The USFL has finally released the schedules for all eight teams during the 2022 Inaugural season. All regular season games will be played in Birmingham, Alabama either at Protective Stadium or Legion Field. With the playoffs beginning on June 25th, teams will travel to Canton, Ohio and play at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium for the Semi-Finals and Championship games to close the season out.
With the release of the schedules for all teams, more info regarding tickets were released. Tickets will be Ten Dollars each and will allow for one adult to have three children under the age of fifteen enter the game for free. Additionally, all ticket holders will be allowed to view all USFL game being played on any specific day.
The Michigan Panthers begin playing Sunday April 17th at 1200 pm Est in Birmingham. Below is a week-by-week breakdown of their schedule.
WEEK 1: Houston Gamblers
The Gamblers coach Kevin Sumlin is in my opinion the 2nd most notable coach in the USFL, with Jeff Fisher being the first. Seeing these two former accomplished coaches take each other on in week one will certainly set the stage for Sunday’s week one match ups. This opening non-division game between the Gamblers and the Panthers also features two former Big Ten Quarterback’s Michigan’s Shea Patterson, vs The former Northwestern Wildcat Clayton Thorson.
Week 2: New Jersey Generals
Week Two begins divisional games for the Panthers with them playing the New Jersey Generals. Coach Mike Riley provides an intriguing match-up as this will be his 5th time coaching in an alternative league. His stints in the WLAF, AAF and XFL could come in handy as being able to put together a roster with not much time may prove to be something that Jeff Fisher might not be ready to do just yet.
Week 3: Pittsburgh Maulers
Shea Patterson’s former Michigan teammate Carlo Kemp may be the difference maker here. Kemp looks to be the defensive leader for the Maulers in 2022. Kemp had an extremely successful career at Michigan, and will be paired with Blair Brown and Terrell Bonds, who both yield NFL experience which could provide a bit of trouble for the Michigan Offense.
Week 4: Philadelphia Stars
This matchup intrigues me due to the familiarity between Bart Andrus and Bryan Scott. Hopefully by this time in the season, USFL Offenses will have a bit more continuity however, The Stars definitely have an advantage with a QB who understands his Head Coaches system. This is also the last divisional game before week 8 for the Panthers.
Week 5: Tampa Bay Bandits
While doing some research, I came across RJ Young’s assessment of the five most exciting players in the USFL. Four of those players are going to playing in this game. Another matchup I look forward towards is Jordan Ta’amu and Shea Patterson. Both have a history together between their time at Ole Miss and their time in Camp with the Kansas City Chiefs. Oh, and they happened to be drafted at number one and number two overall in the USFL Draft. Week Five could be game of the season for the USFL, if both teams play to their potential.
Week 6: Birmingham Stallions
The Stallions are another team that boasts a lot of experience on the Defensive side of the ball. Jonathan Newsome, Tae Hayes, and Scooby Wright III all boast NFL experience in a young league that could rely heavily on a veteran presence. If the Panthers can handle the Maulers another defensive veteran team, they should be also able to take care of the Stallions.
Week 7: New Orleans Breakers
Kyle Sloter may be the most experienced and “pro-ready” Quarterback drafted in the USFL. Between his time with Multiple NFL teams and Coach Larry Fedora’s experience with Quarterbacks the Breakers Offense could be poised to break out. Coach Fisher will need to make sure that the Panthers are locked in before their divisional home stretch of games to finish out the season. Also, look out for Devin Bellamy, he was the first defensive player to be selected in the USFL draft, so he should be able to make an impact for the Breakers defense.
Week 8: Philadelphia Stars
Going into the final stretch, it’ll be crucial for the Panthers Defense to buckle down and stop what could an explosive Scott/Andrus passing attack. If Fisher’s defense is able generate enough pressure on Scott, with Cavon Walker and Adewale Adeoye the Panthers front seven should be able to control the Stars running backs and set the tone for the remainder of the season.
Week 9: New Jersey Generals
The last three weeks for all teams are definitely make or break, and each coach has a plethora of offensive weapons that could make this a shootout. As I look on both teams’ roster one edge, I give to the Generals is their Kicker Nick Rose. Depending on who the Panthers pick in the supplemental draft their special teams’ unit could be at a disadvantage.
Week 10: Pittsburgh Maulers
The finale intrigues me a lot. With the Maulers being coached by Kirby Wilson after nine games I’m sure the Maulers will be extremely physical. De’Veon Smith is former XFL rushing champion and Garrett Groshek is Peyton Hillis reincarnated. Expect a heavy rushing attack to end the season for Panthers who hopefully by this time have already clinched a playoff spot.
With Fisher at the helm for 2022, I’m sure that the Panthers will end up 4-6 or 5-5 regardless of the talent on the roster (thanks Mike Mitchell). However, the Panthers do boast a competitive team that will at the minimum provide football fans with entertainment for at least ten weeks.