College Football Preview – The best games each weekend in the 2022-2023 season

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Photo cred - BleacherReport

Which team will rise to the occasion in 2022?

Jason Williams, Scribe Reporter

When the college football season rolls around every year, I often get asked “what games are you most looking forward to this season?” My answer: usually a full list.

So with that in mind, I went through the 2022 college football schedule (from Week 0 to Week 13) and selected games that are on my “must-watch list.” Below are my findings. 

 

Editors Notes:

  • Rankings are from the initial Preseason AP Top 25 Poll (August 15th release)
  • All stats and data information used in this article were compiled from ESPN.com, ESPN Stats and Information, CBSSports.com, and on3.com
  • All times are CT

 

Week 1: 5 Notre Dame vs. 2 Ohio State – September 3rd, 6:30p (ABC)

There’s nothing like CFP implications for Notre Dame and Ohio State in Week 1 (Photo cred – Saturday Blitz )

For college football fans looking for a marquee matchup in week one of the 2022 season, this game is tailor made for you: a matchup between two top-tier programs that have their sights set on a National Championship.

A win for either team is the ultimate way to begin a resume. However, a loss will eliminate any margin of error for the rest of the season. Remember, we haven’t seen a two-loss team make the College Football Playoff (CFP), yet. 

I’d be shocked if Notre Dame pulls off the upset in Colombus. 

Also consider 11 Oregon v. 3 Georgia (in Atlanta); 23 Cincinnati v. 19 Arkansas; Florida State v. LSU (in New Orleans – September 4th)

 

Week 2: 1 Alabama vs. Texas – September 10th, 11:00a (FOX)

Alabama has their eyes set on a National Championship, but first they’ll have to get by Texas (Photo cred – FanSided)

Two college football powerhouses; Alabama playing like one, and Texas looking to return to that status. It’s been 100 years since these two met in the regular season, but a little over a decade since their last matchup in the Rose Bowl when Nick Saban won his first ever National Championship with the Crimson Tide.

Texas has some interesting offensive pieces, but how good is the Longhorns’ offensive line? And can Texas’ defense slow down Alabama’s air assault? 

Also consider 10 Baylor v. 25 BYU; 20 Kentucky v. Florida

 

Week 3: 16 Miami (Fla.) vs. 6 Texas A&M, September 17th, 8:00p (ESPN)

New Hurricanes coach Mario Cristobal is ready to lead Miami to a not only an ACC title but a National Championship (Photo cred – Saturday Blitz)

Once again, a lot is expected from Jimbo Fisher and his Aggies. Will the Aggies live up to the hype? A majority of that depends on who Jimbo goes with at the quarterback position, whether that’s Haynes King or LSU transfer Max Johnson. And speaking of quarterbacks, Miami will have one of the best this year in the name of Tyler Van Dyke. Will the Hurricanes be able to protect him? 

Also consider 9 Oklahoma v. Nebraska; 25 BYU v. 11 Oregon; 23 Cincinnati v. Miami-Ohio

Week 4: Minnesota vs. 15 Michigan State, September 24th (Time and TV – TBD)

Gopher fans are ready to see P.J. Fleck and company bring home a Big Ten West title (Photo cred – Saturday Blitz)

This one may be a head-scratcher for most of you, but hear me out as you continue to scratch till there’s a bald spot on your head.

Understandably, teams in the Big Ten West – other than prominent powerhouses Wisconsin and Iowa – tend to be overlooked. However, P.J. Fleck has turned his Golden Gophers into a division contender this season. The last time Minnesota had a chance to win the division title was in 2019 when they lost out on a tiebreaker to Wisconsin. And they already have the three key components of a championship-caliber squad: Mo Ibrahim, defense, and depth and talent. Ibrahim, returning to Minnesota after suffering a season-ending Achilles injury a year ago, looks explosive and has a lot of hunger during camp this fall. The defense was arguably one of the best in the conference (more like the country) a season ago and looks prepared to be even better this year. And not only are the Gophers known for their Row the Boat culture under Fleck but they are also known for their extraordinary depth and talent. Will Minnesota be able to win the Big Ten outright for the first time since 1941? 

