Follow along The second leg of this home-and-home series sees Florida head out to Salt Lake City after leveraging the Swamp and some Anthony Richardson magic in a Week 1 upset last season. After losing Richardson to the NFL Draft this offseason, both those advantages are gone for a traveling Gators team that posted its second straight losing season in 2022. Utah, conversely, lost just twice after returning from Gainesville, besting Southern Cal in the Pac-12 championship to earn consecutive Rose Bowl bids.
Despite that — and Utah opening the season at No. 14 in the AP Poll — recent injury news out of Kyle Whittingham’s camp likely gives Gator nation more confidence against their top-15 opposition.
Utah starting quarterback Cam Rising is reportedly doubtful for Thursday night, as is tight end Brant Kuithe, who led the Utes with 106 receiving yards in Gainesville last season before tearing his ACL in Week 4. As such, both teams project to rely heavily on the run, with the Gators returning Montrell Johnson (5.4 YPC in 2022) and backup Utes quarterback Bryson Barnes likely to lean on his two-headed rushing attack of Micah Bernard and Ja’Quinden Jackson.
Nebraska at Minnesota | 8 p.m. (FOX)
Nebraska looks to open a season 1-0 for the first time since 2019 on Thursday night, traveling to Minneapolis for a Big Ten West matchup against 2022 division runner-up Minnesota.
Both teams endured relatively turbulent off seasons, with Nebraska making a splash in the coaching market to hire Matt Rhule, most recently with the Carolina Panthers. The Huskers also nabbed new offensive and defensive coordinators in Marcus Satterfield and Tony White, respectively. Meanwhile, former Minnesota offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca made a return to Rutgers and Tanner Morgan’s five-year stint as starting quarterback in Minneapolis came to an end.
Despite also losing 1,600-yard running back Mohamed Ibrahim to the NFL, the Gophers secured a worthy replacement in Sean Tyler, who finished ninth in FBS last season in all-purpose yards, and they will likely stick with their usual ground-and-pound style against Nebraska’s suspect front seven. Meanwhile, Nebraska will entrust three-year Georgia Tech starter Jeff Sims with the reins Thursday night, surrounding him with a talented receiving corps headlined by returned Zavier Betts and Georgia transfer MJ Sherman.
With a number of the most storied programs in college football taking the field this evening, let’s take a look at the last time the following teams played a regular-season game on Thursday:
Florida — October 1, 1992
Forget Thursdays, it’s been more than 30 years since the last time the Florida initially scheduled a game away from Saturday — last season’s game against Eastern Washington game was moved to a Sunday due to Hurricane Ian. The traditionalist Gators won’t have the fondest memories of Thursday night football, however, getting blown out 30-6 against Mississippi State in ’92.
Utah — October 27, 2022
Conversely, few champion Thursdays quite like the Utes. Utah played in a Thursday game just last season, besting Washington State in Pullman 21-17, and opened each full season (non-COVID year) from 2009-2021 with a Thursday night spectacle. Minnesota, which also plays this evening, currently holds an active streak of Thursday openers in full seasons dating back to 2011.
Nebraska — October 7, 2010
The Huskers are a perfect 4-0 this millennium in Thursday games and have played on Thursday 60 times in their history — including the program’s first-ever game: a 10-0 win against Omaha YMCA in 1890
College football is truly back this weekend — every team in the top 25 will take the field — in a stretched out schedule that typically opens each season.
The splendor of college football Saturdays spreads across Labor Day weekend, with compelling matchups stretching from Thursday through Monday.
A loaded Thursday slate features No. 14 Utah’s revenge bout against Florida in Salt Lake City, a crucial Big Ten West matchup between Nebraska and Minnesota and 11 games featuring at least one FBS team.
Then, the Friday spotlight this week has 10 FBS teams taking the field — look out for Georgia Tech and Louisville kicking off the ACC season from Mercedes-Benz Stadium before an improved Hawai’i squad looks to knock off Stanford in Honolulu at 11 p.m. ET.
Saturday remains the backbone of the Week 1 slate, with wall-to-wall action stretching from 12 p.m. into early Sunday, but the weekend’s lone ranked matchup vs. ranked actually falls on Sunday as No. 5 LSU heads for Orlando to battle No. 8 Florida State — Sunday’s slate also features No. 18 Oregon State vs. USC-tested San Jose State and another early Big Ten contest between Northwestern and Rutgers.
Finally, a standalone ACC contest between No. 9 Clemson and Duke rounds out the Week 1 action at 8 p.m. ET on Labor Day.
🚨 AP Poll slated for Tuesday
PSA for all college football fanatics: no need to spam the refresh button at early Sunday afternoon this week.
To accommodate for the five-day stretch of Week 1 action, the release of the next AP Poll won’t be until Tuesday.