Kennesaw State at Samford
Preseason ASUN Offensive Player of the Year QB Xavier Shepherd and the Owls have some unfinished business to tend to following an 11-2 campaign that was cut short after a heartbreaking 32-31 defeat at the hands of ETSU in the second round of the FCS playoffs. After its departure from the Big South, KSU was picked to win the ASUN this season. The Owls enter the season anchored by an experienced offensive line protecting a quarterback who knows how to get the ball into the endzone in the air, and especially on the ground.
Kennesaw State opens their 2022 slate against a Samford team who was picked to finish 7th in the SoCon Media Poll. The Bulldogs do not plan to go down without a fight, however, KSU’s offense will prove to be all too powerful in this Thursday night matchup in Birmingham, ultimately pulling away in the 2nd half.
Prediction: Kennesaw State 38 - Samford 14
Richmond at UVA
The CAA is going to be one of the most exciting FCS conferences to watch this Fall. With the departure of perennial powerhouse JMU to the FBS - the 2022 CAA crown is up for grabs. Richmond was picked to finish 4th, behind Villanova, Delaware, and Rhode Island. This is likely due to the uncertainty surrounding the defensive side of the ball for the Spiders and new look offense. However, new OC Billy Cosh, QB Reece Udinski, and WR Jake Herres are very familiar from their tenures at VMI. The Spiders should keep it close for three quarters, and prove to the CAA media why they will be in contention for a title this season. This game is worth keeping eyes on for fans of any of the CAA teams mentioned above, as Richmond has their sights set on a playoff run.
Tony Elliot has a lot to prove in his first season with UVA after nearly a decade at Clemson, in charge of several high-powered offenses. QB Brennan Armstrong showed his potential last season under center for UVA, and the Cavaliers should have what it takes to avoid the Week 1 upset against the visitors heading West down I-64. With that being said, do not be surprised if Richmond pulls this out - the Spiders left Charlottesville victorious after Bronco Mendenhall’s inaugural game at Scott Stadium in 2016…
Prediction: UVA 42 - Richmond 30
Early Season Teams to Watch For:
UNA led the ASUN preseason all-conference selections with a total of seven. The Lions open up the season at Indiana State, an up-and-down team in 2021, but could give UNA some fits opening weekend. If North Alabama can put together a convincing win on Thursday, the ASUN will prove to be a conference worth paying attention to this season from top to bottom.
Did I mention the CAA was going to be an exciting conference this season? Delaware faces a Navy team on Saturday afternoon who finished 4-8 last season. The Blue Hens look to keep this matchup close and repeat a 2007 upset of the Midshipmen in Annapolis. Should Delaware put up a fight and keep the game close for four quarters, I expect them to make some noise in the CAA this season.
There is no such thing as an easy game in the SoCon anymore. Even kicking the season off with Wofford, projected to finish near the bottom of the pack, Chattanooga has to come to play. This rare week one conference matchup will be especially interesting to see whether or not the Mocs have what it takes to steal the crown from the reigning SoCon Champs in ETSU.