USC will open 2023 football season during Week Zero after BYU cancellation

USC coach Lincoln Riley watches his team go through running drills during practice
Lincoln Riley and the USC Trojans will open the 2023 season earlier than originally expected.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

USC will open its 2023 season a week earlier than the rest of college football after BYU backed out of a deal to play in November amid its transition to the Big 12.

USC will now fill out its schedule with San Jose State instead, opening the second season of the Lincoln Riley era on Aug. 26, 2023, in a Week Zero matchup that should give the Trojans a stage largely to themselves.

The Nov. 25, 2023, matchup with BYU was meant to be the third meeting of a series scheduled back in 2013. But an impending move to the Big 12 next summer changed those plans for BYU. It notified USC last year that it would no longer be able to play the game, leaving USC to find a new nonconference opponent.


San Jose State will step into that void, serving as USC’s season opener for the second time in three seasons. Last season, USC pummeled San Jose State 30-7 in its opener, only to fire coach Clay Helton a week later after a lopsided loss to Stanford.

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With a new game tacked onto the start of its season, USC will open its fall camp a week earlier than usual. It will also get a bye ahead of the Pac-12 title game, a scheduling quirk that could play in USC’s favor if its 2023 season goes as planned. In between, USC will also face Nevada (Sept. 2) and Notre Dame (Oct. 14) as part of its non-conference schedule.

There should be no shortage of hype ahead of the 2023 campaign, with quarterback Caleb Williams slated for his final season of eligibility alongside a recruiting class that already boasts three five-star prospects.

And now, with its season starting a week earlier, USC could have that bright spotlight to itself at the start.