NCAA College Football Matchups of the week - Week 0
Updated: Sep 15, 2022
NCAA College Football Matchups of the week - Week 0
J. Harris - Boston Mountain Publishing - Fri, August 26,2022, 12:12 PM
Nebraska vs. Northwestern
The Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Northwestern Wildcats will kick off at 11:30 am (CT) tomorrow. These two teams will be meeting up for the 16th time with Nebraska holding the 9-6 all-time record over the Wildcats. This matchup is the only game of the week featuring two Power 5 opponents. Each team is needing to get off to a fast start this year after both teams finished at the bottom of their divisions last year. Also, each team only had one win in their conference matchups last year. The two programs are going to be heading to an unfamiliar destination in week zero: Dublin, Ireland. Dublin will hold a series of games that will be played here over the next couple of years where they will also play host to Navy vs Notre Dame on August 26th, 2023.
2. Florida State vs Duquesne
After what felt like a promising start to the year for Florida State, the Seminoles took the Fighting Irish to overtime, but fell short by 3 points to the Irish. Following the loss to the Irish, FSU was ready to turn things around for the rest of the season, however the very next week the Jacksonville State Gamecocks came to town and shocked the college football world handing what some say was the most embarrassing loss in Florida State's football program history. Florida State didn't find a win until week 5 leading to a final record of 5-7 failing to even reach a Bowl Game last year. With everyone watching in week 0, the Seminoles will look to get in the win column early against an FCS opponent and show that they are ready to take a step forward in the right direction for the future.
3. Vanderbilt vs Hawaii
“We know in time, Vanderbilt football will be the best program in the country,” is what Vanderbilt Head Coach Clark Lea stated during his time at the podium while speaking at SEC media days. This quote grabbed the whole country's attention as everybody knows that Vanderbilt has not had a winning season since 2013 where they finished 9-4 overall and 4-4 in SEC play. Since 2013, they have been nothing but the worst of the worst in the SEC Conference year in and year out. On the other side of the field will be the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors who are coming off a 6-7 season. The Rainbow Warriors were invited to the Hawaii Bowl, but the game was canceled due to Covid-19 related issues. The Rainbow Warriors come in as pretty heavy favorites according to ESPN's Football Power Index, so we will have the opportunity to see a solid test for The Commodores here in week 0. Will Vanderbilt start heading in a positive direction to back up their coach's statement from media days in their first matchup of 2022, or will they continue to be viewed as the worst of the worst in the SEC?
4. Wyoming vs Illinois
One more Big Ten team will be taking the field during week 0, and it will be the Illinois Fighting Illini taking on Wyoming Cowboys in their home opener. Illinois had some great moments this past season which included knocking off two Top 25 opponents at the time, #7 Penn State and #20 Minnesota. Even with those key wins, Illinois was unable to find themselves in the postseason after losing numerous winnable and close games throughout the year. Wyoming will be coming into Champaign after a 7-6 season where they took down Kent State in the Idaho Potato Bowl to cap off a solid 2021 season. This game should be a good test for Illinois and their Head Coach Bret Bielema. Illinois is looking to jump start the season to 1-0, and this game will set the tone for the Illini to compete in the Big Ten West.
Preseason Top 30 - 2022
This year's Alabama team has the potential to be the greatest team in program history. Nick Saban is heading into his 15th season with the Tide and looking to win his seventh national championship with the program and his eighth overall as a Head Coach.
2. Ohio State
Ohio State had a promising year last year finishing with an impressive record of 11-2 with their only losses coming in Week 2 from Oregon as well as their bitter rivals Michigan in the final week of the season which knocked them out of playoff contention. Ohio State did end the year on a positive note with a win over the Utah Utes in one of the greatest bowl games of the past decade. This year the Buckeyes will be led by their star Quarterback and last year's Heisman finalist C.J. Stroud.
The Bulldogs are coming off the greatest season in their program's history after beating Alabama in the National Championship game. The Georgia Bulldogs had one of the most dominant defenses we have ever seen in college football, and they look to repeat that same dominance this year. The NFL Draft record for most players taken in one draft by one school now belongs to Georgia. The Bulldogs had 15 players drafted in the 2022 NFL Draft off their National Championship team, but those players are now gone and getting ready for their new NFL careers.
4. Notre Dame
Last year, the Fighting Irish finished 11-2 with their two losses coming to the Cincinnati Bearcats in the regular season and Oklahoma State Cowboys in the Fiesta Bowl. The Irish will have the former 4-star (according to 24/7 Sports) QB Tyler Buchner who will be entering his sophomore year this season. After the parting of Head Coach Brian Kelly to LSU, this Notre Dame football program has fallen in love with new Head Coach and former assistant coach Marcus Freeman who will have high expectations as a first-year head coach at ND.
