Thursday’s Den: Our first look at the 2022 college football season

13) Before I post my first college football notes for the 2022 season, I added a piece to the daily baseball page: bullpen usage for the last three days, for every team.

With rosters now restricted to 13 pitchers, bullpens are going to be more taxed; we might see more position players pitching now. Teams can only use a position player as a pitcher if they trail by 6+ runs. 

12) There are 42 bowl games this season, plus the national championship game, which is in Los Angeles, at SoFi Stadium. 

11) College coaching can be lucrative; the offensive coordinator at Auburn makes $800,000 a year, the defensive coordinator $1M a year. The head coach makes $5.1M a year.

10) Clemson lost both its coordinators from last year; Brent Venables was the DC for the last ten years, Tony Elliott the OC for the last seven years. Big shoes to fill for a team that went 10-3 LY; at Clemson these days, 10-3 is a disappointment.

9) How will the Pac-12 do this season? Over the last eight years, only 2 of the 32 teams in the college football playoff have been from the Pac-12.

With Lincoln Riley jumping from Oklahoma to USC, big things are expected from the Trojans, but they were 4-8 last year, giving up 38 ppg during their season-ending 4-game losing skid. 

8) Texas went 5-7 in Steve Sarkisian’s first year in Austin, giving up 36.1 ppg over their last seven games. Longhorns lost three games that they led by double digits in the third quarter. Bringing in former TCU coach Gary Patterson as an assistant should help things some. 

7) Brian Kelly jumped from Notre Dame to LSU; he is 284-97-2 as a head coach. LSU is 11-12 the last two seasons, after their 15-0 season when Joe Burrow led them to a national title. Burrow is in Cincinnati now; LSU had only 39 scholarship players when they lost 42-20 to Kansas State
in their bowl game last January.

LSU had a lot of roster turnover; even their kicker left early for the pros. 

6) Kelly is one of 29 new head coaches in college football this season; there were 18 last year. 

5) After a 1-4 start, Western Kentucky won seven of its last eight games, scoring 41+ points seven times. WKU led the country last year, with 85 plays of 20+ yards, but the QB is gone and the offensive coordinator also left. Hilltoppers have a new defensive coordinator for the third year in a row. 

4) Oklahoma State QB Spencer Sanders is entering his fourth season as the Cowboys’ starter; OSU went 12-2 last year, with their losses by 24-21/21-16 scores. Cowboys gave up 509 passing yards in their 37-35 Fiesta Bowl win over Notre Dame.

3) Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker threw for 31 TD’s, only 3 INTs last year, but the Vols were only 7-6 in Josh Heupel’s first season as coach, giving up 31+ points in all six losses. Tennessee gave up 500+ yards in five games last year. 

Opponents converted 42.1% of their third down plays last year; for Tennessee’s defense to make a leap and for the Vols to be better than 7-6 this year, that number has to go way down. 

2) Nebraska went 1-8 in the Big 14 LY, but all eight losses were by single digit margins; they scored as many points (239) as they gave up in conference games. 

Nebraska has had four consecutive losing seasons, yet Scott Frost is still the coach, despite his 15-29 record; he hit the transfer portal hard, bringing in former Texas QB Casey Thompson to work with his new OC, Mark Whipple.

Nebraska opens the season in Ireland, against Northwestern; they also play Oklahoma before conference play starts. 

1) Former NFL lineman and TV analyst Tony Siragusa died on Wednesday, at age 55; he helped the Ravens win a Super Bowl in 2000, after playing seven years for the Colts. He played 12 years in the NFL, despite being undrafted out of college at Pittsburgh.

He was very good as a TV analyst, often working from field level; he even tried his hand at acting— he was on The Sopranos. RIP, sir. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.