It’s nearly August, and that means college football season is rapidly approaching. So, we at The Fizz have decided a worthwhile exercise would be to detail some of the big games around the ACC during the season’s opening week, now that matchups, kickoff times, and TV networks have been announced.
Louisville – Georgia Tech | Friday September 1st | 7:30 PM | ESPN
This game is being played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, home of the Falcons. The Cardinals are early eight-point favorites in what will be their first game under new head coach Jeff Brohm, who made the move over from Purdue. Louisville went 8-5 last season and won the Fenway Bowl, but still ditched Scott Satterfield for Brohm.
On the Yellow Jackets side of things, this will also be the first game for their new head coach, Brent Key, who served as an assistant under Geoff Collins for the last few seasons. Collins never made a bowl game in his 3+ seasons as head coach, and Tech as a program has not been to a bowl game since 2018 when they lost the Quick Lame Bowl. Favor the Cardinals in this one.
Virginia – Tennessee | Saturday, September 2nd | 12:00 PM | ABC
Another “neutral” site game, as this contest is taking place in Nashville at Nissan Stadium, home of the Titans. The Volunteers come into 2023 off their best season in over 20 years, going 11-2 and winning the Orange Bowl, plus that unbelievable upset of Alabama in October. Josh Heupel has a chance to make another statement as a 28-point favorite in week one.
On the Virginia side of this matchup, the Cavaliers went just 3-7 last year while dealing with the heartbreak of the tragedy that struck the program in October. Tony Elliott is in his second season as head coach, and looking to get the program back where it was under Bronco Mendenhall just a couple of seasons ago.
North Carolina – South Carolina | Saturday, September 2nd | 7:30 PM | ABC
Another neutral site matchup, but this one might be the most neutral of the bunch as the Tar Heels and Gamecocks meet at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, home of the Panthers.
The Tar Heels bring potential top-5 pick Drake Maye back at quarterback for his second season as the starter, and Mack Brown looks to continue to elevate UNC to further heights in the ACC. In each of his four seasons in his second stint in Chapel Hill, the Tar Heels have gone to a bowl game. That shouldn’t change this season.
For South Carolina, year three under Shane Beamer should be the best yet, after the Gamecocks ended the season ranked in the top 20 of the AP Poll. The battle of the Carolinas should be a good early-season barometer for where both teams are at heading into 2023. The Tar Heels are 2.5-point favorites as of right now.
LSU – Florida State | Sunday, September 3rd | 7:30 PM | ABC
Maybe the game of the opening weekend, after last year’s thriller in New Orleans, the Tigers, and the Seminoles match up in Orlando at Camping World Stadium this season in another “neutral” site game.
The Tigers are 2.5 point favorites at the moment and are coming off a 10-4 season in year one under Brian Kelly, the long-time Notre Dame head man. At one point, LSU looked like it might have been competing for a CFP spot and was ranked as high as 5th, but eventually did not make it in.
On the Seminoles side of things, expectations are high in year four of the Mike Norvell era. FSU went 10-3 last year and won the Cheez-It Bowl, and is a sneaky CFP pick coming up this season. With Jordan Travis still under center, the ‘Noles should challenge Clemson for the top spot in the ACC.