The 2022 college football schedule is about to begin, setting up another season of exciting matchups and highlights leading up to the national championship.
Playing a quality schedule is more important now than ever in the College Football Playoff era, with those games helping build the CFP’s credentials.
Let’s take a look at the best game on TV for each week of next year.
Best Game: Nebraska vs. Northwestern
Why you should watch: It’s been a while since Nebraska has been relevant on the national stage, and it helps the sport when blue bloods of the caliber of the Cornhuskers are competitive again. Week 0 gives us a first look at how well coach Scott Frost’s aggressive offseason additions have moved the program in that direction.
Other games: Florida A&M at North Carolina | Duquesne at Florida State
Best Game: Notre Dame at Ohio State
Why you should watch: College football’s two premier brands in one of the sport’s premier venues under the lights in the season opener — it doesn’t get much better than that. Ohio State brings back the nation’s top offense as Notre Dame debuts its new head coach in a game loaded with playoff implications and what should be some offensive fireworks.
Other games: Utah to Florida | Oregon vs. Georgia | Cincinnati in Arkansas | Florida State vs. LSU | West Virginia at Pittsburgh
Best Game: Baylor at BYU
Why you should watch: A preview of upcoming attractions in the Big 12 with BYU poised to join the league next season, facing the defending conference champions. Baylor needs this win against a quality non-conference team to stay in the College Football Playoff chase. Expect some big plays from both offenses in this late night clash.
Other games: Alabama at Texas | Kentucky to Florida | Tennessee at Pittsburgh
Best Game: Miami at Texas A&M
Why you should watch: Both schools are on the precipice of something good, with A&M hoping it can repeat last season’s upset of No. 1 Alabama and make a run in the College Football Playoff. Miami, which has a chance to finish second in the ACC, also has a late date with Clemson. Winning this early game is crucial for both teams to make the later ones meaningful.
Other games: Penn State at Auburn | Michigan State at Washington
Best Game: Arkansas vs. Texas A&M
Why you should watch: Winning this one last fall was a big step for the Razorbacks, and winning the rematch will be even more important. A&M improved this offseason after a historic recruiting effort while the Hogs must replace several pieces on defense. If the Aggies make it through the first month undefeated, anything is possible.
Other games: Wisconsin at Ohio State | Clemson at Wake Forest | Florida to Tennessee
Best Game: Oklahoma State at Baylor
Why you should watch: A rematch of the Big 12 title game, where Baylor held OSU inches from the game-winning score, and likely out of the playoffs. Revenge is always sweet, and if Baylor doesn’t come away from BYU with a win, the Cowboys could effectively ruin their rival’s season here.
Other games: NC State at Clemson | Michigan to Iowa | Kentucky at Ole Miss
Best Game: Texas A&M at Alabama
Why you should watch: First, to see if Jimbo and Saban talk to each other beforehand after all that offseason business. And then, to watch perhaps the single best game of the season. If both come in undefeated, this should be the defining moment in the winner’s College Football Playoff hopes. The unseeded Aggies upset the no. 1 last fall, but couldn’t capitalize on it later in the season.
Other games: Texas vs. Oklahoma | Tennessee at LSU | Utah at UCLA | Ohio State at Michigan State
Best Game: USC in Utah
Why you should watch: Since Lincoln Riley arrived at USC, this has been the game most analysts predicted would define his early tenure. Winning this one is crucial for the Trojans, especially if the Utes aren’t undefeated. Utah’s 1-2 punch offensively will be a good test for a USC defense that was ranked 89th last fall.
Other games: Arkansas at BYU | LSU at Florida | Wisconsin at Michigan State
Best Game: LSU at Ole Miss
Why you should watch: It’s always the Saturdays with the fewest marquee games that end up being the best week of the season, so keep your remote handy. But keep an eye on this tilt in the SEC West: this division is usually the best football in it, and provided Brian Kelly’s experience hasn’t completely sunk in midseason, it should be a sight to see matchups against what figure to be another solid Ole Miss offense.
Other games: UCLA at Oregon | Cincinnati at SMU | Iowa at Ohio State
Best Game: Ohio State at Penn State
Why you should watch: Penn State has taken just two of the last 11 in this rivalry, including the 2016 Kick Six that caused a minor upset in State College. To beat the Buckeyes, you have to score a lot, and that’s something Penn State may have gotten better at since signing transfer Mitchell Tinsley from WKU.
Other games: Michigan State at Michigan | Florida vs. Georgia | Kentucky at Tennessee
Best Game: Clemson at Notre Dame
Why you should watch: Both of these teams could have a loss already on the books, making avoiding that second L extremely important when it comes to College Football Playoff positioning at the end of the season. ND knocked off No. 1 Clemson in their last meeting under the eyes of Touchdown Jesus, in 2020.
Other games: Oklahoma at Baylor | Wake Forest at NC State | Alabama at LSU
Best Game: Alabama at Ole Miss
Why you should watch: Alabama has taken the last six from the Rebels by an average of over four TDs per game, but this Ole Miss team should be able to put some points on the board this time around with a cast of elite transfers.
Other games: Iowa to Wisconsin | Iowa State at Oklahoma State
Best Game: Oklahoma State in Oklahoma
Why you should watch: A big part of the Cowboys’ defense, a unit that ranked third in college football last season, will have to be replaced, as will the Pokes’ leading rusher. Spencer Sanders returns to quarterback in an attempt to make it two in a row against the Sooners. These rivals could meet in the Big 12 title game.
Other games: Miami at Clemson | Georgia at Kentucky | USC at UCLA | Oregon to Utah
Best Game: Michigan at Ohio State
Why you should watch: Michigan hasn’t won in Columbus in 21 years, but this could be its best shot since the famous game in 2006. UM loses a ton of its elite defense, but could actually improve on offense, which could spell trouble for OSU and its College Football Playoff bid if this defense isn’t improved enough.
Other games: Notre Dame at USC | Auburn at Alabama | LSU at Texas A&M | Baylor in Texas
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