We are less than 100 days until the start of the 2023 college football season. My anticipation for each season starts growing when Sam Herder at HERO Sports begins his jersey countdown. Most schedules for Texas Non-FBS teams are finalized except for the junior college ranks and Hardin-Simmons needing to add a game.
As we head toward Labor Day Weekend, here’s a look at five games you don’t want to miss next year.
Week 2 - Colorado School of Mines at Angelo State
Not only is this game between two programs likely inside the Division II top 10, but it also has multiple intriguing storylines. This will be the fourth meeting all-time between the Orediggers and the Rams in a series that has decided the Super Region Four champion for the last two years. In addition, this game will be a big test for both programs, with Mines having a new head coach and ASU replacing multiple All-Americans that left in the transfer portal.
Week 2 - Mary Hardin-Baylor at Trinity
In an era where some coaches shy away from challenging their team against some of the best competition in the country, Larry Harmon and Jerheme Urban has gone the other direction. The Tigers will have an experience advantage with many starters returning this year, including quarterback Tucker Horn. Meanwhile, the Crusaders will plenty of new names on offense but return most of the defense from last year.
Week 3 - UIW at Abilene Christian
The Cardinals and the Wildcats met on the gridiron 11 times between 2010 and 2019, with ACU owning a 7-4 edge. The series renews this year and will have the eyes of the FCS world watching. The atmosphere could be electric inside Wildcat Stadium if the residents of Abilene and ACU’s students realize they have a quality Division I team and show up to the game.
Week 3 - Wisconsin-Whitewater at Mary Hardin-Baylor
UMHB will play two teams likely in the top 10 in back-to-back weeks during the regular season. UW-W is 7-2 all-time against the Cru, but a new man is on the sidelines for the Warhawks. Defensive coordinator Jace Rindahl was elevated to head coach following the retirement of Kevin Bullis. This game may be one of the most brutally physical games at any level this year, with both teams relying on their defense.
Week 4 - St. Thomas (Fla.) at Texas Wesleyan
The Rams and Bobcats felt snubbed when the NAIA released its playoff bracket last year. So, Joe Prud’homme and Bill Rychel decided to play each other in what is being affectionately dubbed the “Hosed Bowl.” All jokes aside, this game will have significant playoff implications for both teams, with TxWes holding the homefield advantage this year.
- UIW will begin the season ranked No. 12, according to the Athlon Sports’ Preseason FCS Top 25 rankings. The Cardinals are the only team from Texas in the rankings.
- The Cardinals gained a commitment from former North Greenville defensive back Ethan Alexander and Iowa Western defensive back Kendrick Stone. Stone was a member of the Reivers 2022 NJCAA national championship team.
United Athletic Conference
- I looked at the FCS Hot Seat Meter heading into 2023 with two UAC coaches on the hottest seats. Todd Whitten at Tarleton and Colby Carthel at Stephen F. Austin has done a tremendous job with their programs. However, both coaches deal with passionate fan bases that want to experience national success every year, and their impatience is growing.
- SFA added three transfers to its roster last week with the addition of Isaiah Davis from UTSA, Aaron Austin from Colorado, and Joseph Finley from Monterey Peninsula College. Davis is a wide receiver that played in 17 games for the Roadrunners. Austin was a 3-star defensive line prospect out of North Crowley High School, while Finley can play defensive end and outside linebacker.
- Tarleton gained a commitment from Trinity Valley offensive lineman Artis Hall, who appeared in 11 games for the Cardinals last year after redshirting in 2021.
Sooner Athletic Conference
- SAGU gained a commitment from 2023 LB Shaun “Doo” Vincent last week. Vincent held an offer from DII Tiffin University and recently completed his high school career at Klein Collins.
Southwestern Junior College Football Conference
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