Colorado, Deion Sanders shock No. 16 TCU

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Week 1 of the 2023 college football season is here. Six of the top eight teams in the US LBM Coaches Poll are in action on Saturday, including No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Michigan, No. 3 Alabama and No. 4 Ohio State. Looking for Week 1 picks? We got you covered here. Looking for Week 1 bold predictions? Look no further than right here. And a complete TV schedule? Yep, that’s right here. 

What college football games are on right now? 

  • Buffalo at No. 21 Wisconsin, FS1, 3:30 p.m. 
  • Massachusetts at Auburn, ESPN, 3:30 p.m. 
  • South Florida at Western Kentucky, CBSSN, 3:30 p.m. 
  • Towson at Maryland, Big Ten, 3:30 p.m. 
  • Wofford at Pittsburgh, ACC, 3:30 p.m. 
  • Southeast Louisiana at Mississippi State, SEC Network, 4 p.m.
  • California at North Texas, ESPNU, 4 p.m. 

College football schedule, Top 25

  • UT Martin at No. 1 Georgia, ESPN+, 6 p.m. 
  • Nevada vs. No. 6 USC, Pac-12 Network, 6:30 p.m. 
  • SEMO at No. 17 Kansas State, Big 12 NOW, 7 p.m. 
  • New Mexico at No. 25 Texas A&M, ESPN, 7 p.m. 
  • West Virginia at No. 7 Penn State, NBC, 7:30 p.m. 
  • No. 20 North Carolina vs. South Carolina (Charlotte, N.C.), ABC, 7:30 p.m. 
  • No. 24 Texas Tech at Wyoming, CBS, 7:30 p.m. 
  • Middle Tennessee at No. 3 Alabama, SEC Network, 7:30 p.m. 
  • South Alabama at No. 23 Tulane, ESPNU, 8 p.m.

FORT WORTH, TEXAS – Deion Sanders’ grand experiment at Colorado finally got its first test Saturday after nine months of hype. And the results look astonishing, some might even say shocking, as the Buffaloes beat TCU, 45-42, in Sanders’ first game as Colorado’s head coach.

Sanders’ son, Shedeur, completed 38 of 47 passes for 510 yards and four touchdowns, including three to freshman Dylan Edwards.

The Buffs finished 1-11 last year and entered the game as 20.5-point underdogs against a team that finished No. 2 in the nation last year and is ranked 16th. But this was the big moment for “Coach Prime,” who expected dominance and predicted success after engineering an unprecedented roster overhaul since his hiring in December.

“We keep receipts,” Sanders said postgame.

Colorado head coach Deion Sanders runs onto the field with his team.

The game showed the nation the endurance and freak athletic ability of Colorado cornerback-receiver Travis Hunter, who played more than 100 snaps in the game as he switched between offense and defense. In the second half, he helped make a touchdown-saving tackle on a 74-yard run by TCU then turned around a few plays later and intercepted a TCU pass at the 3-yard line.

He played 65 snaps in the first half and finished with 11 catches for 119 yards. — Brent Schrotenboer

Michigan, Tennessee, Oklahoma rack up dominant wins

J.J. McCarthy hit Roman Wilson for three touchdown passes and Michigan, who is without head coach Jim Harbaugh because of a self-imposed suspension, coasted past East Carolina 30-3. McCarthy threw for 280 yards, Blake Corum ran for 73 yards and a score and Wilson caught six passes for 78 yards.

Dillon Gabriel threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns as Oklahoma rolled up 642 yards of total offense in an obliteration of Arkansas State 73-0.  The Sooners led 45-0 at halftime and played their backups the entire second half. Ten receivers caught a pass and nine backs ran the ball at least once.

Tennessee also had an easy time in its opener, beating Virginia 49-13 in Nashville. Joe Milton threw for 201 yards and also relied on a strong running game that gained 279 yards. — Scooby Axson

Fresno State knocks off Purdue on the road

Let the upsets of the 2023 college football season begin.

The Fresno State Bulldogs were able to pull off another victory over a Power 5 team, going on the road and defeating Purdue 39-35. The Bulldogs scored the game-winning touchdown on a 22-yard pass from Mikey Keene to Erik Brooks with 59 seconds left, and the defense was able to stop the Boilermaker offense near the 50-yard-line to preserve the win. 

Saturday’s game was the second straight win over a Power 5 team for the defending Mountain West champions, beating Washington State in the LA Bowl to end last season. It was also Fresno State’s first win over a Big Ten team since beating Illinois in 2010, and their 10th win in a row dating back to last season.

Keene had a big day throwing the ball, passing for 366 yards and four touchdowns.

After failing to convert on a fourth down near the goalline, the Boilermakers got a big, acrobatic interception from Dillon Thieneman to prevent Fresno State from controlling the clock. It only took two plays for the Purdue offense to go 55 yards into the end zone and retake a three-point lead with four minutes left in the game.

Travis Hunter makes diving interception

Travis Hunter is proving why he was the top overall recruit in 2022.

