College football 2023-24: The bests of the first month of action
Houston, Texas - One month down, three more to go until the college football National Championship!
Whew! An incredible five Saturdays of NCAA football have been shoehorned into September, delivering what felt like an entire season's worth of madness!
Put simply: this season has already scored a touchdown for college football fanatics.
And before we Hail Mary into October, let's look back at the best on-field moments the first month of the 2023-24 brought us.
Best 2023 Game: Ohio State defeats Notre Dame in nail biter
The most electrifying match of the season undoubtedly belongs to the Buckeyes and the Fighting Irish.
With arguably the biggest playoff implications of the first month, the September 23 game was a nail-biter down to the very last second. It was marked by intense short-yardage plays that added to the nerve-wrecking drama.
In the end, the Buckeyes secured the victory by way of a huge defense mistake by the Irish, who had 10 men on the field instead of 11.
The post-game drama took a WWE-like turn when Ohio State's coach Ryan Day engaged in a heated exchange with 86-year-old former Irish coach Lou Holtz.
Holtz had made disrespectful comments about Day and the Buckeyes on national television the previous week, and Day did not back down from the challenge.
Best 2023 Team: Coach Prime and the Colorado Buffaloes
Since their season-opening upset against TCU, it's been clear that the Colorado Buffaloes have significantly improved their talent this year, especially in the skill positions.
With Deion Sanders at the helm as the new head coach and his son Shedeur Sanders leading as quarterback, the Buffaloes have already shown that they have a promising future, even if they don't win another game this season.
Sitting at 3-2, the Buffaloes have already outperformed last season's record, and they're making waves off the field as well. Coach Prime has made a big impact with his trash talk and boasting, helping merchandise sales soar by an impressive 819% compared to their previous season. The team's Instagram following has grown tenfold, and they've sold out all their season tickets for this year.
While the Buffaloes still have work to do, as evidenced by a tough loss to Oregon in Week 4, the Buffaloes bounced back over the weekend with a closely contested defeat against a USC team led by Heisman winner Caleb Williams. Notably, they faced this challenge without their star player Travis Hunter, who was sidelined due to injury.
Coloardo is shaping up to have made the biggest impact so far this season.
Best 2023 Conference: Pac-12 Conference
The irony is striking: the Pac-12 is experiencing its best season in years just one month after being dismantled and sold off. The transition will begin in 2024.
Yet the West Coast league has once again glittered this season with the highest number of teams featured in the top 25 of the AP poll. It currently boasts three teams positioned in the top 10 and six within the top 18 in the latest AP rankings.
Unlike any other conference, the Pac-12 arguably contains the most Heisman hopefuls, national title contending teams, promising NFL draft picks, and skilled coaches. The Pac-12 also currently flaunts the best win-loss record.
In other words, the Pac-12 has everything they need to be one of the hottest conferences in the country and score one of the most lucrative TV contracts. Unfortunately, the success came a bit too late.
At least they'll go out this season with a bang.
Heading into this season's Week 6, college football fans will be in for a treat as the Texas Longhorns host the Oklahoma Sooners for the Red River Rivalry showdown on Saturday, October 7.
Cover photo: Collage: MICHAEL REAVES & DUSTIN BRADFORD & STEPH CHAMBERS / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP