly touted recruits make their commitments.

Sitting pretty:

Leading the pack thus far is the Notre Dame Fighting Irish headlined by five star defensive end Keon Keeley. First year head coach Marcus Freeman is hitting the recruiting trail hard ahead of his first campaign at the helm. Look for more big time commits in the coming weeks with playmakers like wide receiver Carnell Tate (IMG Academy, FL) and Braylon James (Del Valle, TX).

The next team having a surprisingly good start to the cycle is Tennessee. Coach Heupel’s second class at the helm is headlined by five star quarterback, Nicholaus Iamaleava (Long Beach Poly, CA) and four star tight end, Ethan Hill (Collins Hill, GA). The Vols are also in the top 5 schools for wide receiver Carnell Tate(IMG Academy, FL).

The final up-trending team is one completely out of left-field, currently sitting at the number two spot at this time. The Texas Tech Red Raiders are making a splash in the recruiting scene with four 4 stars committed to Joey McGuire’s program thusfar. They’re still in the mix for 4 star safety, Ryan Yaites (Denton, TX). Keep a close eye on this Texas Tech class as they look to load up for the new Big 12.

Off to a slow start:

The first team in this category will not be here for long, the Alabama Crimson Tide are currently 33rd in the nation for the 2023 class. Now we all know how this goes, Bama gets off to a slow start and then dominate the national signing days.

The Tide are in the mix for current consensus number one recruit Arch Manning (Isodore Newman, LA). They are also in the mix for the top 2 running backs, 3 of the top 5 receivers and the top 2 offensive tackles in the class. Don’t expect Saban and company to stay this low for too much longer with kids taking their official spring visits.

The second team off to a slow start is the Texas Longhorns. The ‘Horns are currently sitting at 25th in the national rankings, but are in the mix for some big name recruits. Targets for Texas are headlined by 5* quarterback, Arch Manning (Isodore Newman, LA), but also include 4* receiver Johntay Cook (DeSoto, TX) and 5* running back Reuben Owens (El Campo, TX). Sarkisian and company are off to a slow start, but just like Alabama, will not stay here for much longer.

On life support:

Jumping over to the west coast for the first time today, we spotlight Oregon for our final breakdown of the day. Coach Lanning is off to a very slow start with his first class at the helm. Cristobal leaving for Miami has hurt the Ducks recruiting class as they dropped out of the top 15 for the 2022 class after his departure.

Lanning looks to build his class from the ground up, but sitting at 45th in the nation he is going to need to build momentum and quick. They are in the mix for 5* defensive back Javien Toviano (Martin, TX) and 5* athlete Nyckoles Harbor (Arch Bishop Carrol, D.C.).

Conclusion:

The 2023 recruiting class has barely started taking shape and there is still a lot of time between now and Early Signing Day in December to make moves. Be ready for all teams to really hit the recruiting trail hard after the spring and into the summer for camp and 7 on 7 showcase season.

As always be sure to follow on Twitter @Sam_WaltonFB.

Key Defensive recruits for the Texas Longhorns in the 2023 cycle.

Introduction:

With the 2022 class wrapped up and the 2023 class starting to take shape. I am going to take a deep dive into the key 2023 defensive recruits. Just like in my offensive target breakdown I am going to choose one or two players for each position group to highlight. I will be linking film if I can find it and if not I will be linking their 24/7 Sports account.

Malik Muhammad Final 12 courtesy of Hayes Fawcett on Twitter

If you have not read my first article talking about the impact of the 2022 class on the 2023 class, start HERE. If you want to look into the 2023 offensive recruits, look HERE.

Defensive Line:

First up for the defense is David Hicks Jr. (Allen, TX). The 6’4″ 250 pound defensive linemen has fantastic speed and power that makes him difficult to handle on the line. He has a good frame that he could add mass to at the next level. His track background makes him very explosive off the ball, and his motor allows him to make plays downfield. He has fantastic awareness that allows him to read and make plays even when the ball isn’t coming his way. Hicks will probably move to the inside of the line when he makes the jump to college.

Closing out the defensive line is Ashton Porter (Cy-Ranch, TX). Porter is 6’3″ and 240 pounds and he uses his size to his advantage. He possesses great athleticism that allows him to get off of blocks quickly and great patience that allows him to always be ready to make a play. Porter’s speed and had usage will allow him to play anywhere on the line. Also, he is a guy that will probably play the edge and has the skillset to make an early impact if we land him. Be on the lookout for a verbal from him soon.

Linebacker:

At the linebacker position, Anthony Hill (Denton Ryan, TX). The 6’2″, 225 pound linebacker from Ryan Texas is the top rated linebacker in the nation. Besides his size, his vision and instinct gives him a clear advantage at the start of the play and his physicality and nose for the ball allows him to shut down offenses. He is very good in pass coverage as well, with speed to keep up with backs and tight ends. He has a very high ceiling with room to grow. Currently, Hill plays both inside and outside and has the versatility to play both at the next level. Furthermore, Hill is a guy that could come in and make an immediate impact on the defensive side of the ball.

5-star linebacker Anthony Hill Jr. – 2021 Highlights
Cornerbacks:

I’d like to start the cornerback targets off with one of the best in the class in Malik Muhammad (South Oak Cliff, TX). The 6’0″ 170 pound corner is fast and physical. I think he would be a great fit in Pete Kwiatkowski’s defense as he can play in both man and zone coverage successfully. Also, he is a great tackler and very good at getting through blocks to make plays. He also has great hands that allow him to go up and win 50/50 balls. Furthermore, Muhammad possesses the traits that lead to longevity at the position and has the frame to add mass at the next level.

Finally, I’d like to talk about five-star corner, Javien Toviano (Arlington Martin, TX). Javien is 6’0″ and 185 pounds and is one of the most versatile guys in the nation. He continuously makes plays in both man and zone coverage. Toviano has great speed and he always seems to meet the receiver as they are attempting to make the catch. As well as cornerback, Javien also plays running back, and is an electric kick and punt returner. Toviano has the makings to be the next big time Texas defensive back to make the league. Be on the lookout for Toviano’s recruitment to heat up throughout the summer!

Safeties:

This brings us to our final prospect, Jamel Johnson (Seguin, TX) is the first safety on our list. As the number nine safety in the class, Johnson has fantastic length and athleticism. His reaction time is off the charts which allows him to transition well in coverage. As well as zone, he excels in press coverage, using his height and length to his advantage. Finally, he has great play recognition skills and he seems to always find the ball in the run game as well. Jamel is a player that could play almost anywhere in coach P.K.’s defense and make a huge impact on the game. Since he has already committed to Texas be on the lookout for him to recruit other players over the next cycle.


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