College Football season is quickly approaching, and with that we are starting to see the preseason polls roll out. The preseason Coaches Poll came out earlier this week, and the preseason Associated Press Poll (preseason AP Poll) comes out this Monday. While preseason polls are usually just guesses at what a team’s performance will look like (especially in today’s CFB landscape where some team’s replace almost half their roster every year), it does set narratives for the upcoming season, drives up excitement, and gives fans a glimpse of where their team stands.
With all that in mind, I decided to give a crack at predicting what next week’s preseason AP Poll will look like. Remember that this is not my preseason poll and where I would have the teams ranked, but rather where I *predict* that the *AP Voters* will have them ranked to start the season. Here we go:
Predicting the 2023 college football preseason AP Poll Top 25
25. South Carolina
22. Texas A&M
21. Oregon State
Our first SEC team on the list is the last team on the inside of the top 25. With how South Carolina finished last season (with November wins over top 10 Tennessee and Clemson), a talented quarterback (Spencer Rattler), and a young up-and-coming head coach (Shane Beamer), you can understand why AP voters would push a team that finished 8-5 last year into this year’s preseason AP Poll Top 25.
Who is going to win the Big Ten West? Your guess is as good as mine. However, I predict that Wisconsin, led by star RB Braelon Allen, will be the highest ranking B10 West team just on the inside of the preseason top 25. #23 feels several spots too low for Tulane in my opinion, but many AP voters differ on how and where to rank Group of Five teams. While Tulane had a magical season last year (12-2 and an impressive 46-45 win over USC in the Cotton Bowl), we’ve yet to really see a Gof5 team outside of Cincinnati and UCF be able to string together multiple seasons of high level success, and that might scare some voters off.
Our next SEC team, Texas A&M, is a very polarizing team heading into this year. Many will question (and probably warrantably so) why a team who went 5-7 and missed a bowl game last year should be in this season’s preseason AP Poll Top 25. The answer to that is in two parts. For one, the voters are usually very high on A&M (remember, this is a prediction), and the reason they are this year is my other reason: that #1 ranked recruiting class in 2022. That group played a lot as freshmen, and now have a full year under their belt to try and take a step forward in the SEC West this season. The Pac-12 feels wide open this year with a lot of trendy teams and a lot of high level QB play. Oregon State (10-3 last year) brought in Clemson transfer DJ Uiagalelei to be the signal caller in Corvallis, and the Beavers would want nothing more than to spoil the Pac-12 party of all the schools that are leaving.