As Alabama Crimson Tide fans are anticipating their team’s opening of the 2022 season, they will have to wait a little longer. Although the Tide plays in week one, week zero starts on Saturday, August, 27. Week zero has come to be known as the soft opening week where cupcake teams are pitted against each other so that fans have something to watch, but this year it is different.
For diehard Alabama fans though, there will be several reasons to tune in and watch some of the games. Three of Bama’s opponents on the 2022 schedule will play on August 27, 2022, along with several other matchups that could play a factor in the playoff picture down the road.
Three Alabama Opponents Start Their Season
The Crimson Tide will open their season against the Utah State Aggies, who open their respective season in week zero against Connecticut at home. Although UConn is known to have a fairly inadequate program, winning only one game in 2021 against Yale, this is a perfect opportunity for Utah State to get warmed up before the trip to Tuscaloosa.
Utah State themselves are not a team to be messed with as they finished 11-3 in 2021 while winning every road game. They also won the Mountain West Conference against San Diego State and the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl against Oregon State. Although the MWC is not the SEC, the Aggies have a tightly run program coached by Blake Anderson who joined the team in 2020. Anderson’s all-time record in college is 62-40. The Aggies will take on the Huskies on Fox Sports 1 at 3:00 p.m. CST.
Conference rival, Vanderbilt will open their season in what may feel like a bowl game environment in the capitol of Hawai’i, Honolulu. The Hawai’i Warriors who take pride in their football program will pose a real threat to the Commodores following an abysmal 2-10 season in 2021, losing their final seven games of the regular season.
Hawai’i did not get to finish their 2021 season as the EasyPost Hawai’i Bowl against Memphis was canceled due to the Warriors not being able to field a team with enough players because of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Second-year head coach Clark Lea of the Commodores stated at SEC media days this past July that “We know in time Vanderbilt football will be the best program in the country.” This raised many eyebrows. Vanderbilt will face Hawai’i on CBS Sports Network at 9:30 p.m. CST, a game to surely stay up past your bedtime for.
The last team Alabama faces during the regular season that plays during week zero is Austin Peay. The Governors recently left the Ohio Valley Conference for the ASUN where they currently reside. In their first matchup, they will take on the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.
Austin Peay went 6-5 in 2021 and even played another SEC team, Ole Miss, who dominated the Governors 54-17. Even though the Austin Peay game will not be circled for many Alabama fans, their matchup against the Hilltoppers could deem entertaining. The two face off on CBS Sports Network at 11:00 a.m. CST. The matchup against the Tide sits in the late season gap that separates the Mississippi State and Iron Bowl, a week of presumed rest for Alabama.
Other Matchups Worth Watching In Week Zero
Two other matchups are worth turning into on August 27, 2022. The first is the BIG 10 matchup of Nebraska and Northwestern that will take place overseas in Dublin, Ireland. This will be an important opportunity to reach into the European market just like the National Football League does annually in London, England.
Hyped-up Nebraska coach Scott Frost has underperformed in every season at Nebraska and now enters his fifth year with something to prove. Northwestern will look to bounce back from a shaky 3-9 season in 2021, following their 7-2 year in 2020 that included a trip to the BIG 10 Championship. This game kicks off on FOX at 11:30 a.m. CST.
The last matchup to check out is one of the oldest rivalries in Texas, the UTEP Miners versus the North Texas Mean Green spanning back to 1913. Both programs are coming off a bowl appearance and are ready to duel it out in the annual rivalry. North Texas holds the bragging rights over UTEP with 18 wins to the Miner’s eight. The Mean Green have also won the last five matchups. Since the 2013 renewal of the rivalry that returned after a hiatus spanning back to 1980. They will play at 8:00 p.m. on STADIUM.
For diehard fans around the country, there are more than just a few games to keep you preoccupied until the Tide return for their revenge tour. Alabama will start its season against Utah State on September 3, 2022, in Tuscaloosa.