Drafting the best non-conference games for the 2022 season | College Football Enquirer

Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde and Ross Dellenger draft the non-conference games they are most looking forward to this season.

Video Transcript


DAN WETZEL: Let us have a draft of the best non-conference football games of the 2022 season. What game are you most excited? I guess that's the only criteria. It could be for any reason, and you can defend your choice as is. Ross, I will grant you the first pick in the draft. Who you got? What game you most want to see?

ROSS DELLENGER: This is going to be kind of a weird one. It's probably not a great first pick, but it's the one, to me, that is the most interesting. And that is the NIL Bowl, Miami at Texas A&M, which comes on September 17th. The NIL Bowl, baby.

So two teams with the biggest collectives. Or at least in Miami's case, the biggest booster kind of involved in NIL. And in Texas A&M's case, probably the single biggest, most influential maybe collective in the NIL space. So the NIL Bowl, the Aggies and the Hurricanes. Mark it down.

PAT FORDE: I like it because that-- you also got Mario Cristobal, new coach there at Miami. And we'll see if A&M is ever going to live up to the hype.


DAN WETZEL: I mean, with that recruiting class, even though they're not fully formed-- but this is a season that you cannot just be dropping games to Miami, a rebuilding Miami club.

ROSS DELLENGER: I think their recruiting class, right, was the best ever in the history of the rankings this past year. And I think it's pretty much every number-one recruiting signing class since 2000 or 2001 has won a national championship in the next four years. So pressure is on.


PAT FORDE: OK, I'm going probably a little more obvious and one that I will be attending and covering, Notre Dame at Ohio State in the Horseshoe, September 3rd. I'm not sure it's going to be like a super close game. There's a chance Ohio State boatraces them. But the interesting things to me there are, OK, let's see what Marcus Freeman has put together with a full offseason to work. He was kind of the stopgap, emergency guy for the Fiesta Bowl. Now he's had nine months to form this team.

And then secondly, I want to see exactly how good Ohio State's offense looks. There's not much separating Ohio State from Alabama, I think, at one-two at the top of this thing. So I want to see exactly whether Ohio State really has the goods to hang with Alabama, or whoever else would be the best in the country, and also how much better the defense is with Jim Knowles as coordinator.

DAN WETZEL: Well, no question, a lot of subplots there. Marcus Freeman's first regular season game, returning to Ohio State. National implications. It's probably going to be 2 versus 5. I mean, there's a lot at stake.

All right, I am going to go in a little different direction. We all know that I like fights. I like anger. I like animosity. I like hurt feelings.

PAT FORDE: Controversy, yeah.

DAN WETZEL: Controversy. So I am going to go with the September 1st clash in Pittsburgh. The Backyard Brawl is back--


DAN WETZEL: --after an 11-season hiatus that never should have happened. West Virginia, technically, on a three-game win streak, but that ended in 2011. The epic game in 2007 when Pitt upset West Virginia and ended what very, very possibly could have been a national championship for West Virginia. Certainly were going to the title game.

PAT FORDE: I was there, baby, and--


PAT FORDE: --that still is one of the most stunning things I've ever seen.

DAN WETZEL: I was there too. It was unbelievable. Never saw it coming, 13-9. The schools, if you do not know the geography of the area, are separated by, what, an hour? West Virginia is right on the border. Morgantown is right in the border.

But I'm happy it's back, the Backyard Brawl. Kick things off September 1. Let's do it. It's the first game, basically, other than the Joe Buck game. I think that's at the same time. What is that, Purdue-Penn State, something like that?

PAT FORDE: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, Penn State at Purdue.

DAN WETZEL: That Fox traded for Joe Buck.


DAN WETZEL: And so-- but this is the game I want. I love the spite. Let's do this. Let's get nasty. I hope this game never goes away again.