Late-season drama around conference championships, titles games and playoff positioning may capture most of the attention, but September — even August — can matter while also providing fun games.
Think of 2016, when Ohio State won at Oklahoma in mid-September and used that to still make the College Football Playoff without a conference championship.
A win before the leaves change colors can make a difference come December.
So as the 2023 season marks the last year of the four-team College Football Playoff era,
let's take a look at 10 early season nonconference games that could matter for CFP hopes but also serve as perfect entertainment.
1. Florida at Utah — 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31 2. North Carolina vs. South Carolina (in Charlotte, North Carolina) — 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Sept. 2
3. Florida State vs. LSU (in Orlando, Florida) — 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 3 4. Nebraska at Colorado — 12 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9
5. Ole Miss at Tulane — 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9 6. Texas A&M at Miami (Fla.) — 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9
7. Texas at Alabama — 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9 8. Oregon at Texas Tech — 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9
9. Pitt at West Virginia — 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16 10. Ohio State at Notre Dame — Saturday, Sept. 23