Week 1 of the college football season is fast approaching, setting up what promises to be an exciting 2022 schedule of impact games across the country.
And getting off to a good start is more important now than ever, with several playoff contenders starting against quality opponents in meaningful games.
A great rivalry returns to the schedule, while we’ll also see some interesting non-conference games that will have an effect on the CFP title race.
What are the best opening weekend games?
All Eastern Times
West Virginia at (17) Pittsburgh
When: September 1 | 19:00 | ESPN
Line: Pittsburgh -7
Choice of FPI: Pittsburgh 78.1%
Why you should watch: To see one of college football’s most intense local rivalries return to the field after a decade, and with two intriguing transfer quarterbacks parting ways: West Virginia’s JT Daniels and Pitt’s Kedon Slovis.
Daniels is a former 5-star prospect in his third school after stops at USC and Georgia, and he’ll have good perimeter speed to work with in an aggressive downfield passing attack. Slovis steps in for record-breaking Kenny Pickett, but he will have to develop this offense without Biletnikoff receiver Jordan Addison, who transferred to USC this offseason.
(11) Oregon vs. (3) Georgia
When: September 3 | 3:30 pm | A B C
Line: Georgia -17.5
Choice of FPI: Georgia 91.5%
Why you should watch: It’s no secret that the College Football Playoff selectors don’t rate the Pac-12 highly, so a good showing for Oregon in this game against not just an SEC team, but the defending national champion, could make a long road to revival. the league’s reputation.
That means new Ducks coach Dan Lanning must get the most out of a promising defensive group that will face the Bulldogs’ elite skill targets while hoping Auburn transfer quarterback Bo Nix can stand behind the Georgia defense that will debut some new pieces.
(23) Cincinnati at (19) Arkansas
When: September 3 | 3:30 pm | ESPN
Line: Arkansas -6.5
Choice of FPI: Arkansas 59.6%
Why you should watch: Cincinnati made history as the first non-Power 5 school to make the College Football Playoff, going undefeated before being swept by Alabama. That already earned UC the “overrated” label, and now the team loses nine key pieces to the NFL, making a road game against a ranked SEC team vital to keeping it relevant going forward.
Arkansas was definitely the surprise team in college football last season, beating Texas and winning nine games. KJ Jefferson returns at quarterback to lead the Hogs’ offense, which includes OU transfer Jadon Hazelwood. Winning non-conference games like this is a key building block before the SEC bid begins.
(7) Utah to Florida
When: September 3 | 19:00 | ESPN
Line: Utah -2.5
Choice of FPI: Florida 52.1%
Why you should watch: Yes, Florida is an unproven commodity after opening Year 1 under Billy Napier, but this game is crucial for the Utes to gain national respect: SEC speed is a real thing, even on subpar teams, and Utah should be faster than the Gators in this early test to build any credible playoff credentials.
Napier is debuting a roster loaded with potential but underachieving thanks to several years of below-average recruiting. Putting on a good showing against the defending Pac-12 champions and a top-10 team is vital for Napier to quell any early criticism of his tenure.
(5) Notre Dame at (2) Ohio State
When: September 3 | 19:30 | A B C
Line: Ohio State -15.5
Choice of FPI: Ohio State 83.5%
Why you should watch: A nighttime game between two top-5 teams at the Horseshoe is a date for any college football fan, with two playoff contenders facing off early under the lights in a matchup that will go a long way in shaping the final playoff standings of College Football.
Most analysts, bettors and bettors see the Irish starting 0-1 here, but remember the Buckeyes have been beaten at home in recent memory: Texas in 2005, USC in 2009, Michigan State in 2015, Oklahoma in 2017 and Oregon. in 2021 all spring in mind. OSU even lost to Virginia Tech in the ‘Shoe’ the year it won its first CFP title.
Florida State vs. LSU
When: September 4 | 19:30 | A B C
Line: LSU -3
Choice of FPI: LSU 71.0%
Why you should watch: Brian Kelly caused a seismic shift in college football when he shut down Notre Dame for LSU, setting himself up for quite the rebuild as he looks ahead to the always-brutal SEC West schedule in the nation’s toughest division.
Before that, his Tigers face another down-on-his-luck program: The Seminoles have won eight games in two years under Mike Norvell, but return quarterback Jordan Travis, who showed real flashes last fall and could work in the deep field if given the opportunity.
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