A 82-game slate involving FBS teams kicks off with a pair of games on Friday, and 80 on Saturday. In all, the schedule features 47 games of head-to-head FBS matchups, 12 of which pit Power 5 conference teams against each other.
The top games this week send Alabama to Texas, Tennessee to Pitt, USC to Stanford, and Baylor to BYU.
This week's schedule includes the geographical rivalry of Air Force at Colorado, an intriguing G5 matchup of UAB at Liberty, and an Appalachian State visit to Texas A&M. There's also the intersectional matchups of Mississippi State-Arizona and Arizona State-Oklahoma State, while the SEC gives us South Carolina at Arkansas, and Kentucky at Florida.
We also get UTSA at Army, Oregon State at Fresno State, Old Dominion at East Carolina, and North Carolina visiting a dangerous Georgia State squad after barely escaping its visit to Appalachian State this past Saturday.
Click on Weekly Picks to see the sportsbook spread, and the projected margin of every game from the Congrove Computer Rankings at CollegeFootballPoll.com. Also be sure to check out our Feature Picks each week.
Alabama is 1-7-1 all-time vs. Texas with 'Bama getting its only win, 37-21, in January of 2010 in the BCS National Championship game for the 2009 season. The previous 8 meetings were scattered from 1902 to 1982 with all five meetings 1948 and 1982 coming in bowl games. The 1960 Bluebonnet Bowl in Houston ended in a 3-3 tie.
This marks the first time Alabama has played a non-conference road game against a Power 5 team since 2011 when a No. 3 Tide team won 27-11 at No. 23 Penn State. Three years from now, this would be a SEC game as Texas and Oklahoma will join the conference officially on July 1, 2025.
This will be the 27th time that the head coach on the other sideline will be a Nick Saban disciple. Last year, Jimbo Fisher dropped Saban's record in those games to 25-1 when Texas A&M prevailed 41-38 in College Station on October 9.
Texas head coach Steve Sarkisian served just two seasons as Saban's offensive coordinator in 2019 and 2020, after he first served under him for a single season in 2016 as an analyst. That season, he was asked to step in as the OC for the national championship game against Clemson after Lane Kiffin was hired as the head coach at FAU. The Tide lost that game.
Saban is credited with reviving Sark's career after he had been fired in 2015 from his head coaching gig at USC for alcohol-related incidents. In April of that year, the coach's wife had filed for their eventual divorce.
This is Alabama's first trip to Austin since 1922.
The computer gives the master a 14.07-point edge over his pupil which is 6 points less than the 20.5-point spread.
Another marquee game this week has Tennessee looking for its first-ever win (0-3) against Pitt when the Vols travel to Acrisure Stadium, formerly known as Heinz Field until the naming rights expired this past February. Pitt won 41-34 at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville last year. Prior to that contest, the teams had not met since playing twice in Knoxville, in 1980 and 1983, both when former Pitt head coach Johnny Majors was the head coach at Tennessee.
That 1980 Panther team featured Dan Marino at quarterback, but he did not play due to injury. Other notables that year for the Panthers included future NFL Hall-of-Fame inductees Jimbo Covert, Russ Grimm, and Rickey Jackson, and future Pro Bowl stars Mark May and Hugh Green. The Tennessee side featured wide receiver and Olympian Willie Gault who had a 100-yard kickoff return in that game for the Vols' only points in a 30-6 loss. Gault would go on to be the leading receiver on the 1985 Super Bowl-winning Chicago Bears team, and is credited with organizing the "Super Bowl Shuffle" song and video.
The 2022 edition of this contest will be highlighted by the QB duel between Tennessee's Hendon Hooker and Pitt's Kedon Slovis. Both teams opened at home this past Thursday night (Sept. 1) and are 1-0 after the Vols scored a 59-10 knockout of Ball State and Pitt rallied to a 38-31 win over West Virginia.
This is not only Tennessee's first visit to Pitt, but it's also the first time any SEC team has been to Pitt.
The Vols were just 2-3 away from home a year ago, but the Panthers were only 4-2 at home vs. FBS schools.
