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Matt's Monday morning musings - Week ZERO of COLLEGE FOOTBALL, BABY!!: Pigskin Prophecies for 2023!

Each week, our Executive Director, Matthew Redding (5’11, 185, 4.78 40-yard dash, $4.99 on Wish, 5.49 on TEMU) sits down with a cup of coffee and ponders life in the world of College Football and beyond. Ask him anything on Twitter (@TheBarningMan) and he may answer it next week over his breakfast. This week, he’s thinking about the upcoming college football season and the madness that could ensue.

Penn State Head Coach James Franklin standing in front of his team before they run out of the tunnel and onto the field

Apologies to the great Harry Connick Jr., who famously declares Christmastime as the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. It may be a wonderful time of friends, family, and Holiday festivities, but considering how he's a New Orleans Saints fan, I'm surprised he forgot about the first three months beforehand. Granted, he went to Loyola and not LSU.

No, Christmas is fine, but one month of figgy pudding and Hallmark reruns doesn't really butter the biscuits the same way that football season does. And while the NFL is a fine thing for different reasons, it will always be second to the histories and traditions that only Saturdays in the Fall can provide.

Three months of beer, barbeque, bad-mouthing, and blowout games are here! After months of post-NFL Draft analysis, transfer portal drama, and professional... Bowling? Horse racing? Whatever crap the movie theaters are showing? We have made it to the most wonderful time of the year.

The 2023 College Football Season starts THIS WEEKEND!

So now, it is time to put to bed all the speculation and scenarios and let the talking be had out on the gridiron. Teams like Texas, Georgia, Oregon, and all in between will run out onto the field to demand consideration for the final four-team CFB Playoff, and scramble to see who truly comes out on top as Champion!

Last year, TCU came out of left field and took the college football world by storm, crashing the playoff with the number 3 spot, and even took out big, bad Michigan before running headfirst into the chainsaw out of Athens. Who could have predicted that a team with a new head coach and a previous season record of 5-7 could manage such a feat?

This year, before all the action begins, let's try to look into the crystal ball and see what surprises we could be in for THIS year.


  1. UCF MAKES THE PLAYOFF AFTER WINNING THE BIG 12! - Quite the feather in Gus Malzhan's cap that would be. The former SEC coach of the year has a knack for crashing championship runs now and then, as he won the SEC West twice with Auburn. UCF has some star talent returning, led by John Rhys Plumlee, a dual-sport athlete who threw for over 2,500 yards last season and accounted for 25 total touchdowns. Texas and Oklahoma could try to go out swinging, but they seem focused on the upcoming SEC transition, so look for the Knights to make a surprise punch right out of the gate! (prediction by Collin S.)

  2. VIRGINIA TECH FIRES BRENT PRY AFTER GOING 5-7! - And replaces him with SHANE BEAMER! Son of legendary Hokies coach Frank Beamer. Blacksburg isn't used to down years as they have had in recent years, and if Beamer continues to transform South Carolina into a top-mid-tier program in the SEC East with Georgia and Tennessee right next door, look for the administration to bring home the prodigal son sooner rather than later.

  3. AUBURN WINS THE WEST! - Speaking of the SEC, how wide open is the West right now? While LSU is the clear-cut favorite, anything can happen in the division that has Lane Kiffin, Nick Saban, and Jimbo Fisher roaming the sidelines. The last time Auburn brought in a new head coach with a transfer QB, the unthinkable happened next. With how much talent Hugh Freeze has brought in while other programs have seen top talent go out, the Tigers could be poised to make noise this year. LSU will have to knock off Saban (who rarely loses twice in a row to the same opponent) and prove they weren't immune to the occasional letdown after laying an egg against the Aggies last season. Momentum is building on the Plains, so don't sleep on Freeze and Co. This isn't his first rodeo in the Mighty SEC.

  4. THE FIRST HEAD COACH FIRED MID-SEASON IS- Jimbo Fisher. Yeah, we all know he's on the hot seat, but no one really knows how short his leash is this year. If the Aggies drop another App State game or get flat-out destroyed by Auburn in week four, the boosters will make a move to get a head start on the rest of the college football world for the next man up. Garret Riley to College Station, anyone?

