College Football’s Five Best Non-Conference Games For 2022: An All-Time Petty Move

KJ Jefferson Betsperts Media & Technology

(Author’s note: No, this list isn’t supposed to be taken seriously. This is supposed to be a fun look at weird games on the College Football schedule. Yes, Ohio State vs Notre Dame and Alabama vs Texas are more interesting. Those games will be written about a lot this year)

Honorable Mention – Kent State at Washington, Georgia & Oklahoma, home vs LIU

Is Kent State’s athletic director really into BDSM or something? Smaller Group of Five teams play tough non-conference schedules often and MAC teams in general are no strangers to taking multiple paydays a season to catch a beating, but this seems unnecessarily cruel. Three trips in three different time zones, one game against the defending national champions, one game against the best program in the Big 12 for a decade running and a long trip to Washington who was still actually good when this game was scheduled which makes it worse. The LIU game is extremely funny to me also. Is it supposed to be a peace offering for getting your brains beat in week after week?

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#5. Duquesne at Hawaii – September 18th

Duquesne Athletic Director Dave Harper is my hero. For the second time in five seasons the Dukes are set to travel from Pittsburgh to Hawaii which has to be the longest air distance traveled for any game in the United States this season. It’s going to take Duquesne about the same amount of time to get to Hawaii as it’s going to take Nebraska to get to Ireland for the game against Northwestern. 

These buy games are very important for FCS schools. The money they get to play FBS teams comprises a big chunk of their budget, sometimes up to around 25 percent for the entire year so they have to schedule them. I can’t imagine flying to Hawaii is cost effective for the Duquesne athletic department, but Harper said to hell with it and is sending the football team to Hawaii anyway. What a boss.

#4. North Carolina at Georgia State – September 10th

On a certain level I don’t begrudge a Power Five team that plays a non-conference road game against a Group of Five team in a big city. For example, Maryland plays at Charlotte this year and getting in front of high school recruits in that region is a good thing. So why does this obvious attempt to play in front of recruits in Georgia make the list?

Because North Carolina is in the same division as Georgia Tech which means that every other year they already play in Atlanta. I just love that since this year’s Yellow Jackets-Tar Heels game is in Chapel Hill, UNC decided they just HAD to play someone else in Atlanta. Mack Brown has always been known for his recruiting ability so I guess this is playing chess while everyone else is playing checkers?

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#3. Washington State at Wisconsin – September 10th

I like kinda random Power Five vs Power Five games and this one fits the bill and it also comes with the added bonus of putting together two of the drunkest fan bases in College Football. Wisconsin fans are legendary (or notorious?) for riding into town and drinking local watering holes dry. Washington State fans have to do something to survive the harsh winters on the Palouse and that is usually accomplished by drinking. Spencer Hall and Ryan Nanni of the sadly-departed Everyday Should Be Saturday put these two schools at the top of the College Football Drunk Spectrum

Now for some reason a couple of geniuses decided these two fanbases should interact with each other and there’s no way to predict what will happen. It could be a fun, genial time or there could be SIGNIFICANT destruction of property.

#2. Pittsburgh at Western Michigan – September 17th

I will never for the life of me understand why a Power Five team would play a road game against a Group of Five team in a small town, but that’s just what Pittsburgh is doing when they travel to Kalamazoo to take on Western Michigan. This game comes with the added ignominy for Pittsburgh who is playing the return leg after losing 44-41 to the Broncos at home last year.

As an aside, it’s a stellar example of the greatness of College Football where Pittsburgh’s unquestioned best season in four decades involved a loss to Western Michigan. Pittsburgh had a Heisman finalist, a conference championship and their most wins since Dan Marino was there and they still lost to a MAC team that went 7-5 in the regular season.

#1 Missouri State at Arkansas – September 17th

Any other sport that thinks they can do petty better than College Football is flat out wrong. The NBA comes the closest, but they’re a long way from the insane pettiness College Football programs are capable of, and the Arkansas Razorbacks are the KINGS of petty.

Missouri State is coached by Bobby Petrino, who coached at Arkansas from 2008 to 2011. The Razorbacks had double-digit wins and major bowl appearances in Petrino’s final two seasons, but things unraveled when Petrino was in a motorcycle accident in April 2011. Petrino initially lied and said he was alone on the motorcycle, but revealed that there was a woman riding with him on the motorcycle when it wrecked (at a press conference which provided one of the greatest photos in College Football history.) 

It turns out Petrino was having an extramarital affair with the woman on the Arkansas football staff. He not only gave her a $20,000 cash gift for Christmas and gave her preferential treatment in her hiring. Petrino got fired as a result, but he’s like a fungus that just won’t go away and now he’s at Missouri State. So why is this the number one game on the list?

Because Arkansas scheduled Bobby Petrino’s team for Family Weekend.

That is a commitment to a bit that you just cannot and will not get in any other sport. Sure, you’ll see fans taunt teams in other sports, but this is school-sponsored pettiness. Arkansas is paying Missouri State $450,000 for this game. It’s a six-figure comedy punchline. College Football is the absolute best.

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WRITTEN BY

Dan Weiner

Hailing from Atlanta and attending college at the University of Texas, Dan is passionate about sports, particularly college football and soccer. He's a diehard Atlanta pro sports and Texas Longhorns fan. He likes every sport and will watch anything and everything the weirder the better. He joined Betsperts after an 11 year career in television production at ESPN.

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