The Michigan Wolverines are doing well to start the 2022 season and their spoils of riches at quarterback are the leading controversy. There is also the awkward factor that the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors don't much live up to their name and may be the most Godawful team in the FBS this season. I mention all of this to say there may not be much to watch after the first half this weekend for Michigan fans, so I compiled five other games in college football to watch as Michigan fans look forward to which of their excellent quarterbacks will lead them into battle in the coming months.
# 1 Alabama Crimson Tide (1-0) @ Texas Longhorns (1-0) 12:00 PM EST on FOX
Bryce Young vs. Bijan Robinson. Do I need to say more? I will, but that clashing of titans should be enough to sell this Big Noon Kickoff for you.
Alabama will have a true road test for the first time in ages, playing in DKR-Texas Memorial Stadium against a program trying to use the Crimson Tide as a mirror test for their own resurgence. While there is no direct link with the Wolverines outside of the CFP, any college football fan should tune in to this colossal non-conference battle between two very storied programs jostling for superiority in what will become the new SEC when Texas & Oklahoma expand the conference's reach in 2025.
Southern Utah Thunderbirds (1-0) @ #13 Utah Utes (0-1) 1:30 PM EST on PAC12
Michigan fans will want to keep an eye on the Utes, even despite their heartbreaking loss in the Swamp last weekend. One big surprise to come out of that game was the inconsistent play of star Utah QB Cameron Rising. Rising had just come off a career year last season, leading the Utes to a close loss to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl, and the game in Gainesville was looking like his coming out party. What transpired instead was a mediocre 22/32, 216 passing yards, one touchdown showing with a fatal interception late in the game as Utah was driving for the winning score.
Considering the high potential of Michigan seeing Utah in the Rose Bowl this season, Wolverine fans should watch whether Rising regresses or not. The USC Trojans or the Utah Utes are teams for the Wolverines to track, and of the two, Utah has the higher upside, depending if their star QB can bounce back or not.
#24 Tennessee Volunteers (1-0) @ #17 Pittsburgh Panthers (1-0) 3:30 PM EST on ABC
This matchup is intriguing for all football fans, but for Michigan fans, it could be even sweeter. Michigan's current standing, finally omvercoming the demons of their past last season by beating the Buckeyes and winning the Big Ten, has cast a wide shadow on teams they are compared to. Schools like USC, Nebraska, Miami, Florida State, and especially Tennessee have all felt similar pressure of performing below expectations in the past decade or more.
Tennessee is the school most compared to Michigan as they were once at the top of the college football world but have spiraled into oblivion in years since. Their primary rivals, Georgia & Alabama, have steamrolled ahead of them in national prominence while the Volunteers have struggled to achieve top 25 finishes. Michigan fans can watch this game witnessing what they could've been, what one Phillip Fulmer could've turned them into. By watching this game and a potential Volunteer collapse in a year starting with 2, they can appreciate just what Jim Harbaugh has brought them and where the program is.
#20 Kentucky Wildcats (1-0) @ #12 Florida Gators (1-0) 7:00 PM EST on ESPN
A matchup between total surprises. The Kentucky Wildcats under Mark Stoops have proven to be a steady, reliable program in the SEC East, built in no small part on the volatility of the Florida Gators program in recent years. What has seemingly changed in the Swamp, however, is they may have finally found a new star at quarterback.
Florida's Anthony Richardson is must-watch material. Against a very talented Utah Utes side, Richardson showed true play-making ability by scoring three rushing touchdowns while also going an efficient 17/24 passing in the game. Multiple plays by Richardson, including this sick two-point conversion, will elevate the Gators into true spoiler territory in the SEC and will add to the legend of a potential superstar in Gainesville.
#10 USC Trojans (1-0) @ Stanford Cardinal (1-0) 7:30 PM EST on ABC
Michigan fans, meet your West Coast doppelganger. The USC Trojans and the Michigan Wolverines have been compared to each other often over the past few years, both teams having struggled in their respective conferences after decades of true dominance. The matchup against the program Jim Harbaugh built will prove extroardinarily interesting for Michigan this Saturday.
David Shaw‘s program has gone down hill since their peak years back in the 2010s, the program has struggled to keep up the mettle and power that Jim Harbaugh first bestowed on the Cardinal football team. What this matchup serves for Michigan however, is a barometer of how well Lincoln Riley‘s USC program will be able to handle the physicality that future Michigan-USC matchups will bring. Can Riley overcome his weaknesses from the Big XII and make a USC program that can punch with the heavy weights? Or will the physicality be too much for the glitz and glammer offensive-minded system that Riley uses?
For Michigan, this game will be a litmas test, a weight to measure USC for when they come to the Big Ten. Will they become a hastle to Big Ten supremacy or Nebraska with Ancient Roman iconography?