  5. THE CRIMSON TIDE LOSE 3 GAMES THIS SEASON! - The end of a Dynasty? Nick Saban will give it his all this year, but it looks like Kirby Smart may have ripped the crown for king of college football from his old boss once and for all. All three of Alabama's main QBs have struggled so far in camp, and the coordinators were not at the top of Saban's list when they were hired. He has recruited well and voters will give the Tide every benefit of every doubt, but Texas will have revenge on the brain with a healthy Quinn Ewers (and this time, some kid named Manning is there to take over if he goes down again) and LSU, Ole Miss, and Tennessee now know that they can beat 'em. Auburn gets Bama at home to a rowdy Jordan-Hare to deliver the final defeat and send Saban to Jupiter Island in Florida for good. Of the five teams mentioned above, with the offseason Saban has had after missing out on the playoff last year, our own Tony Thomas agrees that Alabama could be in for a 9-win "down" year.

  6. GEORGIA FINISHES SECOND IN THE EAST! - Dawgs threepeat? Yeah, sure. No team has done that in this era (Alabama would have if it wasn't for Chris Davis in 2013) and the growing pains of losing Stetson Bennett, Jordan Davis, and everyone else on the defense cripple the Dawgs' chances. Auburn, Kentucky, and Tennessee could give Georgia a fight and says here that new QB Carson Beck gets the shakes in one or two of those games. Relax, Georgia fans, it's just an article and they'll be back someday, maybe.

  7. TANNER MORDECAI CRASHES THE HEISMAN RACE! - Under Phil Longo, quarterbacks have averaged around 258 yards per game, and his last years in Chapel Hill had UNC leading the ACC in passing offense and passing touchdowns. He now takes his talents to Madison with Luke Fickell, and a shiny new transfer quarterback named Tanner Mordecai, the former SMU gunslinger who maintained over 3,500 passing yards in each of his two seasons as a starter. An invitation to New York suddenly enters the discussion when Mordecai leads the Badgers to the B1G title game in year one of the Longo-Fickell experiment!

  8. THE ACC STAYS ALIVE BY ADDING NOTRE DAME- AND NAVY! - The clock is ticking on the ACC after FSU and Clemson announced they were looking to leave the conference for better TV deals. The ACC has no time to fiddle around like the PAC-12 did after USC and UCLA departed for the B1G. Perhaps they can re-negotiate TV deals and keep everyone happy by adding a high-profile school that's technically already in the conference in Notre Dame, which needs to admit their playoff resume would look better within a conference. The last time the Irish played in the ACC (2020), they looked like they belong. Meanwhile, Navy is a military academy, but it has a proud tradition and history, especially with the Fighting Irish, and can fill the TV market left behind by Maryland when they left for the B1G. Plus, it would add to the conference's collection of golden helmets.

  9. THE FOUR PLAYOFF TEAMS ARE - 1. Michigan, 2. Southern California, 3. Tennessee, and 4. UCF. Michigan should be the favorite to win it all over Georgia, considering how much talent they return, and USC has some guy named Caleb Williams on their roster. Tennessee, meanwhile, returns Joe Milton under center, and he looked like a legit darkhorse for the Heisman while bringing home Tennessee's first NY6 bowl win since the early 2000s. Plus, the Vols get Georgia at home and no longer fear Alabama, so this could be the year they settle into the spotlight and play like they belong. Michigan upsets the Trojans for the national title in Jim Harbaugh's last collegiate game, and then we're off to the 12-team playoff in 2024!

  10. IT'S GOING TO BE A GREAT YEAR, FOLKS! - College football is back. Whatever happens, we'll be here covering all the action, from the Red River Shootout to the Iron Bowl to the Holiday Bowl. Grab some Dr. Pepper, get your popcorn ready, and let's enjoy the most wonderful time of the year before January rolls back around.

There you have it. Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments and stick around for more after your team walks off the field in victory this season.

War Eagle, everybody!

- M



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