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What To Watch: Week 1

By September 2, 2023 (10:07 am)Football

After a long offseason full of change and controversy, Week 1 of the 2023 college football season is finally upon us. 

Saturday’s games may not have the same allure as last year’s Week 1 schedule, but it still features some intriguing matchups that are worth noting. 

Colorado at No. 17 TCU (12 p.m., FOX) 

All eyes are on Deion Sanders as he begins his first season as Colorado’s head coach, and he immediately faces a steep challenge in 2022 national champion runner-up TCU.  

The Buffaloes brought in a haul of noteworthy transfers, highlighted by former four-star quarterback and Deion’s son Shedeur Sanders, so it will be fascinating to see how the revamped roster shapes up against a formidable opponent. TCU’s roster also looks different from 2022, losing Heisman Trophy finalist Max Duggan to the NFL, but they still have enough talent to compete on a national scale. 

Virginia at No. 12 Tennessee (12 p.m. on ESPN) 

This is just the fifth-ever meeting between the two ACC and SEC programs — and the first time in over 30 years — so both teams will be ramped up for this one. 

The Cavaliers will be especially motivated to open the season, as this is the program’s first game since three Virginia players — Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler and D’Sean Perry — tragically lost their lives in a Nov. 13 shooting. To honor the victims, Virginia will dawn uniform patchers, while Tennessee will also wear helmet decals. 

This will certainly be an emotional one for Virginia, but the Volunteers should run away with this one. They’re led by new quarterback Joe Milton, who will wow fans with his impressive arm strength this season.

No. 21 North Carolina vs. South Carolina (7:30 on ABC) 

The Saturday night ABC primetime slot belongs to this rivalry-matchup between the Tar Heels and Gamecocks, and it should shape up to be an interesting one. 

There will be a lot of star-power on the Bank of America Stadium field tonight, especially at the quarterback position. North Carolina will be led by projected top-10 NFL Draft pick and Heisman Trophy candidate Drake May, who spearheaded a Tar Heels’ offense last season that racked up 34.4 points per game while also tossing 4,321 passing yards and 38 touchdowns. 

The Gamecocks also have a notable name under center in former Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler. Rattler showed flashes of that five-star talent towards the end of the season, but he’ll face a tough task tonight against a talented Carolina defense. 

Other notable games on the Week 1 schedule include: 

  • East Carolina at No. 2 Michigan (12 p.m. on Peacock) 
  • Boise State at No. 10 Washington (3:30 on ABC) 
  • Tennessee State at No. 13 Notre Dame (3:30 on NBC) 
  • Tennessee Martin at No. 1 Georgia (6 p.m. on ESPN+ and SEC Network+
  • Nevada at No. 6 USC (6:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network)
  • West Virginia at No. 7 Penn State (7:30 on NBC) 
  • No. 5 LSU vs. No. 8 Florida State (7:30 on ESPN — Sunday) 
  • No. 9 Clemson vs. Duke (8 p.m. on ESPN — Monday) 
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