College football Week 0 odds, picks: Notre Dame-Navy, Caleb Williams highlight openers (2023)

College football is back with Week 0 action on Saturday. It’s just a taste of football with seven games involving FBS teams, but it does mark the return of football and the start of the season.

There are also some notable teams in action with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish taking on Navy Midshipmen in Ireland and the USC Trojans and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams hosting the San Jose State Spartans. Both Notre Dame and USC have ambitions of contending for the College Football Playoff this year. USC is ranked No. 6 in both major polls and Notre Dame is at No. 13 in both.


Unsurprisingly both USC and Notre Dame are favored by multiple touchdowns in those openers. Elsewhere, the Jacksonville State Gamecocks debut as an FBS team in a Conference USA matchup against the UTEP Miners. In all, six teams playing in Week 0 games made bowl games last season.

Here’s a deeper look at some of the more notable games that will kick off the season in Week 0.

(Video) College Football Week 0 Predictions | NCAA Football Odds, Picks and Best Bets

Kickoffs are all on Saturday and the times are Eastern. Rankings are from the AP poll. All odds are from BetMGM. Click here for live odds.

Navy vs. No. 13 Notre Dame — 2:30 p.m. ET on NBC

Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland

The 2023 college football season kicks off overseas when Notre Dame and Navy face off in Dublin, Ireland, in the Aer Lingus College Football Classic. Despite the unique setting, the Fighting Irish will yet again be heavy favorites as they look for their sixth straight win over the Midshipmen.

The historic rivals will renew acquaintances in Dublin’s Aviva Stadium with kickoff set for 2:30 p.m. ET on Saturday. The game will be televised on NBC.

The Irish enter Marcus Freeman’s second full season as head coach ranked No. 13 with bigger goals in mind after last season’s 9-4 showing. There’s plenty of buzz surrounding the offense due to the arrival of transfer quarterback Sam Hartman, who comes to Notre Dame after rewriting the record books at Wake Forest. Across five seasons for the Demon Deacons, Hartman threw for 12,967 yards and 110 touchdowns, placing him second and first in ACC history.

This game also marks the start of a new era for the Midshipmen as former defensive coordinator Brian Newberry takes over for longtime head coach Ken Niumatalolo, who was dismissed after 15 seasons at the helm. Newberry looks to turn things around following three straight losing seasons and will rely on an experienced defense to keep his team in games. Navy’s patented option offense will remain in place, but the intent is to incorporate more passing elements. Offensive coordinator Grant Chestnut will likely employ some rotation at quarterback with sophomore Blake Horvath and senior Tai Lavatai sharing top billing on the depth chart entering this game.


(Video) Navy vs Notre Dame | College Football Week 0 Early Game Preview

Even though Notre Dame has historically dominated this rivalry (leads 81-13-1), that doesn’t mean Navy won’t put up a fight. Last season, a 3-7 Midshipmen team nearly erased a 22-point halftime deficit before falling 35-32 to the then-No. 20 Irish in Baltimore.

Expert picks against the spread

Ohio at San Diego State — 7 p.m. ET on FS1

The Ohio Bobcats kick off the 2023 college football season, where they finished their last one, out west, when they take on the San Diego State Aztecs on Saturday night. The Aztecs will be a slight home favorite in this intriguing MAC vs. Mountain West nonconference matchup.

The two Group of 5 programs will meet for just the second time when this game takes place at 7 p.m. ET in Snapdragon Stadium, SDSU’s on-campus venue that opened a year ago. The game will be broadcast on FS1.

Ohio is the defending MAC East champion and won 10 games last season, including a 30-27 overtime victory over Wyoming, another Mountain West member, in the Arizona Bowl. Head coach Tim Albin’s Bobcats feature plenty of returning starters on offense, a group highlighted by reigning MAC Offensive Player of the Year Kurtis Rourke. The senior quarterback led the conference with 3,526 passing yards and 25 touchdowns while throwing only four interceptions. He did this despite missing the last three games after tearing his ACL in mid-November. If Rourke is not fully recovered, backup CJ Harris will get the start under center. Harris, a junior, was offensive MVP in the Bobcats’ bowl victory.

San Diego State has a reputation for running the ball and playing stingy defense but needs more from the passing attack as the Aztecs aim for their first Mountain West championship since 2016. The hope is that quarterback Jalen Mayden, who moved from safety around the midpoint of last season, will be the catalyst to improved offensive production.


