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2023 College Football Watch Guide - Week 1

Five straight days of college football and one extra day off work.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: APR 13 Florida Orange and Blue Game Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As great as it was to have college football back for week 0 the games didn’t exactly set the world on fire. The headliner featuring Navy and Notre Dame in Dublin was over before you could say “top o’the mornin’, boyo”. We had to look outside the name brands for more intrigue. UMass achieved their first road win since 2018, and their first road season opener since the Carter administration. Hawai’i put up a valiant comeback effort against Vanderbilt but came up short, and every other game was within a single score.

But, as they say, the biggest improvement is made between the first two weeks of the season. Week 1 is on deck, we’ve reached the college football season proper and it’s one of the best football weekends of the year. With the NFL regular season still another week away, the college game has the spotlight for five straight days. Nearly every program is in action and there should be something for everyone to sink their teeth into.

Here are some select games for each day I’ll be keeping my eyes on.

Thursday, August 31

Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Elon @ Wake Forest 6:00 PM ACC Network WatchESPN
Kent State @ UCF 6:00 PM FS1
Rhode Island @ Georgia State 6:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
St. Francis (PA) @ Western Michigan 6:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
NC State @ UConn 6:30 PM CBSSN
Florida @ #14 Utah 7:00 PM ESPN WatchESPN
Nebraska @ Minnesota 7:00 PM FOX
South Dakota @ Missouri 7:00 PM SEC Network WatchESPN
Arkansas-Pine Bluff @ Tulsa 7:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
North Carolina A&T @ UAB 7:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Southern Utah @ Arizona State 9:00 PM N/A N/A

Nebraska @ Minnesota - 7:00 PM - FOX

Being a conference game this one automatically gets my attention. It’ll be Matt Rhule’s debut as the head Husker and he’ll attempt to grab Nebraska’s first win at Minnesota since 2015.

Florida @ #14 Utah - 7:00 PM - ESPN

The only other power-5 game Thursday night but one that has more promise than those of last weekend. Utah is coming off their second Pac-12 championship while Florida is trying to get back to the top of the SEC.

Others of note: Southern Utah @ Arizona State, NC State @ UConn

Friday, September 1

Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Howard @ Eastern Michigan 5:30 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Central Michigan @ Michigan State 6:00 PM FS1
Miami (OH) @ Miami 6:00 PM ACC Network WatchESPN
Louisville @ Georgia Tech 6:30 PM ESPN WatchESPN
Missouri State @ Kansas 7:00 PM Big 12/ESPN+ WatchESPN
Stanford @ Hawai'i 10:00 PM CBSSN

Central Michigan @ Michigan State - 6:00 PM - FS1

Not a conference game for a Big Ten school but it is one with a team on Iowa’s schedule. After a promising 2021, the Spartans disappointed last year. This will be our first glimpse of what to possibly expect September 30.

Miami (OH) @ Miami - 6:00 PM - ACC Network

The “Battle of Miami” to ultimately determine which school is the one true Miami. Football aside, Miami (OH) was founded in 1809, 116 before the University of Miami so chronologically that title has already been decided. Of course, nothing else matters.

Others of note: Louisville @ Georgia Tech, Stanford @ Hawai’i, Missouri State @ Kansas

