TGIS Week 2 College Football Preview

OVERALL RECORD: 179-143-1 (55.6%)

2022 SEASON RECORD: 8-7-1 (53.3%)

We always have done well in week one here at TGIS as we take advantage of Vegas mistaken evaluations of a few teams and spreads. Last week we finished 7-5-1, not great, not bad… decent. Now onto Week 2 where we will be on the road to Austin… LET’S GET TO THE PICKS:

Week 2 Games of the Week (All Times CST)

#1 Alabama -20 at Texas – 11:00am

This may be the best Alabama defense since 2016. Add in an inexperienced Texas offensive line… I do not think Texas will be able to move the ball. Bama wins this in a blowout. I’m talking a 52-10 kind of blowout.

Top Picks of the Week

Louisville at Central Florida -6.5 – Friday 6:30pm

Louisville looked absolutely awful against Syracuse. They could not stop a dual threat in quarterback Garrett Shrader. You know who starts for quarterback at UCF? Former Ole Miss dual threat quarterback John Rhys Plumlee who threw for 308 yards and ran for 87 yards in his first game starting for UCF. Plumlee is going to give this Louisville trouble in the Bounce House.

South Carolina +8.5 at #16 Arkansas – 11:00am

Arkansas played decently against Cincinnati, but nine points against another good SEC team? Way too many points. Arkansas most likely wins, but think this will be close.

#24 Tennessee -6.5 at #17 Pittsburgh – 2:30pm

Pittsburgh Coach Pat Narduzzi is back to playing conservative football despite having a decent quarterback. Meanwhile, Tennessee will play fast and efficient offense with quarterback Hendon Hooker. Pitt won’t be able to keep up with the scoring, Tennessee by double digits.

Iowa State +3.5 at Iowa UNDER 41.5 – 3:00pm

Iowa’s offense is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen. They had 166 total yards and 2.7 yards per play against South Dakota State. The under and taking Iowa State with the points is an easy call.

#25 Houston at Texas Tech -2.5 OVER 65.5 – 3:00pm

Texas Tech hired offensive coordinator Zach Kittley from Western Kentucky. Kittley loves to play fast and throw the ball around. I’m not worried about Texas Tech’s starting quarterback Tyler Shough being out for the game. If we are being honest, backup quarterback Donovan Smith is just as good, maybe even better. The Red Raiders beat Houston after the Cougars just scraped by a triple OT game against UTSA.

#20 Kentucky at #12 Florida -5.5 – 6:00pm

The key is if running back Chris Rodriguez is still suspended. Coach Stoops hasn’t came out and said anything regarding his status, but without him, Kentucky struggled to run the ball against Miami (Ohio). Florida will be a much bigger challenge especially with star quarterback Anthony Richardson coming off a huge win against Utah. Florida wins this in the Swamp by over a touchdown.

#10 USC -9 at Stanford – 6:30pm

Stanford doesn’t have the offense to keep it close with USC. Caleb Williams and USC are going to score a ton of points. USC in a blowout.

Arizona State at #11 Oklahoma State OVER 58 – 6:30pm

I don’t know if you saw Oklahoma State’s defense… but they gave up 44 points against Central Michigan. I also think the Cowboys will have success offensively. A 58 point total is way too low (hope you got it at the start of the week when it was at 54.5).

#9 Baylor at #21 BYU -3.5 – 9:15pm

BYU looked like a legit top 25 team against South Florida in week 1. I think they will be able to take advantage again as they face a Baylor team that lost a ton of key secondary players from last year. I really like BYU over Baylor as the better team, ignore Baylor being ranked in the AP poll top ten. BYU gets the big victory in the Mormons vs. Baptists.

TGIS Ten Piece – Week 2

By Nick Radivoj

The College Football season is officially underway as Week 1 is in the books. We finished off Week 1 at 5-5 losing a little bit on the juice. I’m not sure which hurts more: feeling as if you are on the right side of the game but end up losing, or being completely wrong and missing big time. On to Week 2 to get us all in the win column!

#1 Alabama (1-0) at Texas (1-0)

When: 12 ET on 9/10

Line: Alabama -20

O/U: 65.5

Both teams showcased their high powered offenses last week as they each put up north of 50 points in their season home openers. This game highlights 2 highly touted QBs with Bryce Young and Redshirt Freshman Quinn Ewers. In his first outing wearing burnt orange, Ewers didn’t disappoint as he threw for over 200 yards along with 2 passing touchdowns and an interception. Bryce Young showed off why he was the Heisman winner last year as he accumulated 6 total touchdowns on the day. The key to the game will boil down to turnovers. Ewers has a gunslinging reputation which could lead to turnovers providing the Tide a short field and easy path to score. Alabama shouldn’t face too much difficulty on offense as Texas doesn’t have the guys yet to slow down this offense. The over can very well be in play here depending if Texas can score over 20.

The play: Alabama -20

#10 USC (1-0) at Stanford (1-0)

When: 7:30 PM ET on 9/10

Line: USC -9

O/u: 67

These aren’t your Trojans and Cardinals of old as both teams are looking to bounce back after a rocky 2021 campaign. The Lincoln Riley experience started off with fireworks in Southern California as the Trojans put up 66 points in Week 1. QB Caleb Williams seems to have Riley’s offensive plan under his belt as he nearly had a perfect day for his first start as a Trojan. Williams wasn’t the only Pac 12 QB to impress last Saturday as Stanford’s Tanner McKee threw for over 300 yards himself with the team logging almost 9 yards per play. Once again the key will come down to turnovers as Stanford put the ball on the ground 4 times last week against Colgate, losing 3 of them along with an interception in the air. Stanford will need to ensure the turnover battle stays close in this one in order to give themselves a chance against a Top 10 team. Ultimately, I’m looking towards Riley to have brought over that Big 12 defense as he did his high powered offense.

The Play: Over 67

South Carolina (1-0) at #16 Arkansas (1-0)

When: 12 PM ET on 9/10

Line: Arkansas -8.5

O/U: 53

QB KJ Jefferson looked like a seasoned vet with 4 total touchdowns as Arkansas managed to hold off Cincinnati at home last week. He seems to find himself at home with receivers named Trey as he gets himself a new target in Trey Knox (2 TDs Week 1) as he tries to replace production left by first round WR Treylon Burks. As par for the course this year, South Carolina trots out transfer QB Spencer Rattler as their new signal caller. Although the colors may have changed a little it seems that the QB underneath as not as we see more of the same from Rattler with 2 turnovers Week 1 against Georgia State. Coming off an emotional win from Week 1, Arkansas may come out a little slow but still can’t envision how they don’t handle their business at home.

The Play: Arkansas -8.5

Appalachian State (0-1) at #6 Texas A&M (1-0)

When: 3:30 ET on 9/10

Line: Texas A&M -19

O/U: 52.5

If only every game could be what last week’s North Carolina vs. Appalachian State showed off as they had a thrilling 63-61 final. Texas A&M, on the other hand, started off rather slowly as they held a 10-0 lead for what seemed like an eternity against Sam Houston but ultimately winning 31-0. TAMU HC Jimbo Fisher has made it crystal clear that Haynes King is his guy behind center as he provides a dual threat ability that defenses need to be on the lookout for. King’s final stat line reflected over 400 yards of total offense but will need to hone in this week as he threw 2 interceptions against Sam Houston. Part of me will be banking on the fact that the 12th man won’t play as big of a factor as Chase Brice is an experienced leader for Appalachian State. I believe Jimbo will look to give the fans some fireworks as they didn’t get the full show Week 1 and as long as Appalachian State can provide me some support this has the making of another high scoring affair. 

The Play: Over 52.5

#25 Houston (1-0) at Texas Tech (1-0)

When: 4 PM ET on 9/10

Line: Texas Tech -2.5

O/U: 65.5

If you are a college football fan craving some offense then seeing an over/under like this really gets you excited. A tale of two different opening weeks as Texas Tech handled business at home while Houston scratched and clawed their way to an overtime victory on the road against UTSA. Unfortunately, Texas Tech lost their starting QB Tyler Shough for what seems to be a few weeks due to injury. The Red Raiders didn’t have to look far for his replacement as the offense didn’t skip a beat as backup QB Donovan Smith came in relief to throw for 4 TDs. Always fun to root for the over in a game like this but would rather take the safe play.

The Play: Texas Tech -2.5

Arizona State (1-0) at #11 Oklahoma State (1-0)

When: 7:30 PM ET on 9/10

Line: Oklahoma State -11

O/U: 58

I hope you didn’t miss the offseason as you might be quite confused looking at these box scores from Week 1. Former Florida QB Emory Jones is the new leader of this Arizona State team as they look to come into Stillwater to provide one of the first big upsets of the year. Meanwhile, reliable Spencer Sanders is back at the helm for the Cowboys. Week 1 looked as if we had the Cowboys of old as they put up over 50 points while Sanders threw for over 400 yards. Arizona State’s Emory Jones brings the threat of not only in the air but rushing the ball as well as he showed off his wheels with 2 rushing touchdowns in Week 1. As many saw the gaudy 102 points combined in Oklahoma State’s first game, you may be scratching your heads as I lean the other way. I expect Mike Gundy to go back to his ways from last year of controlling the pace of play while letting his defense play clean football. Play it but don’t watch it as no one enjoys rooting for an under.

The Play: Under 58

#20 Kentucky (1-0) at #12 Florida (1-0)

When: 7 PM ET on 9/10

Line: Florida -5.5

O/U: 52.5

A great year to be a Gator fan as the city is getting spoiled as they host back to back Top 25 night games. As we thought last week, The Swamp will be rocking again to aid Florida in securing another Top 25 win under their belt. Depending how the season unfolds, Anthony Richardson and Will Levis could very well be potential 1st round picks in the 2023 NFL Draft. With that being said, I’m going to ride on the coattails of Levis here – if you are going to be that guy and be a potential top pick you need to be able to come in and have a statement game for your resume. He was able to knock the rust off in Week 1 and should be looking for a big start in The Swamp. Levis’ talent combined with a potential let down factor after a huge Florida victory last week. I’m cool with the Cats losing but let’s keep it close.

The Play: Kentucky +5.5

#24 Tennessee (1-0) at #17 Pittsburgh (1-0)

When: 3:30 PM ET on 9/10

Line: Tennessee -6.5

O/U: 66

Tennessee cracks their way into the Top 25 in Week 2 after a commanding win against Ball State. Honestly, what’s not to like about this team? Tennessee seems to be everyone’s darlings this year and potentially a team to give Georgia a run for their money down the road but first they need to handle their business before looking ahead. Another fun QB matchup with Kedon Slovis for Pittsburgh along with Hendon Hooker from Tennessee. Both teams have the ability here to put up some points on the board but as we saw last week Pat Narduzzi is fine playing a one score game while running the ball. While most are expecting fireworks, I’m trending for the exact opposite.

