Week 1 Predictions – 2022
Last Year: To say the 2021 season was a disappointment for the Buckeyes would be an understatement. Most of their issues centered around a leaky defense. Most programs would consider an 11-2 record and a win in the Rose Bowl a sucess. Ohio State has spent the last 8 months working to forget last year. Only one defensive coach remains with the program and we are hearing nothing but positive reports on the changes. I guess we will know soon enough how much improvement they will experience. Last year, for our weekly staff predictions, Joe-S-U took the title, congratulations Joe! Will see if he can repeat.
This Week’s Games: The long wait is over and it is time for college football once again or as I like to think of it, the best entertainment money can buy. Ohio State has a top 5 challenge right off the back when former OSU linebacker Marcus Freeman brings in his Fighting Irish to Columbus. Will they be able to get some of that ‘luck of the Irish’ and pull off the upset? …. Things start off for our predictions Thursday night as an old Big East rivalry is renewed. West Virginia travels to Pittsburgh to take on the Panthers in their first head-to-head match-up since 2011. Will Pitt pick up where they left off last season when they were the ACC champs? …. Defending Pac-12 champs Utah will travel to Gainsville to take on the Gators. Imagine that, an SEC team playing a team with a pulse in the non-conference. Utah is loaded, but can they rebound from their Bowl game loss in January and pick up a huge road win? …. Georgia is another SEC school starting out with a worthy opponent as Oregon travels cross country to face the Bulldogs. Can Georgia start 2022 off with a non-conference victory enroute to another playoff appearence? Click in the comment box below and give us YOUR thoughts and score predictions.
Buckeye Greats: As in the past, we will continue to include former Buckeye players in our prediction fun and we are thrilled to have Vaughn Broadnax back with us as a regular participant for the eighth straight year.
Here we go with our Week 1 Picks – Good Luck to All – Gregg
(5) Notre Dame @ (2) Ohio State
Andy: The game of the week. A top 5 matchup between two of college football’s blue bloods. First time head coach Marcus Freeman knows what it takes to be a Buckeye, but he has yet to play against them. As Ohio State coach Ryan Day said, “Let them feel our violence”. After the offseason the team heard daily how soft they were. I expect the team to come out and be violent and aggressive on both sides of the ball. My prediction? Pain for Notre Dame. Ohio State 48 Notre Dame 17
Coach Rick: I think this game will be a lot closer than some are thinking. I wish this would be the second game for both teams to work some issues out. I have OSU winning, but not by much.
Cory: The game that most people will be watching the opening weekend features Notre Dame and Ohio State – and it should live up to the hype. The Fighting Irish begin their first full season under first-year head coach, and former Buckeye, Marcus Freeman. Though Freeman was a defensive coordinator there under Brian Kelly, expect some changes from the Irish. For Ohio State the big question is obviously about the defense and will it improve under first-year defensive coordinator Jim Knowles. Looking at this game if it’s a track meet Ohio State could win big, however, if Notre Dame can hang around into the third quarter don’t underestimate Freeman’s ability to light a fire under his team and keep them in it. Ohio State 42 Notre Dame 31
Dave: Ohio State 42 Notre Dame 28
Gregg: The Buckeyes open up the 2022 campaign with a quality opponent and a season that will mark the 100th year of Ohio Stadium. Notre Dame makes their third trip to Columbus where they are 1-1, but lost the last four straight match-ups including two bowl games. The big question that will hopefully be answered is just how improved will the OSU defense be. Notre Dame only returns 7 starters from their offense a year ago and will have a very young squad coming into a hostile nighttime environment in the Shoe. I fully expect CJ Stroud to have a record breaking year and we find the team also loaded in the back field and the receiving crew too. This has a very good chance of getting out of hand early and the only thing that will keep Ohio State from putting up 50+ points is how early the starters will be pulled. Ohio State 59 Notre Dame 17
Jason: The Irish come to Columbus for the regular season debut of Notre Dame head coach and former Buckeye Marcus Freeman and he does it as a big underdog. The Buckeyes come into 2022 with something to prove. With a slew of talent returning from, for Buckeye standards, a disappointing season that culminated in a Rose Bowl victory, the question mark is on the defensive side of the football. With the disappointment on that side of the ball, Ryan Day went out and brought in one of the finest defensive minds in college football, Jim Knowles from Oklahoma State and by all accounts, there has been a marked improvement in fall camp. Even if the defense is only slightly improved, the offense has more than enough talent to win a national championship. No one in America has Ohio State’s talent at the skill positions and they may boast the most talented offensive line in the country to protect Heisman hopeful C.J. Stroud. The question will be if Notre Dame can keep up with Ohio State’s scoring and those hopes rest on first year starting QB, Tyler Buchner. The Buckeye defense will absolutely be better, especially in the back 7. In all first games, it make take a little time for the game to break open, but the quick strike offense of Stroud and star WR Jackson Smith-Njigba, not to mention All Big Ten running back TreVeyon Henderson, the Buckeyes pull away late in the second quarter and bury the Irish early in the second half. Ohio State coasts to 1-0 in a battle of two preseason top five teams. Ohio State 52 Notre Dame 20
Joe-S-U: Ohio State all the way, Go Bucks!
John: The big question in this game would have to be can either D get off the field without giving up points. I’d like to think that OSU has made strides to address the issues from last year, but until I see it on the field color me skeptical. That said, ND has a first time starter coming into what should be an electric environment, so look for ND to struggle some moving the ball. On the other side, so long as OSU’s first team offense doesn’t miss the bus, and they stay healthy, look for their side of the scoreboard to light up like a pinball machine. Would not be surprised to see OSU blow ND out and easily cover the 16 point Vegas spread. However, if ND can establish a running game and chew clock they might keep this one close into the fourth quarter. Ohio State 45 Notre Dame 21
Josh: According to the polls, this is a top 5 matchup, and the first time ever Ohio State opens up the season in a top 5 battle. Notre Dame enters the Horseshoe with first year head coach, and former Buckeye Marcus Freeman, with a depleted roster on offense. Ohio State enters this season after a down year, an 11-2 season with a Rose Bowl victory, but they know the expectations of what this years versions has with National Championship aspirations. CJ Stroud will get a chance to show his growth as a leader, and runner, in the game, while the defense attacks a young quarterback in Tyler Buchner who has only one real threat with tight end Michael Mayer (who gave the Ohio State fans some bulletin board material. Game Day, Jack Harlow, and LeBron will be here for this week one clash, but only the Buckeyes deliver to the hype. Ohio State 48 – Notre Dame 10
Steven: If you believe some of the press who have been at practice, Jim Knowles has made a huge impact so far on the defensive scheme. This, paired with the maturation of the defensive line, should allow the Buckeyes enough breathing room to let the offense shine. It will be up to OSU’s offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson to distribute the ball appropriately, not only to keep everyone happy, but to keep the opposing defense on their toes. The only thing that will kill this offense is predictability and trying too hard to hit home runs all the time. Notre Dame comes to the Shoe a bit thin at receiver and a question mark at the QB position. There is no doubt they will be stout on defense and will play their hearts out for new coach Marcus Freeman, but enthusiasm alone won’t be able to win this one. The talent gap is just too wide between the two teams. Ohio State shouldn’t run up the score on a revered alum, but it may just happen organically. OSU 51-28
Trout: Ohio State wins this game by a few scores. I think Notre Dame’s rank is mostly because they are an established brand. I really don’t think the Irish can hang with the Buckeyes for all four quarters. I do see it being close early. The Buckeyes tend to start slow, especially in season openers. However, once CJ Stroud finds his rhythm, the Buckeye offense will be hard to stop. Also, I think Henderson will have another outstanding year at running back. There are still lingering questions about the defense, but I am hopefully from what I heard about Jim Knowles’ new system. I do think the game remains close for maybe the first quarter, or even the half. But once Stroud and his receiving core get it going, there is no looking back. Ohio State 45-21
Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83): Ohio State gets after Notre Dame 49-10.
Final Score: Ohio State 21 Notre Dame 10
West Virginia @ (17) Pittsburgh
Andy: Pitt lost their NFL QB, their top receiver and their offensive coordinator. West Virginia added JT Daniels from Georgia in the transfer portal who has looked great in fall camp per reports out of Blacksburg. I like West Virginia in this one. WVU 35 Pitt 21
Coach Rick: I have this game as a coin flip being it is at Pitt. I think West Virginia will win with a late drive. WVU by 5.
Cory: Pitt may have lost wide receiver Jordan Addison to USC, but they took quarterback Kedon Slovis in return. Funny enough, the quarterback opposite of Slovis this week is another former USC player in J.T. Daniels. Daniels did not look good in his time at Georgia and was never able to beat out Stetson Bennett for the job. I’ve got more faith in Slovis than I do Daniels. Pitt 31 West Virginia 20
Dave: Pittsburgh 32 WVU 14
Gregg: I cannot think about this match-up without thinking of the 2007 season ending game. An unbeaten Mountaineer team was one win away from going to the National championship game but was upset by the Panthers. That loss allowed LSU to back into the game against Ohio State, which was won by the Tigers. I still say if West Virginia and then coach Rich Rod had played the Buckeyes, there would be one more banner flying in Columbus. Since that time Pitt has moved to the ACC and WVU is now in the Big 12. Neither team have made a dent in their new conferences until Pittsburgh managed to win the ACC in 2021. West Virginia is only 68-56 the last ten seasons. Projections for 2022 are much higher for the Panthers in the pre-season hype and that is how I see this version of the Backyard Brawl going. Pittsburgh 27 West Virginia 17
Jason: West Virginia and Pittsburgh renew old acquaintances for the first time in a couple years in The Backyard Brawl and it will be a battle of former USC quarterbacks. Behind JT Daniels, the Mountaineers look to put up big numbers offensively in 2022 if Daniels can stay on the field, something he failed to do in his lone year at Georgia. Behind a talented offensive line, Daniels should have time to fling it all over the field despite leading the Big 12 in sacks allowed a year ago. Pitt has an outstanding defensive front, leading the ACC in stopping the run and second in the nation a year ago in sacks so WVU will be tested up front early and often. Pitt QB Kedon Slovis transfers in and he has big shoes to fill for the departed Heisman finalist Kenny Pickett, but Slovis is very good. This has the makings of an offensive battle that will go back and forth all night long and could very well come down to a late drive. Daniels will make his share of plays but not enough to overcome Slovis and in a rivalry game that will live up to the billing, the Panthers get it done and knock off the Mountaineers at home to get a huge first win. Pitt 42 WVU 35
John: Week one is always fun because, as that former Crimson Tide superstar Forrest Gump once said, “You never know what your gonna get”. That said, Pitt, at home, should be able to handle the Mountaineers. Pitt 31 West Virginia 21
Josh: The 2021 ACC Champs kick off the season with an old rivalry against the Mountaineers of West Virginia. Pitt is not the same team as they were last year, losing a first round quarterback Kenny Pickett, a Biletnikoff winner in Jordan Addison who transferred to USC, and the offensive coordinator left to join Scott Frost in Nebraska (though he might get a promotion soon based on the Week 0 match up against Northwestern). West Virginia is also experiencing some holes to fill as their leading QB Jarret Doege transferred to Western Kentucky, and could be relying on transfer quarterback JT Daniels. Pitt did replace Picket with former USC Trojan Kedon Slovis, so it will be a battle between two former USC quarterbacks who finally found their final transfer spot. Pitt will have some wrinkles for the Mountaineers and are favored at home, but I see the Mountaineers pulling an upset and shaking up the top 25. West Virginia 31 Pittsburgh 28
Steven: The line has WVU as a decided underdog, but I wonder how much the loss of Kenny Pickett is going to affect the Panthers. Without any tape on this year’s teams, I’m gonna take a flyer on the Mountaineers, but I foresee a close game. WVU 31-28
Trout: I am picking Pittsburgh for this game, but I do think it’ll be very close. The Panthers had a surprisingly good season last year, but it could be said that it was because of Kenny Pickett and Jordan Addison. Neither of those players are on the team this year. I feel like Pitt will take a step back this year. They should still be better than the mountaineers, who are coming off a 6-6 season. I see the game being relatively close , with Pitt pulling away towards the end. The Pittsburgh Panthers win, but don’t look impressive doing it. (Pitt, 24-17)
Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83): Pittsburgh has lost a lost of production with the departures of Pickett and Addison. West Virginia welcoming J.T. Daniels and I look for an immediate improvement to the Mountaineer’s passing game. I am going with WVU over Pittsburgh 34-17 to bring back this old rivalry.
Final Score: Pittsburgh 38 West Virginia 31
(7) Utah @ Florida
Andy: I think Utah is a great team, physical with good lines of scrimmage and a tough run game lead by quarterback Cam Rising. I think Florida under 1st year coach Billy Napier will undergo some growing pains, especially on offense. Despite being the away team, I expect Utah to win. Utah 28 Florida 20
Coach Rick: I think Utah lost some key positions from last year, but still has a better team then Florida. I have Utah winning by 10.
