Breaking down Week 2 of the 2022 college football schedule

By Amy Daughters -

Week 2 of the 2022 edition of the college football schedule is, like its predecessor last week, another case of an overabundance of goodness.

Down just one contest from Week 1, on tap are 82 total games, 35 of which (or 42 percent of the field) are between an FBS school and an FCS opponent. Of the 47 pairings that remain a precious 15 feature a Power 5 club taking on another Power 5 member.

With only three members of the latest AP Top Ten taking on a Power grade foe, and only one facing a ranked opponent, what we’re less likely to see this week is a dramatic upset. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

Here’s your mental checklist going into Week 2:

(1) Due to the kickoff of the NFL season, there are NO games scheduled for Thursday night.

(2) There are two games on Friday night, the action begins at 7:30pm ET on ESPN2.

(3) On Saturday there is a blockbuster worth tuning for in each of the three major time slots: (1) Alabama at Texas is in the Noon ET block (FOX), (24) Tennessee at (17) Pitt is in the mid-afternoon slot (3:30pm ET, ABC), and (20) Kentucky at (12) Florida heads up the evening offerings (7pm ET, ESPN).

(4) Late night is worth staying up for! There are three quality matchups that air after 10pm ET anchored by (9) Baylor at (21) BYU (10:15pm ET, ESPN).

RECOMMENDED VIEWING

Friday, Sept. 9

7:30pm ET – ESPN2 – Louisville at UCF

9pm ET – CBSSN – Boise State at New Mexico

Saturday, Sept. 10

Noon ET – FOX – (1) Alabama at Texas

These two powerhouses are predicted to have top-ranked rushing attacks in 2022. Phil Steele has the Longhorns as his No. 1 rated rushing unit with the Crimson Tide just a few slots behind at No. 5. Where Texas scored three of its six offensive TDs on the ground in its Week 1 win over ULM, the Alabamians racked up 278 ground yards in their decisive victory vs. Utah State. The gap between the two, and perhaps the difference in the matchup, comes defensively. The Crimson Tide return seven starters to a unit that finished last year ranked No. 4 in the FBS vs. the run while the Longhorns return seven to a squad that finished ranked No. 114.

Noon ET – ESPN – South Carolina at (16) Arkansas

Noon ET – Big Ten Network – Arkansas State at (3) Ohio State

Look for the high-powered Buckeyes to continue their winning ways vs. Arkansas State, a team that returned a mere five starters to a defense that finished last season ranked No. 95 in the FBS vs. the pass and No. 130 – or dead last – against the run. While OSU’s 395 yard and 21-point performance vs. Notre Dame last week wasn’t the offensive explosion some Buckeye fans were hoping for, the Irish returned eight starters this season to a defense that finished 2021 ranked No. 14 in the nation in scoring. Where Notre Dame gave up an average of 19.7 points per game last year, the Red Wolves allowed 38.6. Brace yourself for the Heisman talk about OSU junior QB C.J. Stroud (#7) – who is currently the No. 2 guy in Vegas’ eyes – to get loud.

Noon ET – SEC Network – (23) Wake Forest at Vanderbilt

The Commodores return six starters to a defense that wrapped up 2021 ranked No. 114 in the FBS vs. the pass. It’s the same unit that coughed up 343 passing yards and two scores to FCS Elon in Week 1. Cue up the Demon Deacon’s offense, which returns seven starters to the No. 12 passing attack from last season, and you get the picture. As a bonus, Wake Forest junior QB Sam Hartman (#10) – the No. 11 passer in the FBS last season – is back in action this week after missing the opener due to a blood clot. Standing in for Hartman in Week 1 was freshman QB Mitch Griffis (#12) who went 21-of-29 for 288 yards, three TDs and zero INTs vs. FCS VMI.

On the other side of the ball, look out for Vanderbilt junior QB Mike Wright (#5) – the team’s No. 2 rusher in 2021 – who rushed for 163 yards and two scores vs. Hawaii in Week Zero and then rushed for 83 yards and two more TDs last Saturday vs. FCS Elon. Did you know that despite Wake Forest’s historic 11-3 finish last year that it was ranked No. 111 nationally vs. the run?

Noon ET – ESPN2 Missouri at Kansas State

These two old rivals haven’t clashed since 2011, Missouri’s final season in the Big 12 before fleeing to the SEC. Prior to that, they had met consecutively since 1927. The reunion should be a huge test for Missouri’s defense which despite improving over the course of last season finished No. 124 nationally/dead last in the SEC vs. the run. Kansas State returns master yardist junior RB Deuce Vaughn (#22) who not only finished No. 8 in the FBS in total rushing yards (1,404) but was tied for No. 8 in rushing TDs (18). But wait! There’s more! Vaughn also caught 49 passes for an additional 468 yards and four scores.

Noon ET – CBSSNUTSA at Army

2:30pm ET – NBC – Marshall at (8) Notre Dame

Marshall’s move from C-USA to the Sun Belt this season makes it the first-ever current Sun Belt member that Notre Dame has met on the gridiron. The Thundering Herd last upset a ranked opponent in 2020, downing then (22) App State 17-7. It hasn’t won over a Top Ten foe since 2003 when it edged then (6) Kansas State 27-20 in Manhattan.

3:30pm ET – ABC – (24) Tennessee at (17) Pitt  

Despite achieving a stunning 11-3 record last year and winning the ACC, Pitt finished the season ranked No. 114 in the FBS vs. the pass. The good news is that the Panthers returned seven defensive starters and held West Virginia to 214 passing yards and two scores in Week 1’s narrow win. But the Mountaineers aren’t the same pass-happy squad from the Dana Holgorsen era, instead finishing 2021 ranked No. 55 nationally in pass offense. It makes this week’s clash with Tennessee, who Phil Steele has as the No. 9 ranked QB room in the FBS, an intriguing matchup. Senior Volunteer QBs Hendon Hooker (#5) and his backup Joe Milton III (#7) combined for 351 passing yards and three TDs in last Thursday night’s blowout win over Ball State.

3:30pm ET – ESPN2Appalachian State at (6) Texas A&M

With the Aggies as 16-point favorites this one’s an unlikely candidate for Week 2’s tastiest upset. That said, App State has posted double-digit wins consecutively since 2015 (it didn’t join the FBS ranks until 2014) and has had close calls at (22) Miami Fla. (a 25-23 loss in 2021), at (10) Penn State (a 45-38 loss in 2018), and at (9) Tennessee (a 20-13 loss in 2016). The Mountaineers are fresh off a 63-61 loss to North Carolina that included a 40-point fourth quarter comeback attempt.

3:30pm ET – CBS – Colorado at Air Force

Given its triple option attack it’s no surprise that Air Force (which finished 2021 as the No. 1 rushing offense in America) is expected to be ranked among the top rushing units in the nation again this year. But with its top six backs returning along with four starters on the O-line, 2022 could be special. Cue up Colorado, which returns just five starters to a unit that finished last season ranked No. 96 in the nation vs. the run and this has all the right stuff to be Air Force’s fourth straight win over a Power club. Where the Falcons hung up a mind-blowing 582 rushing yards and five TDs on FCS Northern Iowa last week the Buffs allowed 275 rushing yards and four TDs in their loss to TCU. Keep an eye on Air Force senior FB Brad Roberts (#20), the No. 14 back in the nation in total rushing yards last season (1,357).

4pm ET – FS1 – (25) Houston at Texas Tech

4pm ET – Big Ten Network – Iowa State at Iowa

4pm ET – ESPNUVirginia at Illinois

After two outings Illinois junior RB Chase Brown (#2) is the No. 1 back in the FBS averaging 179 yards per game. He opened with a 151-yard, two score performance in the Week Zero win over Wyoming and then cranked out 201 yards in last Saturday’s narrow loss at Indiana. Enter stage left the Cavaliers, who return six starters to a defense that finished last season ranked No. 123 in the FBS and dead last in the ACC vs. the run and things could get interesting.

