College football may have just ended, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look ahead to next season already.
That is exactly what ESPN did as they put out their list of the top ten must watch non-conference games for 2022.
The Big 12 has a team in four of the top ten games:
West Virginia @ Pitt on September 3rd (Week 1)
Texas vs Alabama on September 10th (Week 2)
Oklahoma @ Nebraska on September 17th (Week 3)
TCU @ SMU on September 24th (Week 4)
West Virginia @ Pitt: Week 1 (Sep. 3)
West Virginia opens their season at Pitt with the return of the Backyard Brawl. The meeting will mark the 105th time the two teams have played, the longest running series in West Virginia history. The rivalry is back for the first time since 2011, back when both teams were members of the Big East. WVU won that game 21-20. Pitt holds the series lead 61-40-3 with their last win over the Mountaineers coming in 2008.
Alabama @ Texas: Week 2 (Sep. 10)
Week 2 sees Texas playing host to one of the most successful programs from over the last decade. Alabama will be led by Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young. Texas will likely see Ohio State transfer and Texas native Quinn Ewers at quarterback. The Longhorns also have one of the top running backs in the nation in Bijan Robinson going up against what should be an improved Crimson Tide defense.
Oklahoma @ Nebraska: Week 3 (Sep. 17)
Another matchup with historical ties as this features a rematch of 1971’s Game of the Century. Nebraska won that 1971 showdown 35-31, but Oklahoma came out on top in last year’s matchup 23-16. The 2022 game will look a bit different though as Oklahoma will now be led by new head coach and former Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables. They will also likely see a new quarterback with UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel the current favorite to start after Spencer Rattler left for South Carolina and Caleb Williams is currently in the transfer portal. Nebraska will feature a new quarterback as well in the form of Texas transfer Casey Thompson.
TCU @ SMU: Week 4 (Sep. 24)
TCU and SMU have played each other in all but six years since their first meeting in 1915. The rivalry continues in 2022 between the schools that are just 35 miles apart. Not that the rivalry needed more fuel to fire, but this game also serves as a homecoming for new TCU head coach Sonny Dykes, who spent the last five seasons as SMU’s head coach. Dykes left SMU with a 30-18 record, including a 25-9 record over the last three seasons.