The 2021 college football season ended in Georgia 33:18 over Alabama in the CFP championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
So who is ready for 2022?
One look at the best non-conference matches for 2022 in September should increase this hype out of season. Sporting News continues its tradition of selecting the top 10 games during the first month. In this respect, 2021 did not disappoint.
Next year’s theme? New coaches. A total of six schools on this list have a new coach who will try to make a strong first impression. These include Marcus Freeman of Notre Dame, Brian Kelly of LSU and Mario Cristobal of Miami.
TROCCHI: Evaluation of new employees
September will provide these opportunities. This list includes home-and-home series and blockbusters on neutral sites. Given the top 10 September games we can’t wait for:
The best non-conference matches in September 2021
1. Notre Dame, Ohio (September 3)
Former Ohio State defender Marcus Freeman will train in his first base game at Notre Dame on his alma mater. This is a guaranteed top-10, possibly the top five matches between the two major programs. Ohio State defender CJ Stroud will be among the leading Heisman Trophy players, but Notre Dame returns enough offensive talent that it should be interesting. The Buckeyes have won the last four games and this is the first series at home and at home since 1994-95. It’s worth the wait.
Oregon Georgia (September 3) in Atlanta
Georgian defensive coordinator Dan Lanning has left for Oregon and his first match is against the Bulldogs in a Chick-fil-A Kickoff match. Lanning also assembled a large coaching team. This is the largest non-conference game for Pac-12 and it is also a virtual home game for Georgia.
DECOURCY: Georgia’s magic win brings tears to QB’s eyes
3. Alabama, Texas (September 10)
This is a huge match in week 2. Schools have not met since the 2010 BCS Championships; Nick Saban won the first national title in Alabama. What will Texas look like when five-star quarterback Quinn Ewers starts? Bijan Robinsion is also back. Can former Crimson Tide Offensive Coordinator Steve Sarkisian keep it close? Alabama will be pre-season No. 1 in most polls. Book this match for prime time.
BENDER: The Saban dynasty in Alabama is far from over
4. Florida State vs. LSU (September 4) in New Orleans
Both teams had record losses in 2021, so the pressure to win here will be enormous. Brian Kelly will debut with the LSU in New Orleans and the Tigers should bring back enough talent to be in the top-15 to start the season. Florida State has improved under Mike Norwell, but is 0: 6 in September for the last two seasons.
5. Penn State at Auburn (September 17)
In last year’s Big Ten-SEC match at Beaver Stadium, which Penn State won 28:20, there were several controversial calls. Quarterback Sean Clifford returns for the sixth season behind the Nittany Lions, who extended James Franklin. The Tigers are in place after season 6-7 in Year 1 under Bryan Harsin and the quarterback will be the main topic of conversation this offseason. Will it be a kick-off in prime time at Jordan-Hare Stadium?
6. Oklahoma, Nebraska (September 17)
Oklahoma defeated Nebraska 23:16 in 2021 in a thrilling match in Norman. Who is facing more pressure in retaliation, the first OU-NU battle in Lincoln since 2009? Scott Frost and Huskers have had three consecutive winning seasons, but the Huskers have been amazingly competitive for Team 3-9 in 2021. Oklahoma enters a new chapter with first coach Brent Venables and is still preparing to move to the SEC. Expect another close.
7. Utah, Florida (September 3)
Utah won the Pac-12 Championship and lost the thriller Rose Bowl this season, and Kyle Whittingham continues to build the program methodically. Florida pushes a reset button with coach Billy Napier, and this is nothing more than a rival in The Swamp. Utah has better results in the CFP era.
MORE: “Too soon” top 25 for 2022
8. Tennessee at Pitt (September 10)
Pitt defeated Tennessee 41-34 with the help of a 27-point second quarter in the opening part of the series at home and at home. They used the Panthers as a springboard to the ACC Championship. The transfer of USC Kedon Slovis could be a starter against the Vols, who will want to build on a promising first year under coach Josh Heupel.
9. Miami v Texas A&M (September 17)
The new coach Mario Cristobal will have a tuning against Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss before this road trip, which will be an excellent barometer for the Hurricanes. The Aggies have gone through great recruitment classes under Jimbo Fisher, but there is now pressure to win the SEC. These teams have not met since 2008.
10. Cincinnati, Arkansas (September 3)
Cincinnati created the CFP with the help of a road victory in Notre Dame in 2021. The big game next season is a trip to Fayetteville, where the Razorbacks start a breakthrough season 9-4. The Bearcats are 6-36-1 against the SEC schools and half of those victories are against Kentucky. If UC wants to stay in the playoff conversation, then victory is essential here.
He just missed
Arizona State, Oklahoma (September 10)
Baylor at BYU (September 10)
Michigan State, Washington (September 17)
Notre Dame, North Carolina (September 24)