The 2023 college football schedule is starting to come together, and rather than think about my own team’s pitiful scheduling, I’d like to think about when I can start watching weird football on bad channels at dumb times.
As such, here are the 2023 Week 0 football games, ranked:
Time: 1:30pm CT | TV: NBC/Peacock | ND -20.5 | O/U 50
An auto-last ranking: Notre Dame, in what will surely be a solo 11am slot, against a Navy team they held off in 2022 after opening up a 35-13 halftime lead. This year it’ll be a Navy team coached by four-year Middies DC Brian Newberry.
My little heart can’t handle the breathless Notre Dame commentary. Pass.
6. Ohio Bobcats at San Diego State Aztecs
6pm | FS1 | SDSU -3.5 | O/U 49
5. FIU Sunblazers at Louisiana Tech Bulldogs
8pm | CBSSN | LT -10 | O/U 58.5
It’s quite a year to be a C-USA team: the conference lost Charlotte, FAU, North Texas, Rice, UAB, and UTSA after the 2022 season, leaving behind some dregs we’re going to talk more about is just a second. The C-USA schedule includes weekday games throughout October AND a Week 0 conference game! Just screaming to be taken seriously.
The front-runners for the C-USA are likely to be Sportswashing U—though who knows how the Heavin’ Hypocrites will fare without Hugh Freeze—and Western Kentucky.
But neither of those teams are in this game! Instead, you get the Bulldogs, who lost three one-score games but were otherwise non-competitive in a 3-9 campaign for first-year HC Sonny Cumbie, or the
Golden Panthers Sunblazers, coached by Colorado cast-off Mike McIntyre, who went 4-8 in 2022 and lost 73-0 to Western Kentucky. That really doesn’t encapsulate just how awful FIU was. But!
Enjoy the C-USA, now also featuring...
4. UTEP Miners at Jacksonville State
4:30pm | CBSSN | UTEP -1 | O/U 52.5
Welcome to the FBS [/checks notes], Gamecocks! And your coach...
UTEP went 5-7 and missed a bowl in 2022. J-State went 9-2 but was ineligible for the FCS Playoffs or ASUN title.
The Gamecocks appear to have an offense. I’ll take some intrigue and an amped-up crowd for an FBS debut. This has particular intrigue if it runs opposite or staggered to Navy-Notre Dame...
3. San Jose State Spartans at USC Trojans
7pm | Pac-12 Network | USC -30 | O/U 64.5
Why this game? Stay with me...
- BYU, upon moving to the Big XII, had to get rid of some non-conference games.
- USC was one of those non-conference games they dropped.
- San Jose State needed a dance partner and wanted to avoid back-to-back trips to Ohio to play Ohio State and Toledo in 8 days’ time.
- This game.
The Spartans have managed to find an underwhelming-yet-consistent approach under day trader Brent Brennan, with QB Chevan Cordeiro being an inconsistent-yet-talented signal-caller and the Spartans’ defense doing enough to beat the bad teams in the Mountain West.
USC, you may remember, is (1) on their last season in the Pac-12, and (2) notably lost the Cotton Bowl to Tulane in hilarious fashion. You might also remember that the Pac-12 has exploded and now this joke of a network is even funnier.
This year, we get Caleb Williams going for a Heisman Trophy and NFL Draft stock. Sign me up for a 55-21 blowout with a lot of garbage time.
2. Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors at Vanderbilt Commodores
6:30pm | SECN | Vandy -17.5 | O/U 55.5
This game in 2022 was bad—the Commodores rolled into Honolulu and eviscerated the ‘Bows, 63-10. It confirmed that Hawai’i was bad, and in fact told us nothing about Vandy, who went 5-7 (2-6) after tripping into late-season wins over Kentucky and Florida.
Hope springs eternal, and I will never count out Hawai’i in a football game. Sure, this one’s hidden away on SEC Network, but I will be one of the DOZENS flipping back to watch it.
But that’s because it conflicts with the best action of the day...
1. UMass Minutemen at New Mexico State Aggies
6pm | ESPN | NMSU -8 | O/U 44.5
The greatest thing about New Mexico State moving to C-USA is that their games are now less likely to be stuck behind a paywall—though I can’t say I’ve ponied up for many games on CUSA.tv...
WSR’s weird hatred of Jerry Kill aside, the Aggies were one of the best stories in college football in 2022, winning five of their last six to make just the fifth bowl game in school history, which they won, 24-19, over Bowling Green. There was, frankly, no reason the Aggies should’ve gotten there—they even got a waiver to compete because two of their six regular-season wins came over FCS schools...though the latter because their game with San Jose State was canceled due to the tragic death of an SJSU player.
The Aggies are not good. They had the 122nd-ranked defense and 98th-ranked offense in FBS. QB Diego Pavia’s strategy appears to be “run around, we’ll figure it out.”
But it worked.
Will it in 2023? I doubt it.
But the upside? UMass was dead last in offense and 121st in defense. Don Brown took this job, for some reason, and now it’s up to him to figure out what to do with The Flagship.
I can’t wait to watch and find out. And neither can ESPN, evidently, because they made this their primetime game.
It’s a thing of beauty.
Best Week 0 game of 2023?
This poll is closed
Idaho State-San Diego State