The hopes and dreams of college football fans and school alumni alike kick off on Saturday August 26, also known as Week 0, with a handful of games scheduled. And the more things change, the more they apparently stay the same as two-time defending national champion Georgia enters the 2023 season as the top-ranked team in most preseason polls.

The Bulldogs, 29-1 over the past two seasons, are expected to be challenged by the likes of Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, LSU, USC, Penn State, Florida State, Clemson, Washington, Texas, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Utah and Oregon.

Georgia’s only loss since Nov. 7, 2020 came against Alabama in the 2021 SEC title game. The Bulldogs bounced back from that loss to defeat the Crimson Tide in the national title game. This past January, Georgia embarrassed Texas Christian University (TCU) 65-7 in the national title game to capture its second consecutive national championship.

The marquee game of Week 0 on August 26 will feature Notre Dame vs. Navy in Dublin, Ireland, which should feel like a home game for the Fighting Irish. According to media reports, the game is expected to attract nearly 40,000 fans from the U.S. as indicated by advanced ticket sales. Other Week 0 games to circle on the calendar include Hawaii vs. Vanderbilt and San Jose State vs USC.

The first full week of the college football season kicks off on August 31 highlighted by a clash between Utah and Florida with the first full slate of Saturday games scheduled for September 2.

Of course, the anticipation of another college football season brings out the fan and weekend warrior in many of us, including those in the optical industry. We asked some optical leaders where their loyalties stand on the gridiron and what their predictions are for the upcoming season.

Acquios’ Rick Guinotte shows support for his Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Rick Guinotte
Acquios Advisors Inc.

“I love Nebraska football. The Cornhuskers are my team and will be forever. The program dominated in the 90s and one day, hopefully in my lifetime, they will return to the powerhouse they once were. Looking forward to the day Ohio State and Michigan are brought back to reality. We have our new coach (Matt Rhule) starting his first year and are looking for them to be bowl eligible and build up from there. My prediction this season is 6-6 and a bowl appearance. Day by day, they will get better and better. Go Big Red!”

Michael Freiburghouse
Chief Financial Officer

“As I have since my first visit to Tallahassee as a prospective student, I will be rooting for the Florida State University Seminoles this fall. The university and football program mean so much to me as an alumnus. The passion, tradition and pride that permeates throughout the university is on full display each football season and 2023 will be no different as the FSU roster is as talented as any. The team will be tested right out of the gate with a marquee match-up against the 5th-ranked LSU Tigers on September 3 in which most of the football world will be watching. It’s a prime-time opportunity to put the college football world on notice. Go Noles!”

PECAA’s Michael Freiburghouse (l) with Peter Warrick, FSU’s All-American wide receiver and MVP of the 2000 Sugar Bowl against Virginia Tech.

Simplify Optics’ Keith Grossman will be rooting on his UCLA Bruins this fall.

Keith Grossman
Simplify Optics, LLC

“As a UCLA graduate, I always support my Bruins for college football, but have realistic expectations going into this season. The minimum expectation is beating USC and winning the last year of the Pac-12. I am also a longtime fan of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and expect to see them compete for the national championship.”

Charles Shidlofsky, OD, FCOVD, FNAP
International Sports Vision Association, Past President and Founding Member
Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association, Vice President

Sports Vision Institute of North Texas

“My team is the University of Texas. This is the third year of a rebuild under coach (Steve) Sarkisian. After three top 10 recruiting classes, it looks like they are poised to win the Big 12 in their final year in the conference before moving over to the SEC. The big early challenges will be Alabama in Week 2 and some Top 25 teams in their conference such as TCU, Kansas State, Texas Tech and of course Oklahoma (Red River Rivalry). Texas lost their elite running back tandem of Bijan Robinson and Rochan Johnson to the NFL but have replaced them with some great young talent at running back. Overall, they have much more team depth than they did a year ago and a Top 10 standing in most preseason polls. They should be an exciting team to watch. Prediction: 10-2, winner of Big 12.”

The Texas Longhorns are the team of choice for ISVA and NORA leader Charles Shidlofsky.

Acquios’ Tim Merrigan and grandson Brady show their Notre Dame Fighting Irish loyalties.

Tim Merrigan
Vice President
Acquios Advisors, Inc.

“I started watching Notre Dame football on Sunday mornings at the ripe age of six years young before church when they did the recap from the day before (may have been late to church but with a good excuse). Growing up Catholic, I had the dream of playing baseball for them. Oh to dream! I predict Notre Dame will go 9-3 this year and gain a trip to a New Year’s bowl. Go Irish!”

Glenn Kitnick
Ops and Marketing Support
Windsor Eyes, Inc.

“I graduated from Penn State and always root for the Nittany Lions, but never get to a game. They have the top teams in the NCAA in their conference but I have high expectations this year for PSU. It’s hard to win that division. Locally, the Colorado Buffaloes are the one to watch for me. They have been terrible for a decade. They cleaned house this year. Coach ‘Prime’ is in charge; that’s hall of famer Deion Sanders. Will be a good year to tune in.”

Glen Kitnick of Windsor Eyes has college football loyalties to both Penn State and the Colorado Buffaloes.