For several years, Labor Day Weekend brought college football fans a series of blockbuster games like a comedian’s one-liners, one after another at dizzying speed. But many of those have subsided the past two seasons. Alabama, for instance, instead of having a neutral-site game against USC, Michigan or Wisconsin, opens up at home against Utah State.
I actually prefer it this way now because I’m not ready to relinquish my beach time and summer party season in order to go inside and watch football games. Those are for later in September and fall Saturdays.
Still, there’s a few games worth watching on Labor Day Weekend 2022 with one mega matchup that may well determine one of the four playoff teams and a game that could dent the chances of another contender were it to unexpectedly stumble. Here’s a look at the key games and lesser ones ones involving top-ranked teams, with the date, time and TV information. All times are ET.
• Thursday, Sept. 1 College Football Labor Day Weekend Top Games
Ease into the weekend with West Virginia at Pittsburgh (ESPN, 7 p.m.), once a bitter rivalry that has subsided somewhat since the teams are now in distance conferences. Those curious to see if Josh Heupel is going to have Tennessee’s offense revved up can watch the Vols host Ball State (SEC Network, 7. p.m.) A potentially interesting matchup has Penn State at often-pesky Purdue in prime time (FOX, 8 p.m.)
• Friday, Sept. 2 College Football Labor Day Weekend Top Games
For a few potential early-season laughs, Virginia Tech is at Old Dominion (7 p.m., ESPNU). I say laughs because in 2008, the Hokies were 28.5 favorites but were dominated by Old Dominion, which was 0-3 at the time, 49-35. Could it happen again? The night game has TCU at Colorado (10 p.m., ESPN) tho if the Buffs’ offense is as boring as it was last year you’ll fall asleep on the couch midway through the first quarter. And that’s fine because you’ll wake up refreshed for the three-day Labor Day Weekend.
• Saturday, Sept. 3 College Football Labor Day Weekend Top Games
There are two biggies on Saturday, Oregon at Georgia (3:30 ABC) and Notre Dame at Ohio State (7:30 ABC). A potentially decent warmup game is Cincinnati is at Arkansas (3:30 ESPN). Utah is at Florida (7 p.m., ESPN) as the Utes try to save some face for the Pac-12 while Gators fans are chomping at the bit to see what Billy Napier brings to the Swamp. Preseason #1 Alabama hosts Utah State (7:30, SEC Network) as the reloaded Tide rolls out an all-new receiver corps and running backs and a relentless defense that won’t be too kind to opposing quarterbacks. For the few viewers outside of Los Angeles who can watch the Pac-12 Network– heck, some viewers IN Los Angeles can’t get it – USC hosts Rice (6:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network) in the much-anticipated Cardinal and Gold coaching debut of Lincoln Riley. If you want a few early laughs, you can watch Arizona at San Diego State (3:30, CBS); the Zonies have been one of the worst teams in college football the past three years.
• Sunday, Sept. 4 College Football Labor Day Weekend Top Games
There’s only one game on Sunday and it’s good for plopping down in front of the TV or finding a bar stool after a day at the beach, lake or a backyard BBQ party, Florida State at LSU (7:30, ESPN)
• Monday, Sept. 5 College Football Labor Day Weekend Top Games
The final stage of the college football fans’ Labor Day Weekend has Clemson at Georgia Tech (8 p.m., ESPN), a game in which only Clemson fans will have to worry about staying up too late before returning to work and reality on Tuesday morning.