College football 2022 officially kicked off last week with a slate of Week 0 games, and the Week 1 madness is now upon us.
Fans who have been aching to scream about something other than the price of gas can now turn their attention to more important topics — like, where do I send my money for NIL collectives?
In what’s been the zaniest, most out-of-pocket offseason in the history of the sport, college football is ready to once again become the primary reason for stints and Lipitor in our nation as toe meets leather from coast to coast.
Besides hot wings, warm beer, and cold pizza, the official kickoff of the college football season also means betting. On a weekly basis, I’ll be providing you with what I see as some locks, some bets to stay away from, and some of the weirdest things we saw happen in terms of odds and prop bets during the previous week.
With odds provided by WynnBET, we have some interesting matchups in Week 1, which always seems to see its share of upsets. 2022 will be no different.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Boston College Eagles
Saturday, Sept. 3
12:00 PM ET
Boston College -7
College Football Week 1 Upset Pick: Rutgers vs Boston College
The Eagles being favored by seven might seem reasonable here, but the fact is that neither of these teams was more than average in 2021, and history dictates that Rutgers may not only beat a 7-point spread, but they’ll probably come away with a win in this game.
The Scarlet Knights are 79-64-9 all-time in openers, and that includes some pretty bad teams. Under current head coach Greg Schiano, Rutgers is 9-4 in season openers, including wins in the last two straight seasons.
Boston College has a definite edge in offensive firepower with Phil Jurkovec returning as the starting quarterback for his final season of eligibility, but the Eagles’ style of offensive play under first-year offensive coordinator John McNulty may play right into the hands of the defense Sciano and new defensive coordinator Joe Harasymiak will put on the field.
Rutgers should be much-improved against the pass this year versus their 235 yards-per-game given up in 2021 and matched up against what will likely be a one-dimensional BC offense they could hold the Eagles to less than 21 points. That would probably be the magic number for Rutgers to come away with the win.
Pick: Greg Sciano’s early-season magic continues, and the Scarlet Knights come away with the upset at Chestnut Hill.
Besides some surprising upsets, the first big week of the college football season also provides us with some expected blowouts. While picking Oklahoma to thrash UTEP, or USC to throttle Rice might be low-hanging fruit, there are some good matchups with very favorable odds to take.
Saturday, Sept. 3
3:30 PM ET
College Football Week 1 Lock: Cincinnati Bearcats vs Arkansas Razorbacks
In a matchup of two ranked teams, this could be one of the best games of the Week 1 schedule. The Bearcats will be fighting to retain some of the respect gained in last year’s College Football Playoff appearance, and the Razorbacks are looked at as one of the darling teams to challenge Alabama in the SEC West.
While a tip of the hat was due Cincinnati and head coach Luke Fickell in 2021, the loss of starting quarterback Desmond Ridder leaves a huge hole for the Bearcats. Without Ridder, it’s doubtful Cincy makes it to the American Athletic Conference Championship Game last year, less yet the playoff.
Fickell has not tipped his hat as to whether Ben Bryant or Evan Prater will be starting at quarterback this week, but Arkansas boasted a better-than-decent pass defense last season, giving up just 213 yards per game, which should be improved this year. Neither Bryant nor Prater should pose much of a threat to the Hogs.
Meanwhile, Sam Pittman will still play old-school SEC football and have the Razorbacks grounding and pounding the Bearcats. It will be a ball-control game, and the Razorbacks will pull away late if they can avoid costly mistakes (which they’ve been known to make early in the season).
Pick: Arkansas puts on a show for the home crowd and wins by two scores
Moving to bets you may want to stay away from, there are more than a few games that look tempting but which you should avoid like a blindside block.
North Carolina Tar Heels
Appalachian State Mountaineers
Saturday, Sept. 3
12:00 PM ET
College Football Week 1 Bad Bet: North Carolina Tar Heels vs Appalachian State Mountaineers
For goodness sake, when will people ever learn…don’t bet against App State in Week 1…ever!
The Tar Heels are coming off an impressive(?) 56-24 Week 0 win over FCS cupcake FAMU. While the shorthanded Rattlers didn’t pose much of a challenge to UNC, you can bet that the home opener in Kidd Brewer Stadium will have a much different feel to it.
This one will look tempting because at first glance, it may seem like a single point is far too small a spread. Don’t be fooled.
The Mountaineers and their fans live for this kind of thing, and for a team looking to return to the Sun Belt Championship Game and perhaps stake their own Group of Five claim to a playoff spot it would be foolish to bet against them, even for a spread as small as one point.
And to top it off, there may be no more Jekyll and Hyde team in the ACC than the Tar Heels.
Avoid betting the spread on this game at all costs.
Pick: App State pulls yet another season-deflating upset over a Power-5 team with a game-winning field goal
The Strangest Thing We Saw in College Football Week 0
Hey, it’s Week 0, when anything can happen and often does, but there may have been nothing stranger than seeing Vanderbilt — yes, THAT Vanderbilt — go on the road to Hawai’i and hang 63 points on the Rainbow Warriors, essentially spoiling Timmy Chang’s return to his Honolulu roots.
Could this be a resurgence of the Vanderbilt program such as we saw under James Franklin?
Now that would indeed be one of the strangest things we could see in 2022.