By Rockin Reese
It has finally arrived. College football is back in the United States. While most of the schools throughout
America have to wait for Labor Day weekend to get their seasons going, there are 20 Football Bowl
Subdivision & Football Championship Subdivision teams who will be able to start their season, today.
Let’s take a look at the 10 games that will kick off the 2023-24 NCAA Division-I college football season.
The season kicks off at 2:30pm eastern on NBC with the Aer Lingus Classic from Aviva Stadium in
Dublin, Ireland. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish will host the Navy Midshipmen in this 8th college football
game held on the Emerald Isle. This will be the 3rd time that Notre Dame has played Navy in Ireland. In
the 2 previous meetings (November 1996 & September 2012…the latter being vacated), the Fighting
Irish had their way with the Midshipmen. Dating back to their inital meeting in 1927, the Irish have been
gotten the better of their Naval adversaries, winning 81 out of 95 meetings (Navy has won 13 out of the
other 14 games, with the lone tie happening all the way back in November 1945).
They may play in different conferences (Notre Dame is an independent, while Navy plays for the American Athletic
Conference), but these teams have no love lost for each other. Today will be the latest chapter in this
At 3:30pm eastern, ESPN starts their college football coverage with the FCS Kickoff game from the
Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Alabama. The 9th edition of this game will feature a pair of teams who are
competing in this game for the first time…the Mercer Bears (representing the Southern Conference) &
the North Alabama Lions (representing the United Atheletic Conference). Last season, the Lions were
only able to defeat the Virginia-Wise Cavaliers. The Bears (who will be the designated home team in this
game) had a little better luck with a 7-4 record, but they ended their season on a 2-game losing streak.
Though it’s a non-conference game, both teams would like to start their season with a win.
At 5:30pm eastern, CBS Sports will begin their coverage, as the Jacksonville State Gamecocks host the
University of Texas-El Paso Miners from Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium in Jacksonville, Alabama.
This will be the first conference battle of the season, as both teams represent Conference USA. The
Gamecocks joined C-USA, after leaving the ASUN Conference. Last season, the Gamecocks had a 9-2
record, and are hoping to build off of that success. Meanwhile, the Miners went 5-7 & are hoping to leave
the past behind, so they can focus on having a winning future.
Now, let’s take a lot at the “prime time” action that will happen, tonight. We have 3 games taking place at
7:00pm eastern. The only game that won’t be televised nationally (it will be streamed on FloFootball) will
feature a pair of teams from New York state. The Albany Great Danes (representing the Coastal Athletic
Association Football Conference) will host the Fordham Rams (representing the Patriot League) from
Bob Ford Field at Tom & Mary Casey Stadium in Albany, NY. Last season, the Great Danes were 3-8, but
5 of those losses were by 7 or fewer points. The Rams were 9-3, including a 48-45 victory (at Jack
Coffey Field, in The Bronx) against the Danes. This season, the Danes look to return the favor in their
FS1 kicks off its college football coverage, as the San Diego State Aztecs (representing the Mountain
West Conference) host the Ohio Bobcats (representing the Mid-American Conference) from Snapdragon
Stadium in San Diego, California. Last season, the Aztecs went 7-6 & lost to the Middle Tennessee Blue
Raiders in the Hawaii Bowl. The Bobcats went 10-4, but lost to the Toledo Rockets in the MAC
Championship Game. However, unlike the Aztecs, the Bobcats would win a bowl game. In overtime, they
defeated the Wyoming Cowboys in the Arizona Bowl.
After Mercer vs. North Alabama, ESPN has more “week 0” college football action. The New Mexico State
Aggies (representing C-USA) will host the University of Massachussetts Minutemen (an independent
FBS team) from Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, NM. Last season, the Aggies went 7-6, including
defeating UMass in the regular season & the Bowling Green Falcons in the Quick Lane Bowl. The
Minutemen’s sole victory came against the Stony Brook Seawolves. This season, they want more
victories, starting with avenging their loss to New Mexico State.
There will be 2 games starting at 7:30pm eastern. One of them will be on the SEC Network, as the
Vanderbilt Commodores (representing the Southeastern Conference) will host the Hawaii Rainbow
Warriors (representing the MWC) from FirstBank Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee. Last season, the
Commodores were 5-7, while the Rainbow Warriors were 3-10.
These teams started their season against each other, last season, in Honolulu. The Commodores kicked sand in the faces of the Rainbow
Warriors. This year, the Warriors want ho’opa’i (that’s Hawaiian for “revenge”) against the Commodores.
The other game will be featured on ABC, as they kick off their coverage with the MEAC/SWAC Challenge
from Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. The Jackson State Tigers (representing the Southwestern
Athletic Conference) will compete against the South Carolina State Bulldogs (representing the Mid-
Eastern Athletic Conference). Last season, the Tigers were 12-1, including winning the SWAC
Championship by defeating the Southern Jaguars, but losing to the North Carolina Central Eagles in the
Celebration Bowl. The Bulldogs were 3-8, but 1 of those 3 wins were against those very same Eagles.
Both of these teams have history in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge. The Bulldogs are 3-1 in their school’s
They won the inaugural game in 2005, by defeating the Alabama State Hornets. They have also
defeated the Grambling State Tigers in 2009 & the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions in 2015. Their only
loss was in 2017, when the Jaguars beat them. The Tigers aren’t as lucky, because they’re 0-2 in this
event. They lost to the Hampton Pirates in 2008 & the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats in 2019.
At 8:00pm eastern on the Pac-12 Network, we have a battle of the Golden State.
The University of Southern California Trojans will host the San Jose State Spartans (representing the MWC) from the L.A. Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. Last season, the Trojans were 11-3, including losing to the Utah
Utes in the Pac-12 Championship game & the Cotton Bowl Classic to the Tulane Green Wave. The
Spartans were 7-5, including losing the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl to the Eastern Michigan Eagles. In
July, USC will be part of a new conference, as they will be moving from the Pac-12 to the Big-10. I’m
sure they would love to send a message to the Big-10, this season.
At 9:00pm eastern on CBS Sports, week 0 concludes with another C-USA showdown. The Louisiana
Tech Bulldogs will host the Florida International University Panthers from Joe Aillet Stadium in Ruston,
LA. Last season, the Bulldogs were 3-9, while the Panthers were 4-8. When they met last season, the
Panthers were victorious in the Sunshine State. The Bulldogs want vengeance in their house.
That is your week 0 look.
The time for talk is almost over. Get your school colors out. Get together with
your friends, so you can have an awesome tailgate experience. Get the chants going. Most importantly,
get ready for some action. College football has returned.