TCU was driving toward taking the lead in the third quarter when Hunter made a diving interception off of Chandler Morris to thwart the scoring opportunity for the Horned Frogs. He also got his head coach hyped on the sideline.

The Buffaloes wound up punting on the drive, and the Horned Frogs got in the endzone on the following drive to take a 28-24 lead late in the third quarter.

Fresno State gains fourth-quarter lead over Purdue

Fresno State has solidified itself as a Power 5 killer, and the Bulldogs aren’t shying away from Purdue.

Even though the Boilermakers have had several big plays, including a kickoff returned for a touchdown, Fresno State running back Malik Sherrod was able to punch it into the end zone to start the fourth quarter and give the Bulldogs a 32-28 lead. Fresno State is looking for its second straight win over a Power 5 team after beating Washington State in the LA Bowl to end last season.

Colorado has halftime lead over No. 16 TCU

The first game of the Deion Sanders era is underway for the Colorado Buffaloes. They’re already on track to even their number of wins from last season as they lead the TCU Horned Frogs 17-14 at the half.

CU struck first with quarterback Shedeur Sanders — Deion’s son — finding Dylan Edwards for a 4-yard touchdown.

Two-way star Travis Hunter has seven catches for 42 yards and missed two catches — one Sanders overthrew and one was a near touchdown where he didn’t have control of the ball before going out of bounds.

“He get those two deep balls, the Heisman is at his crib chillin right now,” Coach Prime said before taking his team into the tunnel.

TCU running back Trey Sanders has both touchdowns for the Horned Frogs, who only have 196 yards of total offense. — Victoria Hernandez

Oklahoma pouring it on against Arkansas State

No team started Saturday with a better first half than Oklahoma, as the Sooners have been in complete dominance against Arkansas State with a 45-0 lead heading into halftime.

The Sooners have 437 total yards in the first half to the Red Wolves’ 103. Quarterback Dillon Gabriel has 308 passing yards as his team has scored on every drive they’ve had in the first 30 minutes, including a punt return for a touchdown. — Jordan Mendoza

Michigan in control at halftime against East Carolina

J.J McCarthy went 16-18 for 181 yards and two touchdowns to Roman Wilson as the Wolverines took a 23-0 lead against the Pirates. Blake Corum added 56 yards on the ground and scored on a short two-yard run.

Virginia shooting survivor leads team out of the tunnel; kicker honors fallen teammate

Saturday was a big milestone in the comeback of Mike Hollins.

The Virginia running back was playing in his first game since he was injured in a November shooting on campus that resulted in the death of three Cavaliers players − Devin Chandler, Lavel Davis Jr. and D’Sean Perry.

Prior to Virginia’s matchup with Tennessee in Nashville, Hollins led the team onto the field in a powerful moment for the Cavaliers.

Tributes to the fallen players were also apparent Saturday afternoon. Kicker Will Bettridge is wearing No. 41, which was Perry’s number. They were high school teammates and Perry’s family agreed it was a proper way to carry on his legacy. Bettridge kicked a field goal in the second quarter to give Virginia its only points in the first half, as it trails Tennessee 21-3 at halftime. — Jordan Mendoza

Read more about Virginia’s return to the football field here.

Virginia’s punter is a 34-year-old former Marine

It’s become more common to have older college football players, but Virginia has a unique one.

Punter Matt Ganyard is a walk-on for the Cavaliers and got his undergraduate degree in 2011. He was then in the U.S. Marine Corps and served as a Cobra Attack Helicopter pilot. Now the team’s punter and kickoff specialist, he’s in the second year of his master’s program. — Jordan Mendoza

Michigan scores early against East Carolina

Michigan, without head coach Jim Harbaugh, got on the board first against the Pirates after an eight-play, 57-yard drive, capped by J.J. McCarthy hitting Roman Wilson on a 14-yard scoring strike. — Scooby Axson

Colorado strikes first in coach Deion Sanders’ opening game

The Deion Sanders era got off to a rockin’ start, as the Buffaloes got on the board first with a Shedeur Sanders four-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Edwards. Sanders went 7-of-9 for 41 yards during the 13-play, 73-yard drive. — Scooby Axson

FORT WORTH, Texas – Deion Sanders already achieved one personal victory Saturday at TCU. Will he get another with his new team after kickoff?

The flamboyant new Colorado coach led his Buffaloes onto the field here at Amon G. Carter Stadium just like he hoped he would after underdoing two sets of surgeries in June and July to fix issues in his legs, including blood clots and hammertoes on his left foot.

That was his goal after all of that – to run onto the field in the season opener before kickoff. He did it – slowly and with a limp, which was a big improvement from recent months of pain, hospital stays and healing. It also wasn’t immediately clear if he needed a pain-killing injection to help him do this, as he had recently considered.