Cory: Though Buckeye fans are well aware of how good Utah is, most people still underestimate the Utes. Utah returns pretty much everybody from last season including quarterback Cameron Rising, running back Tavion Thomas, and corner back Clark Phillips. Florida is in its first year under new head coach Billy Napier and while the Gators are positive about the outlook under him, it could be a rough year. Anthony Richardson is the starter at quarterback and while he is very dynamic, his passing has to be more consistent. Going to the Swamp is not easy for any time, but the veteran Utes will be up to the task. Utah 35 Florida 31
Dave: Utah 28 Florida 14
Gregg: Buckeye fans know that Coach Whittingham and the Utes are for real. It took a highlight real performance in the second half for the Buckeyes to pull out the 48-45 win in the Rose Bowl in January. With this game being in Gainsville, I think Florida will ride the excitement of ‘The Swamp’ crowd to keep it close but in the end, think Utah has too much firepower with a very mature offense. Utah 31 Florida 27
Jason: Florida has an NFL quarterback prospect in Anthony Richardson but the Gators will try to get things going with the run game and employ balance on offense behind a good offensive line. The Utah defense is replacing a solid group of Linebackers but the front should be disruptive once again in ’22 for a team who won the Pac 12 a year ago. The Gator front on defense will be tasked to hold up against a stout Utah offensive line who is known to push people around. The Utes should be able to run the football and grind it out which is important on the road, where the Utes have not always fared so well. QB Cameron Rising is coming into the most hostile environment he’s ever seen and it won’t be easy, but behind a solid run game and some timely passing, the Utes pull out a close one, getting a late stop to take their first step toward representing the Pac 12 in the CFP. Utah 31 Florida 27
Joe-S-U: Utah gets the win on the road.
John: A tough opener for Utah, but they catch a break with this one being a night game. Between the time change and the Florida heat/humidity a noon or 3:30 kick would have been brutal. Strange to see the Gator’s picked to finish behind Kentucky in the SEC East. If the Ute’s offense can pick up where they left off last year they have the potential to win this one big, but they will have to show me they can get stops on D before I go all in. Utah should win, but it will be a close four quarter game. Utah 34 Florida 31
Josh: Utah has a lot coming back from its Rose Bowl team that almost beat the Buckeyes, and will have one of the more experience quarterbacks in the country leading them in Cameron Rising, and a stud tight end in Brant Kuithe who could challenge for the Mackey Award this season. The Utes defense will be highlighted with Clark Phillips III and Vonte Davis who will look to step up after the departure of first round pick leading tackler Devin Lloyd. Florida is the underdog at home, and are looking to Anthony Robinson, aka AR15, to lead the Gators who will try and challenge for the SEC East. Billy Napier will make his debut as the head coach for Florida from a Louisiana team that beat Marshall in the New Orleans bowl and a 40-12 record. The Utes are too good in this one, and the Gators are not ready yet for the experience Kyle Whittingham will bring to Gainesville, and leave with a statement win. Utah 35 Florida 17
Steven: As we saw in the Rose Bowl, Utah’s offense is formidable. Can they beat a Gator team that lost 3 of their final 5 last year? The pundits see it the other way, but even on the road, the Utes should be able to overwhelm the Florida defense, and set themselves up for a playoff run. Utes 48-35
Trout: I think the Utes win this game. I don’t have any confidence in the Gators’ abilities. I don’t think Utah is now a powerhouse in college football, but they were a good team that gave Ohio State a run for their money in last years Rose Bowl. Granted, there were times a high school team could of scored on that bad Buckeye defense. I just believe they are the better team. Florida has been so inconsistent since Urban left. And last year they were embarrassed by losing to some of the bottom tier SEC teams. They may be talented enough to hang with the Utes. I see the game being very low scoring and very close. But I do see Utah getting a late score, and ultimately winning the game. Florida starts off the season with a lose. (Utah 27-23)
Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83): I think Utah comes down south and beats Florida 27-12.
Final Score: Florida 29 Utah 26
(11) Oregon vs. (3) Georgia
Andy: Dan Lanning the new coach at Oregon has yet to be a head coach. On top of that he is coming from his former team, which he knows how they operate on both offense and defense. I don’t anticipate that helping him much this game, Georgia has a loaded roster and they return their QB from last year (Bennett). While they lost a generational defense, Oregon’s offense should get pushed around by a tough Georgia front seven. Georgia 35 Oregon 14
Coach Rick: I am not sold on Oregon at this time. They did not end last season well, so they have a lot to prove to me. I have Georgia winning by 14.
