The Green Wave had a historic season in 2022 finishing in the top 10 in the country. Although Tulane ranks higher than a fellow AAC member in my top 25 poll, I feel more confident as the season rolls on that UTSA will win the conference. Tulane will have to find ways to add to their linebacking depth and running back spot while in comparsion UTSA has lost just five games combined the past two seasons. Over fifteen starters return for the Road Runners. UTSA will head into November in contention for a potential New Year's six bid.
My favorite stat of the preseason is the Florida State offensive line has combined over 100 career starts. A strong offensive line, a top 10 player in the country in former UAlbany Great Dane Jared Verse, an underrated quarterback in Jordan Travis, my breakout star and hopefully future Tampa Bay Buccaneer in Johnny Wilson. Could Florida State be 2-2 by October? Yes. But if the Seminoles start 4-0 they can run the table all the way to the college football playoff. This team is too talented to not take. I know Clemson won the ACC in 2022, but talent vs talent this FSU is better than the Tigers.
The Wolverines can make it three straight conference titles and I see it happening again for the fans in Ann Arbor. Coach Jim Harbaugh will serve a three game suspension to start the season as the maize and blue play cupcakes in September. There has been talks that has this roster heads towards the future there could be a combined TWENTY future NFL players on the team. Blake Corum, J.J. McCarthy will be the names to lead Michigan but don't be surprised if we see another defensive lineman shine like we saw with Aiden Hutchinson two seasons ago. This is Jim Harbaugh's best team and a special season could be on the way for the Wolverines.
Big 12- Texas
HOOK'EM! TCU lost in heartbreaking fashion to Kansas State in last year's Big 12 championship game. The Horned Frogs were able to bounce back in their next matchup with a win over Michigan to clinch an opportunity to play Georgia in January's national championship game. This season is year three for Coach Sark in Austin and the team brings back talented players including Quinn Ewers, WR Xavier Worthy and tight end Ja'Tavion Sanders. How differently would we view this Texas team if they finished off the upset over Alabama last September? How differently will we view Texas IF they beat Alabama this season when they square off on September 9th? It's an all Texas Big 12 title game as the Longhorns will defeat Texas Tech in this year's title game.
Conference USA UAB
Do you know what teams play in Conference USA any more? NINE teams have left the conference recently. I'll make this quick. I BADLY wanted to take Jacksonville State or Sam Houston State. I love when an FCS team moves to the FBS level and fans quickly find out how small of a difference there is between college football programs. (James Madison, App State, and St. Thomas in the FCS formerly D3). I'll take Western Kentucky who is in the same category as teams like Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State when we discuss teams who will likely favored in more than nine games this season. The Hilltoppers are the team to beat in a new C-USA.
I was shocked when I looked at my 2022 prediction and I had taken Northern Illinois to win the conference. It feels like Toledo and Ohio each season get the preseason love. Likely the reason the Bobcats are hyped each August is because the program has not won a conference title in over fifty years. Until it happens, I'm not taking Ohio again. MACation will as always create a mid-week viral moment, a fantastic finish and one score games. Eastern Michigan would be a fun pick here after tying a program record with nine wins in 2022. I'll go with Toledo.
Mountain West-Boise State
San Jose State would be a fun "value" play if you want to wager preseason as the defense has been solid for the past five plus seasons. Fresno State is looking for a new QB. San Diego State has been very run heavy and eventually scouting reports will come out on the Aztecs. The Broncos have the best West Coast All-American QB candidate (not named Caleb Wiliams) with six foot five quarterback Taylen Green. Not only does Boise State win the conference but Green shoots up NFL scouting reports and works his way into a 1st-2nd round pick discussion.
Pac 12- Oregon State
My favorite play of the preseason! Oregon State is 11-0 heading to the Civil War against Oregon IF they rely on Martinez the young RB instead of Big CINCO for offensive production this can be the Beavers historic before the Pac-12 becomes the Pac-4? 3? 0? Avoiding USC and Washington, Utah at home, Oregon State can win the Pac-12!
The 3 peat rolls on here! I'm not sure where or how Georgia gets beats on this schedule? The neutral field game against Florida? Likely no. SEC title game? Not confident enough to claim it will be Alabama or LSU as those two will battle this year. We will have more on Coach Kirby Smart's team below.
Sun Belt-James Madison
The Dukes! As mentioned above, I love the premise of FCS schools moving to the FBS and showing how good they are very fast. James Madison was a national power at the FCS level and transitioned well in 2022. James Madison not only wins the Sun Belt but crashes the New Year's Six Bowl game! Let's get a Fiesta Bowl bid and a massive upset in January.
College Football Playoff Georgia, Michigan, Florida State, Alabama
Georgia 21 Michigan 10
A 3-peat in college football happens this season. After Michigan defeats Florida State in one semi-final and Georgia beats Alabama in a rematch, the Georgia defense once again proves to be too strong and wins another championship for the fans in Athens.
Tom "Goz" Goslowski covers college football from Division 1 to Division 3 across Upstate New York. Goz has represented New York's Capital Region as a Heisman Trophy voter since 2015. This season, Goz will also be voting on these college football accolades:
College Football Hall of Fame
Bronko Nagurski Award
Outland Trophy Award
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award