This season was almost a walk in the park for the Georgia Bulldogs, capped by their cruising to a 65-7 victory over TCU in the national championship game.
However, that situation could change next season as teams will vie for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
A few programs that seem to always be in the mix are Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Clemson and Georgia. They have proven, sustained success over the years. It shows the program’s culture and identity.
Roll Tide Wire takes a look at 10 of the programs that have a realistic chance of reaching the College Football Playoff in 2023.
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Even after winning the 2023 College Football Playoff, the Bulldogs are the favorite to win again in 2024. The team will lose several key players, including Stetson Bennett, Jalen Carter and Kelee Ringo. However, the team will return key starters Brock Bowers, A.D. Mitchell and Kamari Lassiter. They also had contributions from numerous freshmen this past season. Some of the key ones to note are Mykel Williams, Bear Alexander, and Branson Robinson. The main concern for next year’s team will be at the quarterback position. Nonetheless, Georgia is poised to have another stellar season in 2023.
Alabama Crimson Tide
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Despite a disappointing season, Alabama looks to get back to its winning ways in 2023. The Tide will have to do so without Bryce Young, Jahmyr Gibbs and Will Anderson Jr. They will have a lot of improvement to do heading into next season if they hope to compete with other elite programs. Multiple positions to watch heading into the spring are quarterback, wide receiver and safety. However, the Tide signed the No. 1 recruiting class in the country. They will likely reload in key positions and be at the forefront of the College Football Playoff picture.
Ohio State Buckeyes
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This season was an ideal one for Ohio State. Well, that was prior to their last two games of the season against Michigan and Georgia. The Buckeyes will lose several key starters: CJ Stroud, Paris Johnson Jr. and Liam Eichenberg. However, they return the nation’s best wide receiver in Marvin Harrison Jr. There will be some areas to address in the offseason, but the Buckeyes always find a way to compete at a high level.
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Many expected LSU to have a rebuilding season in 2022, but that was not the case. The Tigers were led by transfer quarterback Jayden Daniels and freshman linebacker Harold Perkins. The two will return next season for Brian Kelly’s squad with hopes to compete for a national title. Some of the starters that will have to be replaced are Micah Baskerville, Mike Jones and Kayshon Boutte. Some players to keep an eye on are Malik Nabers, Mekhi Wingo, and Greg Penn III. I fully anticipate that LSU will be even better heading into next season.
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It was a devastating end to the season for Michigan and its best player — Blake Corum. However, the Wolverines will have a prime chance to avenge their loss in the College Football Playoff next season. The team will bring back their entire backfield with quarterback JJ McCarthy and Donovan Edwards also returning. The thing to keep a close eye on is head coach Jim Harbaugh. There has been speculation that he will head to the NFL. If that is the case, it might lessen the Wolverines’ chances of winning a national title. Needless to say, they will be in the conversation though.
Florida State Seminoles
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The expectation surrounding the Florida State football program has been relatively low in past years. However, the narrative might soon change following the Seminoles’ 10-3 record in 2022. With a highly-ranked recruiting class, head coach Mike Norvell will have plenty of talent to work with. Not to mention, the team’s two best players Jordan Travis and Jared Verse are both returning for their last season in Tallahassee. The Seminoles certainly have the potential to contend for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
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Tennessee will lose arguably two of their best playmakers next season in Hendon Hooker and Jalin Hyatt. However, Josh Heupel’s squad will have no shortage of talent next season. They have a gunslinger at quarterback in Joe Milton. In my opinion, he is a sleeper to win the Heisman next season. Several other key skill position players to keep a close eye on are Dont’e Thornton, Bru McCoy, and Squirrel White. The Volunteers will compete in the SEC and contend for a national title next season. Although, a number of things will have to go right with Georgia reloading for next season.
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The Trojans were kind of a surprise in year one under the direction of Lincoln Riley. USC was led by Heisman-winning quarterback Caleb Williams. They will lose their best wide receiver in Jordan Addison. However, Arizona transfer Dorian Singer will likely play a significant role in their offense next season. He had over 1,000 receiving yards last season with the Wildcats. It will only get tougher for USC as Colorado, Oregon, and Utah will likely improve from this past season. I have them as a contender as of right now.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
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There is reasoning to think that Notre Dame would have been in contention to reach the College Football Playoff this season if they had an elite quarterback. Well, now they do with Wake Forest transfer Sam Hartman heading to South Bend for his final season. They will lose key starters Isaiah Foskey and Michael Mayer. This will not stop Marcus Freeman’s squad from being competitive, however. They will be in the mix to reach the playoffs in 2023.
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It has been somewhat of a postseason drought for Dabo Swinney’s squad. The Tigers have missed out on the College Football Playoff the past two seasons. Not to mention, things will not get any easier as Bryan Bresee, KJ Henry, and Trenton Simpson are all heading to the NFL. In past years, Clemson has had an abundance of success on defense. They will now need to replace several key defenders. It is also worth noting that the Tigers have moved on from D.J. Uiagelelei and decided to work forward with former five-star Cade Klubnik at quarterback. The schedule seems to always be favorable and the Tigers will always find a way to be competitive.