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What is a ‘dangerous team’ in college football? Experts weigh in

What is a “dangerous” college football team? One could say Alabama and Georgia and Michigan are. Going against them seems pretty threatening in the immediate sense of being likely to lose. Yet, for a lot of us who follow sports — not just college football — the specific notion of being “dangerous” often suggests or implies being less than fully elite, but being capable of rising to the top if everything comes together. That might be, for a lot of people, the true essence of what it means to be “dangerous” as a sports team or competitor. The potential hasn’t been fully actualized, but it’s there, and it could bust out in a big way.

Let’s see what 247Sports has to say about the dangerous teams in 2023, and if USC football is part of the mix.

(h/t Brad Crawford of 247 Sports)

TEXAS LONGHORNS

Texas Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian talks with an official during a college football game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys (OSU) and the University of Texas Longhorns at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022.
Osu Vs Texas Football

The Texas Longhorns can be one of the best teams this season if all goes well. If not, it could be a rough offseason for Steve Sarkisian. They are a popular dark-horse pick for the College Football Playoff.

USC TROJANS

Oct 1, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; USC Trojans head coach Lincoln Riley on the sidelines during a game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at United Airlines Field at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Trojans just missed the College Football Playoff last year and added a ton of pieces on both sides of the ball. In Lincoln Riley’s second year, can they get to that coveted spot? Here’s what Crawford said about USC being second on this list:

For the second-straight offseason under Lincoln Riley, USC addressed just about ever need it had through the portal and did so with a couple of this cycle’s most-talented transfers. Two of those guys are former Georgia defensive lineman Bear Alexander and ex-Arizona wideout Dorian Singer. Reigning Heisman winner Caleb Williams is a near unanimous top pick projection in the 2024 NFL Draft and there’s talent around him.

PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS

Oct 9, 2021; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin interacts with safety Jaquan Brisker (1) before the game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

All in all, this could be the best team James Franklin has had at Penn State. Last year, they lost to Ohio State and Michigan, and they need to beat at least one of those teams to have a chance.

WISCONSIN BADGERS

Dec 27, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Luke Fickell against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the second half of the 2022 Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Fickell took Cincinnati to the CFP, now he hopes to do the same with the Wisconsin Badgers. This offseason, the two biggest hires were Fickell to Wisconsin and Deion Sanders to Colorado.

TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS

Oct 15, 2022; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers fans rush the field after defeating the Alabama Crimson Tide at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The Vols won 11 games in 2022, and if Hendon Hooker didn’t get injured, they might have won more. Hooker and Jaylin Hyatt are gone, but Rocky Top is back with Joe Milton as the talented signal-caller in Knoxville.

SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS

South Carolina Gamecocks defensive back D.Q. Smith (1) is congratulated by defensive back O’Donnell Fortune (25) for Smith’s pick-six score during the first quarter of the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl of an NCAA college football game Friday, Dec. 30, 2022 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. The Notre Dame Fighting Irish held off the South Carolina Gamecocks 45-38. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

The Gamecocks are always an interesting case study. The team has a ton of talent, but will Spencer Rattler take that step forward? Can South Carolina compete in the SEC East?

KANSAS STATE WILDCATS

Dec 3, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; Kansas State Wildcats head coach Chris Klieman looks on during the second half against the TCU Horned Frogs at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas State Wildcats have emerged as a threat in the Big 12, and TCU’s personnel losses this offseason, combined with Oklahoma’s transitional period under Brent Venables, could have Chris Klieman and his team as the favorite.

TEXAS A&M AGGIES

Oct 16, 2021; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher reacts during the first half against the Missouri Tigers at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Jimbo Fisher always has a ton of talent on his roster. This offseason, players exited left and right, but Texas A&M should still be a tough out. Bobby Petrino returning to the college ranks as offensive coordinator could be terrific news for the Aggies, or it could be a disaster.

UCLA BRUINS

Nov 19, 2022; Pasadena, California, USA; UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly watches game action against the Southern California Trojans during the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Zach Charbonnet are gone. Insert five-star QB Dante Moore (if he starts over Kent State transfer Collin Schlee). Chip Kelly’s team should be a tough out in the Pac-12, and in the final year before moving to the Big Ten, Kelly has a lot to prove.

TULANE GREEN WAVE

Jan 2, 2023; Arlington, Texas, USA; Tulane Green Wave running back Tyjae Spears (22) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first half against the USC Trojans in the 2023 Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Tyjae Spears is in the NFL, but Michael Pratt is back and Tulane finished off a magnificent season with a thrilling finish to defeat USC in the Cotton Bowl. Trojan fans know Tulane is the real deal.

Story originally appeared on Trojans Wire