(Video) College Football Week Zero Preview & Picks | The College Football Experience

With head coach Brady Hoke having to replace nearly every starter from last season’s defensive unit that finished 16th in the nation in yards allowed per game, the offense will certainly need to do its part for SDSU to build any momentum during its nonconference slate (which also includes games against UCLA and Oregon State) before heading into Mountain West play.

Expert picks against the spread

Hawaii at Vanderbilt — 7:30 p.m. ET on SEC Network

The Vanderbilt Commodores open their 2023 gauntlet with a visit from the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, a matchup that Vandy enters as strong favorites. After multiple signature wins in coach Clark Lea’s second season in Nashville, the Commodores will be vying for a bowl game appearance for the first time since 2018.

Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday at FirstBank Stadium. The game will be televised on the SEC Network.

No team in the country may have been more excited about a 5-7 finish than Vanderbilt in 2022. After opening the season 3-1, two wins against division rivals Florida and Kentucky in November were enough to get excitement brewing around the program after not winning more than three games in any season since 2018.

Quarterback AJ Swann will build off a solid freshman outing, totaling 1,274 yards and 10 touchdowns. He is one of the key players that the Commodores hope will improve.

Swann will need his supporting cast to take the next step, too, if Vandy wants to go bowling, but the team might not need to pull out all of the fireworks against the Rainbow Warriors. Vanderbilt won the matchup between the two sides in Honolulu last year 63-10.

Hawaii enters Year 2 of head coach Timmy Chang’s tenure, looking for progress after a 2-10 showing in 2022. One immediate route to improvement is turnover prevention; starting quarterback Brayden Schager threw 10 interceptions in his first year as the primary starter. He will have plenty of reps to mature under center, as Chang has said this offseason that the team will implement a run-and-shoot offense, a pass-heavy scheme that will give Schager a chance to win games with his arm.

Expert picks against the spread

San Jose State at No. 6 USC — 8 p.m. ET on Pac-12 Network

Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams returns to college football for his third, and presumably, final year with a Week 0 matchup against San Jose State. USC is a heavy favorite over the Spartans, who will bring a highly-touted quarterback in Chevan Cordeiro.

(Video) CFB College Football 2023 Week 0 Betting Spread & Total Picks/Predictions (Saturday, August 26th)


Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET on Saturday at LA Memorial Coliseum. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.

If Williams did not suffer a hamstring injury in the Pac-12 Championship Game last December, eventually losing to Utah, the Trojans could have competed in the College Football Playoff. USC coach Lincoln Riley will get another chance at becoming the first Pac-12 team to make the playoff since Washington did in 2017, and significant transfer additions should bolster a team that was already among the elite.

USC didn’t need to look far for a receiver to add to the arsenal, earning a commitment from Dorian Singer, who earned All-Pac-12 honors last season for Arizona. Singer will need to replicate the production the Trojans got out of former USC wideout Jordan Addison, who departed for the NFL.

Like last year, most of the question marks around USC are about the defense. While the Spartans don’t have one of the most elite offenses USC will face this season, there is reason to believe San Jose State could put points on the board.

After transferring from Hawaii, Cordeiro entered his second year in San Jose and was named the Mountain West Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. He amassed 32 total touchdowns and over 3,500 all-purpose yards in his first year as a Spartan.

(Video) College Football Week 0 *Picks & Predictions* | 2023

If the Trojans want to assert themselves and their defense as national-title caliber, stopping Cordeiro is a good place to start.

Expert picks against the spread

(Photo of Caleb Williams: Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images)


What is Week 0 in college football? ›

While Saturday is the official start of the college football schedule, it's become known as Week 0. The majority of NCAA Division I teams historically begin their seasons the Saturday before Labor Day.

Who plays in Week 0 of college football? ›

What college football games are on TV this weekend?
  • Navy vs. No. 13 Notre Dame, 2:30 p.m., NBC and Peacock.
  • UTEP vs. Jacksonville State, 5:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network.
  • UMass vs. New Mexico State, 7 p.m., ESPN.
  • Ohio vs. San Diego State, 7 p.m., FS1.
  • Hawaii vs. Vanderbilt, 7:30 p.m., SEC Network.
3 days ago

What time is the notre dame navy game in dublin 2023? ›

When is the Notre Dame-Navy game in Ireland? The matchup will kick off at 2:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. local time) on Saturday, Aug. 26.

What time is the Notre Dame Navy game in Dublin? ›

The game begins at 7:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. Eastern), so both teams will fly back on Sunday. The Irish host Tennessee State the following Saturday.


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