The list of the biggest winners from Week 0 of the 2023 college football season begins with the residents of Earth. We’ve waited a long time for college football to come back, folks, through cold winter nights and the dog days of summer, so soak everything in – we earned this.
I guess we’ll need to narrow things down and be a little more specific. Let’s start with No. 13 Notre Dame, which began Year 2 under coach Marcus Freeman with a 42-3 victory against Navy. Next is No. 6 Southern California, which took care of San Jose State in a 56-28 win complete with 278 yards and four touchdowns from star quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams.
Elsewhere, the Week 0 slate featured the Football Bowl Subdivision debut of Jacksonville State and the return of JSU coach Rich Rodriguez, formerly of West Virginia, Michigan and Arizona. Ohio and San Diego State met in a matchup of two top Group of Five teams from the MAC and Mountain West, respectively.
Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams threw four touchdowns in USC’s season-opening win.
Here are the winners and losers from an abbreviated Week 0 slate:
Freeman’s debut season was in part defined by ugly losses to Marshall and Stanford, though Notre Dame did surge in the second half to win nine games. While not unexpected, to see the Fighting Irish step out and swamp Navy does give a little support to the idea that this team has learned from last year’s missteps and is ready to make a run at the College Football Playoff. Playing on a neutral site in Dublin but supported by a very pro-Notre Dame crowd, the Irish faced just seven third downs, converting five, and committed only one penalty while putting up 444 yards of offense. The defense held Navy to 126 rushing yards on 2.8 yards per carry.
Billed as the most impactful transfer of the…