College Football 2022 Week 1 Predictions

We’re ready to kick off the 2022 Week 1 College Football season in earnest this Saturday, September 3rd here at Wannamakeabet.com.  Make sure you are in one of our free sports betting leagues for the month of September where you can win real cash by betting points on games instead of real money.
There are plenty of non-conference games to feast upon during the first full weekend of college football this year.   So let’s get started.
Notre Dame coach with severel players in background at 2022 Fiesta Bowl

Ohio State -17 over Notre Dame:

How big: It’s large now—they’re both in the preseason top 10—and in historic terms. Two of the five all-time winningest programs in the sport meet for just the fifth time ever on campus, and the first time since 1996.

What’s new: Notre Dame’s head coach—Marcus Freeman got a bowl game under his belt last season, but this is the first time we will see a team that has had extensive time being molded in the 36-year-old’s vision. Also, Ohio State’s defensive coordinator—the Buckeyes threw a pile of cash at Jim Knowles to hire him away from Oklahoma State and revamp a unit that was gashed more than it should have been last year.

Key matchup: Fighting Irish offense with a new starting quarterback (Tyler Buchner) and a dinged-up offensive line leader (Jarrett Patterson) vs. the noise of The Horseshoe at night. Can Notre Dame make calls at the line, get snaps off on time and execute in a deafening atmosphere?  We doubt it.  Irish will hang around for a while in the first half but the crowd and the inexperience and the revamped defense will cause the levy to break eventually and Heisman hopeful CJ Stroud will eventually get the gang rolling, and rolling and rolling. Buckeyes win and cover.

Georgia -17 over Oregon:

The Georgia Bulldogs begin defense of their national championship against a top-15 opponent and a coach who knows their personnel and tendencies. Both teams could be favored in every game hereafter, which means an undefeated regular season is not an outlandish goal for the winner.

What’s new: Dan Lanning went from Georgia’s defensive coordinator to head coach of the Ducks. He brings someone else familiar with the Bulldogs as his (presumed) starting quarterback in Auburn transfer Bo Nix. He hasn’t had much success against Kirby Smart, going a combined 72-for-128 passing for 639 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in three losses. For Georgia, a vaunted defense gets a bit of a makeover.

Key matchup: Can Georgia’s mauler offensive line neutralize an Oregon front seven that has some big-time talent? Linebacker Noah Sewell and end Brandon Dorlus present problems. And if linebacker Justin Flowe can stay healthy, he could have a long-awaited breakout season.

Prediction – Oregon does just enough to hang around in this one and make it interesting but the Dawgs get the W without the cover.  Oregon +17

Utah – 3 at Florida:

With dreams of the College Football Playoff dancing in their heads, folks in Utah are calling this the biggest opener in school history, with some justification. (Walloping Texas A&M in 2004 to start an undefeated season and launch Urban Meyer’s career would also rank.) The Gators are a home underdog in a home opener for the first time since 1978.

What’s new: Florida’s head coach, Billy Napier, arrives from Louisiana and inherits a roster not in keeping with the talent of the past 30 years. He will do what Gators fans implored Dan Mullen to do last year and start physical specimen Anthony Richardson at quarterback.

Key matchup: Utah’s running game against Florida’s massive defensive linemen. The Utes are the smashmouth team of the Pac-12 (is that an oxymoron?), leading that league in both rushing yards per game last year and rushing yards allowed. Can 238-pound back Tavion Thomas again poised to be the hammer in the ground game, or will he be swallowed by 415-pound (not a misprint) nose tackle Desmond Watson and 313-pound Gerson Dexter?

Prediction – Florida wins the game as the SEC won’t be outclassed by even the best from a weaker conference.

Cincinnati football coach Luke Fickell with his Bearcats team.

Cincinnati +6.5 at Arkansas:

Following years of building, the No. 19 Bearcats are now in the business of sustaining after crashing the CFP in 2021. Win this, and they could vault all the way back into the top 10. The Razorbacks are still in the building stage in year three under Sam Pittman, but believe they might have the team to beat any SEC West opponent not named Alabama.

Cincy will wait until pregame before tipping its hand on a new starting quarterback, either veteran Ben Bryant (who transferred to Eastern Michigan last year, then came back) or dual-threat sophomore Evan Prater. The two teams will each unveil a gigantic transfer receiver—6’6″ Hawaii transfer Nick Mardner at Cincinnati and 6’5″ Toledo transfer Matt Landers at Arkansas. Mardner averaged 19.9 yards per catch last year, and Landers (a one-time Georgia Bulldog) averaged a whopping 25.7.

Key matchup: Cincinnati’s rebuilt defense against the arm and legs of Arkansas QB K.J. Jefferson. Getting the 245-pound Jefferson on the ground will be a key task for the Bearcats, both via the pass rush and when Jefferson takes off as a runner.

Prediction: Arkansas wins a nail biter and the Bearcats cover.

Florida State +3 at LSU:

This Sunday nighter in New Orleans is the dawn of a new era for the Tigers, and the opportunity for a We’re Back statement win for the Seminoles.

Many big things are new at LSU, from the coach to the coach’s accent to the quarterback. It’s a big change going from blustery Cajun son Ed Orgeron to wiseacre New Englander Brian Kelly. Against overmatched Duquesne Saturday, the Seminoles broke in a new offensive coordinator (Alex Adkins) and some flashy transfers—receivers Johnny Wilson and Mycah Pittman, and edge rusher Jared Verse.

Key matchup: Florida State’s three 100-yard rushers from Week Zero (Treshaun Ward, Trey Benson and Lawrence Toafili) against an LSU run defense that occasionally laid down in 2021. The Tigers have some huge interior talents, though, in 2021 five-star recruit Maason Smith and Jaquelin Roy—who could be a high 2023 draft pick. And end B.J. Ojulari is a star.

Prediction: Bayout Bengals get it done in front of their home crowd by a wider margin that the spread would indicate.

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