Predicting the preseason AP Top 25 college football rankings for 2023 with Alabama nearly out of the Top 5, Florida State and USC surging, and more.
The Georgia Bulldogs are entering a quest for a 3-peat, Caleb Williams is looking for Playoff glory with the USC Trojans as he aims to become the second-ever two-time Heisman Trophy winner, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the upcoming 2023 college football season that is set to begin in just under seven weeks time.
Week 0 can’t get here soon enough, but before we get to that point, the 2023 college football rankings are going to start pouring in. All eyes will certainly be peeled looking for the preseason AP Top 25 poll, which is set to be released on Aug. 15.
We have some time until then, but we also don’t have to wait. Based on what we know about the best college football teams in the country for the forthcoming 2023 season coupled with the history of AP Top 25 voters and preseason polls, we’re going through and projecting what the college football rankings will look like going into the year.
College football rankings 2023, projected preseason AP Top 25: No. 25-21
25. Kentucky Wildcats (2022 record: 7-6)
Kentucky has been in the business of reshaping the offense at virtually every level this offseason, perhaps most notably replacing Will Levis with NC State transfer Devin Leary while Liam Coen returned as offensive coordinator. They should be much more prolific after Mark Stoops’ team was outside of the Top 100 in scoring last season, which could make a world of difference.
24. UTSA Roadrunners (2022 record: 11-3)
Losing Zakhari Franklin late in the transfer portal was a tough blow for the Roadrunners. But veteran quarterback Frank Harris is back for a seventh (you read that right) season to lead UTSA and an offense that still has plenty of firepower left. Jeff Traylor has built this program well in recent years and, though the jump to the AAC could be tough, they should still be primed for plenty of success.
23. Iowa Hawkeyes (2022 record: 8-5)
Cade McNamara transferring into Iowa should help elevate the quarterback play and, subsequently, the Hawkeyes offense for the 2023 season. That’s a big step forward, and Kirk Ferentz’s program has proven that they will surely have a top-tier defense once more.
But really, there’s only one question on anyone’s mind watching Iowa: Can Brian Ferentz’s offense eclipse the 25.0 ppg mark this season?
22. Oregon State Beavers (2022 record: 10-3)
Much of the attention regarding Oregon State will be put on former Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei joining the program, but the big key for the Beavs is one of the college football’s best offensive lines and stud running back Damien Martinez. Having said that, a tough schedule and a defense that lost arguably its best playmakers from last season could prove problematic for Jonathan Smith after a 10-win campaign.
21. Ole Miss Rebels (2022 record: 8-5)
Lane Kiffin earned his Portal King moniker this offseason by bringing in competition for Jaxson Dart, who underwhelmed a year ago, at quarterback with Spencer Sanders and Walker Howard coming to Ole Miss. The offense should be quite good, especially if a receiver can step up now that Jonathan Mingo is gone, but the big hope is that former Alabama DC Pete Golding can help the defense make notable strides.