College football rankings: USC, Texas A&M among hardest teams to place in preseason polls ahead of 2023 season

The countdown to the 2023 college football season is on, with media days in full swing and the opening of fall camp rapidly approaching. Every college football fan uses this time to get acquainted with the new faces in new places, the returning starters and the hope of future stars maturing into new roles. We turn to preseason magazines, way-too-early rankings and ratings to get an idea of how these teams stack up against each other. Even in that research, however, we find there are some teams that even the experts can’t figure out. 

Almost everyone agrees with the preseason top four this year, with the two-time reigning champion Georgia Bulldogs holding down the No. 1 spot and some combination of Michigan, Ohio State and Alabama filling out the rest. That’s not totally unanimous among popular preseason publications — more on that below — but it’s close enough to consensus to project that’s how the top four will look when the AP Top 25 releases its preseason poll next month. 

Other teams seem to have settled into consensus positions to start the year, like Penn State falling somewhere between No. 6 and No. 9; the trio of LSU, Florida State and Texas are popular picks to round out a top 10. Still, within in the top 10, and especially in the spots between No. 10 and No. 30, you will find teams whose ranking varies from publication to publication.

For our research, we were not limited to only traditional preseason magazines but some early power ratings and rankings as well for additional input. What we’ve found are seven teams that will be receiving significant top-25 consideration heading into the year … but with enough question marks to spark some real debate on where they fall. We’ll begin near the top of the rankings and work our way…


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