The Play: Under 66

#9 Baylor (1-0) at #21 BYU (1-0)

When: 10:15 PM ET on 9/10

Line: BYU -3.5

O/U: 53.5

Nothing quite like getting College Football after dark. This game will mark the last time that these two schools will square off as non-conference opponents as BYU is set to join the Big 12 next year. All eyes will be set on BYU Jaren Hall as the QB picked up right where he left off last year in BYU’s Week 1 victory. I expect Baylor HC Dave Aranda to scheme up some clever defenses to confuse Hall but BYU is coming into this game with something to prove both for next year joining the Big 12 and this year gaining more respect with a higher ranking.

The Play: Over 53.5

Arkansas State (1-0) at #3 Ohio State (1-0)

When: 12 PM ET on 9/10

Line: Ohio State -43 

O/U: 68.5

Although winning against a Top 5 team in Week 1, Ohio State slides in the rankings from 2 to 3. This could be because Georgia looked every bit the reigning National Champions that they did or that people were underwhelmed by the Buckeyes showing like I was. The defense for Ohio State held up their end of the bargain last Saturday night but the offense underwhelmed for 3 quarters to say the least. I expect Ryan Day to give the fans a show of what this offense has the potential to do as we’ve grown accustomed to seeing them put up 50+ against weaker opponents. 

The Play: Ohio State -43

TGIS Week 1 College Football Preview

OVERALL RECORD: 172-138-3 (55.5%)

2022 SEASON RECORD: 1-2-0 (33.3%)

We finally have a full-lineup of college football games this Saturday (and some sprinkled in on Thursday, Friday, Sunday, and Monday). Time for an action packed weekend after a little appetizer in week 0 (one where we finished 1-2). We are leaving that behind us… LET’S GET TO THE PICKS:

Week 1 Games of the Week (All Times CST)

#11 Oregon vs. #3 Georgia (-17) – 2:30pm (Atlanta, GA)

In a “neutral field” game in Atlanta, the Bulldogs are the more talented team. Sure they lost quite a few players on the defensive side of the ball to the NFL draft, but Georgia has the depth to reload. Where they really excel is at the skill positions with a great wide receiver and tight end room which will make it easy to score points. Finally, in a four-year tradition at TGIS, WE DO NOT TRUST BO NIX. Georgia in a blowout.

Pick: Georgia 42-17

#23 Cincinnati at #19 Arkansas (-6) – 2:30pm

An exciting matchup comes to Fayetteville where the Hogs are less than a touchdown favorite against Cincinnati. Nine players were drafted off of the 2021 Bearcat team including six on the defensive side of the ball. That isn’t easy to replace. Arkansas runs all over Cincinnati in a double digit win.

Pick: Arkansas 31-17

#5 Notre Dame at #2 Ohio State OVER 59 – 6:30pm

This 17.5 point line is about right. No way I am going to start out the year betting against one of the most talented offenses in the nation (Ohio State if it wasn’t obvious). What I am betting against is that there is a massive improvement from the Buckeyes defense. Notre Dame puts up some points to help with the over.

Pick: Ohio State 45-27

Top Picks of the Week

Penn State (-3.5) at Purdue – Thursday 7:00pm

Purdue lost their two best players off of last year’s team: edge rusher George Karlaftis and WR David Bell. Purdue doesn’t have the talent to replace them, especially at wide receiver. With Penn State’s best unit being in the secondary they will take advantage and force Purdue QB Aidan O’Connell into throwing some bad balls. Penn State is the better team and wins by over a touchdown.

Illinois (+3) at Indiana – Friday 7:00pm

Illinois will run the ball with running back Chase Brown all over a bad Indiana defense. Illinois is the better team and we will gladly take the points.

TCU (-13.5) at Colorado – Friday 9:00pm

Colorado is the worst team in the Pac-12 as they lost a ton of players to the transfer portal. TCU on the other hand has more talent than you’d think. TCU in a blowout.

North Carolina (-1.5) at Appalachian State  – Saturday 11:00am

I wish the Tar Heels looked more impressive against Florida A&M last week. But I’m still trusting my gut. North Carolina as a middle to upper tier ACC team over just an OK App State team.

#13 NC State (-11.5) at East Carolina – Saturday 11:00am

NC State has an awesome defense and one of the best QBs in the country. I consider the Wolf Pack a fringe top ten team and believe they will easily handle the ECU Pirates.

Arizona (+6) at San Diego St. – Saturday 2:30 pm

San Diego State was a super conservative team last year. The fact is they do not blow teams out. Look for Arizona to be much better than last year with QB Jayden De Laura transferring from Washington State. I actually like a moneyline sprinkle on it as well with the Wildcats pulling the upset..

Tulsa (-6.5) at Wyoming – Saturday 2:30 pm

We are starting the year with a “Fade the bottom of the Mountain West” principle (this applies to Wyoming, Hawaii and Nevada as they may be a few of the worst teams in the FBS which was caused by transfers leaving). A Tulsa team led by Senior QB Davis Brin will handle Wyoming just fine.

Texas State (+1) at Nevada – Saturday 4:30 pm

(See Tulsa/Wyoming analysis…. same principle applies).

Georgia State at South Carolina (-12.5) – Saturday 6:30 pm

South Carolina has the Spencer Rattler era starting as less than a two touchdown favorite at home against Georgia State. Georgia State isn’t very good against the pass… look for the Gamecocks to blow them out of the water. Take South Carolina.

Florida State vs. LSU (-3) – Sunday 6:30 pm (New Orleans, LA)

LSU has one of the best receiving groups in the nation and a very good defensive line. LSU is the more talented team that will take advantage of what basically is a home game in New Orleans. LSU by a touchdown.

TGIS Ten Piece

By: Nick Radivoj

234 days have come and gone since Georgia won the 2022 National Championship game against Alabama. Will the Bulldogs repeat? Is it Alabama’s time for redemption or can Ohio State come get their first National Championship with Ryan Day leading the way? We are all about to find out as the College Football season is set to kick off Week 1 on Thursday September 1st . Join me weekly with the TGIS Ten Piece as I breakdown the slate and offer up the best play for the action. Fade me or follow me I’m glad that football is back and I’m ready for the ride!

  1. West Virginia (0-0) at #17 Pittsburgh (0-0)
    When: 9/1 at 7 ET
    Line: Pitt -7.5
    O/U: 52

Thursday night marks not only the return of College Football Week 1 action but also the return of the famous Backyard Brawl rivalry between these two teams. This will be the 105th meeting between the schools and the first time lining up across from each other since 2011. Pittsburgh currently leads the series all time 61-40-3. Both teams will be highlighting new faces under center with transfer quarterbacks with JT Daniels suiting up for the Mountaineers while Kedon Slovis looks to lead the Panthers. For me this game boils down to what West Virginia can do on the offensive side of the ball. Former USC Offensive Coordinator Graham Harrell reunites with JT Daniels in Morgantown but face a stout Pittsburgh defense Week One who were 2nd in the nation in sacks last year and 1st in the ACC in defense. On the other side, I believe Pittsburgh HC Pat Narduzzi will look to play competitive defense while conservative on offense after losing Kenny Pickett to the NFL draft and Biletnikoff Jordan Addison to the transfer portal.

The Play: West Virginia +7.5

  1. Penn State (0-0) at Purdue (0-0)
    When: 9/1 at 8 ET
    Line: PSU -3.5
    O/u: 53

These two teams are no strangers to one another as they kickoff their seasons Thursday night with an exciting Big 10 matchup. Purdue ended last season on a high note with a bowl win over Tennessee and ending 9-4 while Penn State suffered a down year under James Franklin finishing 7-6. Both teams kickoff 2022 similarly as they return their starting QBs from last season Sean Clifford (PSU) and Aidan O’Connell (PUR) but loose their top receiving options to the NFL draft in Jahan Dotson (PSU) and David Bell (PUR). Penn State and Sean Clifford have the clear talent advantage against the Boilermakers but having an experienced O’Connell under center could be the saving grace for Purdue as I’m sure he will test the talented Penn State secondary including Joey Potter Jr. I believe Penn State will come out victorious in this game but I’m not in love with the hook on a key number. I expect points to be at a premium Thursday night.

The Play: Under 53

  1. #13 NC State (0-0) at East Carolina (0-0)
    When: 9/3 at 12 ET
    Line: NCST -11.5
    O/U: 51.5

NC State comes into 2022 looking to build off of a 9-3 2021 campaign. QB Devin Leary returns for his redshirt junior season as he looks to lead the Wolfpack to a hopeful ACC championship game. Leary has all of the tools he needs as a quarterback with a cannon attached to his shoulder able to make all of the throws. NC State brings back a veteran team as they are returning 10 starters on offense and 7 starters on defense. State will have their hands full on defense as East Carolina returns their top 2 WRs along with their QB and starting RB from 2021. I believe this game has the looks of being close at the start but the Wolfpack will pull away at the end to give us the cover.

The Play: NC State -11.5

  1. North Carolina (1-0) at Appalachian State (0-0)
    When: 9/3 at 12 ET
    Line: UNC -1.5
    O/U: 56

The two North Carolina teams look to face off Saturday in what should be a high scoring thriller. North Carolina is bouncing back after a down year and losing their starting QB Sam Howell to the NFL Draft. Highly touted QB Drake Maye made his first start this year in Week 0 logging nearly 300 yards in the air and 5 touchdowns passing. QB Chase Brice returns for Appalachian State looking to build off of a solid 10-4 season last year. North Carolina put up 56 in their first game this season while giving up over 20 to a Florida A&M team that was severely short on players for this game. While I don’t expect North Carolina to be as efficient on offense as they were last week I do see them scoring in the 30s while an Appalachian State team is sure to put up as much as Florida A&M did the week prior. I like the Tar Heels to win a close one but would rather play the total.

The Play: Over 56

  1. #11 Oregon (0-0) at #3 Georgia
    When: 9/3 at 3:30 ET (Atlanta, GA)
    Line: UGA -17
    O/U: 53

The 2021 National Champion Georgia Bulldogs look to start their repeat campaign against some familiar foes as Oregon is lead by transfer QB Bo Nix formerly of Auburn and new HC Dan Lanning former Defensive Coordinator of Georgia last year. Kirby Smart has a slight competitive advantage in this game both from gameplanning against Bo Nicks for the previous 3 years and from understand what Lanning will want to do both on offense and defense. UGA is replacing a lot of talent on the defensive side of the ball but when you consistently have Top 5 recruiting classes aids in replacing that talent. UGA is returning a lot of talent with returning QB Stetson Bennet. Bennett is not the most talented QB out there but knows how to operate OC Todd Monken’s offense and get the ball in their playmakers hands. Definitely doesn’t hurt that this “mutual site” game will have 90% UGA fans in the stands.

The Pick: UGA -17

  1. #23 Cincinnati (0-0) at #19 Arkansas (0-0)
    When: 9/3 at 3:30
    Line: ARK -6

O/U: 52

Cincinnati was America’s darlings last year as Cinderella finally got her chance to go to the big dance. An impressive season came up empty as they lost to Alabama in the semifinals. Unfortunately, the NFL Draft decimated this Bearcats team as they lose their starting QB, RB, WR, and plenty more in the back end of their defense. The Razorbacks also took a hit in the draft as they lost their star WR Treylon Burks. The advantage they have is that QB KJ Jefferson has some experience under his belt leading Arkansas to an impressive 9-4 record last year. Alabama gave a good blueprint to this hard nosed football team that if you are able to be patient you can run the ball on the Bearcats. KJ has developed nicely as a passer but still is a tremendous threat with his legs as well The pigs are going to be hungry this time of year.

The Play: Arkansas -6

  1. #7 Utah (0-0) at Florida (0-0)
    When: 9/3 at 7 ET
    Line: UTAH -3
    O/U: 51

There’s a new regime down in Gainesville as Dan Mullen is out and former Louisiana Lafayette HC Billy Napier is in. Billy Napier was an excellent hire for the Gators as he was able to turn ULL’s football program into something not to be overlooked. The biggest question for the Gators in this game and year is QB Anthony Richardson. You can often find Richardson in the top end of 2023 NFL mock drafts as he has all of the tools to be prolific. Besides Georgia, I believe Utah is one of the toughest defenses that Florida will face all year. Utah travels across the country to The Swamp with returning QB Cameron Rising and RB Tavion Thomas who showed off what their offense could do in last year’s Rose Bowl game against Ohio State. I like the Gators to keep this one close but love the crowd to impact this game even more.

The Pick: Under 51

  1. Utah State (1-0) at #1 Alabama (0-0)
    When: 9/3 at 7:30 ET
    Line: ALA -41.5

O/U: 62

In no way, shape, or form will this game be close on Saturday at Bryant Denny but selfishly as an Alabama graduate and with a weak slate for Week One, I had to write about my favorite team. Alabama had the luxury of watching and scouting their opponent as Utah State played UConn in their Week 0 opening game. Utah State played an inferior opponent and while the scoreboard may have shown a win by 11 it was none too impressive for those watching. Alabama is currently the favorite next to Ohio State to win the National Championship this year and is lead by Heisman winning Quarterback Bryce Young. The offense has a few question marks as leading receivers Jameson Williams and John Metchie are now playing on Sunday’s but to revamp the offensive room Bama brought in 3 electric transfers in Jahmyr Gibbs from Georgia Tech, Jermaine Burton from Georgia, and Tyler Harrell from Louisville. Expect all 3 players to have pivotal roles this year for the Tide but especially RB Jahmyr Gibbs as he brings a different element than we are accustomed. On defense, Will Anderson and Dallas Turner are both poised to have outstanding years as Anderson is a projected Top 5 pick in next years NFL Draft. I expect this Bama team to put up north of 50 points and for the defense to not let Utah State into double digits.

The Play: Alabama -41.5

  1. #5 Notre Dame (0-0) at #2 Ohio State (0-0)
    When: 9/3 at 7:30
    Line: OSU -17
    O/U: 59

Ryan Day and Ohio State enter the 2022 season as one of the most dynamic offenses in the country. Led by CJ Stroud, Ohio State has on offense that will keep Defensive Coordinators up at night with WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba and RB Treveyon Henderson. This Buckeyes team will have no issue putting up points throughout the season, but the main concern is will their defense take the step forward that it needs this year? Ohio State brings over DC Jim Knowles who was the DC for Oklahoma State last year as they were able to have one of the top defenses in the nation. Losing Kyle Hamilton to the NFL Draft, Notre Dame’s defense will have their hands full all day, but the offense will have their chances to test this young and new defense. Top TE prospect Michael Mayer will be hungry to keep this Irish team in the game. I expect fireworks up in the Shoe this weekend with Ohio State running away with this one.

The Play: Over 59

  1. Florida State (1-0) at LSU (0-0)
    When: 9/4 at 7:30 ET (New Orleans, LA)
    Line: LSU -3
    O/U: 51.5

A rather rapid downfall to the LSU and Coach O experience after their historic 2019 National Championship season results in Brian Kelly taking over the helm down in Baton Rouge. Brian Kelly is thrilled that his first game as a coach of the Tigers is at a neutral site game down the road in New Orleans and should expect to provide a home field advantage for his club come Sunday night. Projected QB Jayden Daniels has all of the weapons he could ask for with this LSU team and will look to re-spark what was looking to be an exciting career for the QB starting when he was a true freshman. Meanwhile, Mike Norvell enters a pivotal 3rd season as HC for Florida State. The team was able to start their season off with a win Week 0 behind 2 electric RBs in Trey Benson and Treshaun Ward. I expect Norvell to help limit mistakes by Jordan Travis by controlling the ground game. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the lone game. Sunday night – Geaux Tigers.

The Play: LSU -3

Week 0 College Football

OVERALL RECORD: 171-136-3 (55.7%)

2022 SEASON RECORD: 0-0-0

Hand up. We had a mediocre 2021 betting record finishing the year around 54%. But we have studied all off season for this moment. WE ARE READY TO FIRE AWAY AT WEEK 0. There are just a handful of games, but still plenty of action to be had.

WE ARE BACK. WE ARE BACK. WE ARE BACK. LET’S GET TO THE PICKS:

Week 0 Game of the Week (All Times CST)

Northwestern vs Nebraska (-12) – 11:30am (Dublin, Ireland)

LIVE FROM DUBLIN, IRELAND FOR HIGH FLYING BIG TEN ACTION. New Nebraska offensive coordinator Mark Whipple comes from Pittsburgh where he put up an offensive clinic. He will try to show off in his first game with experienced transfer QB Casey Thompson. Meanwhile, Northwestern’s defense was absolutely awful last year and lost their best player, Brandon Joseph, via transfer to Notre Dame. Look for a blowout in Dublin, Nebraska by 2+ touchdowns.

Pick: Nebraska 31-10

Top Pick(s) of the Week

North Texas at UTEP (+1) – 8:00pm

North Texas lost dynamic twin brother defensive ends Gabriel and Grayson Murphy. Now, they have a very inexperienced defensive line. On the other side, UTEP brings back 14 starters. I give UTEP the slight edge as a better team… then you add in the fact that it is at home and UTEP is getting points. UTEP is the play.

Vanderbilt (-6.5) at Hawaii – 9:30pm

Hawaii had ten starters leave on the defensive side and has a new head coach in Timmy Chang. Compare that to Vanderbilt who has 13 starters returning with a decent recruiting class coming in. Vanderbilt is way more talented than one of the worst teams in the Mountain West. Do not overrate the Hawaii homefield advantage, especially with them playing at Ching Field (seating capacity 9,300) while Aloha Stadium is under construction. Vanderbilt by over a touchdown.

2022 College Football Pre-Season Rankings

Top 25

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

Projected Record: 13-0

Alabama logo

Heisman trophy winning quarterback Bryce Young leads a very talented Alabama team. However, this year’s team may be led more by their defense. The strength is at edge rusher where Will Anderson, Dallas Turner, and Chris Braswell are all dangerous. The Crimson Tide still has strong units outside of this on the defense including secondary, linebacker and defensive line. As for the offense, transfer wide receivers Jermaine Burton, Tyler Harrell, and running back Jahmyr Gibbs will all step in and be major contributors. The major question mark and weakness of this team is at offensive tackle after Evan Neal was drafted in the top ten. Expect transfer offensive tackle Tyler Steen to fill in at left tackle, but right tackle remains wide open. Regardless, expect one of the better Nick Saban teams this year with the expectation being an appearance in the National Title.

2. Ohio State Buckeyes

Projected Record: 13-0

The Buckeyes were uncharacteristically bad on defense last year finishing 59th overall. Now Ryan Day has brought in new DC Jim Knowles from Oklahoma State to change that. There are still questions on how good this defense can be with linebacker and cornerback being a mystery. The defense will be heavily reliant on Sophomore defensive linemen like JT Tuimoloau, Jack Sawyer, and Tyleik Williams. Offensively, Ohio State will be one of the best in the nation with the top receiving group, top running back (TreVeyon Henderson), and a top quarterback (CJ Stroud). The great offense will be enough to get through the Big Ten, but the defense will need to step up if the Buckeyes want to be legitimate national title contenders.

3. Georgia Bulldogs

Projected Record: 12-1

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Georgia is back after their 2021 national championship win. However, the Bulldogs lost a ton on the defensive side. They still have plenty of talent to star on this team including one of the best defensive lineman in the country Jalen Carter. Nolan smith and Rober Beal also return as the starting pass rushers. The concern remains at inside linebacker as they lost three guys who were all drafted in the first three rounds. Also there is a question on who starts opposite of star cornerback Kellen Ringo. On offense, returning quarterback Stetson Bennett is efficient. But he struggled against elite defenses by often turning the ball over and is the least talented starter on offense. Georgia’s skill positions are deep with studs including Adonis Mitchell and Arian Smith at wideout. Georgia also has by far the deepest, most talented tight end room with Brock Bowers, Arik Gilbert, and Darnell Washington. The offensive line is also one of the best in the nation. Overall, this has a team with enough talent to make the college football playoffs again. But replacing that much defensive talent to the NFL won’t be easy and may lead to an early College Football Playoff exit.

4. Texas A&M Aggies

Projected Record: 10-2

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Texas A&M comes into the year with the overall number one recruiting class and a loaded roster. This is especially true on the defensive side of the ball where they finished in the top ten last year. The secondary returns almost anybody including talented corner Jaylon Jones and safety Antonio Johnson. The question on that side of the ball is who steps up at defensive line after losing their top four guys off last year’s team? Lucky for the Aggies they have six five star freshman coming in and talented returning guys in Tunmise Adeleye, and McKinley Jackson. As for the offense, the Aggies have wide receivers ready to step in, but the best of the bunch might be true freshman Evan Stewart. Expect the offensive line to also be a solid, deep unit. There is one major question keeping this football team from reaching their potential… quarterback. The Aggies need Max Johnson, Haynes King, or Connor Weigman to step up if they want a chance at the SEC West or even the playoff. My gut tells me they’re not going to get that type of production and they’ll drop a few games during SEC play.

5. Utah Utes

Projected Record: 12-1

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Utah was very close to a Rose Bowl victory last year against Ohio State. Now Utah returns their starting quarterback, Cam Rising, who had Utah playing as a top ten offense last year. The  offense will be led through the tight ends Brant Kuithe and Dalton Kincaid. On defense, Utah’s strength is at linebacker with Lander Barton and Mohamoud Diabate. It should be a strong unit, but they will need to find an edge rusher (Van Fillinger could be that guy). Overall, this should be the favorite in the Pac-12 and a potential College Football playoff team.

6. Clemson Tigers

Projected Record: 12-1

Clemson had an incredibly disappointing year last year and still finished 10-3. The problem last year was the offense as they finished 100th in yards per game. Whether they improve will be a major indicator on how far this team goes. If DJ Uiagalelei continues to decline look for true freshman Cade Klubnik to take over. On defense this is one of the greatest defensive lines in the country and, even after losing some key pieces in the secondary, Clemson should still finish as a top ten defense in the nation. Overall, I expect this team to be carried by the defense and the offense to improve from last season. Expect them to be on top of the ACC and be a college football playoff contender.

