3 Crucial Weeks on the 2022 Alabama Football Schedule

Nick Saban and Bryce Young

Getty Nick Saban and quarterback Bryce Young.

As the calendar rolls over from July to August, there’s less than one month remaining until the Crimson Tide kick off the 2022 football season.

This year’s campaign starts with a visit to Tuscaloosa from the Aggies of Utah State on September 3, but the road to the SEC and National Championships will see the competition improve greatly as early as Week 2 and will continue to be tough throughout the fall. 

Three games in the first half of Alabama’s schedule loom large and could be pivotal in determining whether or not the Tide will be making another run in the College Football Playoff.

September 10: Alabama vs. Texas

After what should be a tune-up against Utah State, Alabama heads to Austin, Texas, for their meeting with the Longhorns on September 10. This out-of-conference road matchup may look like a comfortable win for head coach Nick Saban’s crew after Texas’ struggles last season only reaching a mark of 5-7. Looks can be deceiving though.

Steve Sarkisian is beginning his second season with the Longhorns. Sarkisian and the Texas team may not be fully back yet, but signs point to this year’s squad being much more formidable than what they rolled out in 2021.

The biggest change is likely to come under center with redshirt freshman Quinn Ewers transferring in from Ohio State after the 2021 season. Technically, he’s in a QB competition with junior Hudson Card, but that may not be a tight race and likely to just result in determining how much mop-up duty Card will see in garbage time this year.

The biggest possible pitfall for this matchup may not be on the Texas sideline however. All the extenuating circumstances about this matchup are what could make it tricky for the Tide. A road game in Austin in early September could easily see temperatures well north of the century mark, especially with a noon kickoff.

It’s never easy to travel, especially early in the season. It’s never easy to play a power five school in a non-conference matchup and it’s never easy to play against a possible star at quarterback.

October 1: Alabama vs. Arkansas

This matchup has trap game written all over it and that’s for two big reasons. First and most glaringly, the Tide have a matchup looming with Texas A&M the week immediately following this game. And second, this will be a road test against a solid Arkansas team that it took 42 points to beat at Bryant-Denny Stadium in 2021.

Bryce Young was exceptional in last season’s meeting and the Tide needed every bit of his performance. Young went 31-40 for 559 passing yards, 5 touchdowns and no interceptions in the 42-35 win over the Razorbacks. This season’s matchup will not be any easier as Arkansas is also running it back with a very good QB in KJ Jefferson. Jefferson had a solid outing against the Tide last year, going 22-30 for 326 yards and 3 touchdowns. 

While Saban would never let his guys overlook an opponent, revenge may still be in the back of their minds regarding their upcoming clash with Texas A&M just a week later on October 8.

October 8: Texas A&M vs. Alabama

The October 8 game with the Aggies will not only be a possible revenge spot for last year’s crushing loss in College Station but will also be the end of a collision course between Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban after their verbal back-and-forth during the 2022 offseason.

Before their October 2021 loss of 41-38 at the hands of the Aggies, Alabama had not lost to an unranked opponent since 2007, so the Tide won’t be lacking the motivation necessary for this matchup.

A&M, however, has their preseason projections steadily rising and just like last year will not be a lay down for any opponent. The Aggies will be trying to win their first SEC West Division Championship while the Tide will be set to show them that last year was just a blip on the radar.

This game is likely to be the one that determines who will represent the West in Atlanta come December. The key to this game will come down to one simple concept: holding the Aggies under 30 points.

The Tide defense gave up 41 points to the Aggies at Kyle Field in 2021. However, they outgained A&M in total offense by a fairly wide margin, 522-379. It was two untimely turnovers from the offense, a pick and a fumble, that ended up being the difference.

So with revenge as a motivator, getting to meet A&M at home in Tuscaloosa and Bryce Young’s success in this matchup last season, all signs should be pointing towards a win. Whether the offense can hold onto the ball or the defense can create a turnover or two could be the difference again.

If the Tide can win this matchup, the second half of their season is very playable. This game will be an early preview as to just who the Tide are this season and how they might play in December and January.