The 2022 college football season will get underway with 11 games on August 27. However, three games involve non-FBS teams, so those contests are off the board. Western Kentucky, Florida State, and North Carolina are the teams playing FCS teams.

Of the remaining eight games, the biggest contest appears to be a Big Ten clash between the Nebraska Cornhuskers against the Northwestern Wildcats in Dublin (Ireland). There are two other conference games on the docket, Conference USA matchups, as the UTEP Miners host the North Texas Mean Green — in perhaps the most intriguing contest — and the Florida Atlantic Owls host the Charlotte 49ers.

Nevada Wolf Pack (-9.5) Over New Mexico State Aggies

Both teams enter opening week with new coaches, several moving parts, and plenty of questions. Nevada won last year’s game – the first time the teams met in a decade – 55-28 and has won four straight over New Mexico State in and 14 of 16 games in the series overall. The Wolf Pack have not lost in eight trips to Las Cruces.

While I don’t believe that this years game will be as high-scoring or that there will be such a vast discrepancy in points, I am going with the Wolf Pack to win this game easily. Under the direction of first-time head coach Ken Wilson, Nevada only returns seven starter’s from last year’s squad that went 8-5. However, the cupboard is not devoid of talent, and Wilson hit the transfer portal hard.

Former Oklahoma State quarterback Shane Illingworth takes control of the offense that will rely heavily on the talented running back duo of Toa Taua and Devonte Lee. Right tackle Aaron Frost also returns, but the key will be the defense, led by defensive tackles Dom Peterson and Christopher Love, who form one of the best interior pass rushing duos in the league. However, the strength of the unit may be the secondary.

New Mexico State is not a good team. The Aggies are just 8-30 over the last four seasons, with four victories and one loss coming against sub-FBS teams. They are also 0-2 in Week Zero games, losing by at least 20 points each outing.

New Mexico State, under the direction of first-year coach Jerry Kill, returns 10 starters with most of the talent on defense. Offensively, the Aggies are a mess and will try to run the ball down their opponent’s throats.

Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Northwestern Wildcats Under 50.5 Points

The game features two college football teams expected to finish at the bottom of the Big Ten standings. I believe Nebraska is the better team and will win the game.

However, a spread of 13 points in the season-opener between two squads that have pretty much the same amount of talent returning is a little too high for me to recommend. I also don’t believe that a ton of points will be put on the board as neither squad is an offensive juggernaut, which is why I am going with under 50.5 points.

Nebraska hammered Northwestern 56-7 last season, but that was at the beginning of October. The Cornhuskers lead the all-time series 9-6 though the Wildcats have won four of the previous seven meetings overall.

This game (and year) is crucial for Nebraska head coach Scott Frost, who is 34-36 in four seasons at his alma mater. The Cornhuskers return 10 starters with five on both sides.

Texas transfer Casey Thompson takes over at quarterback for new offensive coordinator Mark Whipple. The Huskers have plenty of options at running back, but there are questions about several players’ lingering injuries and substantial question marks regarding the offensive line.

Northwestern returns 12 starters with seven on defense. The Wildcats averaged under 17 points a game and ranked 119th defensively last year.

The Cats do have talent returning at running back with Cam Porter and Evan Hull. They also bolstered their defensive front seven through the transfer portal, and this will be defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil’s second year on the job.

Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors (-7.5) Over Vanderbilt Commodores

I am shocked that Hawai’i is an underdog by more than a touchdown. Granted, the Rainbow Warriors lost a ton of talent and are under new head coach Timmy Chang. But Vanderbilt also has its issues and is coming off a 2-10 season.

I am going with The Rainbows as they are getting 7.5 points, and some cases 8.5 points, and thinking about taking them straight up (+245). Hawai’i only returns six starters, but Chang replenished the roster with several transfers. The Rainbow Warriors will be running the run-and-shoot offense, which will be difficult for the Commodores’ defense.

Vanderbilt returns 12 starters with five on the offensive side, including quarterback Mike White and running back Re’Mahn Davis. However, there are huge questions about the offensive and defensive lines. Hawai’i is 6-1 in their last seven August games, while Vanderbilt is 2-8 ATS in their last 10 non-conference clashes.

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Wyoming Cowboys vs. Illinois Fighting Illini Under 44.5 Points

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