Top Teams to Watch in the 2023 College Football Season: As the dust of realignment settles and excitement builds, college football fans are gearing up for what promises to be an exhilarating 2023 season. Yahoo Sports is back with its Top 25 preview, a countdown leading up to the action-packed Week 0 featuring seven FBS games. Here, we dive into the potential game-changing performances of some of the most intriguing teams this season. The college football betting picks will soon be updated as each team approaches the regular season.
Notre Dame: Navigating a New Era
The post-Brian Kelly era at Notre Dame kicked off with a season that showed promise but also revealed vulnerabilities. With a 9-4 record, the Fighting Irish showcased moments of brilliance but encountered puzzling losses to Marshall and Stanford. The challenge for head coach Marcus Freeman is to ensure that his team avoids such pitfalls this year.
The spotlight shines on quarterback Sam Hartman, a transfer from Wake Forest, as he steps into the role of starter. Moving from an RPO-heavy offense to a new system orchestrated by offensive coordinator Gerad Parker will be a significant adjustment. Hartman’s success will likely set the tone for Notre Dame’s season, as his ability to adapt to the different playbook and make use of the receiving talent around him will be crucial.
Defensively, Notre Dame gains strength from the return of seven starters, although they must address the void left by DE Isaiah Foskey. Javontae Jean-Baptiste, an Ohio State transfer, could provide the pass-rushing prowess the team needs, while former Oklahoma State safety Thomas Harper adds depth to the secondary. The Notre Dame faithful can expect a competitive season, with pivotal matchups against Ohio State, USC, and Clemson looming.
Top Teams to Watch in the 2023 College Football Season: Tennessee
After a triumphant 11-win season that saw Tennessee emerge victorious over Alabama and dominate Clemson in the Orange Bowl, the Volunteers are eager to keep the momentum alive. Though quarterback Hendon Hooker and key receivers have moved on to the NFL, the Vols remain confident in Joe Milton’s ability to lead the offense.
Milton’s task is to replicate his Orange Bowl performance, backed by a receiving corps that boasts talent like Bru McCoy, Ramel Keyton, and Squirrel White. While the departure of tackle Darnell Wright impacts the offensive line, it is well-positioned to provide the protection Milton needs to excel.
While the offense appears strong, concerns linger on the defensive side. The Vols’ secondary must elevate its game, and a reliable edge presence is essential for them to recapture the heights of 2022. Challenging matchups against Florida, Baylor, and a demanding Pac-12 schedule underscore Tennessee’s journey.
Oregon: Navigating Change
Bo Nix’s journey from Auburn starter to midseason Heisman contender in 2022 made waves, but a new season brings a new challenge. With offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham now at the helm of Arizona State, Nix finds himself adapting to his fourth offensive coordinator in as many years.
Oregon’s knack for securing high-profile transfers adds an extra dimension to the team. Traeshon Holden (Alabama) and Gary Bryant Jr. (USC) bring immediate impact potential to the receiving corps. The defense, which showed room for improvement last season, welcomes key additions like Jordan Burch, Evan Williams, and Jestin Jacobs. A tough schedule lies ahead, including a notable non-conference clash against Texas Tech. But with a strong mix of talent and transfers, Oregon aims to be a contender in the Pac-12 race.
Washington: Building on Momentum
Under head coach Kalen DeBoer, Washington orchestrated a stunning turnaround, leaping from a 4-8 record in 2021 to an impressive 11-2 in 2022. The Huskies’ offense, led by Heisman candidate Michael Penix, boasts a dynamic receiving group.
While the offensive line faces the challenge of replacing departed starters, Washington’s defensive line shines with the promising duo of Bralen Trice and Zion Tupuola-Fetui. However, concerns persist in the secondary, where improvement is necessary for a strong showing this season.
As Washington navigates a potentially transformative year, they aim to address their defensive vulnerabilities and maintain the offensive prowess that led to last season’s success.
Utah: Rising to the Occasion
After a torn ACL in the Rose Bowl, Utah’s quarterback Cameron Rising is determined to return triumphantly. The Utes are relying on his recovery to lead them into a challenging season that includes matchups against Florida, Baylor, and Pac-12 opponents. Utah’s defense, renowned for its physicality, witnesses key players departing but gains momentum from transfer acquisitions. A competitive season hinges on Rising’s health and performance, as well as the team’s ability to execute their physical brand of football.
An intriguing mix of challenges and opportunities will test Utah’s resilience as they aim to contend for a third consecutive Pac-12 title. As the college football world gears up for a thrilling 2023 season, these teams, among others, stand ready to etch their mark on the gridiron. With new faces, evolving strategies, and intense matchups ahead, fans can expect a season brimming with excitement, surprises, and unforgettable moments. The best online sportsbooks have predicted a list of teams that are predicted to top their conference table.