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Looking ahead: The best games each weekend of the college football season

Mike Huguenin05/19/22
Article written by:On3 imageMike Huguenin

MikeHuguenin

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(Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

The start of the 2022 college football season is 100 days away – there are 10 games involving FBS teams on August 27 – and it can’t get here fast enough after a tumultuous offseason.

And, hey, it’s never too soon to look ahead. To help you plan your fall, here’s a look at the best game each weekend this season.

Week 0

August 27, Nebraska-Northwestern in Dublin, Ireland, time and TV TBA
The buzz: Hey, nothing like opening the season with a conference game in Dublin! Both are coming off disappointing seasons, with each finishing 3-9. Worth noting: The Huskers mauled the Wildcats 56-7 in Lincoln last season. The locale means the winning team’s fans can drink up in hopes of a good season. The flipside: The locale means the losing team’s fans can drink up in order to dull the pain of what they witnessed.

Week 1

September 3, Notre Dame at Ohio State, 7:30 p.m., ABC
The buzz: This will be just the sixth meeting in history between these programs; it’s the first overall since the Fiesta Bowl following the 2015 season and the first regular-season meeting since 1996. It’ll also be the first regular-season game for Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman, an Ohio State alum. (Freeman’s dad is a longtime Ohio State season-ticket holder.) Freeman’s defense will get a huge test, as Ohio State’s offense figures to be one of the most productive in the nation again. Notre Dame, meanwhile, will be breaking in a new starting quarterback.
Others: West Virginia at Pitt (September 1); Georgia-Oregon in Atlanta; Utah at Florida; Cincinnati at Arkansas; Florida State-LSU in New Orleans (September 4)

Week 2

September 10, Alabama at Texas, time TBA, Fox
The buzz: This will be just the 10th meeting between these programs — and the first-regular-season game since 1922. Yep, 100 years. The most recent meeting was the BCS Championship Game following the 2009 season, and that is the Tide’s lone win over the Longhorns. This will be Game 2 in Steve Sarkisian’s second season at Texas, and everyone knows how Nick Saban treats his former assistants. Texas has some interesting offensive pieces, but how good is the Longhorns’ offensive line? And can Texas’ defense slow Alabama’s offense?
Others: Tennessee at Pitt; USC at Stanford; Kentucky at Florida; Washington State at Wisconsin; Baylor at BYU

Week 3

September 17, Miami at Texas A&M, time and TV TBA
The buzz: Once again, a lot is expected of Texas A&M. Will the Aggies live up to the hype? A lot depends on the quarterback, whether it’s Haynes King or LSU transfer Max Johnson. Speaking of quarterbacks, Miami will have the best one in this game in Tyler Van Dyke. Can the Hurricanes keep him protected? Miami’s best chance would seem to be winning a shootout. This also is an interesting coaching matchup with Jimbo Fisher and Mario Cristobal.
Others: UTSA at Texas; Penn State at Auburn; Michigan State at Washington

Week 4

September 24, Clemson at Wake Forest, time and TV TBA
The buzz: These two and NC State are expected to be the best teams in the ACC this season – and all are in the Atlantic Division. Clemson gets NCSU the week after this, so the division race could be wrapped up quite early in the season. The Tigers beat the Demon Deacons last season, but Wake still won the division. Wake’s offense should be excellent again, but the defense is a question. It’s the opposite for Clemson.
Others: Wisconsin at Ohio State; TCU at SMU; Minnesota at Michigan State; Arkansas-Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas; Florida at Tennessee

Week 5

October 1, Oklahoma State at Baylor, time and TV TBA
The buzz:
A rematch of last season’s Big 12 Championship Game; Baylor won, thanks to a last-minute goal-line stand that ended any long-shot hope of Oklahoma State getting into the College Football Playoff. Oklahoma State had won the regular-season meeting. Both were defense-minded last season, but each lost some key defenders. Each also lost a 1,000-yard running back. Still, both should be in the Big 12 title hunt again.
Others: NC State at Clemson; Kentucky at Ole Miss; San Diego State at Boise State; Michigan at Iowa; Alabama at Arkansas; SMU at UCF

Week 6

October 8, Texas A&M at Alabama, time and TV TBA
The buzz: This one sure became a lot more interesting with Saban taking shots Wednesday at Texas A&M’s recruiting methods. A&M upset the Tide in College Station last season behind a once-in-a-lifetime performance from QB Zach Calzada (who since has transferred to Auburn). Still, the Aggies went on to lose four conference games and finished tied for third in the SEC West. On paper, these look to clearly be the two best teams in the division this season. As noted, A&M’s quarterback situation bears watching. The last time Alabama lost two in a row to the same team? Ole Miss in 2014 and ’15.
Others: Oklahoma-Texas in Dallas; Tennessee at LSU; Fresno State at Boise State; Ohio State at Michigan State; Utah at UCLA; Auburn at Georgia

Week 7

October 15, USC at Utah, time and TV TBA
The buzz: This will be USC’s fifth Pac-12 game under new coach Lincoln Riley, and in some ways, it’ll be the most important game of the season. Utah is the current king of the Pac-12 South; can USC regain what it thinks is its rightful place atop the division? This could be (should be?) for the division crown. Utah beat up on the Trojans last season, winning by 16, and the teams have split the past six meetings.
Others: Arkansas at BYU; Wisconsin at Michigan State; Michigan at Penn State; Iowa State at Texas; LSU at Florida

Week 8

October 22, UCLA at Oregon, time and TV TBA
The buzz: While there are a handful of intriguing games, none really stand out (which, of course, means it will end up being the pivotal Saturday of the entire season). We’ll go with Chip Kelly’s current team playing at his former employer in what could end up being a key cross-division game in the Pac-12. While it’s Week 8, this will be just UCLA’s second road game.
Others: Cincinnati at SMU; Purdue at Wisconsin; Minnesota at Penn State; Iowa at Ohio State; Texas at Oklahoma State; LSU at Ole Miss

Week 9

October 29, Ohio State at Penn State, time and TV TBA
The buzz: This will be the third game in a tough three-game stretch for the Nittany Lions, who have Michigan and Minnesota in the preceding games. Any team that beats Ohio State this season is going to need to score a ton of points; can the Nittany Lions do that? Ohio State has won five in a row in the series and is 17-5 against the Nittany Lions this century. This is one of two important Big Ten East matchups on this day, with Michigan-Michigan State being the other.
Others: Utah at Washington State (October 27); Kentucky at Tennessee; Ole Miss at Texas A&M; Cincinnati at UCF; Fresno State at San Diego State; Michigan State at Michigan; Oklahoma State at Kansas State; Florida-Georgia in Jacksonville

Week 10

November 5, Clemson at Notre Dame, 7:30 p.m., NBC
The buzz: By the time this game rolls around, there could be a loss or two for each. Or maybe not. Regardless, it should be an important late-season game for both in terms of bowl positioning.
Others: Appalachian State at Coastal Carolina (November 3); Tennessee at Georgia; Wake Forest at NC State; Oklahoma at Baylor; Alabama at LSU; Houston at SMU

Week 11

November 12, Alabama at Ole Miss, time and TV TBA
The buzz: There almost certainly will be a huge game this weekend; we’re just not sure which one it will be. This has intrigue, mainly because it’s Lane Kiffin going against Nick Saban. Ole Miss beat the Tide in 2014 and ’15; since then, Alabama is 6-0 against the Rebels – and the average margin of victory has been 31.2 points.
Others: Iowa State at Oklahoma State; TCU at Texas; Oregon at Washington; Iowa at Wisconsin; LSU at Arkansas

Week 12

November 19, Oklahoma State at Oklahoma, time and TV TBA
The buzz: “Bedlam” is a big deal even if Oklahoma leads the series 90-19-7. Oklahoma State won last season, its fifth win this century over the Sooners. OU again looks to be the best team in the Big 12 – but that was the case last season, too. This could be the first of two meetings in three weeks, as the teams very well could meet again in the Big 12 title game on December 3.
Others: Oregon at Utah; Miami at Clemson; Arkansas at Ole Miss; Georgia at Kentucky; Iowa at Minnesota; USC at UCLA

Week 13

November 26, Michigan at Ohio State, noon, Fox
The buzz: Is this the best rivalry in college football? Its either No. 1 or 2. Michigan beat the Buckeyes last season on its way to the College Football Playoff; that snapped Ohio State’s eight-game winning streak in the series. 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.
Others: Notre Dame at USC; Wisconsin at Minnesota; Baylor at Texas; Michigan State at Penn State; Auburn at Alabama; LSU at Texas A&M