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2023 College Football Game Draft: October

We’re picking the best games for the second month of the college football season.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

With an abundance of excitement for the 2023 season, Tim, Patrick and Jared sat down to hold a draft to pick the best games of the upcoming college football season. Each person would draft five games per month, divided into August/September, October, and November/December. Here are the ground rules:

  • A randomly-generated draft order was Tim with the first pick, Patrick second and Jared third. Picks were done in a ‘snake order’ - 1,2,3,3,2,1, until each member selected 5 games.
  • Penn State games were limited to one per person.
  • Nov./Dec. did not include conference championships or bowl games. Only scheduled games were eligible to be drafted.

Now to our results!


1. Penn State at Ohio State
2. Utah at USC
3. Alabama at Texas A&M
4. Iowa at Wisconsin
5. Kansas State at Oklahoma State

Using my Penn State pick for October was a no-brainer, as the Penn State at Ohio State matchup is in all likelihood, going to have massive Big Ten championship and College Football Playoff implications.

Unlike with August/September, there were plenty more quality games to pick from after all the top choices were taken. Utah at USC is a game that should once again play a pivotal role in the Pac-12 title race and for both teams’ playoff hopes. Plus, there’s the whole revenge factor for the Trojans in losing twice to the Utes last season, with the latter defeat tripping up their CFP hopes that were right there in front of them for the grabbing.

Alabama at Texas A&M also intrigues me, as A&M has given the Tide some trouble over the last couple of years, beating them on a walk-off field goal in 2021 and coming within two yards of doing it again last year. Given how this feels like a make-or-break season for Jimbo Fisher and Nick Saban has perhaps his most inexperienced team in a while.

For my fourth pick, I went with another Big Ten contest that historically has been a low-scoring, defensive slugfest that sets modern college football back 30 years in Iowa at Wisconsin. This edition should look much different given that Luke Fickell and Phil Longo are bringing a modern-day offense to Madison, while Iowa still has whatever the hell Brian Ferentz is dialing up.

I realized I had yet to touch a Big 12 contest and wanted to mix things up with my fifth and final pick of the month, so I went with Kansas State at Oklahoma State. You could very well see one or both of these teams deep in the conference title hunt, which could create for an intriguing early October showdown between these two teams.


1. Tennessee at Alabama
2. Oregon at Washington
3. Ohio State at Wisconsin
4. Clemson at Miami
5. TCU at Kansas State

After last season’s instant classic between Tennessee and Alabama, going with the Third Saturday In October as my first pick for October was pretty easy. I’m not sure the Volunteers will be on the same level they were last year, but I do think they’ll be a fun, high scoring team once again, and the atmosphere in Tuscaloosa should be bonkers. Not often those fans get a revenge game in Bryant-Denny.

For my second game, I went out west to see the showdown between Oregon and Washington. This is another game that was an instant classic last season, with the Huskies pulling off the upset in Autzen. I love the quarterback duel between two sixth-year seniors in Bo Nix and Michael Penis — two QBs, by the way, who lost to Penn State in 2021. Just wanted to point that out.

My third pick went to Ohio State at Wisconsin. I’ll be honest, this game probably sounds better than it will actually be, but the Buckeyes going to Camp Randall one week after hosting Penn State is no easy task. It remains to be seen what the Badgers will be like in Luke Fickell’s first season, but you have to imagine the former Buckeye will have some extra juice going into this one.

I continued to spread the love conference, and now head to the ACC for Clemson at Miami. If the Hurricanes can knock off Texas A&M in early September, there’s a pretty decent chance The U will be 6-0 heading into this game. Given what Cristobal’s return has meant to that program, it could have the makings of one of the best atmospheres for a Miami game in a long time.

Lastly, let’s go to the Big 12 where we get to see the rematch of the Big 12 Championship game: TCU at Kansas State.


1. USC at Notre Dame
2. Texas vs. Oklahoma
3. Oregon at Utah
4. Clemson at NC State
5. Florida vs. Georgia

The Caleb Williams vs. Sam Hartman quarterback duel adds intrigue to an already highly anticipated rivalry game between two teams with legit playoff aspirations in USC vs. Notre Dame. It sure is interesting how USC never visits South Bend in November, huh? They’ll get a taste of that beautiful late-year Midwest weather soon enough.

For pure entertainment value, it usually doesn’t get much better than the Red River Shootout between Texas and Oklahoma. There hasn’t been a consistently entertaining rivalry game during the past decade where just about every game went down the wire with a thrilling finish and several unbelievable “did I just see that happen??” plays. Let’s just hope Oklahoma is ready to bounce back after hitting rock bottom and falling to the ‘Horns 49-0 last season.

Oregon-Utah could turn out to be the PAC-12 game of the year. While the Ducks appear ready for a playoff run, Utah is the back-to-back conference champs for a reason. The Utes combination of stingy defense and simple yet efficient offense is difficult to get past.

As I mentioned on Monday, NC State is one of those teams you can typically count on for a good game as they like to play to the level of their opponent. This is especially true when the Wolfpack face off with Clemson, who have several close calls and pulled off an upset over the Tigers in 2021. The Clemson-NC State series returns to Raleigh as the Wolfpack looks to break through for that elusive ACC crown.

Pickings were slim by the time it came to my last selection. The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party between Florida-Georgia will likely be far more entertaining to attend in-person that to view from home. Regardless, maybe the Gators can summon up some magic to reignite their rivalry with the mighty Georgia Bulldogs.