Weekend Preview - Conference Play Starts To Heat Up

September 19, 2022 by CollegeFootballPoll.com Staff

The FBS college football week gets underway on Thursday night with a trio of games that includes the 54th meeting between West Virginia and Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

The odds at FanDuel Sportsbook opened in favor of West Virginia by 3 with an over/under of 53 points. The Congrove Compute Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com also favor the Mountaineers, but by a fractional margin of just 0.002 points. So far, the Hokies haven't had a game where the point total exceeded 37 as they've had to rely on a stingy defense to rally to a 2-1 record after dropping their opener at Old Dominion. On the other hand, West Virginia hasn't had a game where the point total went under 69.

There are 66 games involving at least one FBS team, 60 of of which are pure FBS vs. FBS matchups. There are 6 FBS-FCS games and when this week is done, there will be 14 such matchups for the rest of the season.

Only 5 schools have a bye week - UAB, Army, Fresno State, Nebraska and Oklahoma State. Of those, only Oklahoma State is ranked in the Top 25.

We enter the week with 33 of the 131 FBS schools still undefeated with 31 programs at 3-0 and a pair of schools at 2-0.

Conversely, only six schools are winless. New Mexico State is 0-4, while Buffalo, Colorado, Colorado State and Georgia State are each 0-3. Navy is 0-2.

Games Involving Consensus Top 4 This Week

Each of the Top 4 teams opened as no less than 17-point favorites in the Sportsbooks to win their respective game this week.

Maryland at Michigan (-17)
Wisconsin at Ohio State (-18)
Vanderbilt at Alabama (-41)
Kent State at Georgia (-44)

Ranked vs. Ranked

(Note: For this exercise we will use the AP rankings as there no Ranked vs. Ranked games among the teams ranked in the FWAA/NFF Super 16 Poll.

(5) Clemson at (21) Wake Forest - In the Congrove Computer Rankings (CCR), Clemson is 7th and Wake is 12th. The Tigers are 69-17-1 all-time vs. the Demon Deacons and have won 14 straight in the series. Wake is currently on an 11-game home winning streak in their cozy 31,500-seat stadium.

(10) Arkansas vs. (23) Texas A&M at Arlington -  In the CCR, the Razorbacks are 18th and the Aggies are 34th. The former Southwest Conference rivals have met 78 times and Arkansas leads the series 42-33-3. Last year, the Hogs ended a 9-game losing streak against A&M.

(20) Florida at (11) Tennessee - This is nowhere being a Top 25 matchup in the CCR as Tennessee is No. 9 while Florida ranks 57th. The matchup doesn't pack the rivalry punch that it had in the Steve Spurrier/Phillip Fulmer days, but this week's matchup does have plenty to play for. The Gators are already 0-1 in the conference after losing at home to Kentucky and can't afford to go 0-2 if they want any chance at competing for the eastern division title of the SEC. This is Tennessee's SEC opener and an opportunity for QB Hendon Hooker to make a case for his Heisman candidacy, not to mention a must-win game for the Vols to continue to gain national cred.

Power 5 Conference Games (20)

Every team in the PAC-12 plays a PAC-12 opponent this week. Here are all the Power 5 conference games.

Virginia at Syracuse
Boston College at Florida State
Clemson at Wake Forest

BIG 12
Baylor at Iowa State
Kansas State at Oklahoma
Texas at Texas Tech

Iowa at Rutgers
Maryland at Michigan
Minnesota at Michigan State
Wisconsin at Ohio State

Arizona at Cal
Utah at Arizona State
UCLA at Colorado
Oregon at Washington State
USC at Oregon State
Stanford at Washington

Vanderbilt at Alabama
Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (at Arlington)
Missouri at Auburn
Florida at Tennessee

Power 5 Intersectional Games

There are only 3 intersectional games this week featuring Power 5 matchups.

West Virginia at Virginia Tech - This is the 54th meeting of the Hokies and Mountaineers, but the first in Blacksburg since 2004. WVU leads 29-23-1 after breaking 3-game losing streak last year.

Duke at Kansas - Both schools are 3-0, but the Jayhawks have risen to No. 35 in the Congrove Computer Rankings while the Blue Devils sit at No. 77 as the lowest-ranked undefeated team.

