ESPN College GameDay predicts 2023 Big Ten champion

The full college football season is almost here, but some teams are set to take the field on Saturday as Week 0 presents the soft open of the 2023 campaign.

When it comes to the Big Ten, Michigan football is getting a lot of hype, but it’s still not getting quite a consensus behind it in its own conference.

ESPN ‘College GameDay’ returned on Saturday to preview both the Week 0 games but also the season that’s soon set to kick off in earnest. Desmond Howard, Pat McAfee, and Kirk Herbstreit didn’t do the usual of logging games of the week and instead made predictions of who will win their conferences as well as who will be in the College Football Playoff.

Starting with Howard, it should come as no surprise that he thinks his alma mater will come up big in 2023.

“I think Michigan is going to win their third-straight Big Ten Championship,” Howard said. “J.J. McCarthy is going to take a step up. He has the most talented backfield behind him, so I’m going with the Michigan Wolverines.”

McAfee demurred, instead choosing an Ohio State team that has a lot of questions but still is loaded with talent.

“I feel real good saying this because we have no idea who the quarterback’s gonna be, but give me Ohio State,” McAfee said. “Just strictly because of what has happened over the last couple of years and then getting a chance to watch them play against Georgia, who would obviously go on and do what they did to TCU. I think Ohio State has found an attitude and culture. Now who’s the quarterback is going to lead it?”

Naturally, like Howard, Herbstreit chose his alma mater, as well.

“And I think the defense it’s gonna be interesting to see after the way they played the last couple of games against Michigan and Georgia where they gave up some explosives,” Herbstreit said. “They had an entire offseason to try to really improve with Jim Knowles and now in his second year in the system. The quarterback to me is the beneficiary of being able to get to — now Brian Hartline is the new offensive coordinator and play caller, but it’s still Ryan Day and his scheme — so the beneficiary having that scheme with Marvin Harrison and Emeka Egbuka. They’re just so loaded and TreVeyon Henderson’s back healthy. I still think they have a great shot to make the run.”

Though Rece Davis didn’t log a prediction, he did vote the Wolverines as his No. 1 team in the preseason AP Top 25 poll.

The group went on to pick the entrants into the College Football Playoff and the maize and blue were in according to all three panelists. Howard picked Michigan to win it all while McAfee and Herbstreit both picked Alabama to beat the Wolverines in the semifinal before winning the national championship.

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire