The Top 10 College Football Games for the 2022 Season

2022 Top 10 College Football Games

The Top 10 College Football Games to Watch in 2022

As summer quickly approaches, the world of Football goes into hibernation for its off-season. Kids are off for the summer; swimming pools are open, and all eyes move towards the NBA and NHL Finals and a hot dog eating contest. But deep in its hibernation, lays a sleeping giant for 2022. The party in Athens, Georgia may be just now starting to quiet down. Although if you have ever met a Georgia fan, you know that the party has continued but just moved to a new location. And while the NFL gets all the pomp and circumstances for the release of the schedule, the college football season is already stacked and ready to roll. Here are the top 10 most interesting matchups of the 2022 College Football Season, with a few honorable mentions tossed in for fun!

#10- Week 3: Penn St. at Auburn

A classic North vs South, Big 10 vs SEC showdown that will take place down in Alabama. Last year, the Tigers traveled to Happy Valley and found how difficult it was to play in whiteout conditions. This year, Penn St. will have to find out if football is truly different in the south. The Nittany Lions will return Quarterback Sean Clifford to a sixth year of eligibility. The real question is he going to be able to incoming recruit Drew Allar for the starting job. Penn St. should also get a boost to their running game with true freshman and top running back, Nicholas Singleton. Many Nittany Lion fans are hoping that this kid will bring a rushing attack back to prominence after ranking near the bottom of the Big 10. Auburn is a team that is in transition. Quarterback Bo Nix transferred to Oregon and the question going into fall camp has to be who steps in for him? TJ Finley stepped in when Nix was injured last year, but the Tigers bring in Texas A&M transfer Zach Calzada. One thing that isn’t a question is the Auburn defensive line. The Tigers return Colby Wooden and Derick Hall at the end position and have recruited that position well in previous seasons. Both teams are in a spot of transition in their respective conference. A win in this game could mean a lot for either program and a loss could really frustrate a fanbase. In the end, this game will come down to who can dominate the line of scrimmage. If Penn St. can run the football and get Sean Clifford ahead of the sticks, Penn St. will leave the plains with the win. If Auburn can get a few sacks and turnovers, they will have their revenge from a year ago. This one will be just as close as last year, but Auburn may be slipping down the pecking order in the SEC West.

Summer Prediction: Penn St. 28 Auburn 27

#9- Week 6: Oklahoma vs Texas (Red River Rivalry)

In 2021, this annual Texas State Fair rivalry lived up to expectations. This game was a true shootout with Kennedy Brooks running in for the game winning touchdown with only seconds to spare, crushing the dreams of Longhorn fans that Texas was ready to be “back”. The Longhorns have had this game circled on their calendar since October 10th, 2021. Texas is returning arguably one of the best running back in the country in Bijan Robinson. Robinson will be joined in the backfield by Ohio St. transfer Quinn Ewers. They say everything is bigger in Texas and the includes this year’s expectations. Ewers was highly recruited coming out of high school and was said to be one of the best Quarterbacks to come out of high school in years. This has to be the season that Sarkisian’s offense really starts to shine. On the flip side, anything to talk about in Norman, Oklahoma? The Sooners welcome defensive mastermind Brent Venables into the fray. The Sooner look to be led by UCF transfer Dillon Gabriel. All Gabriel did at UCF was throw for 70 touchdowns and 8,000 yards. He will have stud wide receiver Marvin Mims to throw to on the outside. Venables should be able to improve the backside of the defense, but will those improvements be quick enough to negate the projected fire power of the Longhorns? The Sooners are 9-3 in the Red River Rivalry since 2010. Sark will look to put up mass quantities of points on the Sooners and the Venables defense will be looking to make it a long day deep in the heart of Texas. The last two showdowns have been decided by a touchdown and the 2022 matchup will not be any different. Texas linebacker DeMarvion Overshown will be a man on a mission this year to end the drought vs the Sooners. Watch out for freshman running back Gavin Sawchuk for the Sooners. While he may not be the lead back, this is the type of game that make legends out of freshman. In the end, Texas will eek out a win vs the Sooners only because it’s year two are Sarkasian vs year one of Venables.

