Most Important College Football Games in 2023

The 2023 College Football season features many intriguing games, including conference championship races, national championship implications, and rivalries that mean so much to so many people.

The Big 10 East has multiple games with both Big 10 and College Football Playoff aspirations on the line. Between Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State, all three have enough talent to win the Big 10 and/or make the College Football Playoff. And, even better, they all three play each other.

The SEC is a battle every single week, but some games have more on the line than others. There is so much parity in college football right now that there are so many good games week after week.

Here are the Top 10 most important games of the 2023 season:

The Most Important Games in the 2023 College Football Season

10. South Carolina vs North Carolina (In Charlotte)

There has been so much hype surrounding South Carolina this offseason and it is very important for the Gamecocks to start off the season on the right foot. North Carolina, on the other hand, has one of the best quarterbacks in all of college football and the Tar Heels will be no picnic.

These two teams met in the Duke’s Mayo Bowl just two years ago when the Gamecocks took down UNC, 38-21. This game could be one to keep an eye on because there is still some bad blood between these two even though they are not in the same conference anymore.

9. Tennessee at Alabama

The “Third Saturday in October” was a forgotten rivalry to most, but after last season’s instant classic, this rivalry is as amped-up as it’s ever been. This game means so much to so many people in both states and the college football world got a taste of what this rivalry means to people a year ago in Knoxville.

The Vols finally ended the long losing streak to Alabama in 2022 and are looking to win in back-to-back years for the first time since 2003-2004 seasons. With Alabama having a question mark at quarterback — and Tennessee continuing to get better under Josh Heupel — can the Vols beat Nick Saban in back-to-back seasons for the first time ever? The question is, who will be smoking cigars on the Third Saturday in October this season?

8. LSU at Alabama

LSU was not given much of a chance last season when they took down the Crimson Tide and ultimately took control of the SEC West and went on to play in the SEC Championship Game. This year’s game between LSU and Alabama will be much of the same with a lot more on the line.

The winner will definitely control their own destiny in the SEC West, but also in the College Football Playoff race as well. Both Alabama and LSU have National Championship aspirations and this game could make or break one another’s season.

7. USC at Oregon

The Pac-12 is as deep as it has been a long time with both Oregon and USC being at the top of the league. There is a ton of star power in this game with the main focus being the quarterback battle. Both Caleb Williams and Bo Nix are near the front in the 2023 Heisman race, and the two will be going head to head for the inside track at the Pac-12 Championship game and for both teams’ College Football Playoff hopes.

6. Penn State at Ohio State

With all due respect, this game could very well be a second-place game in the Big 10 East. Michigan is still the top dog of the Big 10 until dethroned. However, both of these teams could beat the Wolverines, so this game is very important.

The winner of this game still has hope of a Big 10 Championship berth and maybe even College Football Playoff berth, but the loser of this game will put themselves in a big hole for the rest of the season. Of course, do not rule out the obvious that all three teams (Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State) could all beat each other.

5. Florida State at Clemson

In my opinion, this is by far the best ACC game of the 2023 season. Clemson will be good as always. However, the Tigers have not played to their standard over the past couple years and we will see if Dabo Swinney can get them back on track.

If Clemson wins this game, they could very easily be on their way to another College Football Playoff berth. Florida State, on the other hand, is on the come-up and very quickly progressing under Mike Norvell. This would be a huge win for the Seminoles who have struggled mightily with Clemson for years now. Clemson is still the standard in the ACC, but Florida State is looking to make a run at the ACC Championship.

4. Michigan at Penn State

Michigan is usually worried about playing bitter rival Ohio State, but I believe Penn State is the Wolverines’ toughest test in 2023.

Penn State is a serious threat to Michigan to win the Big 10 East. The winner of this game will definitely have the inside track at the Big 10 Championship, but obviously, both teams have to play Ohio State as well.

3. LSU vs Florida State (In Orlando)

The hype around both of these teams this offseason makes this game even more meaningful than it already is. Both fanbases believe they can win a national championship and it starts in Week 1. This was one of the most entertaining games of the year a season ago and hopefully, it will be another classic this season.

2. Ohio State at Michigan

All eyes will be on “The Game” yet again in 2023. Both teams are coming off of College Football Playoff appearances. This rivalry was always bitter, but Ohio State always had the last laugh, until recently. As of late, the Wolverines have not just beat, but dominated the Buckeyes.

Michigan is looking like they will be right back in the National Championship discussion with a ton of talent returning. Meanwhile, Ohio State has some things to figure out including the quarterback position. This game is always insanely intense, but when National Championships are on the line, this rivalry gets even better.

Can the Buckeyes get the bad taste out of their mouth and beat the Wolverines in the Big House?

1. Georgia at Tennessee

Georgia has won back-to-back National Championships, but many Georgia fans believe that the 2023 version of the Bulldogs could be the best yet. With a pretty manageable schedule for Georgia, I believe that this will be the one game that can give them problems.

Tennessee will be very good again this season and, with the game being played in Neyland Stadium, anything can happen. This game was underwhelming a year ago when No.3 Georgia took down No. 1 Tennessee 27-13, and Tennessee is looking to get revenge on their home field. I think if Georgia were to lose a game in 2023, it would be to Tennessee.

Main Image: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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