I wouldn’t be surprised if I see “Upset Alert” on my phone the next day from ESPN.

Also consider 18 Wisconsin v. 2 Ohio State; 4 Clemson v. 22 Wake Forest; 19 Arkansas v. 6 Texas A&M

 

Week 5: 13 NC State vs. 4 Clemson, October 1st (Time and TV – TBD)

Clemson’s ready for revenge against the Wolfpack in week 5 (Photo cred – Rubbing the Rock)

This game is an ultimate test for both the Wolfpack and the Tigers. Clemson last season stumbled despite all the preseason hype around quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei, opening the door for Pittsburgh to win the ACC title behind Heisman finalist Kenny Pickett. Entering this season, Clemson’s expectations are to reclaim its control of the ACC, take a trip to the CFP, and ultimately win the CFP National Championship. 

The assumption that NC State will break through and win 10 games this season discounts the impact of their key losses in the backfield, Zonovan Knight and Ricky Person Jr the elite duo. Last season, NC State beat Clemson in a 2OT thriller 27-21. So even though NC State looks more one-dimensional, they could be a sneaky threat to Clemson in the ACC.   

Also considered: 1 Alabama v. 19 Arkansas; 8 Michigan v. Iowa; 9 Oklahoma v. TCU; 12 Oklahoma State v. 10 Baylor; Illinois v. 18 Wisconsin; 20 Kentucky v. 21 Ole Miss; LSU v. Auburn

 

Week 6: 6 Texas A&M vs. 1 Alabama, October 8th (Time and TV – TBD)

Is the Nick Saban-Jimbo Fisher feud officially over? (Photo cred – Houston Chronicle)

My only reason for putting this game on the list prior to Nick Saban taking shots at Jimbo Fisher’s recruiting methods was the Aggies upset the Tide last year in College Station making Jimbo Fisher the first former assistant of Saban’s to beat him. On paper, you could make an argument that these teams are the top two teams in SEC West this season, but you have to monitor A&M’s quarterback situation after Zach Calzada transferred to Auburn. The last time Alabama lost to the same team in back-to-back seasons was Ole Miss in the 2014 and ‘15 regular season. Can Texas A&M break an Alabama/Nick Saban set record for the second straight season? 

 

Also consider 2 Ohio State v. 15 Michigan State; Auburn v. 3 Georiga; Texas v. 9 Oklahoma; 8 Michigan v. Indiana; 25 BYU v. 5 Notre Dame

 

Week 7: 14 USC vs. 7 Utah, October 15rh (Time and TV – TBD)

USC and Utah are ready to crown a the king of the Pac-12 South (Photo cred – FanSided)

This USC/Utah game will be the most important of the year for the Pac-12 South. Utah is currently the king of the Pac-12 South; can USC regain possession under new head coach Lincoln Riley? This game could be for the division crown. Utah beat the Trojans last season, winning by 16, and both squads have split the past six meetings. 

Also consider Kansas v. 9 Oklahoma (yes, you read that right folks. Kansas is apart of a College Football preview for the first time in a positive way); 18 Wisconsin v. 15 Michigan State; Minnesota v. Illinois

 

Week 8: UCLA vs. 11 Oregon, October 22nd (Time and TV – TBD)

“No Mario? No problem” Oregon says. The Ducks are looking to take another one from UCLA this season (Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Yes, you could point out a handful of other intriguing games on the docket for Week 8, but none really stand out (which usually means, we will have a number of upsets we were never predicting). 

Chip Kelly and the Bruins have a matchup against UCLA, which could turn into a key cross-division game knowing the Pac-12 is pretty much up for grabs, per usual. 

