The Georgia Bulldogs maintained their impressive form in 2022 to make it two seasons on the trot. With the 2023 season ready to start on August 26, each college is concluding all its final points on its off-season to-do list.
With the season approaching the college football lines highlight those who are the most likely to challenge Georgia this year, along with who could be an intriguing outside option.
University of Southern California Trojans
With Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams as their foundation block, USC have an elite offense which will punish defenses across the country. His weapons on offense look to have been upgraded further with the transfer of Dorian Singer from Arizona State. Singer started 11 of 12 games with 66 receptions for a Pac-12 leading 1,105 yards and six touchdowns.
Questions remain on their abilities on defense. Lincoln Riley took this flawed side to the doorstep of the CFP and the team are looking for a stronger year on defense with additions like linebacker Mason Cobb from Oklahoma State and defensive lineman Anthony Lucas.
With the upgrade at defense, we could well see a team competing with sides like the Georgia Bulldogs as long as this defense steps up to a higher level.
Florida State Seminoles
The Seminoles are on the rise and have quality on both sides of the ball. They are a more balanced side than with the Trojans were last year, though lacked a Caleb Williams.
It’s been 9 years since their last ACC win but come up against a number of weakened sides in their schedule, on paper at least. Quarterback Jordan Travis and wide receiver Johnny Wilson need to form a dangerous partnership in a group which continued to upgrade in preparation for this season.
With more depth across the roster in key areas, Mike Norvell vision of big plays and high production appear to be being met and he has the group behind him to challenge deep into the new season.
There has been a lot of hard working going into recruitment over the past few years in Oregon which has shown no sign of slowing down, even with the change in head coach from Mario Cristobal to Dan Lanning in December 2021.
Eleven ESPN 300 players were signed in 2023, most notably wide receivers Jurrion Dickey and Ashton Cozart. Oregon look set on paper to be one of the most exciting teams in the West while likely not being the Pac-12 favorites.
Their defense missed the top 25 in the country last year though not by much, and with Lanning making more of an impression on his team, the defense should keep improving. Their immediate future looks bright, and they continue to put themselves out in front with Michael Van Buren at quarterback already agreed for 2024.
Penn State Nittany Lions
A Big Ten is seven years in the past now, but Penn State are now coming off an 11-win season. Their coach James Franklin is also receiving the support in the background he has been looking for and their recruitment is looking more improved also.
Drew Allar looks set to be the quarterback for the next few seasons as the ESPN 5st overall talent in 2022 and the 19-year-old has had his year as back-up to bed himself in and look to break out in 2023. With Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen at running back for the next two years, the ground attack looks strong also with the two combining for 1,928 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns in 2022.
Manny Diaz is taking control of the defense for a second year which looks set to keep on improving from a group which saw national awards candidates Abdul Carter and Curtis Jacobs lead a linebacker depth chart full of non-seniors.
Kalen DeBoer has begun his ear as the Huskies coach well and looks set to keep to pushing. Heisman Trophy candidate Michael Penix Jr. is a huge part of this positive feeling as he leads an offense which will be feared by any defense they come up against.
Bringing in recruits with Penix Jr. as the quarterback has been made a lot easier. The quarterback threw to 1,000-yard receivers Rome Odunze and Jalen McMillan and any future recruits at wide receiver, tight end, or even a receiving running back, will know they will be given every opportunity to shine.
Their defense was by no means the best, but it did finish strongly in 2022. They had some standout like Bralen Trice and there is a lot of hope for Edefuan Ulofoshio in the linebacker role.
With a lot of players in their last year as seniors, the long-term success of this team is still under question, but they will go out with a big fight in 2023.