College football schedule 2023: Week Zero schedule analysis

By Kyle Dubbels -

With less than a week until the college football season starts, again the excitement and anticipation are palpable. While we won’t get a full slate of games until Labor Day weekend, Week Zero offers us some interesting matchups and a lot of traveling.

Here’s a breakdown of the true opening of the college football season, Week Zero.


There are seven total FBS games in Week Zero and six of those seven include trips over 1,000 miles. The only game with less than a 1,000 mile trek is San Jose State’s trip to Los Angeles to play USC.

In fact, four of the games include trips of over 2,000 miles and three of the teams will travel over 3,500 miles! While Week Zero is usually meant for games with long distances, that’s still a lot of airline miles!

FIU at LA Tech (1,063 miles)

UTEP at Jacksonville State (1,510 miles)

UMass at NM State (2,290 miles)

Ohio at San Diego State (2,300 miles)

Naval Academy to Dublin, Ireland (3,354 miles)

Notre Dame to Dublin, Ireland (3,614 miles)

Hawaii at Vanderbilt (4,331 miles)


Week Zero provides us with the 96th meeting and another chapter of the rivalry between Navy and Notre Dame. The 2023 meeting takes place in Dublin, Ireland, for just the third time in the history of the series, the others coming in 1996 and 2012.

Notre Dame has won 10 of the last 11 meetings with the Midshipmen. The contest will mark the first game for new Navy head coach Brian Newberry.

This season’s Navy-Notre Contest is the second of a three-game Ireland series, with last year’s Northwestern-Nebraska contest being the first. Georgia Tech and Florida State will square off in Dublin next season.

Speaking of first games, Week Zero also introduces us to Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) newcomer Jacksonville State as they host their first FBS foe in UTEP.


Ten games will be played in Week Zero and six of those games will feature Group of Five and Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) schools on national television. C-USA leads the pack with three games (including two conference games), while the marquee FCS matchup is the MEAC/SWAC Challenge pitting the Jackson State Tigers against the South Carolina State Bulldogs at Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta, Ga., and the game will be televised by ABC.

2023 College Football Schedule | Week Zero

* All times Eastern.

Navy vs. Notre Dame (Ireland) – 2:30pm, NBC/Peacock
N. Alabama vs. Mercer (Montgomery) – 3:30pm, ESPN
UTEP at Jacksonville State – 5:30pm, CBSSN
Fordham at UAlbany – 7:00pm, FloSports
UMass at New Mexico State – 7:00pm, ESPN
Ohio at San Diego State – 7:00pm, FS1
Hawaii at Vanderbilt – 7:30pm, SECN
Jackson State vs SC State (Atlanta) – 7:30pm, ABC
San Jose State at USC – 8:00pm, P12N
FIU at Louisiana Tech – 9:00pm, CBSSN

Football Schedules

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Comments (5)

I woke this morning and said to myself “it’s game week!”. Welcome back real football!

I haven’t been able to find anywhere as to why those Conference USA games were allowed to happen. Perhaps they got a waiver? (I searched around for it and maybe missed a PR release for it) It would have to be that because the Hawaii or international rule wouldn’t go into effect. Do you know why they’re allowed to play? Will we see more teams try to go the Week 0 route?

I believe Conference USA got an exemption to play in Week Zero after that last round of conference realignment poached many of their teams. Allowing them to play in Week Zero helped them rework their schedule without having to shuffle a bunch of non-conference games.

Yeah, I can only imagine the scheduling headache it could’ve been for everyone involved with all of the realignment going on, especially at the non-conference level.

Side note, I really appreciate all the work y’all do. I LOVE looking into how schools go about scheduling games, TV deals, etc. So fascinating to me.