College football fans won't want to miss these 10 non-conference games
The first few weeks of every college football season give teams a chance to expand their horizons and play games outside of the conference footprint. Most programs have opted to schedule a combination of high-win games and tough tests to help boost their win totals and prepare for play later in the year.
Last year's non-conference slate offered some of the best games of the entire campaign. Alabama and Texas play in a classic matchup in Austin, while LSU and Florida State play the same neutral season opener. The backyard brawl between Pittsburgh and West Virginia also highlighted several rivalries.
Further parts of these series will start in 2023 and there are many more interesting matches in the coming seasons. Between testimonials, coaching debuts and other must-see events, there will be no shortage of fun as the teams head out of the league.
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Here are the top 10 non-conference games on the 2023 college football schedule:
10. MISS OLE IN TULANEU, September. 9
Normally, an SEC team traveling to play a Group of Five school doesn't get much national attention, but Tulane is no ordinary G5 team. Last year, the Green Waves tied for a program-record 12 wins and capped off a successful season with a win over USC in the Cotton Bowl. chief advisorwillie fritzDuran is a top contender for another G5 representative in the New Year's Six, while the Green Waves have an early chance to prove themselves against a loaded Ole Miss teamTalent at the full-back position.
9. Texas Tech University, Oregon, september. 9
If there's a Big 12 team that can make significant improvements in 2023, Texas Tech might be the best fit for that model. A win over a top five non-league opponent will help the Red Raidersstrengthen your CV, and playing Oregon at home early in the season is a great opportunity for a big win. quarterbackTaylor ShawHe will play against his former team and hopes to lead the Ducks -–Top Pac-12 title contenders–- In the northwest Pacific their record is missing.
8. The army vs. The Navy, Dec. 9
The annual Army-Navy Games never disappoint. Intense rivalry represents the best of college football and is one of the great traditions of the game. Watching the two teams battle it out on the pitch and play high profile football always provides a high level of entertainment and those involved will never forget the Service Academy's influence off the pitch. This year's competition was confirmed for the first time inStadion Gillette i Foxboroughu, Massachusetts.––Dom New England Patriotsa.
7. Pittsburgh, West Virginia, september. 16
After a ten-decade hiatus, the Backyard Brawl returns in 2022 and has truly become one of the greatest rivalries in college football. As the Panthers extended their all-time lead over the Mountaineers to 62-40-3, Pitts clinched the win after building a seven-run lead with six game-winners late in the fourth quarter. The series now returns to Morgantown for the first time since 2011, with West Virginia hoping for a comeback after last year's emotional thriller fell short.
6. Nebraska, Colorado, red. 9
As a head coach, Colorado's home opener against TCU is sure to draw a large crowd on the field and on televisiondeion grinderHe made his debut with the Buffaloes, but his second game as head of the program is arguably more exciting. Nebraska's short trip out west to Boulder reignites a long-standing rivalry that has only happened twice since both teams left the Big 12. Colorado won shares in 2018 and 2019, but will likely be the underdog in the matchup between the two sides. Heading into their inaugural season, the coaches with the proud programs appear to be headed in the right direction.
5. TEXAS A&M i Miami, september. 9
The two programs find themselves in nearly identical situations heading into the 2023 season. Neither Texas A&M nor Miami qualified for a bowl game last year despiteRecruit a large pool of talent during the hiring process, and to better utilize the playmakers at guard, they adjusted the coordinator earlier in the season.Kimber FisherIMario CristobalTheir teams seem to be in a better position now, but when they go up against each other, only one of them wins.
4. North Carolina vs. South Carolina, september. 2
A pair of talented running backs will begin the 2023 season with North Carolina's doubleheader at the U.S. Stadium. Bank in Charlottedrake meyerand South Carolinaspencer rattlesnakeGame in week 1 against games. Both teams are chasing a conference title, the Tar Heels are the top ACC team and the Gamecocks are on the rise in their third yearSean Beamerera. The last time the two teams met was in the 2021 May Bowl at Duke, which South Carolina won 38-21.
