Ranking the best college football games for September 2022: Notre Dame-Ohio State tops the list
2021 college football season ended with Georgia 33-18 victory over Alabama in the CFP Championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
So who is ready for 2022?
A look at September’s best non-conference games for 2022 should increase that off-season hype. Sporting News continues its tradition of picking the top 10 games in the first month. In this regard, 2021 did not disappoint.
The theme for next year? New coaches. In total, six schools on this list have a new coach who will try to make a good impression. This includes Marcus Freeman of Notre Dame, Brian Kelly of LSU and Mario Cristobal of Miami.
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September will provide these opportunities. This listing includes house and house series and on-site neutral blockbusters. With that in mind, the 10 best games for September that we look forward to:
Best non-conference games of September 2021
1. Notre Dame in the State of Ohio (September 3)
Former Ohio State linebacker Marcus Freeman will coach in his first regular season game at Notre Dame in his alma mater. This is a guaranteed top 10, possibly top five, match between two top programs. Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud will be among the Heisman Trophy favorites, but Notre Dame is returning enough offensive talent to make it interesting. The Buckeyes have won the last four meetings, and this is the first round-trip series since 1994-95. It is worth the wait.
2. Oregon v Georgia (September 3) in Atlanta
Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning has left to take over from Oregon, and his first game is against the Bulldogs in the Chick-fil-A pitching game. Lanning has also assembled a great team of coaches. It’s the biggest non-conference game for the Pac-12, and it’s also a virtual home game for Georgia.
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3. Alabama, Texas (September 10)
It’s a huge Week 2 game. Schools haven’t met since the 2010 BCS Championship game; the first national title that Nick Saban won in Alabama. What will Texas look like if five-star quarterback Quinn Ewers is the starter? Bijan Robinsion is also back. Can ex-Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian stay close? Alabama will be the No.1 preseason in most polls. Score this match in prime time.
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4. Florida State vs. LSU (September 4) in New Orleans
Both teams had lost records in 2021, so the pressure to secure a win here will be immense. Brian Kelly will make his LSU debut in New Orleans, and the Tigers should bring back enough talent to make it into the Top 15 to start the season. Florida State has improved under Mike Norvell, but they are 0-6 in September for the past two seasons.
5. Penn State in Auburn (September 17th)
There were questionable calls during last year’s Big Ten-SEC game at Beaver Stadium, which Penn State won 28-20. Quarterback Sean Clifford returns for a sixth season for the Nittany Lions, which extended James Franklin. The Tigers are there after a 6-7 season in Year 1 under Bryan Harsin, and the quarterback will be the main topic of conversation this offseason. Will it be a prime-time kickoff at Jordan-Hare Stadium?
6. Oklahoma, Nebraska (September 17)
Oklahoma defeated Nebraska 23-16 in 2021 in a hotly contested game in Norman. Who faces more pressure in the rematch, the first OU-NU battle at Lincoln since 2009? Scott Frost and the Huskers have endured three straight three-game winning seasons, but the Huskers were incredibly competitive for a 3-9 team in 2021. Oklahoma enters a new chapter with first-year coach Brent Venables and is still preparing. for the transition to the SEC. Expect another loved one.
7. Utah Florida (September 3)
Utah won the Pac-12 Championship and lost a Rose Bowl thriller this season, and Kyle Whittingham continues to build the program in a methodical fashion. Florida is pushing the reset button with coach Billy Napier, and it’s anything but a tough opponent at The Swamp. Utah has a better record in the CFP era.
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8. Tennessee to Pitt (September 10)
Pitt beat Tennessee 41-34 with the help of a 27-point second quarter in Game 1 of a home and away series. The Panthers used it as a springboard for an ACC championship. USC transfer Kedon Slovis could be the starter against the Vols, who will look to build on a promising first year under coach Josh Heupel.
9. Miami to Texas A&M (September 17th)
New coach Mario Cristobal will have tune-ups against Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss ahead of this road trip, which will be an excellent barometer for the Hurricanes. The Aggies were built on some great recruiting classes under Jimbo Fisher, but now the pressure is on to offer an SEC Championship. These teams have not met since 2008.
10. Cincinnati, Arkansas (September 3)
Cincinnati made the CFP with the help of a road victory at Notre Dame in 2021. Next season’s big game is a trip to Fayetteville, where the Razorbacks just finished a decisive 9-4 season. The Bearcats are 6-36-1 against SEC Schools, and half of those wins are against Kentucky. If UC is to stay in the playoff conversation, a win here is needed.
State of Arizona to State of Oklahoma (September 10)
Baylor at BYU (September 10)
Michigan State to Washington (September 17)
Our Lady of North Carolina (September 24)