Saturday, September 2

Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
East Carolina @ #2 Michigan 11:00 AM N/A Peacock
Virginia @ #12 Tennessee 11:00 AM ABC WatchESPN
Colorado @ #17 TCU 11:00 AM FOX
Arkansas State @ #20 Oklahoma 11:00 AM ESPN WatchESPN
Utah State @ #25 Iowa 11:00 AM FS1
Ball State @ Kentucky 11:00 AM SEC Network WatchESPN
Bowling Green @ Liberty 11:00 AM CBSSN
Fresno State @ Purdue 11:00 AM BTN
Louisiana Tech @ SMU 11:00 AM ESPN U WatchESPN
Northern Illinois @ Boston College 11:00 AM ACC Network WatchESPN
Long Island University @ Ohio 11:00 AM N/A N/A
Western Carolina @ Arkansas 12:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Robert Morris @ Air Force 12:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Mercer @ #22 Ole Miss 1:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
East Tennessee State @ Jacksonville State 1:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Northern Iowa @ Iowa State 1:00 PM Big 12/ESPN+ WatchESPN
Akron @ Temple 1:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Portland State @ #15 Oregon 2:00 PM Pac-12 Network
#3 Ohio State @ Indiana 2:30 PM CBS
Boise State @ #10 Washington 2:30 PM ABC WatchESPN
Rice @ #11 Texas 2:30 PM FOX
Tennessee State @ #13 Notre Dame 2:30 PM NBC Peacock
Buffalo @ #19 Wisconsin 2:30 PM FS1
UMass @ Auburn 2:30 PM ESPN WatchESPN
Towson @ Maryland 2:30 PM BTN
South Florida @ Western Kentucky 2:30 PM CBSSN
Wofford @ Pittsburgh 2:30 PM ACC Network WatchESPN
Eastern Kentucky @ Cincinnati 2:30 PM Big 12/ESPN+ WatchESPN
Gardner-Webb @ Appalachian State 2:30 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
SE Louisiana @ Mississippi State 3:00 PM SEC Network WatchESPN
Cal @ North Texas 3:00 PM ESPN U WatchESPN
Colgate @ Syracuse 3:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Bryant @ UNLV 3:00 PM N/A N/A
UT Martin @ #1 Georgia 5:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
South Carolina State @ Charlotte 5:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Monmouth @ FAU 5:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
The Citadel @ Georgia Southern 5:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Bucknell @ James Madison 5:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Albany @ Marshall 5:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Nevada @ #6 USC 5:30 PM Pac-12 Network
Maine @ Florida International 5:30 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
SE Missouri State @ #16 Kansas State 6:00 PM Big 12/ESPN+ WatchESPN
New Mexico @ #23 Texas A&M 6:00 PM ESPN WatchESPN
Army @ UL Monroe 6:00 PM NFL Network NFL Network
Alabama A&M @ Vanderbilt 6:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Washington State @ Colorado State 6:00 PM CBSSN
Texas State @ Baylor 6:00 PM Big 12/ESPN+ WatchESPN
UTSA @ Houston 6:00 PM FS1
Central Arkansas @ Oklahoma State 6:00 PM Big 12/ESPN+ WatchESPN
Bethune-Cookman @ Memphis 6:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Alcorn State @ Southern Miss 6:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Stephen F. Austin @ Troy 6:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Middle Tennessee State @ #4 Alabama 6:30 PM SEC Network WatchESPN
West Virginia @ #7 Penn State 6:30 PM NBC Peacock
#21 North Carolina @ South Carolina 6:30 PM ABC WatchESPN
Toledo @ Illinois 6:30 PM BTN
Texas Tech @ Wyoming 6:30 PM CBS
South Alabama @ #24 Tulane 7:00 PM ESPN U WatchESPN
Old Dominion @ Virginia Tech 7:00 PM ACC Network WatchESPN
Northwestern State @ Louisiana 7:30 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Western Illinois @ New Mexico State 8:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Incarnate Word @ UTEP 8:00 PM ESPN+ WatchESPN
Northern Arizona @ Arizona 9:00 PM Pac-12 Network
Sam Houston @ BYU 9:15 PM FS1
Coastal Carolina @ UCLA 9:30 PM ESPN WatchESPN
Idaho State @ San Diego State 9:30 PM CBSSN

Utah State @ #25 Iowa - 11:00 AM - FS1

This one’s a given, obviously. Will Cade McNamara sit out or play? What will the offense look like after last year’s effort? Can the defense keep up its elite-level play? We may not get answers on Saturday but we should at least get clues.

Colorado @ #17 TCU - 11:00 AM - FOX

The Prime era begins in Boulder. Deion Sanders seems to be one of the most polarizing coaches in the college game. His Buffaloes made headlines seemingly each week this past spring and summer and we will finally get to see them in action. TCU is coming off a national championship appearance so it’ll be a tough outing for the Buffs.

Colorado Football Spring Game Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

West Virginia @ #7 Penn State - 6:30 PM - NBC

Expectations are high for James Franklin’s Nittany Lions this year and while they’re expected to cruise you can never discount the rivalry factor. Will the hype be real for the Lions, or will they stumble out of the gate against a determined foe? Bonus points for being NBC’s first prime time broadcast as part of the new Big Ten media deal.

Buffalo @ #19 Wisconsin - 2:30 PM - FS1

Big changes are coming to Madison alongside Luke Fickell. What will a Badger-themed spread offense look like and will it ultimately cause the fabric of reality to come apart? It’ll provide plenty of fodder for the talking heads next week, if the universe still exists by then anyway.

Others of note: Boise State @ #10 Washington, #21 North Carolina @ South Carolina

Sunday, September 3

Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Northwestern @ Rutgers 11:00 AM CBS
#18 Oregon State @ San Jose State 2:30 PM CBS
#5 LSU @ #8 Florida State 6:30 PM ABC WatchESPN

Three games, three games to watch by default. The good news is they’re all at the very least tolerable. Northwestern @ Rutgers is football by definition, so it’ll at least give you a morning fix. It’s a Big Ten conference game at least, and both teams that the Hawkeyes will face later this year so you could do some opposition research if/when the actual football on display stinks.

The big draw here is obviously #5 LSU @ #8 Florida State in Orlando. Two top ten teams in a prime time showdown is the perfect way to end the weekend proper. Hurricane Idalia made landfall in Florida yesterday, early enough hopefully not to affect this game Sunday night.

Others of note: #18 Oregon State @ San Jose State

Monday, September 4

Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
Matchup Time (CT) TV Streaming
#9 Clemson @ Duke 7:00 PM ESPN WatchESPN

#9 Clemson @ Duke - 7:00 PM - ESPN

This being Labor Day weekend we all get a bonus day off, and a bonus day of football. There’s only one game to close out week 1, so it gets the spotlight by default. I don’t expect Duke to challenge the Tigers but as we’ve all come to learn and love about this game you never know what can happen.

Enjoy the holiday weekend and a veritable fire hose of college football. It’s the most wonderful time of the year.