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Week 2 in college football: Playoff implications & Heisman bounce back

Cameron Scarlett and the Stanford Cardinal ran over Rice in their opener but will face a much tougher test in Southern California. (Michelle O'Connor / Associated Press)
Cameron Scarlett and the Stanford Cardinal ran over Rice in their opener but will face a much tougher test in Southern California. (Michelle O'Connor / Associated Press)
By Ralph D. Russo Associated Press

Hurricane Irma has forced the state of Florida’s four ranked teams to cancel their games this weekend as football has become the least of people’s worries in the Sunshine State.

Strangely, some fans questioned the motives of No. 16 Miami when it was the first to cancel a game. The Hurricanes bailed out of a road game at Arkansas State on Saturday for, among other reasons, concerns about being able to get back to South Florida.

There was enough noise that Miami coach Mark Richt took to Twitter to vent: “Very sad to read some of the comments of some football fans and some members of the media believing we had some other motive! U Family!!”

College football will be played around much of the country Saturday – and it has a chance to be a significant weekend for sorting out presumed College Football Playoff contenders. Four games match ranked teams.

What to watch for in Week 2 if you’re fortunate enough to be watching football and not the tracking the hurricane.

Best game

Some good options with No. 13 Auburn at No. 3 Clemson; No. 14 Stanford visiting No. 6 Southern California and even No. 15 Georgia playing at No. 24 Notre Dame for the first time.

The tastiest matchup of them all will be in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday night when No. 5 Oklahoma meets No. 2 Ohio State. It’s a return match of last year’s Buckeyes’ victory in Norman, Oklahoma. That game essentially decided a playoff spot that likely would have gone to Oklahoma instead of the Ohio State.

Heisman watch

Baker Mayfield, a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist, could jump to the front of the pack by leading the Oklahoma to a victory at Ohio State, but another highly touted quarterback is already looking for a bounce back performance.

The hype machine was spinning around USC’s Sam Darnold all offseason, and then he threw two interceptions and no touchdown passes in the opener against Western Michigan. With a big outing on national television against a Stanford team that has won three straight in the series, Darnold could get back atop the pack.

Off the radar

Last week Baylor lost to Liberty, a fledgling football program in the process of transitioning from FCS to FBS. Not a great start for coach Matt Rhule. It won’t get easier this week for the Bears in their pursuit of victory No. 1 under the new regime.

Texas-San Antonio, a team expected to contend in Conference USA under second-year coach Frank Wilson, comes to Waco, Texas.

Hot seat watch

Brian Kelly’s seat at Notre Dame is not nearly as hot as some Irish fans would like to believe. Still, he can’t afford for another season to go totally sideways, and a loss in week two at home to Georgia will only serve to rattle the antsy fan base. Beat the Bulldogs and suddenly things are looking up for the Irish.

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