The opening line on this game favored Tennessee by 4 and had moved as high as 7.5 on Monday afternoon. However, the computer goes opposite the point spread and lists the home team as a 4.76-point pick.
The Lincoln Riley era at USC opened with a 66-14 drubbing of Rice while Stanford opened with a 41-10 brushing and flossing of FCS member Colgate. The competition rises dramatically for both squads this week when they renew their rivalry on "The Farm".
Right off the bat, we're just going to tell you that the computer has another opposite pick with this game as it takes the Cardinal by 10.11 against a 9-point spread that favors the visitors.
Southern Cal has a huge lead in the series, 64-34-3, but recent history has seen these teams split the last 10 meetings and Stanford prevail in 9 of the last 14. The Cardinal have also won 4 of the last 5 meetings at home.
A different type of Cardinal is involved in one of the other top games this week. UCF hosts Louisville on Thursday in a rematch of a game that the Cardinals won 42-35 last year on an interception return for a touchdown with 13 seconds left. UCF had just intercepted Malik Cunningham on the previous play as the Knights were attempting to rally from what been a 35-28 deficit on the road. The Golden Knights are 1-0, thanks to a 56-10 rout of FCS member South Carolina State, while Louisville is 0-1 after a 31-7 loss at Syracuse. Still, the computer has another opposite pick as it makes Louisville a slim 0.87-point pick against a 6.5 spread that favors UCF.
Boston College visits Virginia Tech for a Saturday night game that was supposed to be a celebratory home debut of Brent Pry as head coach. But then the Hokies went out and lost at Old Dominion and the mood quickly went sour. That might change as the game moves closer and the home team fans realize the importance of this ACC opener. As for the spread and the computer pick, we have another opposite play as the 'experts' have installed Virginia Tech as a 3-point favorite while the computer takes the Eagles by a meager 0.85.
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.
Jacksonville State has victories at Florida State (2021) and FIU (2020) over the last two seasons and visits Tulsa this season. The Gamecocks will move up to the FBS next season and join Conference USA, along with Stephen F. Austin. Jacksonville State hired former West Virginia/Michigan/Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez steer the move.
Another traditional FCS heavyweight, James Madison, has made that switch for this season as a new member of the Sun Belt.
There were 4 FBS-FCS games in Week Zero with the FBS going 4-0. Labor Day weekend saw 37 such games and the FCS broke through with two victories.
That made the FBS 39-2 for the season and 1,613-142 (.919) since we began tracking this in 2003.
There are 35 such games this week.
Here are the FCS wins in 2022:
September 2: William & Mary 41, Charlotte 24
September 3: Delaware14, Navy 7
LOUISIANA - Won 14 straight over-all (FBS longest).
Last: Won 24-7 at home over FCS member SE Louisiana on Saturday, September 3.
Next: Hosts Eastern Michigan on Saturday, September 10.
CINCINNATI: Won 16 straight conference games (FBS longest).
Last: Lost 31-24 at Arkansas on Saturday, September 3.
Next: Hosts FCS Kennesaw State on Saturday, September 10.
GEORGIA - Won 7 straight true road games (FBS longest).
Last: Won 49-3 over Oregon in Chick-fil-A Kickoff v1.0 in Atlanta
Next: Hosts FCS Samford on Saturday, September 10.
CLEMSON - Won 34 straight home games (FBS longest).
Last: Won 41-10 over Georgia Tech in a Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game on Monday, September 5.
Next: Hosts FCS Furman on Saturday, September 10.
TEMPLE - Lost 8 straight over-all (new FCS longest).
Last: Lost 30-0 at Duke on Friday, September 2.
Next: Hosts FCS Lafayette on Saturday, September 10.
VANDERBILT - Lost 21 straight conference games (FBS longest).
Last: Won 42-31 over FCS member Elon on Saturday, September 3.
Next: Hosts Wake Forest on Saturday, September 10.
NEW MEXICO STATE - Lost 19 straight road games (FBS longest).
Last: Lost 38-0 at Minnesota on Thursday, September 1.
Next: Visits UTEP on Saturday, September 10.