2023 has the feel of what could be a crazy season in College Football. Can a team like Tulane crash the CFP party? Or will it be the usual suspects?
The annual Army-Navy Game never ceases to deliver thrills, pageantry, and tradition within college football. Watching two teams battle at the line of scrimmage while playing an exciting brand of football always provides high-level entertainment, and those tuning in don’t overlook the off-field impact of service academies such as the Army and Naval Academy on those watching them play on. This year’s clash will take place for the first time at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts — home of the New England Patriots.
Colorado’s season opener against TCU should draw a large audience both live and online as new head coach Deion Sanders makes his debut for the Colorado Buffaloes – but his second matchup as leader of their program could arguably hold more intrigue than his first. Nebraska makes its way out west for this contest which only two previous meetings since leaving Big 12, both won by Colorado, who will likely face their longtime rival in this showdown of two head coaches who seem to have their teams trending back in the right direction before debut seasons.
After an 11-year absence, the Backyard Brawl returned in 2022 and delivered on its promise as one of college football’s classic rivalries. Pitt triumphed after seven lead changes with a game-winning pick-six late in the fourth quarter to extend their all-time advantage against West Virginia to 62-40-3; moving back to Morgantown this time after missing out last year in such an emotional thriller will give West Virginia another shot at redemption.
At Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, two gifted quarterbacks will begin the 2023 season by facing off. North Carolina’s Drake Maye and South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler will square off in Week 1 rivalry game between their teams; North Carolina recently posted its best offensive season ever, while Shane Beamer’s Gamecocks are looking strong entering year three of his tenure as head coach.
Texas Tech may be one of the teams best poised to take an incredible leap forward in 2023, proving they belong among Big 12 contenders. A victory against Oregon would help bolster Texas Tech’s resume; quarterback Tyler Shough could potentially play against his former team and leave them back home with one less win under their belt more than expected. The Oregon Ducks remain top Pac-12 title contenders.
Last season, Tulane tied its program record with 12 wins en route to an upset win against USC in the Cotton Bowl. Head coach Willie Fritz’s Tulane could repeat as its Group 5 representative in New Year’s Six and gets their chance early against an Ole Miss team boasting outstanding quarterback talent in Ole Miss.
Texas A&M and Miami enter 2023 almost in lockstep. Both programs fell short of bowl eligibility despite recruiting loads of talent; to maximize playmakers on their rosters, both made coordinator changes early this offseason – Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M and Mario Cristobal at Miami both seemingly have their teams better placed; only one will emerge victorious come game day.
Texas travels east for its second matchup against Nick Saban and Alabama in two seasons; last year’s contest in Austin featured one of the greatest games of the year in college football – Alabama won 20-19! Texas holds an advantage at quarterback this time and should find success more easily this season against an Alabama team with question marks.
Florida State and LSU delivered one of the most thrilling college football games of 2022 when they battled it out for a 24-23 Seminoles win in Week 1, making for one of the year’s most captivating contests. Now they are giving college football fans another opportunity to see this epic rematch this season with another neutral-site clash that serves as an early litmus test for both programs as they make moves towards competing for inclusion into the College Football Playoff (CFP). While this matchup doesn’t hold conference title implications or have championship implications right off the bat, if these teams wish to compete for CFP consideration, this matchup can’t miss!
Notre Dame will face three College Football Playoff contenders this year. Still, to avoid overwhelming this list with Irish matches, we focused on only the single best one – Ohio State stands out among them as their primary opponent. However, USC and Clemson can provide exciting contests as well. This game should provide insight into Notre Dame’s ability to compete at a national level during Year Two of Marcus Freeman era while serving as an early indicator of whether Ohio State can challenge national supremacy. The Buckeyes will have a lot of new faces in the starting lineup.
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