Biggest surprises of the 2022 college football season so far | News, Results, Highlights, Stats and Rumours

The biggest surprises of the 2022 college football season so far

0 out of 7

    Marcus Freimann Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    The moment you think you get college football, get ready for a generous helping of humiliation.

    Sport inevitably delivers perception-shattering and expectation-destroying outcomes and changes. And in 2022, we’re not even into week four before these storylines — some positive, some not so positive — have started to change minds.

    Hey, that’s what we love about college football. Also, with 131 teams and thousands of matchups on the schedule, it’s impossible to get it right. We don’t expect perfection.

    But we didn’t expect these developments either.

How quickly Nebraska fired Scott Frost

1 out of 7

    Scott Frost | Steven Branscombe/Getty Images

    Look, in 2022, a change seemed inevitable. Nebraska had a 15-29 record in Scott Frost’s first four seasons, and even a 6-6 run — which bordered on a best-case scenario this season anyway — might not have saved his job.

    But it only lasted three games!

    Perhaps the school should have waited until Oct. 1 and saved $7.5 million on its buyout, which shows a little little financial responsibility. However, the loss to Northwestern was awful, and the fall to Georgia Southern sped up the timeline significantly.

    It’s not as if Nebraska will find it hard to afford the now almost unavoidable decision. Sweet sweet Big Ten media contract money is just around the corner.

    But again, three games. I expected him to survive at least until Nebraska lost about a Friday night game at Rutgers in early October.

The rocky start of Notre Dame

2 out of 7

    The Fighting Irish fell to Marshall in Week 2. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

    Losing with a quarterback in his first game as a full-time starter at Ohio State? No shame in that.

    At home against Marshall? While the Thundering Herd is a contender for the Sunbelt, that’s another story.

    The bigger issue for head coach Marcus Freeman is how thoroughly the visitors outplayed the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame averaged 3.5 yards per rush, while Tyler Buchner and Drew Pyne combined for just 5.8 yards per pass and threw three interceptions. Notre Dame gained just 351 yards in the stunning 26-21 loss.

    Buchner’s shoulder injury didn’t help, but Marshall had already established an 11-point lead by the time of his unfortunate exit. With Buchner sidelined for the season, things might not get much better for the Irish, who barely held Cal back in Week 3.

    I’m not selling the future of the program under Freeman, who is an elite defender and a master recruiter. However, the 2022 campaign can be horribly forgotten.

Stetson Bennett’s dominance

3 out of 7

    Stetson Bennett calls a formation in the first half against Samford (Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

    Stetson Bennett led a game-winning drive in the national championship against Alabama. The question for 2022 has never been whether he’s a capable quarterback.

    But what exactly is its advantage?

    Despite being an efficient passer, Bennett didn’t attempt many deep throws in 2021. Georgia trusted him to lead a run-oriented offense, handing the ball around quickly and climbing when needed. That formula led the Dawgs to a national title, so the expectation for 2022 was similar. Don’t fix what isn’t broken.

    So far, however, UGA has been leaning on Bennett’s arm more than expected.

    In three games, he has completed 65 of 88 throws (73.9 percent) for 952 yards. Bennett, who is responsible for eight touchdowns, attempted more than 30 passes against Oregon and Samford. He had only reached 30 in two of his 14 games last season and surpassed 25 in two others.

    As a result, Bennett is suddenly caught up in early Heisman Trophy talks. Not bad for someone who opened the year as a massive long shot.

Kansas is 3-0!

4 out of 7

    Kansas’ Torry Locklin (left) and Luke Hosford celebrate after Locklin recovered a fumble in the second half against West Virginia. (AP Photo/Kathleen Batten)

    I like to put an early L in Kansas.

    Although the Jayhawks defeated Texas and suffered competitive losses to TCU and West Virginia to close out the 2021 season, Kansas appeared to be making better strides in 2023. In general, significant improvements occur in the third year of a coach’s tenure. The system is established and the staff has adapted to the trainer’s preferences.

    forget that said the Jayhawks. They rolled over Tennessee Tech, toppled West Virginia and upset Houston.

    Sure, I’ve consistently praised head coach Lance Leipold. That hardly matters in 2022, though, considering I predicted Kansas to be 2-10 and zero conference wins. Both are already exceeded.

    Kansas is officially under bowl eligibility observation and it would be the program’s first postseason trip since 2008.

The oddly bad openings

5 out of 7

    Phil Jurkovec | Brian Bishop/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    Utah State celebrated a title at Mountain West in 2021. This season, however, the Aggies narrowly beat UConn, didn’t even fight back in Alabama, and lost 35-7 to FCS program Weber State. Technically, that hasn’t changed Utah State’s pursuit of back-to-back MWC titles. It’s fair to say that optimism has, um, dwindled.

    Boston College was not viewed as a threat to winning the ACC, yet the program has three consecutive six-win seasons and quarterback Phil Jurkovec is a legitimate NFL contender. But he has thrown three interceptions at a measly 6.1 yards per attempt in two FBS losses, including a disappointment at home to Rutgers.

    Hawaii, on the other hand, has dropped 56.0 points per game in three contests against FBS opponents. I realize the defense was underperforming in 2021, but it wasn’t “do they actually have eight players on the field?” levels of horrendous.

    Similarly, Colorado’s running defense has gone from being a weakness to a fireable farce. TCU rushed for 275 yards and four touchdowns in the opener, and then Air Force rallied 435 yards and five points before Minnesota rushed for 334 yards and four touchdowns. Complete disaster.

Sam Hartman’s return

6 out of 7

    Sam Hartman passes during a game against Vanderbilt (AP Photo/John Amis)

    It came as no shock that Sam Hartman put up 300 yards and four touchdowns on his return. After all, the guy scored 50 goals last season.

    However, I wasn’t sure if Hartman would ever play in 2022.

    Not only am I absolutely no medical expert, we knew very little about his condition. In early August, Wake Forest announced that the quarterback would be out indefinitely due to a non-football medical issue.

    Maybe you’re not like me, but “out indefinitely” didn’t feel like a promising sign for his availability in the opening month – and especially on Sept. 24 against ACC favorite Clemson.

    Hartman only missed one game.

    Hartman has the best version of Wake Forest, the reigning ACC Atlantic champion, behind center. His healthy return has made the ACC a more competitive league.

Rise of the Pac-12

7 out of 7

    Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix Jr. goes by during a game against Michigan State. (Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Week 1 was incredibly unkind to the Pac-12. Georgia tore Oregon apart and Utah dropped a heartthrob in Florida. Not a good sign for what I expected, two of the top three teams in the conference.

    And that’s why you don’t write obituaries after week 1.

    Transfer-ridden USC has lived up to its hype so far, averaging 50.7 points in three wins. Washington State won at 19th-ranked Wisconsin to go 3-0, and Washington beat 11th-ranked Michigan State to equal the record.

    Oregon State has been averaging 45.7 points per game, defeating two solid Mountain West opponents and starting 3-0 for the first time in eight seasons. UCLA hasn’t played a tough schedule, but the Bruins are also 3-0.

    Finally, Oregon has since beat BYU No. 12, and Arizona has beaten FCS powerhouse North Dakota State.

    Sure, the Colorado implosion and Arizona state’s firing of Herm Edwards also have downsides. Nevertheless, the Pac-12 has many more positive developments.

Leave a Comment