If you’re anything like us, every game of college football is something to savor, something to cherish. However, some games are more exciting than others; that’s an indisputable fact. Although the next college football season feels like a small dot on the horizon right now, these are the games on the 2023 schedule that we wish were here right now!
Must-See Games on the 2023 College Football Schedule
Colorado at TCU, Week 1
The “Coach Prime” era in Bolder begins with an instant classic — a must-see game on the 2023 college football schedule. Deion Sanders leads his team of transfer portal acquisitions into Fort Worth to face Sonny Dykes and his TCU team fresh off a trip to the College Football National Championship. Expect points, swag, and fireworks to open the 2023 college football season.
Ole Miss at Tulane, Week 2
As a former SEC member, Tulane has a long history of facing Ole Miss. They also have a long streak of defeat dating back to 1988, including a 61-21 shellacking in 2021. This standout game of Week 2 of the 2023 college football schedule gives Willie Fritz’s team the chance for revenge.
Although they lost some pieces of this year’s fairytale Cotton Bowl-winning team, there’s enough talent to give Lane Kiffin’s Rebels a run for their money. A potential Group of Five win over a Power Five program should feature highly on any list of the must-see games on the 2023 college football schedule.
Kansas at Texas, Week 5
Forget the fact that Texas turned Kansas over in a 55-14 drubbing last season. Forget the 17-4 winning head-to-head record for Steve Sarkisian’s team. This clash between the Jayhawks and Longhorns belongs on the must-see list every season, and the 2023 college football schedule is absolutely no different.
The return of Jalon Daniels. The quarterback battle between Quinn Ewers and Arch Manning. A plethora of offensive talent on both teams. Pick your storyline, pick your fighter, and pick up some popcorn on your way to the television for this Week 5 clash. Texas’ Week 2 battle with Alabama also earns an honorable mention.
Jacksonville State at Sam Houston State, Week 5
This might not seem like an obvious choice for a must-see matchup on the 2023 college football schedule, but color me excited for the clash between the two new programs on the FBS scene.
The Jacksonville State Gamecocks jump up from the ASUN to Conference USA, joined in their new conference by the Sam Houston State Bearkats, who flip from the WAC.
The Gamecocks will be looking to avenge a 42-7 loss from 2021 that tipped the head-to-head record in favor of the Bearkats.
If Sam Houston State wins, it could be their first FBS victory as they face a gauntlet to begin their 2023 college football schedule. Two Big 12 opponents in BYU and Houston sandwich a home game with Air Force.
Oregon at Washington, Week 7
This Week 7 matchup between Oregon and Washington has the potential to be the game of the 2023 college football schedule. That might seem a little hyperbolic this far away from the start of the season. However, consider the exciting edition from Eugene that we saw last season.
Then consider the fact that both teams finished among the top 20 passing offenses in the nation and return both of their starting quarterbacks. Bo Nix and Michael Penix Jr. are two of the most exciting college football quarterbacks to watch this coming season. Washington returned a good chunk of their talent on both sides of the ball as well.
Meanwhile, Oregon combine several returnees with one of the best 2023 college football recruiting classes to be a dangerous force in the Pac-12.
USC at Notre Dame, Week 7
When Caleb Williams is playing, every USC game has the right to be described as “must-see” on the 2023 college football schedule. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner — and front-runner to win the award for a consecutive season — has the ability to conjure up magic, transforming the mundane game to the insane.
As two of the most storied programs in college football history, the Trojans’ matchup with Notre Dame should also always be considered a must-see. USC ended a four-game losing streak last season by emerging as 38-27 winners.
That the Fighting Irish got within 11 of a Williams-led team with their QB and offensive coordinator combination of last season is a minor miracle. Being led by Sam Hartman in 2023 makes this matchup a tantalizing encounter and potential shootout.
Hartman’s Notre Dame team also welcomes his former team — Wake Forest — to South Bend in Week 12 of the 2023 college football schedule in another must-see game for the Fighting Irish.
Penn State at Ohio State, Week 8
“The Game” rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State should always be a can’t-miss contest. Michigan and Penn State could also be included on a must-see montage of the 2023 college football schedule. However, there is some high-level potential for this game to be an absolute classic in Week 8.
Whoever replaces C.J. Stroud under center for the Buckeyes will have a dominant wide receiver duo in Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka. Ohio State’s ground game is also strong, and they return their best defensive player in J.T. Tuimoloau.
Penn State has an upgrade at quarterback in Drew Allar, and possibly the best running back duo in the nation in Kaytron Allen and Nicholas Singleton. They could be a legitimate force in college football this season, with some exciting playmakers on defense too.
Penn State hasn’t beaten the Buckeyes since 2016, and their last win in Columbus was in 2011. However, circle this game as a streak-ending showdown with ca n’t-miss potential on the 2023 college football schedule.
LSU at Alabama, Week 10
When LSU lost to Florida State in Week 1 of the 2022 campaign, the bottom appeared to be falling out of the Brian Kelly era before it had even begun. Yet, the Tigers made it to the SEC Championship Game and return playmaking quarterback Jayden Daniels under center to terrorize the SEC once more.
Alabama is extremely familiar with his talents after the former Arizona State QB accounted for three touchdowns in the Crimson Tide’s defeat to the Tigers that changed the shape of the college football season.
Can Nick Saban’s team avenge that loss despite several question marks hanging over the team ahead of the 2023 college football season? That question alone, plus the storied history and the SEC West rivalry, makes this a must-see game on the 2023 college football schedule.
Georgia at Tennessee, Week 12
In the Georgia Bulldogs’ quest to hit a historic “three-peat” in the upcoming college football season, their Week 12 clash with Tennessee has the potential to be the biggest stumbling block. A road trip to Neyland Stadium is a different proposition from their ultimately comfortable win over the Vols in Athens last season.
In fact, you have to go back to the last time the Vols beat Georgia (2016) to find a close game between the two teams. However, there are enough question marks over the Bulldogs and enough optimism about the future of Josh Heupel’s team, to think that this highlight of the 2023 college football season could buck the trend.
Florida State at Florida, Week 13
Nothing says college football more than a good rivalry, and in 2023, this rivalry may well have a say in the College Football Playoff scenario. Florida State has a genuine chance of returning to college football relevancy this fall, with the best quarterback in the ACC and a plethora of returning defensive talent.
Although the departure of Anthony Richardson and the loss of highly regarded QB recruit Jaden Rashada is a blow to the offense, the Gators should see an improvement from last year’s 6-7 season in the second campaign of the Billy Napier era. FSU hasn’t won in Gainesville since 2017 — that streak could end this year.
Bonus Must-See Games on the 2023 College Football Schedule
Coastal Carolina at Army, Week 12
If you’re a fan of option football, this clash between Coastal Carolina and Army should be on your list of the top games of the 2023 college football schedule. The fact that the Chanticleers return quarterback Grayson McCall makes it even more appealing.