The 2023 college football season is officially underway as Week 0 games were held on Saturday.
Each new season brings a host of new opportunities and hopes for a successful campaign. But anytime there is competition, there are winners and losers beyond just a game’s final score. That was certainly the case in the handful of Week 0 matchups.
As teams look to navigate the new season, bumps along the way are certain to take place, and some are a little more rough than others. So with the season’s first games now complete, let’s take a look at some of the winners and losers from the opening week of the 2023 college football season:
Winner: Sam Hartman
Sam Hartman’s debut with Notre Dame couldn’t have gone much better than it did on Saturday. Hartman finished 19-for-23 with 251 passing yards and four touchdowns, helping the Fighting Irish to a dominating 42-3 victory over Navy.
Loser: The USC defense
Like Caleb Williams, the USC defense looked a lot like it did in 2022, which is not a good thing for the Trojans. USC allowed San Jose State to score 28 points on nearly 400 yards of total offense. Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch will have to make a ton of improvements if USC wants to compete for a Pac-12 title.
Winner: Caleb Williams
The reigning Heisman Trophy winner picked right back up where he left off in 2022. Williams totaled 285 yards with four touchdowns as the USC offense carved up the San Jose State defense with 56 points.
Loser: Vanderbilt's stadium construction
This doesn’t really have anything to do with the performance of the Commodores on the field, but the fact that school officials thought that beginning stadium renovations a couple of weeks before the home opener was a good idea tells you all you need to know. Vanderbilt’s coaches and players deserve better.
For a program that has won just three games over the course of four seasons, getting a win in the season opener has to feel good for the UMass Minutemen. It’s not likely they’ll start a winning streak early in 2023, though, because they next travel to Auburn to take on Hugh Freeze and the Tigers.
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