2023 USFL schedule: Best early games, title odds and more!
What are the best games in the early part of the USFL season? Who is favored to win it all? We break it down.
The USFL's Season 2 schedule has been released, with four different cities hosting games in the 2023 regular season.
Let's take a look at some key things to know.
WHAT ARE THE HOST CITIES?
Birmingham, Alabama: All eight teams played their regular-season games in Birmingham last season. This season, Birmingham will serve as the host city for the Birmingham Stallions and New Orleans Breakers.
Memphis: Hosting Memphis Showboats and Houston Gamblers.
Detroit: Hosting the Michigan Panthers and Philadelphia Stars.
Canton: Hosting the New Jersey Generals and Pittsburgh Maulers.
[The week-by-week 2023 USFL schedule]
WHO IS FAVORED TO WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP IN 2023?
Here are the early championship futures, via FOX Bet:
WHAT ARE THE MOST INTERESTING GAMES IN THE FIRST THREE WEEKS OF THE SEASON?
1. Week 1: Philadelphia at Memphis at Simmons Bank Liberty Stadium (April 15, 4:30 p.m. ET)
This is the first time spring league football will be played in Memphis in 40 years.
The Showboats, who have adopted Memphis after the city made clear its interest in hosting a USFL franchise, will feature former Arkansas running back and Seattle Seahawk Alex Collins, Oklahoma defensive tackle Dillon Faamatau and return speedy wide receiver John Franklin III.
2. Week 1: Generals at Stallions (April 15, 7:30 p.m. ET)
The Stallions and the Generals gave us a thriller last year in this opening spot. J'Mar Smith came off the bench to lead the Stallions to a comeback win in front of their home crowd, 28-24 at Protective Stadium 291 days ago.
The eventual league MVP — KaVontae Turpin — had seven touches for 97 yards in this game. He became a member of your fraternity, the Dallas Cowboys, last season and a poster for what this league can do for its players' NFL chances.
New Jersey coach Mike Riley, who famously was the only college football coach to watch Tom Brady play high school football, returns quarterback De'Andre Johnson on a team that will look to earn a spot in the USFL title game this summer.
USFL Extended Highlights: Stallions defeat Generals
3. Week 2: Panthers at the Stars in Canton (April 23, 7 p.m. ET)
Philadelphia coach Bart Andrus' familiarity with football leagues outside the NFL and college might've given him an edge most USFL coaches didn't have in this league — experience. Andrus is 2-0 against the Panthers.
It showed last June when the Stars throttled the Panthers 46-24 and racked up more than 400 yards as they rounded into a team that fell just one game short of winning the inaugural USFL title.
However, with former San Francisco 49ers head coach Mike Nolan, the Panthers could present a unique challenge, as it will be Nolan, a defensive-minded coach, against perhaps the USFL’s most innovative.
4. Week 3: Breakers at Stallions (April 29, 12:30 p.m. ET)
The Stallions earned their South Division playoff win against the Breakers, 31-17. Jordan Ellis had two TDs in that game 225 days ago.
Victor Bolden, both a Stallion and a Denver Bronco in 2022, took a second-quarter kickoff and made a house call in the shadow of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. DeMarquis Gates, both a Stallion and a Chicago Bear in 2022, picked one off and ran it back.
While the Breakers return three All-USFL selections on defense alone, they've got a new head coach in John DeFilippo. He's from Youngstown, Ohio, played ball at Youngstown State, and is a second-generation coach. He was an NFL coordinator for three franchises. This is his first opportunity to be a head coach.
DeFilippo coached Mark Sanchez, who was just the second rookie QB in NFL history to win multiple playoff games. He also won a Super Bowl with Nick Foles and the Eagles, beating Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the process.
With former Alabama A&M quarterback Aqeel Glass looking to win the starting job, the Breakers could prove to be one of the most talented franchises in the league in 2023. At 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, Glass led A&M to its first-ever HBCU football national title in the spring of 2021 and first SWAC title since 2006.
Victor Bolden's season highlights
5. Week 3: Maulers at Stars in Detroit (April 30, 12 p.m ET)
This game will feature two of the most adaptive play-callers in the sport last year — Andrus, who took his team to the championship game with a backup QB, and Jarren Horton whose defense was terribly stout.
But Horton is going to have a tremendous family tie to his head coach. What can you tell us about Ray Horton?
He's won three Super Bowls, two as a coach. Like his predecessor, this is his first chance to be a head coach after four stunts as a defense or coordinator in the NFL. He's been coaching ball for more than 30 years.