CFB games to watch

Hope Springs Eternal for College Programs


Rudy Maurizi, Staff Writer

From Cornhuskers to Tar Heels, Panthers to Jaguars, Golden Bears to Golden Eagles, Golden Gophers to Golden Flashes, Cardinals to Cardinal, and even Rainbow Warriors, college football can be challenging to follow. This miniature pocket guide should help both new and old fans to understand what to look out for in the 2022-2023 season.

While conference play doesn’t begin until later in the season, here are some early and important games to look out for that may have a big impact on polls and the playoff in December.

23 Cincinnati @ Arkansas 19 (9/3, 3:30 on ESPN)

A perennial SEC loser against a Go5 team? While non-college football fans won’t understand what that means, this game being a headliner would’ve come as a surprise to most followers a couple of years ago. However, it’s 2022 and both Arkansas and Cincy can compete. The Bearcats shocked everybody last year with an undefeated season, causing much debate about whether or not they should be included in the CFP. Ultimately, despite losing to Alabama in slogging fashion, they are a well-respected team in the sport. This year, they will look to continue their success starting with a road game against the Razorbacks, who, led by quarterback and NFL prospect K.J. Jefferson, will continue to build a program that was once the laughing stock of the Southeastern Conference. 

My prediction: Arkansas 24:Cincinnati 23

Final score: Arkansas 31: Cincinnati 24

7 Utah @ Florida  (9/3, 7:00 on ESPN)

The PAC-12 champion traveled to Gainesville to take on the Gators, Tim Tebow’s famed alma mater and the home of the Swamp. The Utes’ quarterback, Cameron Rising, impressed and surprised last year, leading his squad to two upset victories against Oregon and an instant classic against Ohio State in the Rose Bowl. This year, behind tailback Tavion Thomas who scored a whopping 21 rushing touchdowns last season, Utah will aim to reach the CFP and win the PAC-12 once again. On the flip-side, Florida looks to return to their glory days behind QB Anthony Richardson and a strong coaching staff. With one of the most difficult schedules in all of college football, it will be incredibly interesting to see how the Gators do in 2022.

My prediction: Utah 35: Florida 17

Final score: Florida 29: Utah 26

5 Notre Dame @ Ohio State 2 (9/3, 7:30 on ABC)

Probably one of the most anticipated games of the entire season, Notre Dame versus Ohio State was a must-watch. After Brian Kelly’s departure from Notre Dame for LSU, last season, new head coach Marcus Freeman filled the vacancy for Notre Dame, and his first ever game as the coach will be against the perennial powerhouse that is THE Ohio State University. While they lost stud receivers Chris Olave and Garret Wilson, the Buckeyes still bring on arguably the strongest offense in college football, made up of quarterback C.J. Stroud, running back TreVeyon Henderson, and receivers Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Marvin Harrison Jr., son of pro-football Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison. Coach Ryan Day will surely have the Buckeyes fired up this year, certainly with championship aspirations, and they passed the season-opener test with flying colors.

My prediction: Ohio State 42:Notre Dame 15

Final score: Ohio State 21: Notre Dame 10

1 Alabama @ Texas  (9/10, 12:00 on FOX)

Despite the fact that Texas isn’t ranked, this game is still definitely one to watch. The Crimson Tide are coming off a national championship loss, which they referred to as a failure of a season, and UT is coming off one of their worst stretches in program history. This could be a clobbering, but transfer quarterback Quinn Ewers and weapons like Bijan Robinson and Xavier Worthy give the Longhorns a shot in any contest. However, Saban is still Saban, and Bama is still Bama. Whether it be a star-studded offense made up of Heisman-winning quarterback Bryce Young, transfer running back Jahmyr Gibbs, and receiver Jermaine Burton or a stacked defense spearheaded by the generational talent that is Will Anderson Jr., Alabama will be ready.

My prediction: Alabama 47:Texas 21

Final Score: Alabama 20: Texas 19

  Tennessee @ Pittsburgh 17 (9/10, 3:30 on ABC)

One of the more underrated games on this guide, Tennessee against Pitt should be a very entertaining game. Last year, the ACC was turned on its head; Miami, Florida St, and UNC all underwhelmed, and Clemson wasn’t even nationally ranked until the end of the season. In the balance hung Wake Forest, NC State, and the 2021 conference champions: Pittsburgh. While the Panthers lost star quarterback Kenny Pickett to the NFL and Biletnikoff winner Jordan Addison to the transfer portal, USC transfer Kedon Slovis will still try to lead this team to a follow-up successful season. However, quarterback Hendon Hooker and a slew of recruits will fight to bring the Volunteers back to their Peyton Manning days.

My prediction: Tennessee 27:Pittsburgh 23

Final Score:  Tennesee 34: Pitt 27

10 Baylor @ BYU 25 (9/10, 10:15 on ESPN)

Another “under-the-radar” game, Baylor vs. BYU should be an entertaining matchup. The Big-12 champions from last year will head to Provo to begin their season, and while they lost studs like Tyquan Thornton and Jalen Pitre, head coach Dave Arranda will continue to try to resurrect this Texas powerhouse from the RGIII era. BYU, on the other hand, will represent the FBS independents in their home opener, building on a successful season last year. However, the Cougars are now two years removed from Zach Wilson’s star season, and this will definitely be a tough opening game for them.

My prediction: Baylor 31:BYU 13

Final Score:  Baylor 20:  BYU 26

16 Miami @ Texas A&M 6 (9/17, 9:00 on ESPN)

With new head coach Mario Crystobal, Miami is in desperate need of revitalization. Last year was incredibly underwhelming for the Hurricanes, but this year they’ll try to turn a new leaf with an incredibly difficult opener against A&M. The Aggies just secured the most impressive recruiting class in CFB history, giving them a ton of hype entering the season. This game will be one to lwatch, as the potential on both sides is very high.

My prediction: Texas A&M 30:Miami 26