College Sports Wire reviews best non-conference matchups of 2023

There are less than 100 days remaining before the start of the 2023 college football campaign. With the end of the tunnel nearly in sight, the sports media has turned its attention to the regular-season schedule in search of the best matchups next fall.

The Florida Gators are among the first programs to kick off the campaign, with its first-ever Thursday game to open the season. The Orange and Blue immediately jump into the thick of their schedule, with the opener coming on the road against the Utah Utes.

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Speaking of that game, College Sports Wire’s Patrick Conn recently reviewed CBS Sports’ list of most-anticipated non-conference games on the menu and gave his own personal take on the picks. Among those selections was the Florida-Utah game in late August.

The Florida Gators shocked many with a win over highly-ranked Utah in Billy Napier’s first game as the head coach. It seemed to reset the expectations of what the Gators could accomplish in year one. The wheels came off the wagon with Florida finishing 6-7 with a loss to Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Utah on the other hand will have quarterback Cameron Rising under center with a plethora of backs at his disposal. The big-play threat is former Texas quarterback turned running back, Ja’Quinden Jackson. Ironically enough, Rising is also a former Longhorn. This duo is looking to win a third straight Pac-12 title in 2023. That run begins with Florida in Salt Lake City.

Conn also added his own game to the list — the Florida-Florida State game in late November — as a bonus option. Here is what he had to offer on that pick.

Can you honestly have a list of the best nonconference games of the year if you don’t include Florida-Florida State? The Gators and Seminoles have given us some memorable games over the years and now Florida State looks to win a second straight matchup for the first time since 2016 and 2017. Their 45-38 victory snapped the Gators three-game win streak.

While Florida might not be trending in the same direction as Florida State after the 2022 season, this is a rivalry game. You can throw the records and trends out the window when these two teams meet. You can fully expect the Gators to defend the Swamp in late November.


The Gators open up their 2023 schedule on the road against the Utah Utes on Aug. 31, with the start time still to be determined.

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire