The first full week of the 2022 college football season will include a handful of games with seven-figure guarantees.
There are more such games throughout the season, though we take a look at those on Labor Day weekend when there are number of non-conference matchups that will positively influence the balance sheets of visiting schools.
Here is a look at those seven-figure games, or at least those that have disclosed payout information.
Ball State at Tennessee, $1.5 Million
This first meeting between the teams was moved to Thursday night from Saturday to accommodate ESPN/SEC Network. It will be the Cardinals’ 11th game against current SEC teams. They lost the first 10, including the most recent encounter at Texas A&M in 2015. This is the second straight year Ball State will receive a seven-figure payout for visiting a Power Five. Last year, the program took home $1.4 million for its trip to Penn State.
The Vols will issue another seven-figure payout in 2022. Army visits Neyland Stadium on September 17 for a game that will result in $1.4 million changing hands.
Utah State at Alabama, $1.91 Million
The third-largest payout to a visiting team at the time of the agreement and to this day, as opposed to neutral site games and change-of-venue agreements that have included larger payouts, will be the Aggies’ third visit to Tuscaloosa. The first two were losses at the hands of Mike Shula’s Crimson Tide in 2004 (48-17) and 2005 (35-3) when Brodie Croyle threw a combined five touchdowns with no picks.
The Aggies are 1-18 against current SEC teams with the lone win coming in 1970 at Kentucky. Their most recent matchup with an SEC program was a 42-6 loss at LSU in 2019.
The payout due Utah State is $100,000 more than Alabama paid Southern Miss last year to visit Bryant-Denny.
Colorado State at Michigan, $1.8 Million
Colorado State athletic director Joe Parker was an All-American swimmer at Michigan, where he served as senior associate athletic director from 2003 to 2011. His department will be swimming in cash following the Rams’ date in the Big House, which Parker oversaw improvements to.
CSU’s trip to Ann Arbor, in coach Jay Norvell’s debut with the Rams, will be the first regular-season meeting between the schools. The only previous matchup was the 1994 Holiday Bowl, in which the 10th-ranked Rams lost to the No. 2nd Wolverines, 24-14.
As far as recent Big Ten opponents, the Rams lost at Iowa last year (24-14), in a game that had a $1.35 million guarantee, and lost both ends of a home-and-home series to Minnesota on the road in 2016 (31-24) and at home in 2015 (OT 23-20).
Kent State at Washington, $1.8 Million
The Golden Flashes, who have piled on the bloated payments in recent years, will face a Pac-12 program for only the second time. The first was in 2019, a 30-7 loss at Arizona State. (Kent State played at Colorado in 1977 when the Buffaloes were in the Big Eight.)
The game against the Sun Devils three years ago was one of three non-conference matchups that came with seven-figure payouts for Kent State that season. The athletic department received $1.5 million for playing at ASU, $1.9 million for a date at Auburn and $1.1 million for traveling to Wisconsin. That’s a total of $4.5 million for losing by a cumulative 133-23.
Kent State received $1.5 million for its 37-16 loss at Maryland last season.
Bowling Green at UCLA, $1.15 Million
According to information obtained from BGSU, this will be the first of two seven-figure payouts for the school in 2022. The Falcons will receive $1.2 million for their game at Mississippi State on September 24.
The game in Pasadena will be the team’s fourth against current Pac-12 programs. The most recent was 2018 at Oregon, at 58-24 loss. The trip to the Rose Bowl will also be Bowling Green’s first game in California since its 1991 Raisin Bowl win over Fresno State.
Last season, Bowling Green received $7,474 per yard in ending Minnesota, 14-10, in a game the Falcons had all of 194 yards offense and received $1.45 million.
To provide an idea of how payouts have increased in recent years and, at least in this instance, will continue to increase, UTEP’s trip to Oklahoma on September 3 has a $700,000 payout. That is according to information obtained from UTEP and with respect to a deal that was agreed to in 2012 and amended in 2013. The most recent meeting between the schools, in 2017 and also in Norman, had a $600,000 payout. That’s $1.3 million for the last two matchups, which will be the sum of the payout of their next game in 2026.
The price for breaching the agreement for this year’s game, regardless of school, is $1 million, according to the aforementioned deal.