We have already noted one significant development from the revelation of early-season college football start times and television assignments. USC football is likely to be done with Pac-12 Network before Labor Day.
“This year, with Notre Dame hosting USC in October, USC is playing only two nonconference home games. The Trojans will have to appear on Pac-12 Network only twice, not three times.
“So, given the news that USC’s first two football games of the season will be on Pac-12 Network, the Trojans’ last-ever game on P-12 Net is likely to be on Saturday, Sept. 2 against Nevada at 3:30 p.m. Pacific time.”
That was hardly the only notable piece of news for USC fans and for Pac-12 football fans. With all the early-season television announcements, there’s a lot to keep track of.
We’re not going to list every Pac-12 team’s early-season games. We won’t mention the cupcake games against UC Davis or the Little Sisters of the Poor. We will, however, point to national television games or games versus SEC and other Power Five conference opponents.
Here are the details you need to know about USC’s and the Pac-12’s early-season football schedules in 2023:
USC OPENER: AUGUST 26 VS SAN JOSE STATE, 5 PM PACIFIC, PAC-12 NETWORK
The weather could be very hot for this 5 p.m. start in the Coliseum. USC plays a rare “Week Zero” game and gets an early look at its lineup.
USC GAME 2: SEPTEMBER 2 VS NEVADA, 3:30 PM PACIFIC, PAC-12 NETWORK
This could also be a hot-weather game in the middle of an afternoon on Labor Day weekend. As we noted above, this could be the last USC football game ever shown on Pac-12 Network. Some Week Zero teams don’t play in Week 1, but USC will.
USC GAME 3: SEPTEMBER 9 VS STANFORD, 7:30 PM PACIFIC, FOX
Fans don’t like late-night games, but this could be an exception. The late start should make the weather a lot more pleasant at kickoff time. Stanford is a really bad team. This should be a relaxing night at the Coliseum before USC gets a week of rest.
WEEK 1 SHOWDOWN: FLORIDA AT UTAH, AUGUST 31, 5 PM PACIFIC, ESPN
This is the back end of a home-and-home series. Florida won last year’s meeting. This is a Thursday night game in Salt Lake City, giving Utah added rest before a tough Week 2 game against Baylor.
COACH PRIME COLORADO DEBUT ON SEPTEMBER 2 AT TCU -- 9 AM PACIFIC, FOX
Deion Sanders versus the defending national runner-up. Not bad for a Week 1 game on Big Noon Saturday.
WASHINGTON VS BOISE STATE -- SEPTEMBER 2, 12:30 PM PACIFIC, ABC
Chris Petersen’s former team versus Chris Petersen’s former team. This should be a very interesting game in Husky Stadium.
OREGON STATE PLAYS ON THE SUNDAY BEFORE LABOR DAY ON CBS
On Sunday, September 3, Oregon State plays San Jose State at 12:30 p.m. Pacific time on CBS. It’s part of CBS’s Mountain West deal. We noted that this game follows a CBS Big Ten game which airs at 9 a.m. Pacific on that same Sunday.
COLORADO VS NEBRASKA -- SEPTEMBER 9 AT 9 AM PACIFIC ON FOX
Deion Sanders versus Matt Rhule in a battle of first-year coaches should be fascinating television. The Nebraska-Colorado football rivalry will be revived.
UTAH AT BAYLOR -- SEPTEMBER 9 AT 9 AM PACIFIC ON ESPN
Utah plays Florida and then Baylor in the first two weeks of its season. The early kickoff in Waco could be an obstacle for the Utes, who are trying to make a third consecutive Rose Bowl.
OREGON AT TEXAS TECH -- SEPTEMBER 9, 4 PM PACIFIC, FOX
Texas Tech quarterback Tyler Shough used to play for Oregon. How’s that for a plot point?
WASHINGTON STATE VS WISCONSIN -- SEPTEMBER 9, 4:30 PM PACIFIC, ABC
Washington State won in Wisconsin last year. The Badgers will try to get revenge under first-year head coach Luke Fickell.
UCLA AT SAN DIEGO STATE -- SEPTEMBER 9, 4:30 PM PACIFIC, CBS
Another nonconference game versus the Mountain West gets picked up by CBS due to its Mountain West connections.
ARIZONA STATE VS OKLAHOMA STATE -- SEPTEMBER 9, 7:30 PM PACIFIC, FOX SPORTS 1
Kenny Dillingham coaches his first particularly big game for Arizona State. It’s a late game in early September, which is absolutely necessary in Tempe, given how hot it normally is at that time of year. The temperature should be at least 90 degrees at 7:30 p.m. local time.
CALIFORNIA VS AUBURN -- SEPTEMBER 9, 7:30 PM PACIFIC, ESPN
It’s very, very rare for Auburn to play a game which starts this late at night (9:30 p.m. Auburn time), and it is equally rare for Auburn to go to Berkeley to play a football game.
WASHINGTON AT MICHIGAN STATE -- SEPTEMBER 16, 2 PM PACIFIC, PEACOCK
This is a big story. Washington’s high-profile visit to East Lansing to face Michigan State will be available only on Peacock, the NBC-owned streaming service. It won’t be on NBC or any other over-the-air network. We wrote about this topic, and we noted how upset Michigan State fans are about this development. USC fans certainly hope that very few Trojan games get relegated to Peacock.
COLORADO VS STANFORD ON FRIDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL -- OCTOBER 13, 7 PM PACIFIC, ESPN
Deion Sanders’ Colorado team is so in demand as a TV item this season that ESPN secured a Friday night game slot for the Buffs versus Stanford. That game should be horrible, but ESPN loves Coach Prime on television.
OREGON STATE-OREGON GAME TIME ANNOUNCED FOR LATE NOVEMBER
Oregon State at Oregon will be on Black Friday — November 24 — at 5:30 p.m. Pacific time on Fox. We will see if the Ducks can play their way into the Pac-12 Championship Game. Oregon State knocked Oregon out of the Pac-12 title game last year.
PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIP GAME INFORMATION
The 2023 Pac-12 Championship Game is Friday, December 1, in Las Vegas. Kickoff is just after 5 p.m. Pacific. ABC has the broadcast. We will see if USC gets here again and — unlike last year — wins.