7. Michigan Wolverines

Projected Record: 10-2

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The Wolverines are coming off a great season where they won the Big Ten and made the playoffs. The offense will be good again with either JJ McCarthy or Cade McNamara leading the group. Michigan has one of the deepest groups in the Big Ten at wide receiver, second to Ohio State. The question this year will be how Michigan replaces a ton of key leaders to their defense. The defensive line is especially thin and could keep Michigan from returning to the playoffs. Overall, this is a good team, but replacing that much defensive talent will be tough to make a return trip to the playoffs.

8. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Projected Record: 9-3

The Marcus Freeman era starts at Notre Dame. Notre Dame is led by a strong offensive and defensive line. Tyler Buckner will take over as the starting QB along with a questionable wide receiver room. Overall, expect the Fighting Irish to be led by their defense. But the offense will need to step up if they want to be a legitimate playoff contender.

9. Oklahoma Sooners

Projected Record: 11-2

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The Brent Venables era starts in Norman with a ton of turnover. The Sooners have the most talent in the Big 12, but return only eight starters from last year’s team. On offense UCF transfer Dillon Gabriel takes over at quarterback and instantly becomes one of the best in the conference. He has two talented receivers to throw to in Marvin Mims and Theo Wease. The offense will be explosive with new OC Jeff Lebby, but will need to get better offensive line play. On defense the Sooners are coming off a year where they finished 79th overall. The secondary was a huge issue last year and Brent Venables will have his hands full fixing it. Oklahoma will rely on a few transfers on the defensive line Jeffery Johnson from Tulane and Jonah La’ulu from Hawaii. Overall, this Oklahoma team is a mystery heading into the year where their success will depend heavily on the defense. The expectation should be Big 12 champions, but there are many contenders in the conference that can compete with this team.

10. NC State Wolfpack

Projected Record: 10-2

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The Wolfpack have a really solid team going into 2022 and they are led by the best quarterback in the ACC, Devin Leary. If NC State opens up the passing game and lets him throw more, this is a team that could take down Clemson in the ACC Atlantic. Especially,  because this team is so good defensively with ten returning starters to a top 20 defense. The defense is led by one of the best linebacker duos in college football between Drake Thomas and Payton Wilson. Overall, if I knew NC State would open up the offense a little more I would trust them to take down Clemson… but even if they don’t I still see this team with a good chance of getting to double digit wins.

11. Miami Hurricanes

Projected Record: 10-3

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Miami found their quarterback of the future with the emergence of Tyler Van Dyke last year. Along with Van Dyke, Miami also has a solid offensive line and some talented tight ends. On defense this team was young last year, but return a ton of starters and added quality players via the transfer portal. The strength will be in the secondary after Miami played three talented freshman last year. West Virginia transfer Akheem Mesidor and Leonard Taylor make up a solid defensive tackle duo. Overall, in Mario Cristobal’s first season as head coach he has a solid team. If the defense matures quickly and the offense continues their momentum from last year… this is a legitimate ACC contender.

12. USC Trojans

Projected Record: 10-3

The Lincoln Riley era starts at USC. Coming with Riley are a ton of impact skill position transfers and quarterback Caleb Williams. The offense should be one of the nation’s best. Defense is another story. The linebackers, Alabama transfer Shane Leee and Romolo Heights were the best players on the defense in the spring. But the secondary and defensive line are not strong units. Overall, the offense will put up almost 40 points per game. But the defense will keep this team from being a playoff team.

13. Penn State Nittany Lions

Projected Record: 9-3

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Penn State is coming off two disappointing years including finishing 7-6 last year. Starting quarterback Sean Clifford is back again for his super senior season, but there are questions on what his ceiling is. The offensive line has to make an improvement as they struggled last year, especially in the run game. Even with the loss of Jahan Dotson, Penn State still has quality receivers including Parker Washington, Keandre Lambert-Smith, and Michael Tinsley (transfer from Western Kentucky). Defensively, the Nittany Lions lost five guys to the NFL Draft along with losing defensive coordinator Brent Prye. Despite the losses, expect a very good defense, especially in the secondary. Overall, look for James Franklin to turn it around and compete with Michigan for the number two spot in the Big Ten East.

14. Oregon Ducks

Projected Record: 9-3

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Dan Lanning enters his first season with quite a bit of talent leftover from Mario Cristobal. The offensive line is by far the strength with four strong starters returning. The skill positions and whether Auburn transfer QB Bo Nix can thrive in the Pac-12 are the main questions. Another position of strength is the front seven where Oregon has legitimate defensive lineman and linebacker sprinkled throughout. On defense the secondary will be the question, but getting transfer cornerback Christian Gonzalez from Colorado will help. Overall, do not expect much of a drop off as Oregon is still a legitimate Pac-12 contender.

15. Ole Miss Rebels

Projected Record: 9-3

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Ole Miss is coming off a very good season where they finished in the top 10-15 team with a Sugar Bowl appearance. Last season will be tough to repeat after losing Matt Corral. Quarterbacks Jaxon Dart and Luke Altmyer will compete for the starting job. While Ole Miss did lose their starting quarterback, they were aggressive in the portal and pulled Zach Evans and Ulyssess Bentley to make up a great RB room. As for the pass catchers Jonathan Mingo leads the unit with help from Jordan Watkins from Louisville and a high upside TE in Michael Trigg. The offensive line could be improved as well led by Jeremy James at left tackle. The question will be can the defense repeat as an effective unit after finishing in the top 35 last year.  The Achilles heel of last year’s team was a poor run defense. JJ Pegues from Auburn will attempt to help as they are playing him at nose tackle. Cedric Johnson will also be a key defensive player on the edge after a solid 6.5 sacks last year. The Rebels should be solid at defensive back again, but linebacker is a major question. Overall, this is a talented team whose success will be dependent on how Dart or Altmyer replaces Matt Corral.

16. Pittsburgh Panthers

Projected Record: 9-3

Coming off an ACC title, Pittsburgh returns 14 starters. However, they are losing first round quarterback Kenny Pickett and Biletnikoff award winner WR Jordan Addison. Still, with their entire offensive line coming back and a good replacement in USC transfer QB Kedon Slovis, Pittsburgh is in a good position to repeat as the ACC Coastal champion. This is especially true on defense where they return almost all of their defensive lineman and a solid secondary. Also returning is Habakkuk Baldonado who finished with 9 sacks last year. Overall this is a really good team, but I worry about coach Pat Narduzzi getting too conservative after his Offensive Coordinator Mark Whipple left for Nebraska.

17. Texas Longhorns

Projected Record: 9-4

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Texas is coming off a disappointing 5-7 season. But there is huge optimism in Steve Sarkisian’s second season. The offense is loaded and has a top five receiving group in the country with Xavier Worthy, Jordan Whittington, and Isaiah Neyor. Add in top running back Bijan Robinson and highly ranked QB Quinn Ewers, this offense has a chance to be special. However, offensive line is a huge issue where the Longhorns might have to start two true freshman offensive tackles. Defensively, they were awful last year finishing 100th in total yards per game. The interior defensive line isn’t bad with Keondre Coburn and Alfred Collins, but I do not see any premier pass rushers on the roster. The Longhorns also are weak at linebacker as they’ve been searching the transfer portal all offseason. The secondary remains shaky as well, but Ohio State transfer Ryan Watts will help the improvement. Overall, with an inexperienced offensive line and average defense I don’t see Texas as a college football playoff contender. However, they have enough offense to be in the mix for a Big 12 title.

18. Tennessee Volunteers

Projected Record: 9-3

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When Hendon Hooker took over at starting quarterback for the Vols last year, this became a legitimate top ten offense. Expect a similar explosive offense. The offensive line was good last year and now returns four out of the five starters. The key will be filling in the left tackle spot with Darnell Wright moving back to right tackle. The wide receiver room is also solid with Cedric Tillman coming off a 1000 yard season and transfer Bru McCoy could be a wildcard. As for the defense, the Vols unit finished in the top 50 last year. The defense will have some work replacing their top three defensive lineman and try to improve what was an inconsistent pass rush from last year. One guy that will be relied on to be a key rusher is defensive end Byron Young. Another stud on the defense is linebacker Jeremy Banks, but the Vols will need another linebacker to step up (possibly Juwan Mitchell after only playing 3 games last year). This defense needs to improve in the secondary after finishing near the bottom of the SEC in passing yards against. Expect this defense to finish in the middle of the SEC conference. Overall, this is a quality team who has a legitimate shot at finishing second in the SEC East.

19. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Projected Record: 9-4

The Golden Gophers return a bunch of starters on offense and defense coming off a nine win season. However, the offense needs to improve, especially quarterback Tanner Morgan. Luckily for Minnesota they get back Kurt Ciarrocca at offensive coordinator from their successful 2019 season. Mohamed Ibrahim is also one of the best running backs in the Big Ten back from an Achilles injury, while Chris Autmen-Bell is one of the conference’s top receiver. The defense was a top ten defense last year, but lost a few guys. However, they have enough talent still left to finish on top of the Big Ten West. Overall, expect this to be one of coach PJ Fleck’s most talented teams.

20. Wisconsin Badgers

Projected Record: 9-3

The Badgers had an absolute beast of a defense in 2021. But now they have to replace some key pieces at linebacker and in the secondary. Wisconsin went in the transfer portal to grab three cornerbacks to help out. They have a strong defensive line led by Keanu Benton. But the offense will have to make major improvements this year, led by star running back Braelon Allen, if they want to win the Big Ten West. Overall, expect a strong defense that will most likely be held back by an average offense from being a top team in the nation. However, they still will be the favorite to win the Big Ten West.

21. BYU Cougars

Projected Record: 9-3

BYU returns almost everyone back to what was a 10-3 team last year. The Cougar offense finished in the top 20 in offensive yards per game after a great season by quarterback Jaren Hall. The offense should be fantastic again, but it is defensively where BYU needs to improve. With ten starters coming back expect that to happen. Overall, BYU is very talented and will give the premier teams on their schedule trouble (Baylor, Oregon, Notre Dame, and Arkansas).

22. Kentucky Wildcats

Projected Record: 8-4

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Coach Mark Stoops has done a phenomenal job keeping Kentucky a steady 8-9 win team the last few years. Even with the new offensive coordinator, expect this to be your classic run-first team. Specifically behind talented, tough-nose running back Chris Rodriguez. Despite the offensive line losing three starters, the coaching staff seems confident in a few former four star recruits stepping up. What continues to be the concern is at wide receiver. Virginita Tech transfer Tayvion Robinson from Virginia Tech will be the top guy, but the complimentary pieces are unknown. Last but not least, quarterback Will Levis will need to improve his efficiency. He has all the tools with even a few publications projecting him as a first round NFL pick. Defensively, there are a few concerns including the defensive line and defensive back. Specifically at cornerback, someone needs to step up other than Carrington Valentine. The strength is Justin Rogers on the defensive line and the outside linebacker unit. Overall, this seems like another classic Kentucky team reliant on the run game and decent defense. But hopes of the SEC East title are too ambitious.