Once one of the fastest players in football, Sanders, 56, has been severely slowed by what he describes as hereditary clotting issues in his legs. It caused him to miss three games as Jackson State’s head coach in 2021, when he had two toes amputated on his left foot after developing femoral arterial blood clots and compartment syndrome. Circulation issues flared up again this year, leading to the loss of feeling in the same foot before his surgeries. —Brent Schrotenboer

Read Jarrett Bell’s full feature on Sanders and Colorado here. 

Oklahoma scores second touchdown on punt return

The Sooners are off the a blazing start against Arkansas State with two scores less than three minutes in.

After scoring on its opening drive on five plays, the defense forced Arkansas State to punt on its opening drive. Gavin Freeman then returned the punt 82 yards to make it 14-0. — Jordan Mendoza

College football picks Week 1

Here are our college football Week 1 expert picks: 

Here are our picks and projections for every major conference. 

Big college football games this weekend 

The time has arrived, college football fans. Sure, we had a little teaser with the abbreviated slate known as Week 0, but now that it’s September, everybody else in the sport’s top division is getting their season underway as well. 

The Week 1 schedule is actually fairly light on high-profile matchups. But with a full television lineup, which is happily extended a couple of days thanks to the holiday weekend, there should be something worthy of attention going on all the way through Monday night. Some of these won’t have much time-slot competition, but keep that remote handy as always when sitting down to enjoy your Saturday. Here’s a quick rundown of the weekend’s top games. — Eddie Timanus 

Michigan quarterback wears shirt in support of Jim Harbaugh

Quarterback J.J. McCarthy wore a “Free Harbaugh” shirt during warmups for Michigan’s game against East Carolina.

Jim Harbaugh won’t coach Michigan’s season opener, but his players are making it known they want their coach back.

Harbaugh will miss the first three games of the season due to a self-imposed suspension, as he likely faces punishment from the NCAA over possible recruiting violations and misleading NCAA investigators. The Wolverines will have a rotating group of assistant coaches leading the team to start the season.

College Gameday – Week 1

ESPN’s College Gameday is in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Saturday for the battle of the Carolinas. The South Carolina Gamecocks and North Carolina Tar Heels will face off at Bank of America Stadium, home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. It is the first College Gameday visit for a South Carolina-North Carolina game. The Tar Heels haven’t appeared on College Gameday since 2010, while the Gamecocks most recently appeared in 2014. — Scooby Axson 

College football conferences musical chairs

Confused by all the conference changes coming in major college sports within the next year? It’s been difficult to follow all the moving pieces during the past weeks and months. 

We knew last summer that more lucrative TV deals would soon lure UCLA and Southern California to the Big Ten for the 2024 season. Likewise, Texas and Oklahoma announced plans to move to the SEC. But little did we know how many other programs also would soon be moving. 

What’s transpired in the Pac-12, Big 12 and Big Ten in recent weeks has grabbed most of the college realignment headlines, but big changes are coming to both the Power Five and the Group of Five by this time next year. A few we’ll see in just a few days. This season, the Big 12 will welcome three teams from the American Athletic Conference: Central Florida, Cincinnati and Houston. 

In the past four decades, teams moved, conferences grew and a few collapsed. That doesn’t sound much different than today’s situation – other than the rapid pace at which these changes are unfolding. Here’s everything you need to know. — Jim Sergent 

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign

Here are some of the best signs from College Gameday.

College football predictions 

Georgia, Michigan, Clemson, Southern California and Texas are the forecasted conference champions in USA TODAY Sports’ 2023 record projections for the Power Five leagues. The Bulldogs will chase college football history with a new cast of starters, led by quarterback Carson Beck. They’ll once again face stiff competition from Alabama, which looks to take back the SEC West after finishing second in the division last season to LSU. 

Michigan will have to fend off Ohio State and Penn State in what is easily the most competitive division in the Bowl Subdivision. Clemson’s biggest challenge will come from Florida State. In the Pac-12, USC has the offense to run the table but might be undone by an unpredictable defense. And while Texas has the pieces to compete for the College Football Playoff, the Longhorns will have to take the Big 12 back from defending champion Kansas State and national runner-up TCU. 

College football Week 1 odds 

The top college football betting apps favor No. 16 TCU in their opening matchup with Deion Sanders and Colorado. The Horned Frogs are 20.5-point favorites over the unranked Buffaloes, according to the BetMGM college football odds. One of the best mobile sports betting apps, BetMGM is among those offering the top NCAA football betting promos in 2023. 

Later in the afternoon, 12-ranked Texas is expected to win big (-35.5) over visiting Rice. Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers boasts some of the best betting odds to win the 2023 Heisman Trophy. 

One of the more interesting games in the nighttime slate will be a cross-border battle between No. 20 North Carolina and South Carolina. The Tar Heels are 2.5-point road favorites, but the Gamecocks could have a sleeping dragon in former top QB recruit Spencer Rattler. 

Whether you’re still learning how to bet on sports or a seasoned sharp, USA TODAY readers can claim exclusive promos and bonus codes with the best online sportsbooks and sports betting sites. Our college football betting guide can help you get started. 

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