5 football games that Oregon Duck fans should pay attention to this weekend

While we have to wait a week for the Oregon Ducks’ 2023 season to kick off against Portland State inside Autzen Stadium, the college football season is starting for a handful of teams around the nation in Week Zero.

It will not be a full slate of games, and the matchups aren’t as tasty as we’ll see a week from now, but when we’ve gone months without football, who is complaining about a weekend full of both NFL preseason and college games?

The USC Trojans, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, and upcoming Oregon opponent Hawaii Warriors will all take the field on Saturday to start the season, while a handful of Pro Ducks will also lace them up with hopes of securing NFL roster spots. The matchups may not be marquee, there are still a ton of things that Duck fans can learn from all of the action.

Here are the five most important games to watch if you’re jonesing for some football this weekend:

No. 6 USC Trojans vs. San Jose State Spartans

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

When: Saturday, August 26 at 5:00 p.m. PT

Where to Watch: Pac-12 Network

Why to Watch: The USC Trojans have to be among the most hyped teams coming into the 2023 season, with reigning Heisman winner Caleb Williams at QB, and head coach Lincoln Riley looking to finally seal the deal and win a national championship game. This matchup against San Jose State should be a blowout, but it will give Pac-12 fans a first look at what they can expect from USC this season.

Detroit Lions vs. Carolina Panthers

David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

When: Friday, August 25 at 5 p.m. PT

Where to Watch: CBS

Why to Watch: One of the stars in the preseason so far this year has been undrafted free agent WR Chase Cota, an Oregon Duck standout from a year ago. In his first two games with the Detroit Lions, Cota has certainly turned heads, and he seems to be in a good spot when it comes to potentially grabbing a spot on the 53-man roster. Depending on his performance Friday night, we could learn more about his fate with the team.

Hawaii Warriors vs. Vanderbilt Commodores

(AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

When: Saturday, August 26 at 4:30 p.m. PT

Where to Watch: SEC Network

Why to Watch: It may not be an entertaining game, but it will give Oregon fans an early look at one of their upcoming opponents. Hawaii travels to Eugene in Week 3 of the season following a tough matchup vs. Texas Tech for the Ducks, so if Oregon fans can get a good look at the Warriors this week and get a sense of what to expect, it may lighten the burden down the road.

No. 13 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. Navy Midshipmen

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

When: Saturday, August 26 at 11:30 a.m. PT

Where to Watch: NBC

Why to Watch: This one may seem like a cheap add to the list, but in Week 0 with very few notable teams playing, I’m going to encourage fans to watch Notre Dame play. The game is taking place in Dublin, Ireland, and will feature a Fighting Irish squad that should be among the College Football Playoff contenders at the end of the year. I will be watching as a fan of the sport, and I encourage you to as well.

Houston Texans vs. New Orleans Saints

Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

When: Sunday, August 27 at 5 p.m. PT

Where to Watch: FOX

Why to Watch: A handful of former Ducks will be playing in this game, with a few fighting for roster spots. Both Ugo Amadi and Juwan Johnson have been lighting it up for the New Orleans Saints this season, while Calvin Throckmorton is working to secure his spot on the roster. On the other side of the field, WR Johnny Johnson III is fighting to earn a roster spot for the Houston Texans as well.

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire