If the results during the first full week of the college football season are any indication, buckle up because it is going to be quite the ride to crown the national champion.
There were 20 one-score games featuring at least one Football Bowl Subdivision team. While most of the favorites were able to come away with Week 1 victories, there were more than a few surprises along the way.
With three matchups between ranked teams, there were going to be some things changing when the new polls come out. Add in Utah falling at Florida and that will only add to the decisions that poll voters need to make. The slate of games isn’t over with Florida State playing LSU and Clemson meeting Georgia Tech.
The college football predictions still have Alabama as the team to beat in the race to the national title. Make sure to check out our College Football betting online!
New Year, Familiar Script
The 2021 college football season ended with SEC rivals Georgia and Alabama meeting in the national championship game. Even with 22 players from the teams being selected in the 2022 NFL Draft including seven going in the first round, it was business as usual for the Bulldogs and Crimson Tide as the 2022 season got underway.
Quarterback Stetson Bennett completed 25-of-31 passes for 368 yards. He threw for two touchdowns and ran for another in Georgia’s 49-3 win over Oregon in the Chick-fil-A Classic.
Alabama had an easier time with a 55-0 win over defending Mountain West champion Utah State. Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young threw for five touchdowns and added 100 yards on five carries for the Crimson Tide.
Transfer QBs Deliver
If there was one storyline dominating the headlines from the end of the 2021 season and leading into the 2022 campaign, it was the transfers of prominent quarterbacks.
The most noteworthy name to switch teams was Caleb Williams as he went from Oklahoma to USC. In his debut game with USC, Williams completed 19-of022 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns in a romp over Rice. He also rushed for 68 yards.
Former UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel took over in Oklahoma. He passed for two scores and ran for another in a 45-13 win over UTEP. Quinn Ewers also had a pair of TD passes in Texas’ 52-10 win over Louisiana Monroe.
Former Missouri QB Connor Bazelak threw for 330 yards and led Indiana on a late scoring drive in a 23-20 win over Illinois.
It was a pretty quiet debut for Jaxson Dart, who moved from USC to Ole Miss. He threw for 154 yards with one touchdown and an interception in a 28-10 win over Troy.
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Buckeyes Win Ugly One
It could be argued that Ohio State has the best quarterback, running back and receiver in the country. This was not the start C.J. Stroud, TreVeyon Henderson and Jaxon Smith-Njigba were looking to launch their Heisman Trophy candidacy.
Stroud did throw for a pair of touchdowns but his 223 passing yards were the second lowest in his 13 games as Ohio State’s starter. Henderson had 91 rushing yards while Smith-Njigba had three yards on two receptions.
Ohio State trailed Notre Dame at halftime in the only matchup of the week between Top-10 teams but the Buckeyes outscored Notre Dame 14-0 in the second half for the hard-earned 21-10 win.
Tar Heels Win a Thriller
It somehow seems fitting that basketball powerhouse North Carolina kicked off the season with a game that had enough scoring to make people think the showdown against Appalachian State was played in Dean Dome rather than at Appalachian State’s Kidd Brewer Stadium.
The teams combined for 62 points in the fourth quarter alone.
Chase Brice’s sixth touchdown pass of the game with nine seconds left brought the host Mountaineers within two points. Brice was stopped on the two-point conversion run and the Tar Heels recovered the ensuing onsides kick to escape with the 63-61 win.
— Carolina Football (@UNCFootball) September 3, 2022
Drake Maye had 352 passing yards and four TDs for UNC. He added 76 yards on the ground and another score.
Those who were sports betting online and went with the game to go over the 55½-point total didn’t need to sweat things out as the game topped that mark with 2:21 left in the third quarter.
Another Down-to-the-Wire Finish in Greenville
What was it with the showdowns between North Carolina-based teams?
Much like their rivals from Chapel Hill, the North Carolina State Wolfpack barely escaped with a win on the road against East Carolina.
While there wasn’t as much in the way of offensive fireworks in this one, the ending was just as hard to believe.
East Carolina pulled within a point with 2:58 left to play on a short touchdown run by Rahjai Harris but the extra point by Owen Daffer was no good.
The Pirates got the ball back but with four seconds to play, Daffer’s 42-yard field goal was also off target as North Carolina State returned home with the 21-20 win.
This was hardly the only game to remember featuring American Athletic Conference teams in Week 1. Defending champion Cincinnati gave Arkansas all it could handle before falling 31-24 while Houston rallied from a 14-point deficit to edge UTSA 37-35 in overtime.
Hokies Could Have Done Without Trip Down Memory Lane
There’s no doubt that the Atlantic Coast Conference led the way in compelling finishes in Week 1.
Four games were decided by three points or less while Pittsburgh’s showdown with former conference rival West Virginia wasn’t decided until the Panthers returned a JT Daniels pass for a touchdown to break a 31-31 tie and then forced a fourth-down incompletion on the Mountaineers’ final offensive play.
Still, ACC won all of those nail biters with one notable exception.
Virginia Tech lost to Old Dominion for the second time in the last three meetings between the teams.
Blake Watson’s 1-yard run with 33 seconds left gave Old Dominion the 20-17 victory in front of their home fans. The last time ODU played host to Va Tech, the result was a 49-35 victory for the Monarchs in 2018.
With the college football picks favoring the visiting Hokies by six points, this wasn’t quite as big of an upset as in 2018 when Old Dominion was a 28-point underdog.
Gators Feast on Defending Pac-12 Champions
Only one ranked team fell to an unranked squad during the first full week of the college football season.
Reigning Pac-12 champion Utah had no answers for Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson who scored his third touchdown of the game with 1:25 to play to give the Gators the 29-26 victory.
Utah ran eight more plays and had the ball for an additional 4:34 only to come out on the wrong side of the scoreboard.
Welcome to the Family
It can be a difficult adjustment for even the top Football Championship Subdivision teams to make the jump to the Football Bowl Subdivision level.
However, James Madison had no such issues. The Dukes rolled to a 44-7 win over Middle Tennessee State in the program’s first game at the FBS level.
Quarterback Todd Centeio had a season debut for the ages as he was 21 of 33 passing for 287 yards with six touchdown passes and he added 110 rushing yards and another score.
Windmon Living in the Backfield
There is no truth to the rumor that Michigan State linebacker Jacoby Windmon spent more time in the Western Michigan offensive backfield than the Broncos’ running backs. However, at times it certainly looked as if that was the case.
Windmon had four sacks in Michigan State’s 35-13 victory. In his last three games dating back to the 2021 season, he has games with three and four sacks.
Tough Way To Start for the Midshipmen
There were nearly 40 matchups between FBS and FCS programs in Week 1 but there was only one FBS team that tasted defeat from a team from a lower level.
Delaware, a 2020 FCS semifinalist, was outgained 319-202 by Navy but came away with the 14-7 victory thanks to a pair of Nolan Henderson touchdown passes. There were a few other close calls but the other FBS took care of business even if they didn’t always look impressive while doing so.
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