Perhaps one of the most exciting times of the year for sports fans, the college football season is nearly upon us and action kicks off this weekend at a couple of schools. Slated as the first game of the 2022 season, Nebraska locks horns with traditional Big Ten rival Northwestern across the Atlantic in Dublin. After that, Wyoming travels to the midwest for a showdown with another Big Ten school in Illinois. For all of these schools, it will be critically important to start the season on a winning note.
For this breakdown, SBS will be going over two highlighted matchups from the first week of the NCAA football season, selecting the winners and also offering you some more thoughts about college football betting.
|NCAA Football First Week Games||The Pick|
|Northwestern vs. Nebraska||Nebraska ML||-110||-110||-110|
|Wyoming vs. Illinois||Illinois ML||-115||-115||-115|
Team Spotlight: Nebraska
Nebraska comes into the 2022 season with a lot to prove after a disappointing finish to their 2021 campaign. Last year, the Cornhuskers were hyped up as a potential dark horse in the Big Ten under the direction of then fourth-year head coach Scott Frost. However, thanks to some late game meltdowns (all of Nebraska’s losses were by single digit-margins), the Cornhuskers finished with an abysmal mark of 3-9. Nonetheless, the Cornhuskers are still a sleeping giant in the conference and could shock some people. In last year’s matchup against Northwestern, Nebraska dominated the action from start to finish and locked down an emphatic 56-7 victory in Lincoln.
Team Spotlight: Northwestern
Another historic Big Ten squad, the Wildcats enter 2022 under the purview of veteran head coach Pat Fitzgerald who is in his 17th season at the helm. Northwestern is coming off a disappointing campaign where they finished with a record of 3-9 after a triumphant 2020 when they were 7-2. Similar to Nebraska, the Wildcats are looking for a big rebound season, but will have their hands full with the Big Red Machine in the first week of their season. Northwestern did not really notch any marquee wins last season but did play ranked Iowa tough at home last year.
Prediction: The Wildcats are scrappy but look for the vengeful Cornhuskers to rule the day here and take home the victory in Ireland.
Team Spotlight: Wyoming
Slated for a showdown in Illinois, the Cowboys are looking to keep the momentum going from their solid 2021 campaign. Last season, Wyoming put together a 7-6 overall record, but had a disastrous showing in Mountain West Conference play with a mark of 2-6. The Cowboys stormed out of the gates last year in non-conference play with a record of 4-0, including two wins on the road at Northern Illinois and UConn. While both contests were close (Wyoming had an average margin of victory of 4.5 points), the Cowboys were still able to close out each contest. Wyoming also was able to travel somewhat well last season with a record of 4-3, including their bowl game.
Team Spotlight: Illinois
The third Big Ten squad on this breakdown, the Illini had a mediocre season in 2021 with a record of 5-7. Head coach Bret Bielema returns for this sophomore season as the head man of Illinois and returns a lot of holdovers from last year. While their overall record was a bit shy of .500, the Illini were still able to notch a couple of marquee wins last year including victories over ranked foes Minnesota and Penn State. The latter contest was especially harrowing with the contest eventually being settled in the ninth overtime at Beaver Stadium in Pennsylvania. Illinois also ended last season on a high note with a rivalry game thrashing of Northwestern at home, 47-14.
Prediction: This game will be a lot closer than people expect, but the Illini will have the slight edge here thanks to their moderate home field advantage.
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