Summer Prediction: Texas 49 Oklahoma 48

#8 Week 7-USC at Utah

What an offseason it has been for the Trojans! From the hiring of Lincoln Riley away from Oklahoma to getting player after player from the transfer portal. USC looks to be back on the map. But to steal a line from the great Ric Flair, “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man! WOOOO!” Utah is the man of the Pac-12 going into 2022. All they did in 2021 is win the Pac-12 after starting 1-2. Completely dominate Oregon twice within a three-week period. Not to mention going toe to toe with Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. Utah will bring back Quarterback Cameron Rising and do-it-all Running back Tavion Thomas. The defense needs to replace some great talent, but Kyle Whittingham has proven to be a great defensive coach. This game is in Salt Lake City, which is quietly becoming one of the tougher locations in college football. The question of this game is how well the Trojans take to Lincoln Riley’s offense. Picking up Pitt transfer Jordan Addison is huge for USC’s offense. Caleb Williams has a true number 1 wide receiver in LA. Outside of JSN at Ohio St, Addison might be the best wide receiver in the country. USC should be 6-0 at this point after feasting on an early slate of cupcakes. Utah will have already faced adversity, traveling to the Swamp in week 1 and having to play at UCLA the week prior to this game. But Utah average 5.6 yards per carry last season and Lincoln Riley teams at Oklahoma had some trouble stopping the run at times. Most people will look at the name and players and believe USC wins in a blowout. I don’t. In tough games, you need to play defense and run the football, both of those advantages go to the Utes. But USC’s offense is going to be too much for Utah. The Addison transfer pushes the overall advantage to the men of Troy. USC wins in the nail biter and moves into a true contender status.

Summer Prediction: Utah 34 USC 35

#7 Week 1- Oregon vs Georgia (In Atlanta)

In 2021, Georgia ended it’s 42-year drought and won its first national title since 1980. The party in Athens has gone on since that night in January. Now the real challenge begins. Since 1980, there have been two teams that have repeated as champions: Nebraska in 1995 and 1996 and Alabama in 2012 and 2013. Georgia must replace 15 key contributors to the national title team. And they will kick off their season facing their old defensive coordinator, Dan Lanning. Lanning took the job in Eugene after Mario Cristobal left for Miami. Lanning should eventually turn this Ducks defensive unit into one of the best in the country. He will have to start from the ground up. Longtime Auburn Quarterback Bo Nix transfers in. Will he be the starter in Atlanta? His record versus the Bulldogs is rough. Oregon will need to run the ball with Darrell Henderson. Georgia has to a lot to replace on the defensive line and if they cannot stop Henderson, it could be a sour start to the season for the Dawgs. Georgia will still be led by Quarterback Stetson Bennett. He should still be the Quarterback week 1. He still has All-American Brock Bowers to throw to, who will be an absolute matchup nightmare for the Ducks. If Georgia is able to play UGA football and run the ball with Kenny McIntosh and Kendall Milton, this game will get out of hand quickly. I don’t trust Bo Nix to be able to beat the Bulldogs, especially in Atlanta. Ducks will be cooked going into halftime.

Summer Prediction: Georgia 48 Oregon 13

#6 Week 10- Tennessee at Georgia

It’s been said for years that “this is the year Tennessee returns to glory”. And year in and year out, Tennessee has failed to live up expectations. With that said, this is the year that the Tennessee Volunteers return to glory. Josh Heupel starts off year two in Knoxville with huge expectations to win. Those expectations stem off the play of Senior Quarterback Hendon Hooker. In 12 games last year, all Hooker did was throw for 31 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. Last year, Hooker threw for completed 64% of his passes for 241 yards. Let’s not forget that Tennessee was leading 10-7 at the end of the first quarter. Hooker had the most passing yards against the Dawgs until Bryce Young in the SEC Championship game. If the Volunteers want to be taken seriously in the SEC, they have knock off Georgia. They will need Cedric Tillman to make plays against a tough Georgia secondary and for Jabari Smith to be able to run the ball against the rebuilt Georgia defensive line. If they do that, it could be a long night in Athens. But don’t forget that Georgia ran all over the Volunteers last season to the tune of 274 yards. Georgia is going to look to make an example out of the upstart Volunteers. But this is a dangerous game for the Dawgs. Any game after the annual Georgia/Florida game is always prime to be an emotional letdown. Georgia will look to lean heavy on Kenny McIntosh in this game to control the clock and set up a few shots to Brock Bowers, who is still a matchup nightmare. In the end, this is the measuring stick for the Volunteers. Do they break through and knock off Georgia or will the Dawgs still be the best in the SEC East? We are high on the Volunteers, but they still need a little bit to knock off the defending champs.