Notre Dame at North Carolina - It's the first of four games the Irish will play against ACC teams this year with Syracuse, Clemson and BC among their final 5 games. Notre Dame has won 4 straight over the Tar Heels and is 20-2 all-time vs. UNC.

Other Top Games

TCU at SMU - This is the 101st meeting between these Metroplex rivals. Since 1946, the game has been known as the "Battle for the Iron Skillet". TCU leads 51-42-7. SMU took the last 2 with Sonny Dykes as head coach to snap a 7-game losing streak in the series, but Dykes is now on the TCU sideline.

James Madison at Appalachian State - This is the first meeting between these schools since 1981 and pits a perennial Sun Belt power (App State) against a conference and FBS newbie. This matchup figures to become an annual Sun Belt heavyweight battle. JMU is 2-0 while App State is 2-1.

Rice at Houston - These two Houston schools have met 43 times with the Cougars winning 32 of those. Houston has also won six in-a-row, but this could be the year that the Owls break through. Rice (2-1) is coming off a 33-21 home win over Louisiana-Lafayette that snapped the Ragin' Cajuns' 15-game winning streak. Houston (1-2) is coming off a 48-30 loss at home to Kansas.

Indiana at Cincinnati - These teams met last year for the first time since 2000 with the Bearcats winning 38-24. Cincinnati enters this week's game at 2-1 while the Hoosiers are 3-0.

Sacramento State (FCS) at Colorado State - The Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com have the No. 9 FCS team favored by 3.26 points over the No. 128 team in the FBS.


There will be 118 FBS vs. FCS matchups this season with App State, Army and Marshall each playing two such games, and 115 other FBS schools playing one apiece.

There are just six FBS-FCS games this week, after which only 14 will remain for the rest of the season.

There were 22 FBS-FCS games last Saturday with the FBS going 21-1 to improve to 91-7 (.929) vs the FCS this season and 1,665-147 (.920) since we began tracking this in 2003.

The lone FCS win was Southern Illinois 31-24 triumph at Northwestern, leaving the Wildcats with a 1-2 record against FCS teams since 2016.

North Dakota State lost a sea-saw battle at Arizona, 31-28.  And for a long time, it looked like Missouri State was going to give head coach Bobby Petrino a win at his old stomping ground, Arkansas, but the Hogs scored the last 21 points to erase a 27-17 deficit.

Here are the FCS wins in 2022:
September 2: William & Mary 41, Charlotte 24
September 3: Delaware14, Navy 7
September 10: Weber State 35, Utah State 7
September 10: Incarnate Word 55, Nevada 41
September 10: Holy Cross 37, Buffalo 31
September 10: Eastern Kentucky 59, Bowling Green 57 (7 OT's)
September 17: Southern Illinois 31, Northwestern 24


LOUISIANA - 15-game winning streak came to an end (was FBS longest).
Last: Lost 33-21 at Rice on Saturday, September 17.

CLEMSON - Won 9 straight over-all (FBS longest); Won 35 straight home games (FBS longest).
Last: Won 48-20 at home over Louisiana Tech on Saturday, September 17.
Next: Visits Wake Forest on Saturday, September 24.

CINCINNATI: Won 16 straight conference games (FBS longest).
Last: Won 38-17 over Miami (O) at Paul Brown Stadium on Saturday, September 17.
Next: Hosts Indiana on Saturday, September 24.

GEORGIA - Won 8 straight true road games (FBS longest).
Last: Won 48-7 at South Carolina on Saturday, September 17.
Next: Hosts Kent State on Saturday, September 24.

COLORADO STATE - Lost 9 straight over-all (FBS longest).
Last: Lost 38-7 at Washington State on Saturday, September 17.
Next: Hosts Sacramento State on Saturday, September 24.

FIU - Lost 17 straight games to FBS schools (FBS longest)
Last: Lost 41-12 at home to Texas State on Saturday, September 10.
Next: Visits Western Kentucky on Saturday, September 24.

VANDERBILT - Lost 21 straight conference games (FBS longest).
Last: Won 38-28 at Northern Illinois on Saturday, September 17.
Next: Visits Alabama on Saturday, February 24.

NEW MEXICO STATE - Lost 21 straight road games (FBS longest).
Last: Lost 66-7 at Wisconsin on Saturday, September 17.
Next: Hosts Hawaii on Saturday, February 24.