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A monumental game for James Franklin, and an 8-pack of preview #Nuggets

Week 1 was incredible, a weekend-long bender of wonderful, exquisite football. And, like any morning after a night of tequila, we now have to pay for it.

This will be the first weekend since 2012 without a single ranked match-up.

Repeat: this is the first weekend since 2012 -- 50 weeks of games, roughly -- without a single ranked match-up.

But there is hope, though just a glimmer.

That said, there are a handful of games to sink our teeth into in Week 2. Let's get right to it: 1. A non-rivalry rivalry game in Pittsburgh. Let's start with this: any time you feel compelled to write about how a program isn't your rival, you're tacitly confirming said program is indeed your rival. Texas and Texas A&M will always be rivals, Kansas and Missouri will always be rivals, and Penn State and Pitt will always be rivals. Rivals, like siblings, are one of those things in life that you're just stuck with, for better or for worse. While one can make an argument a win does more culturally for Pitt than Penn State, that isn't true for the coaches in this game. James Franklin needs this win more than Pat Narduzzi. Franklin has managed the situation he inherited -- a sanctions ravaged roster and a mercurial quarterback that didn't fit his scheme -- well. And yet, this marriage between Penn State and a son of Pennsylvania hasn't really stuck like it should. For reasons that are fair and not, the ground on which Franklin stands isn't as stable as it should be. And that's before he potentially becomes the coach that lost Penn State's first meeting with Little Brother since 2000.

Franklin is 0-6 against teams Penn State fans say they care about -- Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State -- and none of the losses last year were close. Nittany Lions fans may say they won't care about a win over Pitt, but they'd care about a loss.

2. What is Tennessee? If there's a silver lining of last Thursday's near implosion to Appalachian State for Butch Jones, it's this: never before should he and his staff receive their team's undivided attention in practice, in film study and in meetings. Tennessee should make the largest leap of any team in college football from Weeks 1 to 2, but we've been using that word a lot with Butch Jones' Vols. They should've won the East last season, and they should win it again this year.

Here's one certainty: Bud Foster will make life miserable again for the Tennessee offense if the Vols allow him. Appalachian State pressured Josh Dobbs nine times last week; Dobbs completed zero passes in those nine drop backs, and Tennessee's cumulative gain in those plays was actually a loss of four yards, plus an interception.

I think Tennessee will win, but if the Vols' can't fix their protection issues, they'll prove me wrong on Saturday -- and a lot of people about their chances to win that long-awaited SEC East title this season.

(And while we're at it, the 150,000-some odd fans will be the new college football record, but the 115,109 that saw Michigan beat Notre Dame at Michigan Stadium in 2013 is the real record, right? We should view Saturday's Bristol attendance as Barry Bonds's 73 and Michigan-Notre Dame as Roger Maris's 61.)

2. A Southwest Conference revival. I'll be honest: I didn't see a snap of TCU or Arkansas last week. Judging from the respective box scores, Gary Patterson and Bret Bielema are undoubtedly thankful for that; Arkansas beat Louisiana Tech by one whole point, while South Dakota State scored as many points as Arkansas and Louisiana Tech combined for against Patterson's defense.

Given the admission above, it feels like Arkansas needs a similar game as its last trip to a Big 12 stadium, when the Hogs rushed the ball 68 times for 438 yards and sat on the ball for 40 minutes in a 49-28 demolishing of Texas Tech. That, however, will require a similar cooperation from TCU that the Red Raiders provided. Kenny Hill served South Dakota State two interceptions last week. It feels like a similar number would be provided for an Arkansas win.

3. BYU's run for the Pac-12 South championship hits its second lap. Oh, how we forget how much fun BYU can be when Taysom Hill's healthy. The Cougars' linebacker of a quarterback hit 21-of-29 passes for 202 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions while helping BYU's offense charge for 213 rushing yards in an 18-16 defeat of Arizona. Now BYU heads for Round 2 of its run through the Pac-12 South (next week: vs. UCLA) into the Holy War against Utah.

The Utes have won five straight in this supernatural grudge match, and four of those wins have been by seven points or less -- including last December's Las Vegas Bowl, when Utah built a 35-0 first quarter lead and held on for a 35-28 win.

5. My piece of viewing advice for Saturday night. Tune into the beginning of Tennessee-Virginia Tech to see the establishing shots of Bristol Motor Speedway and the 150,000 fans therein, but then flip over to Utah-BYU for what will undoubtedly be the hardest-hitting game of the weekend.

6. The most newsworthy event of the weekend may be before the games even start. ESPN will interview Tom Rinaldi's interview with Art Briles during College GameDay. We've read a snippet of it already, and it sounds exactly like you'd expect from a guy that wants to work again this year: Briles, now, says he's sorry.

We, the media, the public, should hold him to a higher standard. A college president will. Briles should say what he did that he's sorry for, and why he's sorry for it. Not even a month ago Briles conducted a tour of NFL training camps in which he said he has nothing to be sorry for. Why should we believe the new statement over the older ones?

7. Pre-snap reads.

a. I'm not a betting man, but if I was I'd put my mortgage payment on UTEP plus-28 at Texas and my kids' college funds on the over 59.5.

b. I'm not going to pick an upset but Tulsa-Ohio State will be [extremely Lee Corso voice] closer than the experts think.

c. We covered James Franklin already, but a coach that heads into a similarly treacherous trap on Saturday is N.C. State's Dave Doeren. He's been in place a year longer than Franklin with less to show for it, and a loss would lead to an even bigger free fall among his fan base.

d. Matt Campbell earning his first Iowa State win a week after losing to Northern Iowa and just days after Iowa signed Kirk Ferentz to a lifetime contract feels like such a giant heaping of poetic justice that I'm not sure the college football gods will be able to resist themselves.

e. Speaking of poetic justice: Boise State opens its home schedule against Washington State on Saturday night. The Broncos have won 14 straight home openers, dating back to a 2001 loss to.... Washington State.

8. And, finally... The Nuggets wholeheartedly endorses skipping Friday night games in general. Take some time to smell the roses, enjoy a nice meal and remind your family of your presence before disappearing into college football black hole on Saturday. Although, now that I mention it, Syracuse did run 81 plays last week, and it may be fun to see Lamar Jackson with more opportunities to run circles around a defense that has no chance of stopping him...