Though another couple of months of waiting must be endured, Alabama football fans are already considering what 2023 regular season games will be the most important. That is important as in pivotal to what four teams will compete in the last, small-field, CFB Playoff.
This list of 10 games contains three Alabama football games. Four SEC teams have games on the list. The Big Ten has three teams. There are two teams from the ACC and the Pac-12 and one from the Big 12.
No teams from other conferences are included because it is highly unlikely any of the excluded teams will prove to be Playoff contenders.
Why so many Alabama football games?
An obvious answer is Bama Hammer serves the interests of Alabama Crimson Tide fans. But there is another reason why Alabama has the most games listed. It is because compared to the other likely Playoff contenders, Alabama Football has more tough games against highly rated teams.
The list below is chronological.
2023 Regular Season Big Games
- Sept. 3 – LSU vs. Florida State in Orlando. The winner will get an immediate rankings boost. Since it is not a conference game, the loser will not be downrated significantly, unless the game is a blowout.
- Sept. 9 – Texas at Alabama is even more of a statement game than LSU vs. FSU. The loser will not be knocked out of Playoff contention, but for the Crimson Tide, a loss might mean the need for a win streak, intact through the SEC Championship game.
- Sept. 23 – Florida State at Clemson. The game pits two former ACC, Atlantic Division foes, but with the ACC’s scrapping of divisions, the Noles and the Tigers could play each other again in the ACC title game.
- Oct. 21 – Penn State at Ohio State. The Nittany Lions have not beaten the Buckeyes in Columbus since 2011. Since that win, PSU has lost nine of its ten games against Ohio State. But some experts are predicting the Nittany Lions have a good enough team to move past Ohio State and Michigan in 2023. The three Saturdays before playing the Buckeyes, PSU has Northwestern, an open date and UMass. This allows plenty of rest and preparation for Ohio State.
- Oct. 21 – Tennessee at Alabama. It will be payback time in Tuscaloosa. Unless Joe Milton surprises and is better than Hendon Hooker, an improved Crimson Tide defense will slow Josh Heupel’s explosive offense. Even if Milton is sensational, Alabama has the better team and should win.
- Nov. 4 – Washington at Southern Cal. It is hard to decide if the Huskies or Utah or Oregon is the main threat to the Trojans. USC might have to run the table to make the Playoff.
- Nov. 4 – LSU at Alabama. Payback time, Chapter Two in Tuscaloosa could be a bigger challenge than Chapter One, but the Tide’s 2023 rebuild will be complete by November.
- Nov. 11 – Michigan at Penn State. State College is a legitimately tough place for visiting teams and with the Wolverines getting Ohio State at home later, a loss to PSU might be their biggest threat.
- Nov. 18 – Georgia at Tennessee. Late in the regular season, the Bulldogs finally get a game they might lose.
- Nov. 25 – Ohio State at Michigan. Big Ten teams must assume only one of them will make the Playoff. A late-season loss in the Big House could knock out one of the teams.
There will be surprises during the season and a few dozen other key games as college football sprints through September, October, and November.