By the time the final whistle sounds Saturday night, there will be just four FBS teams left to play a game in the 2022 college football season. With three games featuring the top 25 head-to-head opponents and a few other matchups significant across the country, to say there could be immediate implications by the time Week 1 is on the books would be an understatement.
Two of the day’s key games featuring the Pac-12 powerhouses traveling south to take on the best teams in the SEC East. No. 11 Oregon travels to Atlanta to face the defending national champions as No. 3 Georgia seeks to eliminate former defensive coordinator Dan Lanning, now the Ducks’ leader. 7 Utah, the defending Pac-12 champion and favorite to repeat as the conference title winner, travels to The Swamp where Florida hopes one of the toughest environments in college football will help significantly upset coach Billy Napier’s first game with the Gators.
And then there’s the nightcap, the only top-five clash in the opening weeks as No. 2 at Ohio State hosts No. 5 at Notre Dame. With three Heisman Trophy contenders and a ton of national championship hype, the Buckeyes will look to delay a Fighting Irish program aimed at maintaining a high standard of play under new coach Marcus Freeman.
While winning is all that matters for the leaderboard, we do care how these games will play out from an odds perspective. Be sure to stick with CBS Sports throughout the day for college football coverage from kickoff. Let’s take a look at our expert picks for the best Saturday games of Week 1.
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook | All times Eastern
Arizona at San Diego State
Featured game | San Diego State Aztecs vs. Arizona Wildcats
3:30 p.m. | SCS, CBSSports.com, CBS Sports app — This matchup features two programs from opposite directions of the competitiveness spectrum that could meet in the middle in San Diego. The Wildcats are betting big on recruiting and transfers quickly flipping the roster. San Diego State hopes a new transfer quarterback, Braxton Burmeister, and key returning players on defense can maintain the top 25 performance. The fiery Wildcats will get enough dynamic plays to keep things close in a low-scoring affair. Prediction: Arizona (+6) –Shehan Jeyarajah
No. 3 Georgia vs. No. 11 Oregon (Atlanta)
Featured game | Georgia Bulldogs vs. Oregon Ducks
3:30 p.m. | ABC, fuboTV (Try for free) — The hangover from last year’s title at Indianapolis is long gone. Georgia will show they won’t be complacent and dominate Oregon in what should be a de facto home game. Dan Lanning knows how to attack Georgia’s offensive personnel, but stopping him will be a much bigger problem. Expect Georgia to come out early on a mission, wear down Oregon and lean on the Ducks in the fourth quarter to pull out and cover. Prediction: Georgia (-17) — Barrett Sallee
No. 23 Cincinnati at No. 19 Arkansas
Featured game | Arkansas Razorbacks vs. Cincinnati Bearcats
3:30 p.m. ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — It’s a weird situation for me because I don’t think Cincinnati’s fall in 2022 will be drastic, nor do I think Arkansas is as good as many others. Yet here I’m taking the Razorbacks against the spread because, while I expect the Bearcats to be one of the best five-man teams in the nation, this is the first game of the season to substitute nine NFL draft picks, including their starting strategist. Arkansas’ experience and home-field advantage will eventually win out. Prediction: Arkansas -6.5 –Tom Fornelli
No. 7 Utah at Florida
Featured game | Florida Gators vs. Utah Utes
7 p.m. | ESPN, fuboTV (Try for free) — The Utes are heading into a culminating year as the Gators enter Year 1 of a rebuild, and the stakes have never been higher for the visitors. Although there is a major recruiting gap between these two programs, Utah hasn’t been shy about recruiting stars in the past. At the Rose Bowl, Ohio State reached its limits. The Utes also crushed Oregon twice to ruin the Ducks’ college football playoff deal. Consider this one a historic win for the program. Prediction: Utah -3 –Shehan Jeyarajah
No. 5 Notre Dame at No. 2 Ohio State
Featured game | Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
7:30 p.m. | ABC, fuboTV (Try for free) — In a vacuum or simulation, Ohio State wins this game by 20 points, but college football is played by humans and the stage is too big to think there will be a blowout on Saturday night. The Buckeyes are playing under full pressure and there have been nightmarish nights in non-conference games in Columbus, Ohio. Ultimately, Ohio State is a significantly better team and will win, but this game is interesting just long enough for the Fighting Irish to cover the numbers. Prediction: Notre Dame +17.5 -Chip Patterson
What college football picks can you confidently make in Week 1, and which heavy favorite will fall hard? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that’s brought in nearly $3,600 in profit over the past six-plus seasons — and find out.