OK, now college football season has truly arrived. Week 1 brings the first fully loaded Saturday of games around the country, which means our wire-to-wire coverage of all the chaos is back.
There are plenty of good matchups to look forward to as the majority of teams open their 2023 seasons. Here are some of the key games we’ll be keeping an eye on (all times Eastern):
Colorado at No. 17 TCU
Time: Noon | TV: Fox | Line: TCU -20.5 | Total: 64
TCU had an undefeated regular season before losing to Georgia in the national championship game last year, but much of the focus for this game will center on the debut of Deion Sanders as Colorado’s head coach. Sanders, a member of both the pro and college football halls of fame, takes over a CU program coming off a miserable 1-11 season. Sanders completely overhauled and upgraded the roster via the transfer portal, but the Buffs have a very tough schedule ahead. And that starts Saturday.
Time: 3:30 p.m. | TV: ABC | Line: UW -14 | Total: 58.5
Washington’s offense was excellent during a surprise 11-2 season last year and most of that unit is back, including QB Michael Penix, a legitimate Heisman candidate who has one of the best receiver groups in the country at his disposal. Can the Huskies carry over last year’s success? A win against a potentially tricky Boise State team would be a good start. Boise State has been up-and-down in recent seasons but it’s the betting favorite to win the Mountain West and has plenty of history giving Pac-12 opponents a hard time.
Time: 7:30 p.m. | TV: ABC | Line: UNC -2.5 | Total: 64.5
Can North Carolina make some noise in the ACC? Clemson and Florida State are the clear favorites, but UNC was picked third in the preseason ACC poll. The Tar Heels return Drake Maye, who emerged as one of the best quarterbacks in the country last fall. South Carolina, meanwhile, is entering its third season with Shane Beamer as head coach. The Gamecocks went 7-6 in 2021 and then 8-5 last year in a campaign that included triumphant late-season victories over Tennessee and Clemson. Can that momentum carry over into 2023?
Time: 7:30 p.m. | TV: NBC | Line: PSU -20.5 | Total: 49.5
The Drew Allar era begins in State College. After the departure of four-year starting QB Sean Clifford, Allar takes over under center for a Nittany Lions team with big expectations this season. The defense is stacked and Allar has plenty of potential to carry Penn State to a lot of wins. This is a tough road matchup to open the season for a West Virginia team that’s struggled a lot in four years under head coach Neal Brown. He might be coaching for his job this season.