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An Unconventional Start: Analyzing the Peculiarities of the 2023 College Football Season

2023 has proven to be a whirlwind year in the realm of College Football. As we approach the midway

point of the season, it is safe to say that no one on this planet truly knows what will happen next.

Despite the collective outlook by analysts, this season has unfolded in a manner entirely unforeseen. It all began on September 2nd, when first-year Head Coach GJ Kinne, took his Texas State Bobcats to Waco, TX to defeat Baylor 42-31. This win marked the first time Texas State has defeated a Power 5 team. Many said Baylor would be a serious threat in the Big 12. That was instantly proven wrong, and Baylor has yet to bounce back as they are sitting at 2-4 (1-2 Big 12) as they head into their Bye Week.

LSU marches down to face the Florida State Seminoles in a match-up that from the beginning felt off. LSU was able to hang in the game in the first half thanks to quarterback Jayden Daniels, but even his 400+ yards of total offense was not enough. FSU saw the holes in LSU’s defense and essentially torched them the entire second half. Physically, FSU dominated. Mentally, FSU dominated. There was nothing that LSU did, that was better than FSU. Since that game, FSU has had some close calls but remains undefeated.

LSU on the other hand has dialed in their offense but has fielded one of the worst overall defenses in the entire country. That said, there was some noticeable improvement when LSU defeated #21 Missouri 49-39 after Brady Cook had his impressive, SEC-record streak of passes without an interception snapped at 366. Cook went on to throw another interception on their last real drive that sealed the game for LSU. LSU now sits at 4-2 (3-1 SEC) and controls their destiny. While the playoffs are more than likely out of the question, a trip back to Atlanta to play for the SEC Championship is not.

The ACC has been very strange this season. FSU “may” be back, Clemson has a good yet inconsistent team. Duke is above average, Louisville is surpassing every expectation set for them and Virginia is bad, very bad. Do you count Notre Dame as a part of the ACC? In baseball, they are part of the ACC and in this article, they will be mentioned with them since they play a solid number of ACC teams each year.

Notre Dame got the hopes up of many, and all hope was shattered as they dropped their game at home against Ohio State. Notre Dame would then play Louisville and ultimately was out-everything’d on the field and took a 33-17 L.

Notre Dame stands on the brink of redemption as they prepare to host Southern California in South Bend. USC bears a striking resemblance to LSU in many aspects; both teams boast above-average offenses but wrestle with defense, leaving numerous unanswered questions. Leading the charge is Caleb Williams, not only the reigning Heisman Trophy winner but quite possibly the most promising quarterback prospect of the past decade. With an impressive tally of 85 touchdowns and a mere 10 interceptions in his college career, he still has 7 to 9 games ahead this season, depending on USC's performance in the latter half, where they'll face five top 25 opponents, including two in the top ten.

The SEC's uncharacteristic decline this year has left many puzzled. Alabama, normally a juggernaut under the reign of Nick Saban, has displayed unusual inconsistencies with questions looming over their quarterback situation. Their offense, traditionally formidable, has faltered at times, relying on a defense that manages to salvage games when the offense falters. While Alabama remains a respected team, their performance this season has been less dominant than usual. On the other hand, Georgia has seemingly cruised through the season with minimal effort, doing just enough to secure victories. When they faced their first significant challenge against Kentucky, the Bulldogs transformed into a different, dominating force, delivering their most impressive performance of the season, sending ripples of concern throughout the conference.

Florida's journey has been a rollercoaster, starting poorly, briefly reigniting hope with a win against Tennessee, only to dash expectations once more in their matchup with Kentucky. Questions arise regarding whether Billy Napier is the right fit for the team.

Much like Florida, Texas A&M boasts a roster brimming with talent, yet struggles to translate it into on-field success. The Jimbo Fisher experiment appears to have reached its conclusion, leaving us to wonder how long Ross Bjork, the Athletic Director, will let this situation persist. Will Texas A&M be willing to invest $77 million to bring in a new leader handpicked by Bjork?

Tennessee, on the other hand, possesses a talented team that seems to be in a phase of growth and development. While they still have much to play for in 2023, the outlook for 2024 and beyond appears promising, with the Volunteers poised for solid seasons.

This season has been a whirlwind, and it promises to become even more intriguing as the weeks unfold. Can Caleb Williams secure back-to-back Heisman Trophies? Will a non-quarterback finally break the Heisman streak? Is there a chance for a surprise team to clinch a spot in the playoffs? Will Oklahoma continue its newfound ascent to glory? Who will emerge victorious in the final Pac-12 Championship? Can the SEC rediscover its dominant form? Want answers? Sit back, relax, and watch the season unfold.

Be sure to watch The Golden Boot Podcast live on Fridays at 9:30 PM EST on Facebook, X, YouTube, and Twitch.

Who will win the Heisman Trophy?

  • Caleb Williams, QB USC

  • Jayden Daniels, QB LSU

  • Michael Penix, QB Washington

  • Bo Nix, QB Oregon


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