Cory: Well this should be an interesting one. The defending national champions open the season against Oregon. Following up a national title is not an easy act regardless of which team it is, and while Georgia is still loaded they did lose a lot of talent to the NFL. Making things even more interesting is that Oregon has an Auburn transfer at quarterback in Bo Nix, and their new head coach is Dan Lanning, who was previously the defensive coordinator at Georgia. Oregon might be good this year, but the first game under a new head coach and it’s against the defending national champions – it’s a lot to overcome. Georgia 28 Oregon 10
Dave: Georgia 38 Oregon 14
Gregg: Another example of an SEC playing a Power 5 opponent on a ‘neutral’ site. I do give the Bulldogs credit for scheduling this match-up but the 3000 miles the Ducks will be fly across country will hardly make them think this is anything but a road game to start 2022. Stetson Bennett is back for his senior season and should have a big game this week 1 match-up. Georgia only has three starters returning in defense so I see Oregon scoring some points but not enough to win. Georgia 41 Oregon 27
Jason: Oregon is no novice at tough road openers, see the win in Columbus a year ago, but a new team with a new coaching staff and playing at the defending champs to kick off the new season is no picnic. The Ducks boast as good an offensive line as the Dawgs will see and the Duck front 7 may be the same. The offense has the potential for explosive plays both through the air with Auburn transfer Bo Nix and on the ground to give Georgia all it wants for an opener. The Bulldogs lost a ton of NFL talent but they still have plenty in Athens and they will be ready. Georgia QB Stetson Bennett is nothing spectacular but he doesn’t have to be. He just has to manage the football game and let the defense do the rest. Oregon will battle but it just won’t have quite enough offense to overcome the hostile Georgia crowd and the Bulldogs pull away in the fourth quarter to get the new season started off with a big W. Georgia 38 Oregon 24
Joe-S-U: Georgia begins their title defense with a win in Atlanta
John: A better indication of how close the Pac12 is to the SEC is this game. My guess is that the Pac still has a ways to go. Georgia 27 Oregon 13
Josh: The Georgia Bulldogs begin their defending National Champs title against a formidable foe Oregon Ducks in their week 1 match up in a “neutral site.” And by neutral, it is Atlanta GA which is a mere 70 miles away from campus, compared to the 2615 miles for the Ducks. Georgia enters as the number 3 team in the country, and will try to replace 7 starter on defense, and led by Stetson Bennett on the offensive side, a game manager. Oregon starts their Dan Lanning era as the 11th preseason ranked team in the country, led by Noah Sewell, but replacing a lot of the weapons they had on offense a year ago. This might be a pretty low scoring affair for both teams, as both will be discovering what the 2022 version of their team will be, but with the proximity and pro Bulldog crowd, I see Georgia picking up the win, but don’t cover the spread. Georgia 24 Oregon 17
Steven: Too many losses to the NFL draft for Oregon and a lot of returning talent on Georgia’s squad should equate to a blowout for the Bulldogs. Root for the Ducks, but don’t expect much. There should be a good amount of offense to make the game fun, and will be a measuring stick game come playoff time. Let’s see how good Georgia looks this year. UGA 44-21
Trout: I think Oregon is going to be a good team. They will probably be the one of the teams fighting for the PAC-12 championship along with USC and Utah. Having said that, I don’t think they stand a chance against the Bulldogs. The reigning national champs, are significantly on both sides of the ball. I do think Georgia will slip up in a game sometime this year, as they usually do, but it won’t be this games. I can see the Ducks hanging early with Georgia, but as the game goes on, the Bulldogs will start pulling away. I don’t see the game being a complete blowout, but I believe the Georgia Bulldogs will win comfortably. Georgia 42-24
Vaughn Broadnax (OSU 1980-83): Oregon upsets Georgia 28-24.
Final Score: Georgia 49 Oregon 3
Josh: This might be a popular pick because the spread is only 3.5 points, but Penn State opens the season against a Purdue Boilermaker team that played “Spoilermaker” two times last year against Iowa and Michigan State. James Franklin is 11-11 in his last 22 games, and Penn State starts off the season unranked for the first time in a few years. Sean Clifford is back, but he might only get to keep his job up to the Auburn game before Franklin makes the switch to Drew Allar. Aiden O’Connell will be without playmaker David Bell, but in Jeff Brohm’s offense, a new marquee player will step up, and might prediction is Milton Wright will be a name that will be buzzing after this weekend. Purdue 42 Penn State 31.