Nick Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide featured in our AP Poll ranking reactions

2023 College Football AP Poll Reactions: Alabama Not In Top Three!?

The 2023 college football preseason AP Poll has been released! Which means two very important things:

1. We can polish our Week 1 bets by getting a glimpse at what top NCAAF analysts are thinking heading into the season. 

2. College football is almost here! 

What are the 2023 AP Poll Preseason Rankings?

Some of these rankings are to be expected based on last season's performances. But, others come as a surprise based on where they fall. Take a look:

2023 Preseason AP Poll Rankings
2023 AP Poll Ranking2022 Overall RecordWhere They Ranked In Final AP Poll In 2022
1. Georgia 13-0No. 1 
2. Michigan13-0No. 3
3. Ohio State11-1No. 4
4. Alabama10-2No. 5
5. LSU10-4No. 16
6. USC11-2No. 12
7. Penn State10-2No. 7 
8. Florida State9-3No. 11
9. Clemson11-2No. 13
10. Washington10-2No. 8
11. Texas8-4No. 25 
12. Tennessee10-2No. 6
13. Notre Dame8-4No. 18
14. Utah10-3No. 10
15. Oregon9-3No. 15
16. Kansas State10-3No. 14
17. TCU12-1No. 2
18. Oregon State9-3No. 17
19. Wisconsin6-6Not Ranked
20. Oklahoma6-6Not Ranked
21. North Carolina9-4Not Ranked
22. Ole Miss8-4Not Ranked
23. Texas A&M5-7Not Ranked
24. Tulane11-2No. 9
25. Iowa7-5Not Ranked


Six of the final seven teams in this season's preseason rankings finished last year without a number attached to them. The lowest overall record carried by a top-25 ranked school is the Texas A&M Aggies, who plummeted with a losing 5-7 finish. 

The SEC leads the preseason poll with six programs featured. A member of the SEC has played in every CFP since 2014, the conference holds a 6-1 semi-final record and a 3-3 record in the national championship. The Big Ten and Pac-12, before the conference realignment tears it apart, follows with five teams present. 

The defending champs Stay at the top

It's not a shock that three of the four teams from last year's college football playoff rank in the top three. The Georgia Bulldogs begin their hunt for a national championship three-peat, which they'd be the first team to do since 1936. 

Despite being dominant the last two years, it is the first time the Dawgs enter a season ranked No. 1 since 2008. 

Georgia, with an 11.5 win total, will enter this season without decorated quarterback Stetson Bennett, alongside 10 other players selected in the NFL draft. However, 13 starters return to complement a fresh QB1 in Carson Beck.

Over the last two years, the Bulldogs have bulldozed through 29 wins and have gone undefeated against conference rivals through two full seasons. 

is the tide about to crash?

Let's not be dramatic, Alabama is one of the most notable and successful football programs in the nation. But, this is the first time since 2009 that the Crimson Tide hasn't been ranked in the preseason poll's top three. Despite that, they still sit second with +500 odds to steal it all.

High standards are pegged on Nick Saban's squad, who missed the postseason for just the second time in the CFP era. In the last eight seasons, the Tide have hoisted the title six times. In all of those championship years, Alabama had at least 13 wins and a maximum of one conference loss. Last season, it finished with a disappointing 11-2 overall record and went 6-2 in its conference. Which is nothing to relish in if you're Alabama. 

The Tide, who is desperate to replace the talent of NFL's first-overall pick Bryce Young, sort of have history on their side. The last time it ranked outside the top 3, Alabama was pinned No. 5 but won its first national title under Saban's rule. 

Michigan should be pumped!

The Wolverines No. 2 ranking is their highest since 1991 and with legendary head coach Jim Harbaugh. Yes, I had to fact-check this multiple times because I didn't believe it. But, it's true!

Since 2021, Michigan has gone 25-3 and made the CFP in back-to-back seasons before falling in the semi-finals in both. 

The Wolverines, returning stars QB J.J. McCarthy and RB Blake Corum, have the second-best odds to go undefeated this year (+425). 

TCU Shouldn't be surprised

Finishing at No. 2 and dropping to No. 17 is quite the fall. But, the Horned Frogs can be shocked but ultimately not surprised. TCU stunned the nation after a 12-1 run that led to the inevitable 65-7 demise in the title game. 

It was a noble, true underdog effort. However, the Horned Frogs can't hop on the backs of WR Quentin Johnston or gritty signal-caller Max Duggan, both starting rookie professional seasons with the LA Chargers. It seems impossible for Sonny Dykes to repeat the miracle run, so holding on tight to any ranking should be savored. 

lSU Above uSC?... interesting

This made me tilt my head in confusion, just a bit. I can see how these two can be compared. The Trojans have recent Heisman Trophy winner, Caleb Williams, whereas the Tiger's Jayden Daniels (+900) is threatening to snatch it away. 

LSU's Brian Kelly is swiftly filling holes this offseason, snagging up defensive units through the transfer portal to replace seven of his top tacklers and recruiting RB Logan Diggs to help stack up the offense. 

But, Williams added the No. 1 wide receiver in the 2023 recruiting class, Zachariah Branch, to his arsenal. USC should've made the CFP and ended up being brutally upset by Utah (47-24) to lose its spot. Then, a one-point defeat to Tulane in the Cotton Bowl just wrote off USC's success. 

Both these groups have a 9.5-win total storming into this season with the Trojans carrying -165 to go OVER and the Tigers trailing with +110 odds. It'll be interesting to see who pulls ahead.