5. Texas A&M
12. Oklahoma State
13. North Carolina State
14. Michigan State
21. Ole Miss
23. Mississippi State
26. Wake Forest
30. North Carolina
Air Force finished the season last year at 10-3 after a 3-point victory over Louisville in the First Responders Bowl. All three losses for the Falcons were within a touchdown of very winnable games. The Air Force will be bringing back a lot of talent and a pretty favorable schedule. They are part of a potential group of 5 teams likely to be a 0 or 1 loss team this season.
Nebraska was considered the best 3-9 program in the country last year. The Cornhuskers were in a bunch of close games as each of their nine losses came within a score. Nebraska will be playing one of the easier schedules that a power 5 team sees year in and year out and they have a chance to make some noise for a Big Ten division title. This season Nebraska will be led by Texas transfer QB Casey Thompson which should add a new dynamic to the Husker offense.
This year's Kansas State team has potential to scare some teams in the Big 12 and maybe even a chance to win it. The Wildcats have a very talented offense that's highlighted by running back Deuce Vaughn who has achieved so many things and won lots of awards in his time at Kansas State. Kansas State also has one of the more competitive defenses in the Big 12 so they can make some of those high-powered offenses struggle week in and week out.
Preseason Heisman Outlook 2022
Bryce Young - QB Alabama
Alabama's starting quarterback Bryce Young will be looking to become only the second player all time to ever win back-to-back Heisman trophies. This was last done by Ohio State's Archie Griffin who won the award in 1974 and 1975. Bryce Young is surrounded by lots of play makers and is on what some say could be the greatest Alabama team ever. If Alabama goes the distance lead by Bryce Young, we could very well see the 21-year-old win the award back-to-back years.
CJ Stroud - QB Ohio State
The 20-year-old starting quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes is a high favorite to win the Heisman this season. Stroud finished fourth in last season's Heisman trophy voting. Stroud will be surrounded by weapons such as wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, and running back TreVeyon Henderson. Ohio State is looking to win their 9th National Championship, and CJ Stroud is the man who everyone's eyes will be on to lead them to the big game.
Will Anderson Jr - LB Alabama
The hard-hitting linebacker for Alabama will have a shot to become the second Heisman winner to come from the defensive side of the ball since Michigan's Charles Woodson did it as a defensive back in 1997. Last year Anderson had one of the most impressive stat lines we have ever seen with 57 solo tackles, 44 assisted tackles and 17.5 sacks in one season. Will Anderson flies all over the field and is one big hit, in one big game to see himself on that stage to win the Heisman.
Bijan Robinson - RB Texas
Bijan Robinson has a chance to be the third Heisman winner while playing at Texas and the first since 1998. Last year Bijan Robinson had a solid year with over 1,000 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. Robinson was handed the ball 195 times and averaged 5.8 yards per carry. This year Texas is projected to be a much better ball club which will bring more than enough of a spotlight on Bijan Robinson.
The Dark Horses
Jahmyr Gibbs - RB Alabama
Jahmyr Gibbs, the popular transfer from Georgia Tech will be entering his junior year this season at Alabama. Last season, Gibbs ran for 746 yards with 4 rushing touchdowns. Some see those are weak numbers, but here comes the other big part of his game, receiving. Jahmyr caught the ball 36 times last year for 470 yards while adding 2 more touchdowns. Gibbs is going to be on a very explosive Alabama team where he will be surrounded by much more talent than he has been around the last two years while with the Yellow Jackets. Keep a look out for a huge breakout year from Gibbs.
Jake Haener - QB Fresno State
Everybody loves an underdog to cheer for and Jake Haener is the only person on this list that is not in a Power 5 Conference. Fresno State isn't a powerhouse program, but Jake Haener has brought attention to this Bulldog program. Last year Haener threw for a total of 4,094 yards and 33 passing touchdowns. He led the Bulldogs to some key victories last year over the UCLA, and San Diego State. Looking ahead at the Fresno State season, Haener will get his opportunities to shine as the Bulldogs hope to be the victors with several upset possibilities on their schedule. Our first chance to get a look at Jake Haener will be Week 3 when they take on the USC Trojans.
KJ Jefferson - QB Arkansas
KJ Jefferson is one of the most fascinating Quarterbacks in the game this season. Coming in at 6’3, and weighing 240, he is not afraid to run anyone over. The Arkansas offense will give him the option to run, pass, and catch. KJ will be in the spotlight all year, as Arkansas will be playing in a big-time game nearly every week this season as some experts say this Razorback schedule is the toughest in the nation. Jefferson will have plenty of opportunities to show off his cannon of an arm with Offensive Coordinator Kendal Briles entering his 3rd year as leader of the offense. If the Razorbacks can have a good year, and KJ pulls out some close victories, he will have a great chance to be in consideration throughout the season.