Looking ahead to Week 2

In previous seasons we’ve used Around the Nation and the Daily Dose to highlight the upcoming weekend’s action. But why use two when one will do? (Well, you probably want to comment, so we’ll do two.) So instead we’ll highlight a few games each week to help you focus on the ones that matter other than those involving your favorite team.

Wish you were here: If money and time were no object, at least two games would be worth the trip to see in person. In Texas, No. 4 Mary Hardin-Baylor hosts No. 12 Christopher Newport in an intriguing rematch of last year’s barnburner. Both teams are major players in the South region. Both have extremely challenging non-conference schedules. Both could put a very large feather in their cap come Selection Sunday with a win on Saturday.

The other marquee match-up also involves Top 25 teams as No. 18 Augustana travels to No. 24 Baldwin-Wallace. Last year the Vikings’ defense held Baldwin-Wallace to 151 yards. It was also the only game in which Augustana gained more yards in the air than its opponent. But they still lost to the Yellow Jackets 17-7. On Baldwin-Wallace’s end, it’s strange but not unrealistic to talk about the season opener as a “must-win” for the Yellow Jackets’ playoff hopes. Such is life for teams in Mount Union’s conference.

Don’t sleep on this one: Only one team is ranked but the west coast battle between No. 16 Whitworth and Redlands will give an early indication of which team will contend for their conference title. Defending NWC champion Whitworth was picked second in the NWC preseason poll behind No. 13 Linfield. Redlands is trying to climb back atop the SCIAC now that Occidental begins life without quarterback Andy Collins. And while many SCIAC games kickoff long after its dark on the east coast, this one starts at 3 pm EST. So there really is no excuse for sleeping on this one.

Zzzz: Some games that look good on paper end up being as colorful as cardboard. Two years ago No. 7 Wesley versus Delaware Valley would’ve been a good non-conference battle between playoff contenders. This year it could get ugly early considering the Wolverines’ speed and Del Val’s offensive struggles. In a different vein, Geneva could challenge No. 17 Washington & Jefferson when they meet in Washington, but they won’t challenge them in the standings. The Golden Tornadoes are a provisional member of Division III and are not eligible for the PAC title.

Most likely Top 25 team to be upset: Setting aside games in which Top 25 teams are playing each other, this week’s pick for the upset special is Franklin over No. 23 Wabash. Yes, the Little Giants “always fight” but the Grizzlies are the ones who should be in a cantankerous mood. Franklin missed the playoffs despite a 9-1 finish and a 45-38 overtime win over Hoosier State rival Wabash.