College football continues to be the most enthralling, unpredictable sport throughout the year. Between shocking upsets and thrilling finishes, every Saturday is a rollercoaster of emotions. 

For better or worse, let’s look at the biggest surprises of the 2022 college football season.

Rocky Top’s Comeback

The initial darling of the college football season was the Tennessee Volunteers. 

In an SEC showdown against the vaunted Alabama Crimson Tide, the Vols outlasted the perennial national championship contender 52-49, catapulting them to the number one spot in the CFB and quarterback Hendon Hooker as the favorite for the Heisman trophy. 

Eventually, Tennessee ran into the defending champion, Georgia Bulldogs, to put a wet blanket on their national championship aspirations. 

Those dreams officially vanished after losing the game and Hooker to an injury against South Carolina. Fortunately, the Vols ended on a high note with an Orange Bowl victory over Clemson. 

Nebraska’s Ineptitude 

All surprises aren’t necessarily good surprises. When the Nebraska Cornhuskers hired Scott Frost to fill their head coaching vacancy, it seemed like a match made in heaven. 

Frost, an alumnus of Nebraska, was riding high with his success at Central Florida, so many expected a seamless transition. Unfortunately, what they got was a coach who was fool’s gold. 

Nebraska’s season was over before it started, losing to the hapless Northwestern Wildcats during Week 0 of the football season. It was evident that Frost was on the hot seat, but no one thought they would fire Frost after a 1-2 start. 

Nebraska wrote Frost’s pink slip after losing to Georgia Southern. 

Ride the Green Wave

Each season has an under-the-radar school that makes some noise. This year, the Tulane Green Wave played the role of the non-Power Five favorites. Tulane did enough to take on the prestigious USC Trojans in the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day. 

It seemed like a stretch for Tulane to continue to ride their green wave against the Heisman trophy-winning and Patrick Mahomes doppelgänger, Caleb Williams, but they had different ideas. 

Tulane capped a miraculous comeback 46-45, punctuating an unforgettable season. 

Oh No, Oklahoma

When Lincoln Riley and the aforementioned Caleb Williams headed west to Southern California, it was clear that the Oklahoma Sooners would have a rough patch. However, hiring Clemson’s defensive guru Will Venables was an excellent way to stay afloat in the Big 12.

The Sooners started their season 3-0 with three convincing wins before they lost a heartbreaker to the Kansas State Wildcats 41-34. Two weeks later, the Sooners tried to right their wrongs against their hated rivals, the Texas Longhorns. 

Inexplicably, Oklahoma lost 49-0, officially derailing their season. They ended the campaign with a 6-7 record, including four losses by a field goal. 

TCU Is America’s Underdog 

The TCU Horned Frogs proved that betting on the underdog can pay dividends. Many prognosticators figured TCU would be a middle-of-the-road team in the Big 12, so reaching the CFB Final seemed impractical. 

With close win after close win, TCU earned the right to make the CFB take on the Michigan Wolverines. As a 7.5-point underdog, the Horned Frogs shocked the world again, defeating Michigan 52-45. 

Despite getting annihiliated by Georgia in the National Championship game, 65-7, they’ve had a great season. 


Time will tell if the biggest surprises of the 2022 college football season will ride their momentum or pick themselves up off the mat in 2023. 

With the transfer portal and NIL deals flying around, it’s hard to predict what you’ll get. 


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