3. Texas i Alabama, september. 9
Two of college football's biggest brands meet in a home-and-home rematch as Texas heads east to Tuscaloosa for a showdownNick Sabanand Alabama. Last year's game in Austin was one of the best of the season; The Crimson Tide won with an exciting 20-19. The Longhorns have the quarterback advantage in 2023, and this year's matchup appears to favor the visiting team, but it beats Alabama in the gameStadion Bryant-DennyThis is a daunting task.
2. 23. september ved Ohio State University i Notre Dame
Notre Dame has three games scheduled against College Football Playoff contenders this year, but in order not to fill this list with Fighting Irish games, we've decided to include only the best of them here. Ohio State is likely the program's biggest rival in 2023, though USC and Clemson also offer intriguing competition. The game should provide a glimpse into Notre Dame's ability to compete nationally in its second year.Marcus FreemanEra, this is an early test for the Buckeyes as they look to prove their worth as national title contenders.
1. Florida State vs. LSU, sept. 3
Florida State's 24-23 win over LSU in Week 1 of the 2022 season proved to be one of the most entertaining games of the year, giving college football fans the game of the season. The neutral site game is an early cornerstone for two programs on the rise and on the brink of the playoffs. It won't affect the conference champions, but this season's opener is a milestone that must be won out of the gate if these teams are to compete for CFP playoff rights.
College football facts with an emphasis on quarterback-biased transfer portals
Check out 10 important facts every fan should knowCollege football transfer portal, the quarterback drives much of the story. In recent years, we've seen many of the best players in the country leave after transferring, turning their teams into instant playoff contenders, with some winning the Heisman and even a national title.
doc ccollege football is newRecruiting reality around changing portalsEach offseason creates opportunities for many looking to fill talent gaps, It isThis is frustrating for some who do not have the means to maintain a list.With most coaches in the midst of a booming free agent market, many have had to change their traditional thinking when it comes to building rosters and hiring veteran players instead of reserve talent.
For first-year coaches, the portal shortens the time needed to fully adapt the roster. Instant success no longer requires solving a multi-year formula. Instead, the two deep can look very different a few months after they set foot on campus.
The most underrated college football transfer portal
Here are 10 facts -Powered by 247Sports' excellent research department- On the transfer portal every football fan should know going into the new season:
1. 4 of the previous 5 Heisman winning QBs were transfers
As for the full-back, transfer portals have released a few gems in recent years. Starting with Baker Mayfield, who went from Texas Tech to Oklahoma to become one of the greatest centers ever in the college game, four of the last five Heisman quarterback winners have met. Kyler Murray won the trophy after transferring from Texas A&M to Oklahoma, Joe Burrow broke multiple LSU single-season records in 2019 after transferring from Ohio State, and former five-star Caleb Williams finished as Lincoln Riley's third Heisman title (and former USC transfer). Since 2017, only Alabama's Devonta Smith and Bryce Young have won the award as non-transfers.
Tennessee's Joe Milton, Texas' Quinn Ewers, Washington State's Michael Penix og Oregon's Bo Nix er alleThe top quarterback transfers on the preseason Heisman shortlist2023. The favorite is Williams. Most importantly, for teams looking to clinch a spot in the College Football Playoff, it all begins. Heisman candidates rarely play outside the top 10. Notre Dame's Sam Hartman, who holds multiple program records at Wake Forest, is another notable effort in the Heisman race this fall.
2. Brian Kelly, Lincoln Riley Love Portals
Kelly and Riley are the only two coaches in the country with back-to-back top-5 transfer classes, according to the 247Sports team rankings. Kelley made the most of his freshman class at LSU last fall and finished it quickly, while Riley signed a 2022 National Player of the Year and nearly won the Pac-12 (Caleb Williams). In the 2023 cycle, LSU is currently third among transfer portal teams with 14 arrivals, while USC is fourth (15). Lane Kiffin and Mike Norvell are two others whose portal recruiting has become a priority over the last two cycles.
3. Employment cycle 2022-23. includes a record number of transfers
Looking at transfer values over the past five years, player arrivals during the 2022-23 portal cycle. is at an all-time high. Unfortunately, not all of these players have signed and are still looking for a summer home before the fall season. According to the ranking of individual players on the 247Sports portal,Less than 3% of the top 500 are still availableMost of the instant influencers applied two weeks before the reopening of the portal in April.
