First ranking of the top 10 games of Week 1 of the 2022 college football season –

The start of the 2022 college football season is still months away, but it’s never too early to flip the schedule to next fall and start thinking about upcoming games. Luckily for college football fans, the 2022 schedule is packed with interesting matchups in Week 1. Notre Dame at Ohio State ranks as the best opener Saturday game, while Oregon-Georgia, Florida State-LSU and Utah-Florida also bring a significant amount of intrigue to early September.

The next few months will certainly bring roster and schedule changes that could alter this ranking, but let’s take a quick look at the top matchups for the first full Saturday of action in 2022:

1. Notre Dame at Ohio State (Saturday, September 3)
Besides being a likely showdown between the top 10 teams, this game is also a homecoming for new Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman. The former Ohio State linebacker began his tenure at South Bend with a loss in the Fiesta Bowl, but the opener in Columbus marks the start of his first full year at the helm. The Buckeyes have all the pieces to challenge for a national title next season, but the game against the Fighting Irish is a good early test for a defense under construction for new coordinator Jim Knowles.

Related: Top 25 Way-Too-Early College Football For 2022

2. Oregon vs. Georgia (Atlanta – Saturday September 3)
The Bulldogs begin their title defense with a neutral-site game in Atlanta against future Pac-12 favorite North Oregon. Any Pac-12 vs. SEC matchup sparks intrigue, but there’s even more with former Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning taking over in Eugene. Lanning’s first team will also feature a household name at Georgia, as former Auburn flagger Bo Nix could get the go-ahead under center after his transfer this offseason. The Bulldogs will have several new starters on both sides of the ball, but coach Kirby Smart should quickly find the right answers to keep this team in contention to win it all in 22.

3. Florida State vs. LSU (New Orleans – Sunday, September 4)
It’s a battle of two programs looking to get back on track come the 2022 season opener. Florida State is headed in the right direction under coach Mike Norvell, but there are certainly challenges. the pressure to bring the team into a bowl game after narrowly missing 5-7 in 21. The Seminoles return dynamic quarterback Jordan Travis, and an infusion of transfers is expected to bolster both sides of the ball. LSU is coming off a disappointing 6-7 season that cost coach Ed Orgeron his job, with Brian Kelly coming from South Bend to lead the program at Baton Rouge. Similar to Norvell, Kelly charges through the transfer portal hoping for a quick turnaround in 22. How much can LSU improve in Kelly’s freshman year? An opening game against an improving Florida State team should tell us a lot about both teams.

4. Utah at Florida (Saturday, September 3)
Utah is set to open 2022 as Pac-12 favorites, and coach Kyle Whittingham’s team is expected to be in contention for a playoff spot, especially with quarterback Cameron Rising and running back Tavion Thomas. back next fall. The Utes have turnover to settle on both sides of the ball, but Whittingham should reload quickly – especially in defence. New Florida coach Billy Napier inherits a team coming off a disappointing 6-7 season, but the roster is not lacking in talent. Quarterback Anthony Richardson’s development is worth watching with new staff, and Napier is adding stuff through the portal this offseason. If Utah wants to make the playoffs, this is a great opportunity to start the year on a high note. On the other hand, a Gators win would show how far this team has come since Dan Mullen was fired and give Napier some much-needed early momentum.

5. Cincinnati at Arkansas (Saturday, September 3)
Cincinnati is losing a handful of its key cogs in the 2021 playoff race, including quarterback Desmond Ridder, cornerback Ahmad Gardner, defensive end Myjai Sanders and running back Jerome Ford. However, the Bearcats will still be tough on the Razorbacks in Game 1. Arkansas quarterback KJ Jefferson is a rising star and a big reason the Hogs are projected as a top-25 team for most of this offseason.

6. West Virginia at Pitt (Saturday, September 3)
The Backyard Brawl is back on the schedule for the first time since 2011.

7. Penn State at Purdue (Saturday, September 3)
The Boilermakers will be a sleeper team to watch in the Big Ten West title chase next year, and a victory over the Nittany Lions in the season opener would be a good start for coach Jeff Brohm’s side. . The trek to West Lafayette is a first test for a rebuilt Penn State team.

8. Houston at UTSA (Saturday, September 3)
A key battle in the state between two of the best teams in the Group of 5 could loom later in the year for a New Year’s Bowl six.

9. Clemson at Georgia Tech (Monday, September 5)
You know the standards at Clemson are high when an “off year” is a 10-3 finish with a win over Iowa State in the Cheez-It Bowl. The Tigers need to get their offense back on track, and the opener against an ACC opponent (Georgia Tech) should give an early glimpse of how this unit is progressing. The Yellow Jackets have won just nine games in the past three seasons, putting coach Geoff Collins in the hot seat in 2022.

Related: Top 25 Way-Too-Early College Football For 2022

10. Boise State at Oregon State (Saturday, September 3)
The Beavers are coming off their best result under coach Jonathan Smith and are expected to be picked near the top of the Pac-12 North in 2022. But an improving Oregon State team won’t have the easiest openings with Boise State coming to town in September. 3. The Broncos return quarterback Hank Bachmeier and are expected to step up after a 7-5 mark in coach Andy Avalos’ first season.

Other Intriguing Week 1 Matches

TCU in Colorado (Friday, September 2)
Arizona at San Diego State
State of South Dakota in Iowa
Memphis in the State of Mississippi
Rutgers at Boston College
Army in Coastal Carolina
NC State in East Carolina
North Carolina at Appalachian State
Illinois to Indiana
Miami, Ohio to Kentucky

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