23. LSU Tigers

Projected Record: 8-4

Brian Kelly enters his first year as LSU’s head coach. The LSU team will look different from last year with only around six starters returning. The strength on offense is at the wide receiver position especially with one of the best in the nation, Kayshon Boutte. With very little tight end depth, expect LSU’s offense this year to go with more four wide receiver sets. Who is throwing the ball to the receivers is a major question going into the season with a three quarterback battle brewing between Arizona State transfer Jayden Daniels, Garrett Nussmeier, and Myles Brennan. The offensive line is also a concern as the Tigers lost all four of their snap count guys from last year. On the other hand, the defense has a chance to be solid with a talented defensive line that features Jaquelin Roy and Mason Smith. The edge is also a position of strength with rushers Ali Gaye and Ben Ojulari. A key position on the defensive side of the ball is defensive back where they lost 4 out of their five top defensive backs. LSU brought in four defensive back transfers including Arkansas transfers Joe Foucha and Greg Brooks to help the back end. Overall, LSU is still a talented team. But the questions at quarterback, offensive line and defensive back keeps them in the middle of the pack of the SEC West.

24. Arkansas Razorbacks

Projected Record: 8-4

The Razorbacks are coming off an excellent 9-4 season. There is a reason for excitement in Fayetteville as the starting quarterback KJ Jefferson returns after a quality season. Also retuning is the entire offensive line. The skill positions took a hit trying to replace first round pick Treylon Burks. But Oklahoma transfer Jaden Haselwood and breakout candidate Ketron Jackson will help at wideout. Look for Dominic Johnson to be the premier running back in the offense coming off a 500 yard season. Expect him to have an even bigger season as this offense likes to focus on establishing the run game. On defense the Razorbacks will be playing a 3-2-6 base. The defense had some key losses including losing their top three defensive lineman and two impact linebackers from last year. While the defensive line remains a concern, the same can’t be said at linebacker with Bumper Pool and Alabama transfer Drew Sanders starting. The secondary is scattered with new talent including Latavious Brini from Georgia at safety and Dwight McGlothern from LSU at cornerback. Jalen Catalon also returns at safety after a disappointing year following a 2020 first team SEC season. Overall, this should be your classic, hard-nosed, Sam Pittman team that focuses on running the ball and good defense. Expect a pesky team in the SEC West.

25. Iowa Hawkeyes

Projected Record: 8-4

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The Hawkeyes are coming off a 10-4 season despite having an absolute terrible offense (ranked 94th). Iowa needs Spencer Petras to improve if they want to compete at the top of the Big Ten West. Defensively, the group brings eight starters back to a talented group from last year. The linebackers are all back including Jack Campbell. Overall, Iowa will be a tough out, but the lack of offense puts a cap on their ceiling.

2022 SEC Football Preview

SEC Championship: Alabama over Georgia

SEC East

1. Georgia Bulldogs

Projected Record: 12-1

Wins: Oregon, Samford, South Carolina, Kent State, Missouri, Auburn, Vanderbilt, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Georgia Tech

Losses: Alabama (SEC Championship)

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Georgia is back after their 2021 national championship win. However, the Bulldogs lost a ton on the defensive side. They still have plenty of talent to star on this team including one of the best defensive lineman in the country Jalen Carter. Nolan smith and Rober Beal also return as the starting pass rushers. The concern remains at inside linebacker as they lost three guys who were all drafted in the first three rounds. Also there is a question on who starts opposite of star cornerback Kellen Ringo. On offense, returning quarterback Stetson Bennett is efficient. But he struggled against elite defenses by often turning the ball over and is the least talented starter on offense. Georgia’s skill positions are deep with studs including Adonis Mitchell and Arian Smith at wideout. Georgia also has by far the deepest, most talented tight end room with Brock Bowers, Arik Gilbert, and Darnell Washington. The offensive line is also one of the best in the nation. Overall, this has a team with enough talent to make the college football playoffs again. But replacing that much defensive talent to the NFL won’t be easy and may lead to an early College Football Playoff exit.

2. Tennessee Volunteers

Projected Record: 9-3

Wins: Ball State, Pittsburgh, Akron, Florida, LSU, UT-Martin, Kentucky, Missouri, Vanderbilt

Losses: Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina

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When Hendon Hooker took over at starting quarterback for the Vols last year, this became a legitimate top ten offense. Expect a similar explosive offense. The offensive line was good last year and now returns four out of the five starters. The key will be filling in the left tackle spot with Darnell Wright moving back to right tackle. The wide receiver room is also solid with Cedric Tillman coming off a 1000 yard season and transfer Bru McCoy could be a wildcard. As for the defense, the Vols unit finished in the top 50 last year. The defense will have some work replacing their top three defensive lineman and try to improve what was an inconsistent pass rush from last year. One guy that will be relied on to be a key rusher is defensive end Byron Young. Another stud on the defense is linebacker Jeremy Banks, but the Vols will need another linebacker to step up (possibly Juwan Mitchell after only playing 3 games last year). This defense needs to improve in the secondary after finishing near the bottom of the SEC in passing yards against. Expect this defense to finish in the middle of the SEC conference. Overall, this is a quality team who has a legitimate shot at finishing second in the SEC East.

3. Kentucky Wildcats

Projected Record: 8-4

Wins: Miami (Ohio), Youngstown State, Northern Illinois, South Carolina, Mississippi State, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Louisville

Losses: Florida, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Georgia

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Coach Mark Stoops has done a phenomenal job keeping Kentucky a steady 8-9 win team the last few years. Even with the new offensive coordinator, expect this to be your classic run-first team. Specifically behind talented, tough-nose running back Chris Rodriguez. Despite the offensive line losing three starters, the coaching staff seems confident in a few former four star recruits stepping up. What continues to be the concern is at wide receiver. Virginita Tech transfer Tayvion Robinson from Virginia Tech will be the top guy, but the complimentary pieces are unknown. Last but not least, quarterback Will Levis will need to improve his efficiency. He has all the tools with even a few publications projecting him as a first round NFL pick. Defensively, there are a few concerns including the defensive line and defensive back. Specifically at cornerback, someone needs to step up other than Carrington Valentine. The strength is Justin Rogers on the defensive line and the outside linebacker unit. Overall, this seems like another classic Kentucky team reliant on the run game and decent defense. But hopes of the SEC East title are too ambitious.

4. Florida Gators

Projected Record: 7-5

Wins: Kentucky, South Florida, Eastern Washington, Missouri, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Florida State

Losses: Utah, Tennessee, LSU, Georgia, Texas A&M

Coach Billy Napier takes over for Dan Mullen after a disappointing season for the Gators. However, the season wasn’t a total loss as there were glimpses of stardom from quarterback Anthony Richardson. He has all the tools to make Florida a tough team in the SEC East. The offense has major issues though as the wide receiver position is unproven. Florida hopes Justin Shorter can be the guy to step up at WR. The offensive line will need to step forward from last year for this offense to reach its potential. Transfer offensive lineman Ocyrus Torrence will help after finishing last year as a first team All-Sun Belt. On defense, Gervon Dexter is the stud that leads the defensive line. But the defensive depth is incredibly thin especially at linebacker, safety and defensive tackle. The strength of this team is at defensive back especially after Jalen Kimber transferred from Georgia. Overall, this team has some talent but the lack of depth is a major concern. Expect just an OK first year from the Gators.

5. South Carolina Gamecocks

Projected Record: 7-5

Wins: Georgia State, Charlotte, South Carolina State, Texas A&M, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Tennessee

Losses: Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Florida, Clemson

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Shane Beamer comes into his second year after vastly exceeding expectations in year one. The bar just got set higher after acquiring a few transfer portal guys including Spencer Rattler. Helping out Rattler will be a few decent receivers (Josh Vann and Arkansas State transfer Corey Rucker) and a tight end room with Jaheim Bell and his former Oklahoma TE Austin Stogner. The running back room is also talented with Wake Forest transfer Christian Beal-Smith and Marshawn Lloyd. The offensive line is experienced, but will have to take a step forward after a down year last year. On defense, the Gamecocks are led by their secondary and in particular Cam Smith, who will move to nickel this year. The front seven will be OK, but Jordan Burch will have to fill the hole left by Kingsley Engbare on the defensive line. Overall, expect the Gamecocks to make a small step towards being a solid team in the SEC East.

6. Missouri Tigers

Projected Record: 4-8

Wins: Louisiana Tech, Abilene Christian, Vanderbilt, New Mexico State

Losses: Kansas State, Auburn, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas

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Missouri struck out in the transfer portal filling the quarterback position. Now it will turn to returning backup and bowl game starter Brady cook at QB. However, this is a team that is very excited about their wide receiver room with star freshman Luther Burden, Mookie Cooper, and leading receiver from last year Tauskie Dove. Where this team needs to focus on is stopping the run after finishing 126th in the nation last year. Jayden Jernigan from Oklahoma state may help, but it needs to be a point of emphasis if this team will find any success. The secondary is solid returning four starters including Ennis Rakestraw returning from an ACL injury. Overall, this is a decent team, but a lack of a true starting quarterback and weakness against the run could keep them near the bottom of the SEC.

7. Vanderbilt Commodores

Projected Record: 3-9

Wins: Hawaii, Elon, Northern Illinois

Losses: Wake Forest, Alabama, Ole Miss, Georgia, Missouri, South Carolina, Kentucky, Florida, Tennessee

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Vanderbilt remains a huge work in progress. The offensive line continues to be a huge issue and in the SEC that isn’t a good thing. As for quarterback look for Mike Wright to take over for Ken Sells as the starting quarterback. There also a few guys who could step up at receiver including Will Sheppard and true freshman Jayden McGowan. Again, the main question offensively is if this line can be competent in the SEC. On the defensive side, the Commodores returns a decent amount of starters. Add in a few transfers including UConn transfer CB Jeremy Lucien and Clemson transfer LB Kane Patterson, and this defense should improve from last in the SEC last year. Overall, Vanderbilt is focusing on high school development and recruiting. With it only being Clark Lea’s second year as head coach, expect something similar to Vanderbilt’s 0-8 SEC record last year.

SEC West

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

Projected Record: 13-0

Wins: Utah State, Texas, Louisiana-Monroe, Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Texas A&M, Tennessee, Mississippi State, LSU, Ole Miss, Austin Peay, Auburn, Georgia (SEC Championship)

Losses: None

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Heisman trophy winning quarterback Bryce Young leads a very talented Alabama team. However, this year’s team may be led more by their defense. The strength is at edge rusher where Will Anderson, Dallas Turner, and Chris Braswell are all dangerous. The Crimson Tide still has strong units outside of this on the defense including secondary, linebacker and defensive line. As for the offense, transfer wide receivers Jermaine Burton, Tyler Harrell, and running back Jahmyr Gibbs will all step in and be major contributors. The major question mark and weakness of this team is at offensive tackle after Evan Neal was drafted in the top ten. Expect transfer offensive tackle Tyler Steen to fill in at left tackle, but right tackle remains wide open. Regardless, expect one of the better Nick Saban teams this year with the expectation being an appearance in the National Title.

