Football: Week 0 appetizers
The GIST: It may feel like its been 84 years, but college football finally returns tomorrow, with Week 0 serving up an amuse-bouche for the 2022–23 season. We’re only 14 weeks away from conference titles, bowl games and playoffs, so let’s get into everything on the Division I (DI) gridiron.
How it works: The cream of the college football crop is in the NCAA DI Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), which includes 131 schools in 10 conferences. Of those 10 conferences, the Power Five — the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC — generally house both future NFLers and College Football Playoff (CFP) contenders.
- The teams will play 12 regular season games over the next 14 weeks. A 13-member-committee will then determine which four squads make the CFP based off of the teams' records, strength of schedule and rankings.
- The semifinals (aka the Fiesta Bowl and Peach Bowl) will take place on New Year’s Eve before the national championship takes place on January 9th. Mark your calendar and chill that champagne.
The preseason contenders: The dynasties are alive and well in the FBS rankings. To no one’s surprise, Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia (the reigning national champs) comprise the preseason top three.
- Top-ranked Bama boasts both 2021 Heisman winner Bryce Young at quarterback (QB) and linebacker Will Anderson, Jr. — the likely 2023 NFL No. 1 draft pick — on its roster. With pro-level recruitment, it’s no wonder that Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban just inked a raise and contract extension worth $93.6 million over the next eight years.
- The No. 2 Buckeyes, though, have QB and 2022 Heisman favorite C.J. Stroud and last year’s freshman phenom running back TreVeyon Henderson on their roster rushing them into Holly Rowe’s pick to “win it all.”
- Clemson and Notre Dame are currently ranked No. 4 and No. 5, respectively, with Texas A&M, Utah, Michigan and Oklahoma on their heels. Let the upsets and rankings shake-ups begin.
Week 0 what to watch: Saturday’s matchups are a mere taste of what’s to come, with the Big Ten’s first conference game — featuring Nebraska and Northwestern — kicking off across the pond in Dublin, Ireland, at 12:30 p.m. ET. Our pot o’ gold is on the Huskers, though — they took down the Wildcats 56–7 last year.
- Other prime gridiron appetizers on Saturday include 2021’s 13th-in-rushing Wyoming Cowboys against the Illinois Fighting Illini at 4 p.m. ET and Florida A&M testing UNC’s new QB, Drake Maye, at 8:15 p.m. ET. Hope you’re hungry.