7pm ET – ESPN – (20) Kentucky at (12) Florida

7pm ET – CBSSN – Syracuse at UConn

This under-the-radar selection features two up-and-coming rushers. In one corner it’s the No. 4 back in the nation from last season – Syracuse sophomore RB Sean Tucker (#34) – and in the other it’s UConn sophomore RB Nathan Carter (#26) who after two games is the No. 3 back in the land. Can either be stopped? The Orange return eight starters to a defense that finished 2021 ranked No. 26 in the nation vs. the run and held Louisville to 137 ground yards in last week’s win. As for the Huskies, they also return eight defensive starters but to a unit that was No. 108 nationally vs. the run last year and which coughed up 261 ground yards to Utah State in Week Zero.

7:30pm ET – ABC – (10) USC at Stanford

While this one might look like a blockbuster cross-divisional Pac-12 matchup, don’t forget that Stanford is 11-19 since 2019 including skidding to a 3–9-mark last year. The good news is, the Cardinal return 17 starters in 2022, the bad news is only seven come back on a defense that was a very un-Stanford like No. 127 in the FBS vs. the run. Only three teams allowed more rushing yards. Hold the phone! Isn’t USC supposed to be a passing team? Well, for 2022 the Trojans (who finished 2021 ranked No. 82 nationally in rush offense) added both Oregon’s top rusher from last season (senior Travis Dye #26) and – ironically – Stanford’s No. 2 back (senior Austin Jones #6). Holy transfer portal!

7:30pm ET – ESPN2Arizona State at (11) Oklahoma State

8pm ET – ACC Network – Boston College at Virginia Tech

10:15pm ET – ESPN(9) Baylor at (21) BYU

A glimpse into the future of the new Big 12, this battle features BYU senior RB Christopher Brooks (#2), a transfer from Cal, who hung up 135 rushing yards and one score in the Week 1 rout of USF vs. Baylor’s defensive line, which Phil Steele has rated as his No. 4 D-line overall and the No. 1 unit in the Big 12. Don’t skip this one just because it comes on late!

10:30pm ET – CBSSNOregon State at Fresno State

11pm ET – FS1 – Mississippi State at Arizona

Arizona’s 1-11 record last season understandably diminishes any successes, including that its defense finished ranked No. 14 in the FBS/No. 2 in the Pac-12 vs. the pass. With eight starters back this year, it’s a matchup made in heaven vs. Mississippi State, the No. 4 nationally ranked air attack from 2021 which returned eight offensive starters including junior QB Will Rogers (#2) and three of his top four receivers. Where the Wildcats held San Diego State to a total of 62 passing yards in a Week 1 win, the Bulldogs hung up 450 air yards and five scores in its beatdown of Memphis. This is a solid strength vs. strength matchup.

Bonus: On the other side of the ball check out Arizona junior WR Jacob Cowing (#2) who caught eight passes for 152 yards and three scores in last week’s win over San Diego State.

OFF THIS WEEK (2)

  • ACC: Florida State
  • C-USA: Western Kentucky

FIRST-EVER MEETINGS (12)

  • Appalachian State at (6) Texas A&M
  • Arkansas State at (3) Ohio State
  • Georgia Southern at Nebraska
  • Kent State at (7) Oklahoma
  • Marshall at (8) Notre Dame
  • Maryland at Charlotte
  • Middle Tennessee at Colorado State
  • Mississippi State at Arizona
  • Northern Illinois at Tulsa
  • South Alabama at Central Michigan
  • Southern Miss at (15) Miami Fla.
  • UNLV at Cal

