Preseason College Football Ranking 2023: B/R’s Super Early Top 25
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After steamrolling the TCU Horned Frogs 65-7 in the 2022 College Football Playoff national championship, the Georgia Bulldogs are also the No. 1 team in Bleacher Report’s earliest preview of the 2023 season.
Along with UGA, brand-name programs Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State and USC join the two-time reigning champs in the Top Five.
But in which order? Where did the national runner-up/champion TCU Horned Frogs land in the rankings? What other programs are primed to generate a whole lot of offseason hype?
B/R’s voting panel of Max Escarpio, David Kenyon, Adam Kramer, Morgan Moriarty and Brad Shepard cast a ballot for the 2023 poll. A first-place vote was worth 25 points, followed by 24 for second and so on.
B/R’s Super Early Top 25
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2. Alabama Crimson Tide
3. Michigan Wolverines
4. Ohio State Buckeyes
6. Penn State Nittany Lions
7.Notre Dame Fighting Irish
8.Florida State Seminoles
9. Clemson Tigers
11. Oregon Ducks
14. Tennessee Volunteers
15. Texas Longhorns
16. Oregon State Beavers
17. TCU Horned Frogs
18. Kansas State Wildcats
19. Tulane Green Wave
20. North Carolina Tar Heels
21. South Carolina Gamecocks
22. Oklahoma Sooners
24. UTSA Roadrunners
25. North Carolina State Wolfpack
The Hype Machine
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During the 2021 season, both Florida State other Washington finished with losing records. But in 2022, the programs ripped off a surprise ascent into double-digit victories.
And expectations are staying high for 2023.
Florida State landed an ACC-best eighth in B/R’s poll, while Washington completed our Top 10 as the Pac-12’s second-highest team. It’s safe to suggest that perception will be shared around the national landscape.
Notably, each offense returns a sixth-year quarterback. Jordan Travis threw for 3,214 yards, rushed for 417 and accounted for 31 touchdowns in 2022, leading FSU to a 10-3 record. Michael Penix Jr., meanwhile, transferred from Indiana and propelled UW to an 11-2 mark. The left-hander ranked second nationally with 4,641 passing yards.
Whether you’re buying FSU or Washington is a worthwhile debate. But those conversations will be prevalent this offseason.
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The panel expects a resurgence from seventh-ranked Notre-Dame, which began the season 3-3 before climbing to 9-4. Notre Dame landed Wake Forest quarterback Sam Hartman in the transfer portal.
No. 9 Clemson is shifting to recent top prospect Cade Klubnik, who spent most of the 2022 campaign on the sideline but guided the Tigers to an ACC championship. Two-year starter DJ Uiagalelei has since transferred to an Oregon State program that is looking to improve on its first 10-win season in 16 years.
Oregon State (16th) is one of six Pac-12 teams—the highest total of any conference—in the early ranking. The others are U.S.C (fifth), Washington (10th), Oregon (11th), Utah (13th) and UCLA (22nd).
Cotton Bowl champion Tulane heads the Group of Five programs, checking in 19th on the ranking. However, the Green Wave will be contending with two-time reigning Conference USA winner UTSA as the 24th-ranked Roadrunners join Tulane in the American next season.
Previewing the Top 5
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Perception may change in the offseason, but the uncertainty of the 2023 season is equal parts fascinating and exciting.
Georgia is ranked No. 1 ahead of Alabama, Michigan, U.S.C other Ohio State. They all have serious questions to answer, though.
Following the departures of Stetson Bennett, Bryce Young and CJ Stroud, respectively, Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State are bracing for quarterback competitions. While each program has plenty of talent available, new starters tend to have growing pains.
Michigan isn’t yet certain if head coach Jim Harbaugh will return, given his recent flirtations with the NFL. As confident as USC should be with Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams retuning to lead the offense, the Trojans need to improve significantly on defense.
These programs will be popular Top Five selections and routinely appear in the Top 10 of early rankings. But it’s not a foregone conclusion that any of them will reach the 2023 College Football Playoff.