Jake’s Takes: College Football Week 0 Review

September 1, 2023

Jake’s Takes: College Football Week 0 Review

Jake Moszskowski's latest edition of "Jake's Takes" examines College Football Week 0.

Week 0 had only seven matchups for college football fans to enjoy, but boy, it feels good to have meaningful football games back! The 2023 CFB season kicked off with four one-score contests, neither coming in games featuring ranked teams (No. 6 USC and No. 13 Notre Dame blew out their opponents). 

With so few matchups in Week 0, there’s not much to talk about - so instead we’ll focus on covering what Huddle’s trading team expected, what maybe surprised them to see, and a few players that we’ve already got our eyes on as potential NFL prospects.

USC & San Jose State

Don’t let the score fool you - the USC Trojans’ defense is exactly as bad as it was last season. Going into Year 2 with Alex Grinch returning at defensive coordinator, there was some hope that he’d maybe turned a corner. His poor defensive coaching cost USC in a bowl game against Tulane to close the 2022 CFB season, as USC gave up 45 points and 539 yards of offense to the Green Wave.

One game into the season, and not much has changed. Grinch still runs bafflingly complicated schemes, and makes inexplicable play calls (like calling a blitz on a 3rd and 22). The Trojans defense was gashed by a lackluster San Jose State team. The Spartans piled up 396 yards of offense and 24 first downs.

As a result, the total for USC’s Week 1 matchup against Nevada moved from 63.5 before Week 0 to 66 today.

Hawaii & Vanderbilt

Hawaii almost certainly outperformed expectations against the Commodores, covering the spread and also outgaining them as well. They’ve been upgraded from 7-point ‘dogs to just 3.5-point underdogs against Stanford this week. 

Vanderbilt, despite being the worst team in the SEC and not really a football school (at all), does feature an intriguing NFL prospect. De’Rickey White is a fourth-year safety at Vanderbilt, with 88 career tackles, 9 passes defensed, and 5 interceptions. He recorded two of his five picks against Hawaii last week, along with a forced fumble.

He’s built like a linebacker at 6’4” and 220 lbs, and that kind of size and athleticism will surely get him noticed by scouts as the season progresses. 

Read full article here on Huddle’s Week 0 College Football Performance

UMass & New Mexico State

The Minutemen scored an upset over the New Mexico State Aggies by forcing turnovers and turning them into touchdowns. UMass looked like a competitive football team for the first time in a long while, and they’ve been upgraded from 40-point underdogs to 36-point underdogs against Auburn.

Now, Auburn presents a very different kind of challenge than New Mexico State did, Minutemen QB Taisun Phommachanh (a transfer from Clemson) appears up to the task, after rushing for nearly 100 yards against NMSU while also throwing a 68-yard missile. 

Louisiana Tech & FIU

Louisiana Tech struggled more than anyone expected, scraping by FIU by 5 points. They headed into the matchup as a 12-point favorite, but needed to score 9 points in the 4th quarter to eke out the victory. It was an embarrassing performance, especially considering that FIU finished the game with 4 passing yards on 14 attempts. 

Prior to Week 0, Louisiana Tech was listed as a 17-point underdog @ SMU, but that number has gone up to almost three touchdowns as a result of their embarrassing play against Florida International.

Read full article here: Q&A with Huddle’s Lead NCAAF Trader

The Game to Watch: No 5. LSU versus No. 8 FSU

Rarely do college football fans get a ranked matchup like this to open the season. Both of these teams are loaded with NFL-quality talent and either of them could make the College Football Playoffs this season. Jared Verse (FSU) and Harold Perkins (LSU) could be the first two pass rushers off the board when the 2024 NFL Draft arrives. 

The difference maker for me comes down to the quarterback position, and I think Jordan Travis is going to be one of the best quarterbacks in the country this season. I’ll take FSU +2.5.