Summer Prediction: Georgia 34 Tennessee 31

#5 Week 5- NC St. at Clemson

This was possibly one of the best games in the 2021 season when the Wolfpack pulled off the double overtime upset on Clemson. NC St. would wind up having a great season and were one of the talks of the ACC. Clemson went on to be 7-1 after this game, but a 9-3 season is unacceptable for the Tigers. Both schools return their quarterback. Devin Leary had a remarkable year throwing for 35 touchdowns and 4 of them coming against the Tigers. D.J. Uiagalelei came in hyped up as the next great Clemson Quarterback. Then proceeded to throw more interceptions than touchdowns last year. If Clemson wants to return to the championship level, that climb starts with him. Clemson is going to have to change their focus early on in this season and commit to running the ball with Will Shipley. He had 11 rushing touchdowns last season and should be the focal point of the offense. It will also be on the Clemson defense to shut down the passing attack of the Wolfpack, who return their 3 primary receivers. Clemson might have the best defense in America this season and will win a lot of games by holding teams to under 17 points. NC St. will be a difficult team to hold under that mark. This game is being played at Death Valley and should easily be a prime-time matchup. Devin Leary will find Devin Carter and Thayer Thomas for a few scores to put the pressure on the Tigers. The pass defense is way more vulnerable than the run defense. In the end, this game could be the end of D.J. U’s time as QB1 for Dabo. Don’t be shocked if highly rated freshman Cade Klubnik comes in during this game to try to salvage the season. In the end, N.C. St. is looking like a more complete team than Clemson. This game is another thriller, and the results are the same. Only the Wolfpack needs only one OT to get the job done

Summer Prediction: NC St. 28 Clemson 21

#4 Week 1- Notre Dame at Ohio State

The Fighting Irish have a new head coach roaming the sidelines in South Bend after Brian Kelly took his Football down to LSU. The Irish hired Defensive Coordinator Marcus Freeman to take over. Many people feel that Freeman is the right man for the job. He will be breaking in a new Quarterback and new running back this season. Tyler Buchner takes over at QB and will have a tough test in week 1 against an Ohio St. team with national title aspirations. But the Irish return all five starters on the offensive line and have a maybe the best Tight End in the country in Michael Mayer. Mayer lead the Irish in receiving with 71 catches and 7 scores. He could very easily be a nightmare for the Ohio St. defense that had issues all year long. While Notre Dame has one nightmare on offense, the Buckeyes at least three. Heisman Runner-up CJ Stroud returns with another year in Ryan Day’s offense. He has sophomore running back TreVeyon Henderson who rushed for 1248 yards and 15 touchdowns as a true freshman. Then there is possibly the best receiver in all of college football in Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Coming off a season of1600 yards and 9 scores, plus 347 yards and 3 touchdowns in last years Rose Bowl, Notre Dame’s secondary could be in for a long day. The real question for Ohio St. is how fast new DC Jim Knowles can fix the defense. If the Buckeyes can return to the silver bullets defense, this game could be over at halftime. If the defense takes time to adjust and Notre Dame plays a clock control gameplan, this game won’t be decided until the fourth quarter. In the end, Ohio St. has just too much offensive fire power to be stopped by Notre Dame. Look for Ohio St. to make a statement in Week 1 in Columbus.

Summer Prediction: Ohio St. 49 Notre Dame 28

#3 Week 13- Notre Dame at USC

The Irish and Trojans are on a collision course to wrap up the regular season in 2022. This rivalry game has all the makings of an instant classic. By this point of the season, Marcus Freeman will have Notre Dame’s defense playing at a high level and clicking to stop high power offenses. Lincoln Riley will have had enough time to blend all the talent into one of the most lethal offensive attacks in college football. So the question becomes the unstoppable force vs the immoveable object. At times last year, the Fighting Irish struggles against the pass, and that was with star safety Kyle Hamilton. Notre Dame must have an answer for the passing attack of the Trojans, or this will turn into a video game score for them. Notre Dame will need to rely on their veteran offensive line opening up huge holes for Logan Diggs and Chris Tyree. This gameplan will keep Caleb Williams, Dye and Addison off the field. When they get their opportunity, look for Lincoln Riley to really open the playbook against their biggest rivals. Don’t be surprised if Caleb Williams and Addison have over 200 yards together. That’s what it will take for the Trojans to beat Notre Dame. USC has an interesting November where they don’t have to leave the city limits of Los Angeles. This game could be the difference in Notre Dame going to a New Year’s Day 6 bowl game or having to settle for a bowl of New Year’s Eve. In the end, this will be the cherry on top of a remarkable season for USC. They will win this game and use it as a warmup for the Pac-12 Title Game.