2. Texas A&M Aggies

Projected Record: 10-2

Wins: Sam Houston, Appalachian State, Miami, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn, UMass, LSU

Losses: Alabama, South Carolina

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Texas A&M comes into the year with the overall number one recruiting class and a loaded roster. This is especially true on the defensive side of the ball where they finished in the top ten last year. The secondary returns almost anybody including talented corner Jaylon Jones and safety Antonio Johnson. The question on that side of the ball is who steps up at defensive line after losing their top four guys off last year’s team? Lucky for the Aggies they have six five star freshman coming in and talented returning guys in Tunmise Adeleye, and McKinley Jackson. As for the offense, the Aggies have wide receivers ready to step in, but the best of the bunch might be true freshman Evan Stewart. Expect the offensive line to also be a solid, deep unit. There is one major question keeping this football team from reaching their potential… quarterback. The Aggies need Max Johnson, Haynes King, or Connor Weigman to step up if they want a chance at the SEC West or even the playoff. My gut tells me they’re not going to get that type of production and they’ll drop a few games during SEC play.

3. Ole Miss Rebels

Projected Record: 9-3

Wins: Troy, Central Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Tulsa, Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State

Losses: Texas A&M, Alabama, Arkansas

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Ole Miss is coming off a very good season where they finished in the top 10-15 team with a Sugar Bowl appearance. Last season will be tough to repeat after losing Matt Corral. Quarterbacks Jaxon Dart and Luke Altmyer will compete for the starting job. While Ole Miss did lose their starting quarterback, they were aggressive in the portal and pulled Zach Evans and Ulyssess Bentley to make up a great RB room. As for the pass catchers Mingo leads the unit with help from Watkins from Louisville and a high upside TE in Michael Trigg. The offensive line could be improved as well led by Jeremy James at left tackle. The question will be can the defense repeat as an effective unit after finishing in the top 35 last year.  The Achilles heel of last year’s team was a poor run defense. JJ Pegues from Auburn will attempt to help as they are playing him at nose tackle. Cedric Johnson will also be a key defensive player on the edge after a solid 6.5 sacks last year. The Rebels should be solid at defensive back again, but linebacker is a major question. Overall, this is a talented team whose success will be dependent on how Dart or Altmyer replaces Matt Corral.

4. LSU Tigers

Projected Record: 8-4

Wins: Florida State, Southern, Mississippi State, New Mexico, Auburn, Florida, Arkansas, UAB

Losses: Tennessee, Ole Miss, Alabama, Texas A&M

Brian Kelly enters his first year as LSU’s head coach. The LSU team will look different from last year with only around six starters returning. The strength on offense is at the wide receiver position especially with one of the best in the nation, Kayshon Boutte. With very little tight end depth, expect LSU’s offense this year to go with more four wide receiver sets. Who is throwing the ball to the receivers is a major question going into the season with a three quarterback battle brewing between Arizona State transfer Jayden Daniels, Garrett Nussmeier, and Myles Brennan. The offensive line is also a concern as the Tigers lost all four of their snap count guys from last year. On the other hand, the defense has a chance to be solid with a talented defensive line that features Jaquelin Roy and Mason Smith. The edge is also a position of strength with rushers Ali Gaye and Ben Ojulari. A key position on the defensive side of the ball is defensive back where they lost 4 out of their five top defensive backs. LSU brought in four defensive back transfers including Arkansas transfers Joe Foucha and Greg Brooks to help the back end. Overall, LSU is still a talented team. But the questions at quarterback, offensive line and defensive back keeps them in the middle of the pack of the SEC West.

5. Arkansas Razorbacks

Projected Record: 8-4

Wins: Cincinnati, South Carolina, Missouri State, Mississippi State, BYU, Liberty, Ole Miss, Missouri

Losses: Texas A&M, Alabama, Auburn, LSU

The Razorbacks are coming off an excellent 9-4 season. There is a reason for excitement in Fayetteville as the starting quarterback KJ Jefferson returns after a quality season. Also retuning is the entire offensive line. The skill positions took a hit trying to replace first round pick Treylon Burks. But Oklahoma transfer Jaden Haselwood and breakout candidate Ketron Jackson will help at wideout. Look for Dominic Johnson to be the premier running back in the offense coming off a 500 yard season. Expect him to have an even bigger season as this offense likes to focus on establishing the run game. On defense the Razorbacks will be playing a 3-2-6 base. The defense had some key losses including losing their top three defensive lineman and two impact linebackers from last year. While the defensive line remains a concern, the same can’t be said at linebacker with Bumper Pool and Alabama transfer Drew Sanders starting. The secondary is scattered with new talent including Latavious Brini from Georgia at safety and Dwight McGlothern from LSU at cornerback. Jalen Catalon also returns at safety after a disappointing year following a 2020 first team SEC season. Overall, this should be your classic, hard-nosed, Sam Pittman team that focuses on running the ball and good defense. Expect a pesky team in the SEC West.

6. Mississippi State Bulldogs

Projected Record: 6-6

Wins: Memphis, Arizona, Bowling Green, Kentucky, Auburn, East Tennessee State

Losses: LSU, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Ole Miss

Quarterback Will Rogers leads the Bulldogs back after a 7-6 season. The offensive line remains a concern as they are faced with replacing both starting tackles. The Bulldogs also must find a wide receiver to replace former wide receiver Makai Polk’s 1046 yards. Mike Leach has his work cut out after finishing 59th in scoring offense last year. The strength of this team actually is on the defensive end with a loaded front seven. The secondary is led by Emmanuel Forbes at corner. Richardson and Marcus Banks, a transfer from Alabama complete a decent cornerback room.  Overall, Mississippi State is a solid team, but faces a tough uphill battle in the SEC West.

7. Auburn Tigers

Projected Record: 5-7

Wins: Mercer, San Jose State, Missouri, Arkansas, Western Kentucky

Losses: Penn State, LSU, Georgia, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Alabama

Auburn had an eventful offseason that ended with the administration bringing back Coach Bryan Harsin for a second season. It won’t be any easier this year. For one, the Tigers still have to decide who is the starter between Zach Calzada, TJ Finley or Robby Ashford. The offensive line returns most of the starters from last year, but needs to make an improvement. On the offensive side it is Tank Bigsby at running back who will have to lead the offense as the receivers are unproven.  The strength of this team is on the defensive line led by (Wooden, Marquis Harris, Northwestern transfer, Hollis). Overall, Auburn is one of the least talented teams in the SEC West and face a difficult schedule. Expect Auburn to be a fringe bowl team.

2022 Pac 12 Football Preview

Pac 12 Championship: Utah over USC

1. Utah Utes

Projected Record: 12-1

Wins: Florida, Southern Utah, San Diego State, Arizona State, Oregon State, UCLA, USC, Washington State, Arizona, Stanford, Colorado

Losses: Oregon

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Utah was very close to a Rose Bowl victory last year against Ohio State. Now Utah returns their starting quarterback, Cam Rising, who had Utah playing as a top ten offense last year. The  offense will be led through the tight ends Brant Kuithe and Dalton Kincaid. On defense, Utah’s strength is at linebacker with Lander Barton and Mohamoud Diabate. It should be a strong unit, but they will need to find an edge rusher (Van Fillinger could be that guy). Overall, this should be the favorite in the Pac-12 and a potential College Football playoff team.

2. USC Trojans

Projected Record: 10-3

Wins: Rice, Stanford, Fresno State, Oregon State, Arizona State, Washington State, Arizona, Cal, Colorado, Notre Dame

Losses: Utah, UCLA, Utah (Pac-12 Championship)

The Lincoln Riley era starts at USC. Coming with Riley are a ton of impact skill position transfers and quarterback Caleb Williams. The offense should be one of the nation’s best. Defense is another story. The linebackers, Alabama transfer Shane Leee and Romolo Heights were the best players on the defense in the spring. But the secondary and defensive line are not strong units. Overall, the offense will put up almost 40 points per game. But the defense will keep this team from being a playoff team.

3. Oregon Ducks

Projected Record: 9-3

Wins: Eastern Washington, BYU, Stanford, Arizona, UCLA, Cal, Colorado, Washington, Utah

Losses: Georgia, Washington State, Oregon State

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Dan Lanning enters his first season with quite a bit of talent leftover from Mario Cristobal. The offensive line is by far the strength with four strong starters returning. The skill positions and whether Auburn transfer QB Bo Nix can thrive in the Pac-12 are the main questions. Another position of strength is the front seven where Oregon has legitimate defensive lineman and linebacker sprinkled throughout. On defense the secondary will be the question, but getting transfer cornerback Christian Gonzalez from Colorado will help. Overall, do not expect much of a drop off as Oregon is still a legitimate Pac-12 contender.

4. Oregon State Beavers

Projected Record: 7-5

Wins: Boise State, Montana, Washington State, Colorado, Cal, Arizona State, Oregon

Losses: Fresno State, USC, Utah, Stanford, Washington

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What an incredible job Johnathan Smith has done turning around this Oregon State program. The Beavers have another strong team this year with a good offensive line and returning most of their skill players. Quarterback Chance Nolan will have to step up if they want to go to the next level. Defensively, while there is some concern on the defensive line, the linebackers and secondary are solid. Overall, expect Oregon State to go bowling again and finish in the middle to upper tier of the Pac 12.

5. Washington State Cougars

Projected Record: 7-5

Wins: Idaho, Colorado State, Oregon, Cal, Arizona State, Arizona, Washington

Losses: Wisconsin, USC, Oregon State, Utah, Stanford

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Jake Dickert enters his first full season after taking over as head coach last year. His season will be locked to talented Incarnate Word QB transfer Cam Ward. The offense has an offensive line issue and questions on who will step up at wide receiver. Defensively there are real secondary questions after losing four of six starters to an average defense. Overall, I expect this team is good enough to make a bowl, but can’t see them as a legit contender in the Pac-12.

6. Washington Huskies

Projected Record: 6-6

Wins: Kent State, Portland State, Stanford, Arizona, Oregon State, Colorado

Losses: Michigan State, UCLA, Arizona State, Cal, Oregon, Washington State

The issue with Washington continues to be their offense. Michael Penix transfers from Indiana to be presumably the new starting quarterback, but the offense finished 114th last year and I don’t see them making a vast improvement. Defensively this group will be a good unit despite only returning three starters. Overall, this is a little bit of a rebuild for new coach Kalen Deboer where making a bowl game will be a good season for the Huskies.

7. UCLA Bruins

Projected Record: 6-6

Wins: Bowling Green, Alabama State, South Alabama, Colorado, Washington, USC

Losses: Utah, Oregon, Stanford, Arizona State, Arizona, Cal

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UCLA finally made progress under Chip Kelly finishing 8-4 last year. Now they have Dorian Thompson-Robinson and and Zach Charbonnet back at quarterback and running back. The offensive line is decent, but they lost quite a few talented pass catchers of last year’s team. On defense, UCLA’s unit has some legitimate concerns with five out of the six defensive backs gone. Overall, UCLA will score points, but the defense could hold this team back.