Also consider Iowa v. 2 Ohio State; Texas v. 12 Oklahoma State; 21 Ole Miss v. LSU; 23 Cincinnati v. SMU; Purdue v. 18 Wisconsin

 

Week 9: 2 Ohio State v. Penn State, October 29th (Time and TV – TBD)

Will Ohio State be the clear Big Ten champ, or will Penn State shock the world? Guess we’ll have to find out (Photo cred – FanSided)

This will be the third game in a tough three-game stretch for Penn State and company, who face Michigan and Minnesota in the preceding games. If Penn State is going to beat Ohio State, and pretty much every other team in the country, they’re going to have to score a ton of points. Are the Nittany Lions built for that? The Buckeyes are 17-5 this century against the Nittany Lions and have five in a row as of late.

This is one of two very important Big Ten East games on this date, with 15 Michigan State/8 Michigan being the other. 

Also consider 7 Utah v. Washington (October 27th); 21 Ole Miss v. 6 Texas A&M; 20 Kentucky v. Tennessee; 23 Cincinnati v. UCF; Florida v. 3 Georgia

 

Week 10: 4 Clemson vs. 5 Notre Dame, November 5th, 6:30p (NBC Peacock)

Will Notre Dame even have a shot against Dabo and Clemson, or will they be shoved to the ground? (Photo cred – Getty Images)

If Notre Dame wants to make it to the CFP. They have to advance through Stage 1 (Week 1 @ 2 Ohio State). CFP and bowl game implications could play a major part in this late-season game for both of these teams. 

Also consider Appalachian State v. Coastal Carolina (November 3rd); 10 Baylor v. 9 Oklahoma; 22 Wake Forest v. 13 NC State; 1 Alabama v. LSU

 

Week 11: 1 Alabama vs. 21 Ole Miss, November 12th (Time and TV – TBD)

Any guesses for the amount of tweets Ole Miss coach Lane Kiffin will post poking fun at his old boss? I’ll take the over (O/U 1) (Photo cred – Fox News)

Outside of the actual game, I’m excited to see how Lane Kiffin decides to poke fun at his old boss. 

 

While Ole Miss isn’t technically a playoff team this season – I’m sure those words will haunt me in the future – they are a compelling team to watch. That said, we all know Lane Kiffen will have something fun in store offensively, besides throwing his clipboard 30 feet in the air, for the Tide.

Also consider Iowa v. 18 Wisconsin 

 

Week 12: 12 Oklahoma State vs. 9 Oklahoma, November 19th (Time and TV – TBD)

Bedlam…who’s ready? (Photo cred – Pokes Post)

“Bedlam” is still a big deal even if Oklahoma leads the series 90-19-7. Oklahoma State won last season, marking its fifth win this century over the Sooners. Oklahoma looks to be the best in the Big 12 – but that was also the case last season, too. This could be a sneak peek to a possible Big 12 Championship game three weeks later on December 3rd.

Also consider 3 Georgia v. 20 Kentucky; 16 Miami (Fla.) v. 4 Clemson; 7 Utah v. 11 Oregon; 21 Ole Miss v. 19 Arkansas; Iowa v. Minnesota 

 

Week 13: 8 Michigan vs. 2 Ohio State, November 26th, 11:00a (FOX)

Will Harbaugh make it two-in-a-row against the Buckeyes? (Photo cred – SportsRec)

There’s no shortage of great options for rivalry week. The Iron Bowl, The Egg Bowl, and even the final-week clash of 5 Notre Dame and 14 USC. But there’s no game better than The Game. 

I would say Ohio State is almost annually in contention at this point in the season, but I never want to assume anything as my assumptions have hurt me in the past. The Buckeyes have won 17 of the past 20 against the Wolverines, and the last time they lost two in a row to their archrivals was 1999-2000. Ohio State is the team to beat in the Big Ten this season, thanks to what should again be a prolific offense. Michigan last won in Columbus in 2000.

Also consider 10 Baylor v. Texas (November 25th); Auburn v. 1 Alabama; 5 Notre Dame v. 14 USC; Minnesota v. Wisconsin

With a full season of extraordinary games – which are all worth watching – will we see Georgia repeat as champs, or will a sleeper team make a run? Guess we’ll have to find out.

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