- 2022-23: 3,252 total transfers
- 2018-19: 1717
4. 42% of Big 12 newcomers transferred to the league
As for transfer additions in the 2023 recruiting cycle, Big 12 newcomers BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF have gone all out to compete with the Portal talent for a top-five spot. Those four programs account for nearly half of the signings on the conference portal, but Oklahoma State and TCU top the league's transfer numbers,Ranking of teams on the portal according to 247Sports... One player to watch in this quartet is former Florida State and Arizona running back Emery Jones, who started in Cincinnati. he is one of themThe most dynamic player in the country.
5. Half of the top 20 in the final 2022 rankings have starting quarterbacks transferring
See the final college football playoff standings from last seasonYou will quickly notice that half of the top 20 teams are with point guards leading the offense. The new era of college football offers plenty of opportunity to reinvent teams with talented, proven players under center, and many programs have taken advantage of that, including Western Conference teams like Washington and Oregon State multiple times. In Kalen DeBoer's inaugural season with the Huskies, former Indiana tight end Michael Penix Jr. helping Washington go 11-2 in final ranking at No. 8.
6. Arizona and Colorado account for 42 percent of the Pac-12's total transfers
This offseason, Kenny Dillingham and Deion Saunders have been working overtime on the transfer portal. The accumulation of transfer talent looks to be a big part of both programs for years to come, at least in the early stages of both coaching staffs. More than 50 Colorado players withdrew after spring games ended last month, something Sanders expected and predicted would happen. The Buffaloes registered a record number of transfers this cycle and are first in Portal's rankings of 247Sports teams. Dillingham went through the Sun Devils' roster after firing Herm Edwards and tried to build a contender with first-year veterans in the top Pac-12.
related: Deion Sanders torn over roster overhaul strategy
7. 50% of QBs started by the SEC in 2022 are transfers
Hendon Hooker and Will Levis led the SEC's former starting quarterbacks last season, and that number could increase this fall when more teams join the growing group expected to start before transfers, including Auburn (Payton Thorne),Florida (Graham Mertz), Alabama (Tyler Buchner)Kentucky (Devin Leary) iTennessee (Joe Milton). Vanderbilt, Missouri State, Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Georgia and Arkansas are the only SEC teams projected to play a running back in 2023 who have entered the draft as a high school prospect.
8. 75% of Pac-12 starting quarterbacks in 2022 are transfers
That number could be even higher this fall with the arrival of Clemson's D.J. Oregon State's Uiagalelei and Colorado State's Shedeur Sanders will lead another star-studded group of transfers at guard. toFor Uiagalelei, a former five-star recruit who spent two years with the Tigers after Trevor Lawrence, leaving the ACC for the Pac-12 was a developmental decision.
"I want to go where this program fits me,"Uiagalelei told ESPN earlier this spring."I want to go to a place where they let me be a player, let me be free, let me go out there and relax. Just a place where I can do what I want."
related: Every Pac-12 starting quarterback in 2022 could be a transfer
9. AAC Technologies suffered the withdrawal of the most elite talent
During this cycle, no five-man conference has seen more first- or second-team all-conference decide to leave the league for Portal than the AAC (38 percent of transfers). Among the top playmakers to leave are offensive starter Avery Jones, who spent three years at ECU before transferring to Auburn, and former USF wide receiver and punter Jimmy Horn Jr. Jimmy Horn Jr.), who signed with Colorado. Overall, 26 percent of all five first- or second-team players reached the door after the 2022 season.
10. 44% of FBS starting QBs in 2022 are transfers
Remember when the show had a back room with many, many years of reserve at the position waiting for an opportunity? Those days are over. Portal offers plenty of running backs as plug-and-play options when the starters go and the staff isn't sold on the current depth chart. Losing a point guard is an unfortunate reality for the Elite, as the two tight ends are locked in. That's part of the reason Burrow left Ohio State and Justin Fields left Athens. Both became nationally known at their new schools and have a litany of other examples in the spotlight.