With week zero officially in the books, the 2023 college football season is officially underway. Excitement is high, and predictions from pundits across the country are flying off the boards. With that in mind, let’s make five bold college football predictions.
The Pac-12 Will Have Two Teams in the College Football Playoff
This might be the boldest of all college football bold predictions. The glory days of the Pac-12 are well over. The days of the Pac-12 existing at all, unfortunately, are running short, as well. What would be more poetic than the conference sending two teams to the playoffs in its final complete season?
Oregon, USC, and Utah are the three teams who have a chance here. All three of these schools have rosters that are easily talented enough to win 11 games and sneak into the College Football Playoff. The only team with a question mark is USC on defense, but their Caleb Williams-led offense is good enough to keep up with anybody. For the first time since 2016, the conference will send not one, but two teams to the playoff.
Drake Maye and Jalon Daniels Will be Heisman Finalists
Drake Maye is going to be one of the quarterbacks to watch for in next year’s draft. He’s also going to be somebody to watch out for throughout this season. Maye should be considered a very big threat to win the Heisman itself, let alone be a finalist. Watch for him and North Carolina to go far this season.
As for Jalon Daniels, he’s been doing all he can to put Kansas back on the football map. Oddly enough, Daniels’ odds to win the award are currently at +10000, worse than Arch Manning, who is literally a backup. The college football world may sleep on Daniels, but I’m not. Daniels is an electric player, and if I were you, I’d throw some money down on his Heisman chances this year.
Penn State Makes the College Football Playoff
Penn State is one of the most interesting dark-horse candidates in all of college football this season. They’ve got an impressive defense, one that ranks among the best in the country. The real key to their success this season is Drew Allar. He’ll need to take a big step for this prediction to come true, but that defense should have his back all season long.
The Lions don’t have the easiest schedule, but they should be favored in nearly all of their games. If Penn State can handle their business and win the games they should win, while beating one of Michigan or Ohio State, they’ll be on a fast track to the playoff.
Texas Will (actually) Be Back
“Texas is back” is a saying that’s heard around the world whenever the Longhorns have a statement win. That statement win is usually followed by a disappointing finish to the season, leading many to realize that Texas is not actually back. This year, that should be different.
This is Texas’ last year in the Big 12, and they’ll end it with a bang before heading over to the SEC. The Longhorns have a ton of talent, even with the loss of Bijan Robinson. While the conference remains competitive, some of its top teams (most notably Oklahoma) have fallen off the map recently. Texas should be able to win 10 games this year, and make a serious playoff push. Whether they actually get in or not is a different story, but mark 2023 as a resurgent year for this school.
UTSA Makes a New Year’s Six Bowl Game
If there’s any team outside of the Power Five that can make some noise this season, it’s UTSA. The Roadrunners are beginning their first year in the AAC, and should be an immediate contender to win the conference, with their biggest threat being Tulane.
Frank Harris Jr. is entering his seventh year of collegiate football, and he’s become one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country. Most of UTSA’s offense is returning, and their coach, Jeff Traylor, is looking for his third consecutive 10-win season. The Roadrunners are a team to watch this year. Don’t be surprised if you see them in a bowl game on New Year’s Day.