REUNITED…And it feels so good   

  • Arizona State at (11) Oklahoma State (last played in 1993)
  • Akron at (14) Michigan State (last played in 1914)

STREAKERS

8: West Virginia has won 8-straight over Kansas (only-ever loss in 2013)

NEVER-LAND

  • Auburn has NEVER lost to a current MWC member (5-0)
  • Georgia State has NEVER beaten a current ACC member (0-3)
  • Hawaii has NEVER beaten (4) Michigan (0-3)
  • Kansas has NEVER won AT West Virginia (0-6)
  • (7) Oklahoma has NEVER lost to a current MAC member (3-0)
  • (4) Michigan has NEVER lost to a current MWC member (11-0)
  • Mississippi State has NEVER beaten a current Pac 12 member (0-3)
  • New Mexico has never NEVER won a home game vs. Boise State (0-5)
  • Oregon State has NEVER won AT Fresno State (0-6)
  • (24) Tennessee has NEVER beaten (17) Pitt (0-3)
  • Texas has NEVER lost to (1) Alabama during the regular season (3-0)
  • UMass has NEVER won AT Toledo (0-3)

HARDWARE UP FOR GRABS

THE CY-HAWK TROPHYIowa State at IowaSaturday, 4pm ET, Big Ten Network – series started in 1894 – Iowa leads 46-22 and has won six-straight.

After meeting 24 times between 1894-1934 the Hawkeyes and Cyclones took a 43-year break, finally reuniting in 1977. The original version of the Cy-Hawk trophy was first awarded in 1978, was revamped to not-so glowing reviews in 2011 and then debuted in its current form in 2012. Iowa has won the Cy-Hawk 29 times vs. Iowa State’s 14.

THE SILVER SPADE AND BRASS SPITTOON – New Mexico State at UTEPSaturday, 9pm ET, ESPN+ – series started in 1914 – UTEP leads 58-38-2 and won the most recent meeting, last season, snapping a three-game losing skid.

The winner of the “Battle of I-10” doubles up with two awards. First up, it’s the Silver Spade – the inaugural version, introduced in 1947, was an old prospector’s shovel from an abandoned mine. It was upgraded to its current state in 1955. The Brass Spittoon – officially the Mayor’s Cup – debuted in 1982 when the mayors of El Paso and Las Cruces – located a mere 42 miles apart – collaborated to present a second award to the rivalry. UTEP has won 45 Spades and 24 Spittoons vs. New Mexico State’s 26 shovels and 13 spit cups.

MIND-BLOWER

Of the 131 institutions represented by an FBS program only 14 are ranked among the Top 30 in U.S. News & World Report’s Best National Universities for 2022. In a twist of fate, six of these elite centers of academia will square off on the gridiron this Saturday. Each is an opportunity to watch some of the highest achieving students in the nation playing at the highest level of college football.

Week 2’s Brain Bowls

Rankings reflect each school’s U.S. News & World Report ranking.

Noon ET, FS1 – (9) Duke at (9) Northwestern

Noon ET, SEC Network – (28) Wake Forest (also No. 23 in the AP) at (14) Vanderbilt

7:30 ET, ABC – (27) USC (also No. 10 in the AP) at (6) Stanford  

Kudos to (12) Florida, (4) Michigan, (8) Notre Dame, (10) USC, and (23) Wake Forest, the only institutions to be ranked among the Top 30 academic schools and in the latest AP Top 25.

Historical data courtesy of Sports Reference-College Football. Statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com. Odds courtesy of Oddshark.com.

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Amy Daughters,

Little10 Conference + 4 Games featured this Week.

FS1 U.Houston Cougars (25) at TX Tech. U. Red Raiders 2 P.M. PT, 3 P.M. CT, 4 P.M. ET

Little10 + 4 After Dark , ESPN Baylor U. Bears (9) at BYU Cougars (21) 07:15 P.M. PT, 08:15 P.M. MT, 09:15 P.M. CT,