8. Arizona Wildcats

Projected Record: 5-7

Wins: San Diego State, Cal, Colorado, UCLA, Arizona State

Losses: Mississippi State, North Dakota State, Oregon, Washington, USC, Utah, Washington State

Arizona is coming off a 1-11 season where they played much better than their record would indicate. Part of the problem was at quarterback. But now stepping in is Washington State transfer Jayden de Laura who played well last season. Also at Arizona is stud UTEP transfer Jacob Cowing. On defense, they return most of the starters to an average unit. Overall, a tough schedule makes it tough for the Wildcats to finish with a good record. But a bowl game could still be a possibility and would be an excellent season for Arizona.

9. California Golden Bears

Projected Record: 5-7

Wins: UC Davis, UNLV, Washington, Stanford, UCLA

Losses: Notre Dame, Arizona, Washington State, Colorado, Oregon, USC, Oregon State

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Cal is coming off a rough 5-7 season. But I honestly don’t see it getting any better. The offense wasn’t great last year and it could get worse with losing Chase Garbers, the wide receivers, and most of their offensive line. The team will have to be led by the defense that lost most of their starters. Jackson Sirmon, a transfer from Washington, will be a major contributor. Overall, this team is in a bit of a rebuild where a bowl game should be celebrated.

10. Stanford Cardinals

Projected Record: 4-8

Wins: Colgate, Oregon State, UCLA, Washington State

Losses: USC, Washington, Oregon, Notre Dame, Arizona State, Utah, Cal, BYU

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Stanford had an abysmal year in 2021, finishing 3-9 with a bad offense and defense. The good news is the offense brings back almost everyone including talented quarterback Tanner McKee. Stanford does have two solid wide receivers with Elijah Higgins and Benjamin Yurosek, but the offensive line isn’t great. On defense, the line is thin with very little depth or talented guys. The secondary is the strength of this team led by corner Kyu Blu Kelly. Overall, the deficiencies at defensive and offensive line will bring this team down, but quarterback Tanner McKee could bring them a few surprising wins.

11. Arizona State Sun Devils

Projected Record: 4-8

Wins: Northern Arizona, Eastern Michigan, Colorado, UCLA

Losses: Oklahoma State, Utah, USC, Washington, Stanford, Washington State, Oregon State, Arizona

Arizona State has totally fallen apart after losing all but five starters off last year’s team due to transfers, the NFL Draft, and graduation. It is an absolute dumpster fire with the upcoming NCAA sanctions over their head. As for the team, the offensive line, secondary, and skill players aren’t great. The one bright spot is Florida transfer QB Emory Jones could be alright. Overall, expect this to be Herm Edwards last year with a bowl game being unlikely.

12. Colorado Buffaloes

Projected Record: 2-10

Wins: Air Force, Cal

Losses: TCU, Minnesota, UCLA, Arizona, Oregon State, Arizona State, Oregon, USC, Washington Utah

Colorado is going through major changes after 23 players left the program. Brandon Lewis returns to lead what was one of the worst offenses in power five college football last year. Transfer RJ Snead from Baylor will help lead the wide receivers. The defense wasn’t great last year and only returns four starters. Overall, don’t expect much from Colorado this year.

2022 ACC Football Preview

ACC Championship: Clemson over Miami

ACC ATLANTIC

1. Clemson Tigers

Projected Record: 12-1

Wins: Georgia Tech, Furman, Louisiana Tech, Wake Forest, NC State, Florida State, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Louisville, Miami, South Carolina, Miami (ACC Championship)

Losses: Boston College

Clemson had an incredibly disappointing year last year and still finished 10-3. The problem last year was the offense as they finished 100th in yards per game. Whether they improve will be a major indicator on how far this team goes. If DJ Uiagalelei continues to decline look for true freshman Cade Klubnik to take over. On defense this is one of the greatest defensive lines in the country and, even after losing some key pieces in the secondary, Clemson should still finish as a top ten defense in the nation. Overall, I expect this team to be carried by the defense and the offense to improve from last season. Expect them to be on top of the ACC and be a college football playoff contender.

2. NC State Wolfpack

Projected Record: 10-2

Wins: East Carolina, Charleston Southern, Texas Tech, UConn, Florida State, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Boston College, Louisville

Losses: Clemson, North Carolina

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The Wolfpack have a really solid team going into 2022 and they are led by the best quarterback in the ACC, Devin Leary. If NC State opens up the passing game and lets him throw more, this is a team that could take down Clemson in the ACC Atlantic. Especially,  because this team is so good defensively with ten returning starters to a top 20 defense. The defense is led by one of the best linebacker duos in college football between Drake Thomas and Payton Wilson. Overall, if I knew NC State would open up the offense a little more I would trust them to take down Clemson… but even if they don’t I still see this team with a good chance of getting to double digit wins.

3. Boston College Eagles

Projected Record: 8-4

Wins: Rutgers, Virginia Tech, Maine, Louisville, Clemson, UConn, Duke, Syracuse

Losses: Florida State, Wake Forest, NC State, Notre Dame

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Coach Jeff Hafley continues to build this team in the right direction. Now with a very good defense and talented QB Phil Jurkovec and WR Zay Flowers returning, this Boston College team will be a tough out in the ACC. However, they are faced with replacing all five offensive lineman from last year. Overall, expect a solid squad who will surely make a bowl game.

4. Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Projected Record: 8-4

Wins: VMI, Vanderbilt, Liberty, Army, Boston College, Louisville, Syracuse, Duke

Losses: Clemson, Florida State, NC State, North Carolina

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Wake Forrest brings almost everyone back to a fringe top ten offense. This includes QB Sam Hartman and one of the best receivers in the country in AT Perry. The questions surrounding this team are on the defensive side after finishing last year 92nd in the country. Expect the defense to improve a little, but not enough to win the Atlantic like they did last year.  

5. Louisville Cardinals

Projected Record: 7-5

Wins: Syracuse, UCF, Florida State, USF, Virginia, Pitt, James Madison

Losses: Boston College, Wake Forest, Clemson, NC State, Kentucky

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Louisville’s offense is extremely dangerous especially with four of the five starters back on offensive line and quarterback Malik Cunningham leading. However, I see defense being the issue especially along the defensive line. Overall, I see this being one of Coach Satterfield’s best teams he has had while at Louisville and should be a solid team in the ACC.

6. Florida State Seminoles

Projected Record: 6-6

Wins: Duquesne, Boston College, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Syracuse, Louisiana

Losses: LSU, Louisville, NC State, Clemson, Miami, Florida

Florida State showed real improvement and growth last year. Now in Mike Norvell’s third year expect the best team yet. When healthy, Jordan Travis was a solid dual threat QB. The Seminoles also bring back 4 of the 5 starters on offensive line that should be decent. Defensively, expect Florida State to be solid with very good linebacker and defensive line play. They also have an edge rusher that transferred from Albany named Jared Verse who will make an immediate impact. Overall, I really like this team in the ACC. But a tough non-conference schedule featuring Florida and LSU will be tough to overcome.

7. Syracuse Orange

Projected Record: 4-8

Wins: UConn, Virginia, Wagner, Florida State

Losses: Louisville, Purdue, NC State, Clemson, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest, Boston College

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Dino Babers is going into his seventh season as the head coach of Syracuse and they’ve gone straight downhill since winning ten games in 2018. This offense will be led by their running attack between running back Sean Tucker and mobile quarterback Garrett Shrader. Still, it is hard to trust them as I don’t project them having a good offensive or defensive line. Overall, don’t expect Syracuse to go bowling in what might be Dino Babers last season as the head football coach.

ACC Coastal

1. Miami Hurricanes

Projected Record: 10-3

Wins: Bethune-Cookman, Southern Miss, Middle Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Duke, Virginia, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh

Losses: Texas A&M, Clemson, Clemson (ACC Championship)

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Miami found their quarterback of the future with the emergence of Tyler Van Dyke last year. Along with Van Dyke, Miami also has a solid offensive line and some talented tight ends. On defense this team was young last year, but return a ton of starters and added quality players via the transfer portal. The strength will be in the secondary after Miami played three talented freshman last year. West Virginia transfer Akheem Mesidor and Leonard Taylor make up a solid defensive tackle duo. Overall, in Mario Cristobal’s first season as head coach he has a solid team. If the defense matures quickly and the offense continues their momentum from last year… this is a legitimate ACC contender.

2. Pittsburgh Panthers

Projected Record: 9-3

Wins: West Virginia, Western Michigan, Rhode Island, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia, Duke

Losses: Tennessee, Louisville, Miami

Coming off an ACC title, Pittsburgh returns 14 starters. However, they are losing first round quarterback Kenny Pickett and Biletnikoff award winner WR Jordan Addison. Still, with their entire offensive line coming back and a good replacement in USC transfer QB Kedon Slovis, Pittsburgh is in a good position to repeat as the ACC Coastal champion. This is especially true on defense where they return almost all of their defensive lineman and a solid secondary. Also returning is Habakkuk Baldonado who finished with 9 sacks last year. Overall this is a really good team, but I worry about coach Pat Narduzzi getting too conservative after his Offensive Coordinator Mark Whipple left for Nebraska.

3. North Carolina Tar Heels

Projected Record: 8-4

Wins: Florida A&M, Appalachian State, Georgia State, Duke, Virginia, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, NC State,

Losses: Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Miami, Pittsburgh

The Tar Heels failed to live up to expectations last year, but they actually come into this season a little underrated. The strength of this team is the front seven and especially at the defensive line. Taking over at quarterback will most likely be Drake Maye who will have explosive wide receiver Josh Downs, coming off a 1300 yard season, to throw to. If North Carolina can have the offensive line and a complimentary wide receiver step up, this could be a dangerous team. Overall, expect the Tar Heels to compete in the top half of the ACC Coastal.

4. Virginia Tech Hokies

Projected Record: 7-5

Wins: Old Dominion, Wofford, North Carolina, Miami, Georgia Tech, Duke, Liberty

Losses: Boston College, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, NC State, Virginia

The Hokies moved on from the Justin Fuente era after a 6-7 season. Now, former Penn State defensive coordinator Brent Prye takes over for the Hokies. Also coming to Blacksburg is Marshall transfer quarterback Grant Wells who is a decent option. However, there are major questions with the offensive line and at wide receiver. Overall, this team will be led by their defensive experience. Expect an average ACC team who will most likely make a bowl game.

5. Virginia Cavaliers

Projected Record: 6-6

Wins: Richmond, Old Dominion, Duke, Georgia Tech, Coastal Carolina, Virginia Tech

Losses: Illinois, Syracuse, Louisville, Miami, North Carolina, Pittsburgh

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Quarterback Brennan Armstrong returns after last year’s Virginia offense finished as a top five offense. Also returning are their top three wide receivers including do it all player Keytaon Thompson. The issues for this offense are on the offensive line as they lost all of their starters from last year’s team. Add to the fact this defense was 108th last year, this is a team with major holes. Overall, Brennan Armstrong and the Virginia offense will do enough to make a bowl game.

6. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Projected Record: 2-10

Wins: Western Carolina, Duke

Losses: Clemson, Ole Miss, UCF, Pittsburgh, Virginia, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, Georgia

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Georgia Tech is a tough spot with a hard schedule and an inexperienced lineup. The Yellow Jackets return just one starter to the offensive line and zero starters in a secondary that finished 121st last year. Overall, it would be a miracle if this team makes a bowl game… don’t expect much.

