‘Twas the week before kickoff when all through the land, all the coaches were prepping, playbooks in hand.
Utah may still be a week away from its highly anticipated trip to the Swamp, but don’t let that stop you from taking in a full day of football during the unofficial kickoff of the 2022 season. Sure, there’s a lack of marquee matchups...in fact, most of these matchups are downright ugly, but it’s certainly better than watching Rose Bowl highlights on YouTube.
Nebraska vs Northwestern - 10:30 AM MT - FOX
You can’t watch football all day if you don’t start in the morning. After you’ve finished watching Corso don his mascot head of choice on ESPN, click over to FOX to take in the most high-profile matchup of the day as Nebraska and Northwestern travel to the UK to participate in the 2022 edition of the Aer Lingus College Football Classic in Dublin, Ireland.
Due to ongoing issues with the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first US college football game played in Ireland since 2016 when Boston College took on Georgia Tech. The Irish may not be getting the best representation of what college football looks like in America, as the Huskers and Wildcats both finished with identical 3-9 records and one conference win. There are high hopes/expectations in Lincoln that Scott Frost can turn things around in year five and a win over the equally lowly Wildcats would certainly be a fine start in getting his alma mater back to a bowl game for the first time since 2016.
UCONN vs Utah State - 2:00 PM MT - FOX Sports 1
After the dust has settled in Ireland, take in a game with some local intrigue. Blake Anderson led his Aggies to a surprise Mountain West Conference title in year one, followed by an even bigger surprise drubbing over Oregon State in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl, and a spot in the final AP top 25. The Mountain West media projected the Aggies to finish third in the Mountain region this season behind Air Force and projected champ, Boise, but with a talented roster highlighted by super senior gunslinger, Logan Bonner, and his backup, Cooper Legas, the Aggies should be considered a force to be reckoned with atop a deceptively talented and deep MWC. The Huskies certainly won’t be overlooking Logan’s finest as they enter Merlin Olsen Field as +26.5 underdogs.
Vanderbilt vs Hawai’i - 8:30 PM MT - CBS Sports Network
The Sickos Committee is certainly salivating over this week zero slate, and the cherry on top of it all is Vanderbilt visiting the Warriors of Hawai’i. The SEC’s perpetual punching bag takes on a Hawai’i team that is still reeling from a series of controversies surrounding former head coach Todd Graham that resulted in a mass exodus of players (including Graham’s own son) hitting the transfer portal. Timmy Chang is now at the reigns for his alma mater, taking his first head coaching job after working alongside Mike Norvell as a wide-receivers coach at Nevada and Colorado State. Vandy enters as an -8 point favorite, a slim line for an SEC vs MWC matchup.
Fun fact: Vanderbilt will travel more miles to play in Hawai’i (4,331) than Nebraska (4,047) or Northwestern (3,652) will travel to play each other in a different continent.