Can Horns hang with Bama? How good is Tennessee? Breaking down Week 2’s biggest questions

    Bill Connelly is a staff writer for ESPN.com.

Two things become more certain about the college football calendar every year:

1. We’ll get ourselves all worked up all offseason, yelling about the dire state of college football and the latest conference realignment saga (or College Football Playoff expansion — or both). We will hem and haw about the future of the game and how everything’s falling apart.

2. The games will start, and we’ll fall in love all over again.

The first week of the 2022 season was just fantastic. Sure, it would have been even better had the top two teams in the polls (Alabama and Georgia) not been quite so resounding in asserting their dominance, but for those of us who talk about how it’s the journey that matters most, and not the (national title) destination, Week 1 was pretty good evidence. North Carolina-Appalachian State, Florida State-LSU, Houston-UTSA, Florida-Utah … there were so many great games that Illinois-Indiana, with its own wild and intense ending, didn’t even make my top 10.

Week 2 tends to bring about a letdown after the big-game fire hose of the opening weekend, and to be sure, there aren’t quite as many must-follow games this week. But there is a lot to follow in SEC Land, plus we’ve got a (future) Big 12 brawl in Provo and some intriguing games for intriguing risers in the Pac-12.

Let’s dive into everything you need to follow in Week 2.

All times Eastern.

What can Texas do to actually hurt Alabama?

No. 1 Alabama at Texas (noon, Fox)

First things first: Top-ranked Alabama looked spectacular last week against Utah State, the Bama offense has been either the best or nearly the best in the country for four straight years, and the Texas defense has ranked in the top 30 in defensive SP+ just once in the past seven years. The Horns were 86th last year, and while they held ULM to 10 points (7 coming in garbage time) and 4.0 yards per play in Week 1, it’s not an insult to the Warhawks to point out that they aren’t the Crimson Tide.

It’s difficult to imagine Texas getting enough stops to win this game. But we are still going to learn a lot — about Quinn Ewers, about the Horns’ capabilities in the Big 12 race, about Bama’s defensive ceiling, about a lot of things — when Texas has the ball.

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