7. Duke Blue Devils

Projected Record: 2-10

Wins: Temple, North Carolina A&T

Losses: Northwestern, Kansas, Virginia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Miami, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, Wake Forest

New coach Mike Elko has a major rebuild on his hands. The defense finished 118th last year and only brings back four starters. Offensively, there isn’t a clear starter at quarterback. Overall, expect this to be one of the bottom teams in the power five.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Projected Record: 9-3

Wins: Marshall, Cal, North Carolina, BYU, Stanford, UNLV, Syracuse, Navy, Boston College

Losses: Ohio State, Clemson, USC

The Marcus Freeman era starts at Notre Dame. Notre Dame is led by a strong offensive and defensive line. Tyler Buckner will take over as the starting QB along with a questionable wide receiver room. Overall, expect the Fighting Irish to be led by their defense. But the offense will need to step up if they want to be a legitimate playoff contender.

2022 Big Ten Football Preview

Big Ten Championship: Ohio State over Minnesota

Big Ten East

1. Ohio State Buckeyes

Projected Record: 13-0

Wins: Notre Dame, Arkansas State, Toledo, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Michigan State, Iowa, Penn State, Northwestern, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota (Big Ten Championship)

Losses: None

The Buckeyes were uncharacteristically bad on defense last year finishing 59th overall. Now Ryan Day has brought in new DC Jim Knowles from Oklahoma State to change that. There are still questions on how good this defense can be with linebacker and cornerback being a mystery. The defense will be heavily reliant on Sophomore defensive linemen like JT Tuimoloau, Jack Sawyer, and Tyleik Williams. Offensively, Ohio State will be one of the best in the nation with the top receiving group, top running back (TreVeyon Henderson), and a top quarterback (CJ Stroud). The great offense will be enough to get through the Big Ten, but the defense will need to step up if the Buckeyes want to be legitimate national title contenders.

2. Michigan Wolverines

Projected Record: 10-2

Wins: Colorado State, Hawaii, UConn, Maryland, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan State, Rutgers, Nebraska, Illinois

Losses: Penn State, Ohio State

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The Wolverines are coming off a great season where they won the Big Ten and made the playoffs. The offense will be good again with either JJ McCarthy or Cade McNamara leading the group. Michigan has one of the deepest groups in the Big Ten at wide receiver, second to Ohio State. The question this year will be how Michigan replaces a ton of key leaders to their defense. The defensive line is especially thin and could keep Michigan from returning to the playoffs. Overall, this is a good team, but replacing that much defensive talent will be tough to make a return trip to the playoffs.

3. Penn State Nittany Lions

Projected Record: 9-3

Wins: Purdue, Ohio, Auburn, Central Michigan, Northwestern, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Rutgers

Losses: Ohio State, Maryland, Michigan State

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Penn State is coming off two disappointing years including finishing 7-6 last year. Starting quarterback Sean Clifford is back again for his super senior season, but there are questions on what his ceiling is. The offensive line has to make an improvement as they struggled last year, especially in the run game. Even with the loss of Jahan Dotson, Penn State still has quality receivers including Parker Washington, Keandre Lambert-Smith, and Michael Tinsley (transfer from Western Kentucky). Defensively, the Nittany Lions lost five guys to the NFL Draft along with losing defensive coordinator Brent Prye. Despite the losses, expect a very good defense, especially in the secondary. Overall, look for James Franklin to turn it around and compete with Michigan for the number two spot in the Big Ten East.

4. Maryland Terrapins

Projected Record: 7-5

Wins: Buffalo, Charlotte, SMU, Michigan State, Northwestern, Penn State, Rutgers

Losses: Michigan, Purdue, Indiana, Wisconsin, Ohio State

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Taulia Tagovailoa returns at quarterback with a great receiving group with Florida transfer Jacob Copeland, Rakim Jarrett and Dontay Demus. The offense also has four returning starters on the offensive line which makes this one of the Big Ten’s best offenses. The question for this team will be on defense where they finished 85th last year. Still with seven returning starters the Terps may make enough of an improvement of defense to be a sneaky good team in the Big Ten.

5. Michigan State Spartans

Projected Record: 7-5

Wins: Western Michigan, Akron, Washington, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Indiana, Penn State

Losses: Minnesota, Maryland, Ohio State, Michigan, Illinois

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The Spartans are coming off a great year where they overachieved to a 11-2 record and Peach Bowl champions. Payton Thorne returns to quarterback after a mediocre season, but he will have two really good wide receivers in Jayden Reed and Tre Mosley. However, the offensive line is a major concern going into the season as they are faced with replacing four starters to a line that wasn’t great. The strength of this team again will be at running back with Jarek Broussard (Colorado transfer) and Jalen Berger (Wisconsin transfer). Defensively, Michigan State was one of the worst pass defenses last year, but still finished as a top 40 defense. Ameer Speed is a Georgia transfer who will come in and start right away at cornerback to try to help out. Another huge concern with the Spartans is finding an edge rusher as they had a very low pass rush rate last season. Overall, I expect this team to come back down to a seven win team with just an ok offense and defense.

6. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Projected Record: 4-8

Wins: Boston College, Wagner, Temple, Indiana

Losses: Iowa, Ohio State, Nebraska, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Maryland

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Rutgers continues to make improvements under Greg Schiano, improving to five wins last year even with a terrible offense. Look for Gavin Wimsatt to take over at quarterback who enrolled early last year and is probably the most talented guy Rutgers has had in a while. Rutgers also has talented transfer wide receivers Taj Harris from Syracuse, Sean Ryan from West Virginia, and Aaron Cruickshank from Wisconsin. However, they will be heavily reliant on transfers on the offensive line. On defense they will be reliant on young players to step up as they lose three of their top four defensive lineman and linebackers. Overall, Rutgers is still in the rebuilding process and a bowl game this year will be a massive success.

7. Indiana Hoosiers

Projected Record: 3-9

Wins: Illinois, Idaho, Western Kentucky

Losses: Cincinnati, Nebraska, Michigan, Maryland, Rutgers, Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan State, Purdue

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Indiana is coming off a dreadful 2-10 season. During the offseason they received a commitment from Mizzou transfer starting quarterback Connor Bazelak. The Hoosiers are inexperienced at the skill positions and replace a ton in their front seven on defense. Given Indiana’s current personnel, I can’t see a drastic improvement for this team.

Big Ten West

1. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Projected Record: 9-4

Wins: New Mexico State, Western Illinois, Colorado, Michigan State, Purdue, Rutgers, Northwestern, Iowa, Wisconsin

Losses: Illinois, Penn State, Nebraska, Ohio State (Big Ten Championship)

The Golden Gophers return a bunch of starters on offense and defense coming off a nine win season. However, the offense needs to improve, especially quarterback Tanner Morgan. Luckily for Minnesota they get back Kurt Ciarrocca at offensive coordinator from their successful 2019 season. Mohamed Ibrahim is also one of the best running backs in the Big Ten back from an Achilles injury, while Chris Autmen-Bell is one of the conference’s top receiver. The defense was a top ten defense last year, but lost a few guys. However, they have enough talent still left to finish on top of the Big Ten West. Overall, expect this to be one of coach PJ Fleck’s most talented teams.

2. Wisconsin Badgers

Projected Record: 9-3

Wins: Illinois State, Washington State, New Mexico State, Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, Maryland, Iowa, Nebraska

Losses: Ohio State, Michigan State, Minnesota

The Badgers had an absolute beast of a defense in 2021. But now they have to replace some key pieces at linebacker and in the secondary. Wisconsin went in the transfer portal to grab three cornerbacks to help out. They have a strong defensive line led by Keanu Benton. But the offense will have to make major improvements this year, led by star running back Braelon Allen, if they want to win the Big Ten West. Overall, expect a strong defense that will most likely be held back by an average offense from being a top team in the nation. However, they still will be the favorite to win the Big Ten West.

3. Iowa Hawkeyes

Projected Record: 8-4

Wins: South Dakota State, Nevada, Rutgers, Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue, Wisconsin, Nebraska

Losses: Iowa State, Michigan, Ohio State, Minnesota

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The Hawkeyes are coming off a 10-4 season despite having an absolute terrible offense (ranked 94th). Iowa needs Spencer Petras to improve if they want to compete at the top of the Big Ten West. Defensively, the group brings eight starters back to a talented group from last year. The linebackers are all back including Jack Campbell. Overall, Iowa will be a tough out, but the lack of offense puts a cap on their ceiling.

4. Purdue Boilermakers

Projected Record: 8-4

Wins: Indiana State, Syracuse, FAU, Maryland, Nebraska, Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana

Losses: Penn State, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa

Purdue’s offense will be strong again coming off a 9-4 season. They will rely on Aidan O’Connor to throw it around coming off his 3700 yard season. The defense will also be strong returning nine starters to a top 50 defense. Still replacing first round edge rusher George Karlaftis will be tough. This is overall a solid team that will be contender in the Big Ten West.

5. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Projected Record: 7-5

Wins: Northwestern, North Dakota, Georgia Southern, Indiana, Rutgers, Illinois, Minnesota

Losses: Oklahoma, Purdue, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa

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This could be it for Scott Frost who enters his fifth year with a 15-29 record. The offense could be decent this year with Texas transfer quarterback Casey Thompson leading the offense with LSU transfer wide receiver Trey Palmer and Omar Manning providing a solid receiving group. Defensively, Nebraska will also be strong with a big addition from TCU edge rusher Ochaun Mathis and four solid returners at linebacker. However, they are replacing a lot in the secondary. Overall, this should be a solid team in the wide open Big Ten West.

6. Illinois Fighting Illini

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Projected Record: 5-7

Wins: Wyoming, Virginia, Chattanooga, Minnesota, Michigan State

Losses: Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Purdue, Michigan, Northwestern

The Illinois offense was absolutely awful last year, but they still finished with a 5-7 season including a 4-5 record in conference. The team was led by their defense last year finishing fourth in scoring defense Big Ten. The offense should be somewhat improved with Tommy Devito transferring from Syracuse and he should be the starting quarterback. They also have a solid running back with Chase Brown and wide receiver Isaiah Williams has the potential to have a 1000 yard from scrimmage season. Defensively this team should still be solid, but they do have to replace some key linebackers and defensive backs. Overall, this is a decent team where getting to a bowl game will be the goal.

7. Northwestern Wildcats

Projected Record: 4-8

Wins: Duke, Southern Illinois, Miami (Ohio), Illinois

Losses: Nebraska, Penn State, Wisconsin, Maryland, Iowa, Ohio State, Minnesota, Purdue

Northwestern was incredibly bad last year and non-competitive finishing 3-9. This year’s team has very good running backs with Evan Hull and Cam Porter. They will be running behind one of the better offensive lines in the Big Ten which has four returning starters. Still, Ryan Hillinski at quarterback is a major question. Defensively, the Wildcats return only five starters and will be relying heavily on transfers. Adetomiwa Adebawore on the edge will lead this defense. Overall, Northwestern will try to get back to a bowl game by relying on the run game and offensive line.