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College football 2023: 10 games and names to know this weekend

Names of players, and games to watch in Week 1 of college football.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JAN 02 Cheez-It Citrus Bowl Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Week 0 is over which serves more as a soft-opening to the college football season. Now Week 1 has arrived and things get a little more serious. So who are some of the names to watch for this weekend?


LSU (5) vs Florida State (8)
Sunday, 7:30 p.m. ET
WR Malik Nabers

These two teams made highlights last season when they faced each other Week 1. It was an unlikely victory that saw the Seminoles block a field goal to win the game. This year looks to be just as intriguing. How LSU’s offensive line holds up against Florida State’s physical defensive line will be important. But the player this week to watch will be among LSU’s wide receivers. The entire pass catching group is talented for LSU, but leading receiver Malik Nabers will need to dominate this week to help keep the LSU offense rolling. Last year Nabers became the 10th 1,000-yard receiver in LSU history and led the SEC with 72 catches for 1,017 yards.

Clemson (8) vs Duke
Monday, 8 p.m. ET
RB Will Shipley

Will Shipley did it all last year for the Clemson Tigers. He totaled 324 yards on kick returns, ran for 1,182 yards on the ground, but what makes him so interesting this week is how effective he’s been as a receiver. Out of the backfield Shipley caught 38 receptions last season, which was fourth-most for Clemson. Duke finished with the second-worst rate allowed to running backs in yards-per-reception last year in the ACC. So expect Shipley to start his 2023 campaign off with a bang.

East Carolina Vs Michigan (2)
Saturday, 12:00 p.m. ET
DT Kris Jenkins

The Wolverines are without head coach Jim Harbaugh for three games so it will be interesting to see how the coaches manage this one. One of the main keys to keeping the score low will be defensive tackle Kris Jenkins. His ability to stop the run and create pressure from the inside will be vital. Last year he recorded 40 tackles, 34 stops, 19 total pressures and two sacks. This season he will look to increase those numbers given more opportunity.

Colorado vs TCU (17)
Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
QB Chandler Morris

This game is interesting for a number of reasons. This is Deion Sanders first test as head coach since getting the job for the Buffaloes. He churned a lot of the roster when he took over after the team went 1-11 last season, but TCU also sees a lot of major changes after making a run in the CFP. With players like QB Max Duggan, WR Quentin Johnston, RB Kendre Miller, LB Dee Winters and CB Trevius Hodges-Tomlinson now in the NFL, it’s over to Chandler Morris to see what he can do to try and repeat last year’s winning season. Morris was set to be the starting quarterback last season but got injured and the team went to Max Duggan who had a season that earned him a Heisman nomination. For Morris, he’s flashed the skills to show he can handle the pace and speed of the TCU offense. He started in 2021 against Baylor and scored three touchdowns while throwing for 461 yards.

North Carolina (21) vs South Carolina
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET
QB Spencer Rattler

It’s rivalry week to start the season, and who can say that’s a bad thing. This a huge competition between two starting quarterbacks. While most will know North Carolina’s quarterback Drake Maye, the name to focus on in this game is South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler. He made a name for himself from the TV-series “QB1”, but he’s looking to redeem himself after a bad time at Oklahoma and turning the ball over way too much last season. He looks to try and get things off to a good start against the Tar Heels who finished the season on a four-game losing streak. His biggest setback will be the Gamecocks offensive line and skill position group. Both are lacking.

UMass be Auburn
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
QB Payton Thorne

There have been a lot of changes this season since Hugh Freeze got the head coaching role during the offseason. One change he made was at starting quarterback with Michigan State transfer Payton Thorne. How will he look with this new set of wide receivers? Can he handle the pace in the SEC and deliver? Hugh Freeze has even mentioned this week that if Thorne struggles early he won’t hesitate to replace him with last year’s quarterback, Robby Ashford.

Ohio State (3) vs Indiana
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
WR Marvin Harrison Jr.

No player will get talked about more during the draft period next year than Marvin Harrison Jr. He’s is considered the nation’s best receiver, coming off a season in which he had 77 receptions for 1,263 yards and 14 touchdowns. Can he maintain that level of elite production with an unfinished quarterback battle still ensuing? As one saying goes, “if you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterback”. Expect the Hoosiers to key in on this fact to try and slow Harrison down. But his size, precision footwork and all his physical attributes should be on display this week to show he’s still the number one receiver in college right now.

Toledo vs Illinois
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET
DT Jer’Zhan Newton

Jer’Zhan Newton is one of the best defensive linemen this year. Illinois had one of the best defense’s last year and are hoping to replicate that success this year. That all starts with Newton up front and he faces his first challenge this weekend against Toledo that has running back Jacquez Stuart. Stuart averaged 5.7 yards per carry last year so this will be an interesting clash to watch. Last year, Newton had 62 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

Virgina vs Tennessee (12)
Saturday, 12 p.m. ET
QB Joe Milton III

This is an interesting matchup as the Volunteers have a high-powered offense. The Virginia secondary is pretty strong itself. The issue comes with Virginia's offense, it only averaged 17 points a game last year. Can QB Joe Milton III continue the work left behind by Hendon Hooker? This should be an interesting test for him.

Boise State vs Washington (10)
Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
DE Bralen Trice

While the talk of this game will mainly focus on the quarterbacks and how Michael Penix Jr. will start his season, what makes this game interesting is how Bralen Trice starts off for the Huskies. Boise State’s secondary has its hands full this week, but on the opposite side they have Trice who last year chalked up 67 total pressures and an impressive nine sacks along with 12 tackles for loss.

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