Ranking Nevada football games in 2022 from least intriguing to most intriguing
The Nevada Football Team’s 2022 12-game schedule was released Wednesday. Let’s rank these games from least intriguing to most intriguing. Overall, I’d give this schedule a 7 out of 10. The non-conference schedule, especially at home, isn’t too appealing, but the Mountain West schedule, especially at home, is as good as it gets. possible.
12. Home vs. Texas State (September 3): Nevada’s non-conference home schedule in recent (and future) years leaves something to be desired, so it’s no surprise that the first two games on this list are the Wolf Pack’s non-league home games. Nevada’s 2022 home opener is against a nondescript Texas State team that has yet to play in a bowl game in 10 FBS seasons (36-84 overall).
11. House vs. Incarnate Word (September 10): Incarnate Word is an FCS team, but they might actually be better than Texas State. The Cardinals went 10-3 last season, reaching the second round of the FCS playoffs. The program has a prolific passing offense, although starting quarterback Cameron Ward, the 2021 FCS freshman of the year, was traded to Washington State.
10. Road at Hawaii (October 15): Nevada and Hawaii face similar rebuilds with first-time head coaches familiar with the programs they inherited. In Hawaii, that coach is Timmy Chang, who served on the Wolf Pack staff from 2017-21 before spending a few months at Colorado State this winter. The match will be played at the TC Ching Temporary Athletics Complex.
9. Road to San Jose State (October 29): Nevada and SJSU are longtime rivals that don’t get that “rival” tag. They’ve been playing some epic games lately. Four of the last seven were decided by four points or less, not counting SJSU’s 30-20 victory to clinch a 2020 MW title berth. Elijah Cooks and ex-Nevada WR Justin Lockhart have transferred to SJSU, adding additional intrigue.
8. Road at New Mexico State (August 27): Typically, a match against NSMU would rank last on a list like this. But this will be Ken Wilson’s debut as a head coach, so it will be fun for fans to get a first look at the programs he leads. The last football coach to win his first game in Nevada was Chris Ault in 1976 against Cal State Hayward. Wilson gets a smooth overture to his tenure.
7. Road at Air Force (September 24): Personally, I love watching the Triple Option Attack (once a year, at least), so I love those Nevada-Air Force matchups. And the games between these teams have been epic, with the last five being decided by a touchdown or less, including four by three runs or less. This will also serve as the opening of Mountain West 2022.
6. Home vs. San Diego State (October 22): There’s the old saying, “To be the best, you have to beat the best.” Nevada has actually had success against SDSU, beating the Aztecs three of the past four seasons, each decided by five runs or less. The Wolf Pack is 4-6 against SDSU in its MW era, but the Aztecs have three MW title spots against Nevada’s zero.
5. Home vs. Fresno State (November 19): The Nevada-Fresno State series dates back to 1930, the third oldest of any team the Wolf Pack will play next season. SJSU is first on this list, having played in Nevada in 1899. I told you they were longtime rivals! Fresno State is the team to beat in MW’s West Division and is one of the Big Four 2022 conference home games for the Wolf Pack.
4. Road at Iowa (September 17): The Wolf Pack’s non-championship game lost its luster when Jay Norvell left for Colorado State. Norvell played for Iowa, so it was slated as their comeback game. He missed it by a year. Still, it’s only the seventh game in the schedule against a Big Ten school, so that’s cool. And Nevada gets a check for $1.5 million to play there.
3. Road to UNLV (November 26): Many Wolf Pack fans would put UNLV at the top of any Nevada schedules list. I’m more interested in seeing good football played, and UNLV rarely offers that, even though it should be a tight, competitive game with the Rebels in year three of a rebuild and Nevada in year one. Added bonus: Wilson and UNLV head coach Marcus Arroyo were assistant coaches at Oregon in 2019, so it might be a friendlier rivalry than typical years. Additionally, Wilson went 17-2 against UNLV in his 19 years as an assistant coach at Nevada.
2. Home vs. Boise State (November 12): Nevada has only hosted rival Boise State once in the previous seven seasons, which is a sin. These teams should play every season. And I will keep writing this until it happens. But Nevada-Boise State games usually have high energy. The Wolf Pack beat the Broncos in 2021 for only the second time in the past 18 seasons, so Boise State will be out for revenge. During his tenure as assistant coach at Nevada, Wilson went 8-10 against the Broncos, good considering Nevada is just 14-30 all-time against Boise State.
1. Home vs. Colorado State (October 8): This might be the Wolf Pack’s juiciest home game since the Nevada-Boise State game in 2010. Jay Norvell returns to Reno after leaving the Wolf Pack for Colorado State this offseason. In tow are several former Wolf Pack staffers and 10 players from Nevada who transferred to Fort Collins, Colorado. It might not reach the level of Jeff Horton’s return to Reno after leaving for UNLV in 1995, but it might come close (hopefully there are no fights or helmets thrown at the coaches). If I could only attend one Nevada football game in 2022, I would easily pick this one.
Columnist Chris Murray provides insight into northern Nevada sports. Contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ByChrisMurray.