Summer Prediction: USC 35 Notre Dame 28

#2 Week 13- Michigan at Ohio State

For the first time in over a decade, the Wolverines found away to knock off the Buckeyes. While, Michigan owns the all time record vs the Buckeyes, the last twenty years have really favored the Buckeyes with them winning 17 out of the last 20 matchups. Michigan has a lot to replace on defense with the loss of Hutchinson and Ojabo. Losing their topflight cornerback didn’t help either. Then there is the whole Jim Harbaugh almost leaving for the NFL on National Signing Day. Even with all of those factors, Michigan is looking to build on their Big 10 championship and College Football Playoff appearance.

Michigan has a Quarterback batter on it’s hand, even if they don’t want to admit it. Cade McNamara was the starter last season, but J.J. McCarthy was highly rated and has looked good at times. Whoever plays Quarterback will get the return of wide receiver Ronnie Bell and leading receiver Cornelius Johnson, who will both be huge tests for the Buckeye’s secondary. The offense is going to have to lead this team if they want to keep up with the high power Buckeye attack.

Ohio St. will be motivated to get back in the win column against that school up north. Ryan Day will have the Buckeyes counting down the days until the Wolverines take the bus ride down to Columbus. Don’t be shocked to see a few new wrinkles into the Ohio St. Offense when they play the Wolverines. We know that Ohio St. will put up points, but the question for them is whether or not the Silver Bullets defense has returned. The Buckeyes cannot be ranked 97th against the pass when they play Michigan. Corners Denzel Burke and Josh Proctor will need to step up and don’t be shocked in Freshman Kye Stokes is ready to step up and make a name for himself in the best rivalry game in College Football. In the end, this game is in Columbus. Ryan Day and the Buckeyes have had an entire year to stew on a loss to the hated Wolverines. Ohio St. gets the win, which will serve as the right to go to Indianapolis as the Big Ten East representative. This game isn’t for old school fan. Offense will be on display.

Summer Prediction: Ohio St. 56 Michigan 45

#1 Week 6- Texas A&M at Alabama

After all the drama involving NIL money and coaches accusing each other of different infractions, could anything else besides Jimbo vs Saban be #1? After all of the drama, most fans would love to see this matchup two or three times this season. This game is full of story lines. Texas A&M upset the Crimson Tide last year 41-38 in dramatic fashion. But then finished the season 8-4 and unranked. Jimbo Fisher has won 71% of his games in College Station in his four years. Compared that to Nick Saban winning 88% of his games in Tuscaloosa over the past 15 years. Alabama returns their Heisman trophy winning quarterback Bryce Young, who completed only 58% of his passes last year against the Aggies, below his 67% average on the season. Alabama outgained the Aggies throughout that game, but at the end, couldn’t move the ball with the score tied. Additionally, when it mattered most, the Crimson Tide defense faltered to allow Texas A&M to kick a game winning field goal. This year, the Aggies will have the full attention of the Crimson Tide.

The Aggies are hoping the running back Devon Achane will continue to haunt the dreams of Tide defenders. He’s one of the fastest players in the SEC. He will need to be effective for A&M to stay in this game. Additionally, Ainias Smith will have to produce similarly to his game in 2021, 85 yards and 2 touchdowns to prevent eight-man defensive fronts. None of this will matter if Jimbo Fisher can’t figure out who will be the starting Quarterback. If LSU transfer Max Johnson comes in and lights it up, this game could be a lot of fun. If not, Alabama will be cashing in the receipts from the 2021 matchup in College Station. Alabama run the ball a little more against this defense and soften up the secondary for Bryce Young to take big shots down the field. If Trey Sanders joins the list of great Alabama running backs, this could be a long day for the Aggies. In the end, it’s extremely difficult to beat Alabama and Nick Saban twice in a row especially with this game happening in Tuscaloosa. Texas A&M feels like an elite team in 2023 and Alabama is an elite team in 2022. The Aggies hang around for three quarters, but in the end Nick Saban flexes his muscles on Jimbo Fisher and lets him know what it takes to knock off the champs of the SEC West. Alabama wins in the 4th quarter.

Summer Prediction: Alabama 38 Texas A&M 31

Honorable Mentions- Week 5- Oklahoma State at Baylor; Week 9- Georgia vs Florida (Jacksonville); Week 10- Clemson at Notre Dame; Week 9- Michigan State at Michigan; Week 6- BYU vs Notre Dame (Las Vegas); Week 2- Alabama at Texas

Summer Predictions for Honorable Mentions-

Baylor 24 Oklahoma State 17

Georgia 31 Florida 17

Notre Dame 27 Clemson 24

Michigan 35 Michigan St 17

Notre Dame 34 BYU 31

Alabama 48 Texas 38

About SHappel

Hosts The Irrational Confidence Podcast with Fresh.

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