Week Zero in college football is 1 month away. To prepare you for the season i have found 5 games that I am very excited to watch. Some will feature national powerhouses who have a shot at the National Championship, others will be special to just me. Either way ,fire up the chili recipes and lets get ready for football.
#5 Nebraska at Minnesota, August 31, 2023
The Gophers have dominated the Cornhuskers as of late but this year will be different. Nebraska has a decent coach in Matt Rhule who is back in the college game after flaming out with the Carolina Panthers. As a division foe of the Gophers, he scares me significantly more than Scott Frost ever did. Rhule knows how to build programs.
He lead AAC bottom feeder Temple to back to back 10 win seasons before moving on to Baylor. Rhule then took the Bears from 1-11 in his first year there to 11-3 in just 3 seasons. This version of the Nebraska head ball coach can recruit, he can draw up X’s and O’s and he should worry all Gopher fans.
For the Gophers I am excited to see how Athan Kaliakmanis performs in his 2nd season. As PJ Fleck mentioned at BIG 10 media day, he was thrown into high pressure situations as a freshman. His first start came against Penn State.
He also led the Gophers to wins in Madison as well as the Bowl Game. The Gophers have plenty of talent in the passing game to make it easy on Kaliakmanis. Chris Autman-Bell is back for his 10th season, (7th to be exact) and Brevyn Spann Ford is a legit NFL prospect at Tight End.
Prediction: Nebraska 21 Minnesota 20
#4 LSU(7) vs Florida State(3), September 3, 2023
According to some polls this will be the first Top 10 matchup of the 2023 season and it should be GOOD.
LSU is one of those teams who is either a national title contender or they go 6-6 and fire everyone. This year they feature Dark Horse Heisman contender Jayden Daniels at the QB position. This guy is electric. Everything about his game screams LSU to me. He’s flashy, fast and seems like the kind of guy that a team will rally around as he leads them to greatness.
I know absolutely nothing about the Florida State Seminoles.
Editor’s Note: I do, and they absolutely should not be ranked #3.
Prediction: LSU 42 Florida State 35
#3 Texas at Alabama, September 9, 2023
What a tilt. Not only does this game feature a matchup between two all time programs, the uniforms will absolutely pop on the TV. While admittedly I am unable to break down this game with the same vigor as Nebraska/Minnesota, I am well aware of some of the storylines leading up to this game. For both teams it’s all about the quarterback position.
Alabama currently finds itself in a position it hasn’t faced in quite some time. A legitimate QB battle this late into the summer. The current battle is between Jalen Milroe, Ty Simpson and Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner. While Buchner is a longshot, the other two have gone head to head since spring ball began.
Current SEC Network analyst, my wife’s favorite former Bachelorette contestant, and estranged brother of one doucher named Aaron, Jordan Rodgers seems to think one QB has the edge. I agree and expect to see Simpson start for Alabama against Texas.
Texas is loaded at the QB position. So much so that number 1 recruit (by
some most outlets) Arch Manning finds himself taking 2/3 team snaps in practice. Normally, you would consider that a poor showing from someone who is highly rated as a prospect but not at Texas. He finds himself behind fellow #1 prospect Quinn Ewers on the depth chart.
If you are a college football fan at all that name should carry some weight. He initially skipped his senior year of high school football and enrolled at Ohio State. He redshirted, made some NIL money and then transferred back home to Texas. When these two teams met in Austin last fall he had the Longhorns poised to make a “program” defining upset. He would not finish the game as he left with injury and Texas withered away in that game.
I expect this to be a close, low scoring matchup with Texas shocking the college football world and beating Alabama at Bryant Denny Stadium.
Prediction: Texas 27 Alabama 24
#2 Ohio State at Michigan, November 25, 2023
This seems so far away. However, if you include the 4 games coach Jim Harbaugh will miss, its only a few months away. When he isn’t buying recruits hamburgers, all Coach Jim does of late is beat the Buckeyes. This game will feature polar opposites at the QB position.
JJ McCarthey will once again lead the Wolverines in their quest to win the B1G. He has already started 25 games at Michigan and is coming off a solid season with 22tds and only 5int. For the Wolverines to continue this run in the BIG10, he will need to continue to protect the ball and make the easy throws.
I wouldn’t consider myself an elite offensive mind but I would definitely implore the Michigan staff to have a few more designed QB runs in their offense. JJ isn’t built like Josh Allen, but I think McCarthy has a natural running ability that is tough for defenses to gameplan around.
Ohio State will most likely come into this matchup undefeated. They have turned themselves into WR University of late. That is no different in 2023. Marvin Harrison JR WILL be the first WR taken in the draft. If the Arizona Cardinals stink as much as everyone expects them to be ready for them to maybe take him #1 overall. Legendary Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was asked at BIG 10 media day how to stop Harrison and he summed it up with two words: “It’s impossible”.
If a team finds a magical way to stop Harrison they will still have to contend with the rest of the Buckeye offense. Emeka Egbuka, Julian Fleming and TreVeyon Henderson all return for Ohio State after putting up big numbers last year. Oh and they added the #3, #5 and #8 ranked WR recruits as well as the #3 ranked TE in the 2023 class. The biggest question in Columbus is who will QB this team.
Prediction: Ohio State 38 Michigan 35
#1 Montana State at Montana November 18, 2023
Easily the biggest rivalry you’ve never heard of in college football. Does it have a cool name? Yes. It is referred to as The Brawl of the Wild.
Does it have a trophy? Also yes. It takes multiple guys to lift it.
This rivalry is what college football is all about. There are kids from both cities where the campuses are recruited by the other and go play for the other team routinely. While I was born a Montana Grizzly fan, I have respect for what the 2022 Bobcats were able to do. They lost in the national semi-finals to eventual champion South Dakota State. My favorite thing about this game is it’s always played in late November and the chances for snow football are HIGH.
I have been to many games at Washington Grizzly stadium and can confidently say that once the sun goes down, the stadium gets louder. The Griz have one of the best home field advantages in all of college football. The way the stadium is built up against Mt. Sentinel allows for the noise to stay in the stadium and make it so much louder than others.
Prediction: Montana 49 Montana State 7
29yo, 2 kids, former place kicker for the worst high school football team in Minnesota history. 2/2 xp, 0/2 field goals, led the state in total punts.