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Preseason Magazines

January 25th

CBS: CU among “teams that can crack the top 25 and make some noise in 2023”

From CBS Sports … We already gave you the Way Too Early Top 25, so now let’s focus on the group of schools just outside that list. They have a lot in common: rebounds. Rather, potential rebound seasons.

Thanks to the transfer portal and the one-time transfer rule, teams have been able to remake themselves quicker than plastic surgery. Just look at 2022 with USC, Tulane and TCU, the latter of which became the first to go from losing program to College Football Playoff National Championship appearance.

Get used to it. Those coaches who have mastered the portal the quickest seem to have prospered the most. Among the list of 12 schools below that could creep into the top 25, three had sub-.500 records in 2022. Another two finished 7-6. Five improved by at least two games from 2021, proving the point that turnarounds can happen in a hurry.

Be reminded, this is one of the most volatile sports on the planet. As they say in financial management, past performance does not guarantee future results.

Colorado … Tulane just set the one-year turnaround record going from 2-10 to 12-2. USC played for the Pac-12 and went to the Cotton Bowl a year after going 4-8. So, no, this isn’t outrageous as it seems. Deion Sanders has brought his “Louie” in the form of 19 transfers (so far). His son, Shedeur Sanders, will have a lot of pressure on him at quarterback. The schedule is tough, but so is life. It’s time for Coach Prime to walk the walk right away. A bowl is almost expected considering what Sanders has said and done in recruiting so far. Anything beyond 6-6 would be amazing gravy.

Read full story here

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January 20th

Wilner: CU has moved past three teams in Pac-12 Power Rankings

From the San Jose Mercury News … We are seven months from the most anticipated Pac-12 football season in ages, with a lineup of quarterbacks, coaches, top-25 teams, playoff contenders and Heisman Trophy candidates — not to mention two departing schools — that will generate unlimited storylines on the field and off.

With the recruiting largely complete, the NFL Draft deadline having come and gone and the transfer portal finally closed (until May), rosters are taking shape.

The Hotline presents our initial projections for the conference race, which will be updated following spring practice.

  1. Washington
  2. Utah
  3. Oregon
  4. USC
  5. Oregon State
  6. UCLA
  7. Washington State
  8. Arizona
  9. Colorado … Peer through the massive hype accompanying Deion Sanders’ arrival — granted, that’s not an easy task — and it’s clear the Buffaloes will be exponentially better than they were in 2022. But better doesn’t equal good, not when CU was the worst Power Five team in the land last season and not when the schedule features five teams that won 10 or more games (including TCU). If the Buffaloes finish 4-8 and are competitive in the majority of the losses, count the season as a success.
  10. Cal
  11. Arizona State
  12. Stanford

Read full story here

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January 16th

USA Today projections: CU 8th in Pac-12 (5-7, 3-6)

From Duckswire.com … The 2022 college football season officially came to a close, and the 2023 offseason is now upon us. While you would think that means we are done talking about football for a bit until spring ball rolls around, you’re wrong.

It simply means that now when we talk about football, we are looking to the future, rather than evaluating the past.

We are going to dive deep into the future today, taking a look at the Pac-12 conference as a whole in 2023. It is going to be among the most anticipated seasons we’ve had in a long time out west, with some high-profile quarterbacks like Heisman winner Caleb Williams leading a group of passers that includes Bo Nix, Michael Penix Jr., Cameron Rising, and D.J. Uiagalelei, among many others.

There’s a chance that the Pac-12 could be as competitive and ruthless as we’ve ever seen it, with a real possibility that 5 or 6 teams will end up being ranked inside the top 25 to start the season.

So who will be at the top of the food chain in 2023, and what will everyone’s records look like when all is said and done? Let’s make some predictions. Here is how I see the Pac-12 shaking out when it comes to final record predictions and bowl game projections.

The Pac-12 …

  1. USC
  2. Oregon
  3. Washington
  4. Oregon State
  5. Utah
  6. UCLA
  7. Washington State
  8. Colorado… How quickly can Deion Sanders turn around the Colorado Buffaloes? I think we will see improvements in 2023 for sure, but to project a team that went 1-11 in 2022 will make a bowl game seems ambitious. The Buffs have played the transfer portal better than almost any team in the nation, and some of the players now in Boulder are among the most talented in all of college football, but I don’t think that will instantly translate into a massive turnaround. Regardless, the Buffs are going to be fun to watch in 2023 no matter what happens. In the conference, I see Colorado beating ASU, Arizona, and Stanford, but losing to everyone else.Projected 2023 Record: 5-7 (3-6)
  9. Arizona
  10. Arizona State
  11. Cal
  12. Stanford

Read full story here

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January 14th

Athlon Sports Pac-12 Predictions: CU out of the basement (but just barely)

From Athlon Sports … Strength at the top of the league should be a theme for the Pac-12 in the 2023 college football season. A couple of teams have a strong case for the No. 1 spot in the early predictions and power rankings, but for now, USC gets the nod at the top, followed by Washington, Oregon, Utah and Oregon State. All five teams rank in the top 25 of Athlon’s Way-Too-Early Top 25 for next season. The intrigue also extends to the middle of the conference where UCLA looks to build off coach Chip Kelly’s best season, Washington State returns quarterback Cameron Ward, and Arizona aims to make a bowl under third-year coach Jedd Fisch. Colorado is intriguing under new coach Deion Sanders, with California and Arizona State looking to rebound after missing out on the postseason in ’22. New coach Troy Taylor has a significant rebuilding effort ahead at Stanford.

It’s never too early to think about predictions or rankings for the 2023 college football season. With that in mind, Athlon provides its very early power rankings for the Pac-12 for 2023:

  • 1. USC
  • 2. Washington
  • 3. Oregon
  • 4. Utah
  • 5. Oregon State
  • 6. UCLA
  • 7. Washington State
  • 8. Arizona
  • 9. California
  • 10. Arizona State
  • 11. Colorado … Not only will Coach Prime in Boulder be must-see television each week, but the Buffaloes are also likely to be significantly improved. Colorado is bringing in one of the nation’s top transfer classes, which includes Deion’s son Shedeur Sanders and former five-star prospect Travis Hunter. In addition to Sanders’ work on the recruiting trail, he also assembled a quality staff, which includes former Kent State coach Sean Lewis as the offensive play-caller. Although Colorado should show improvement, Coach Prime will need time to rebuild here. The Buffaloes were outscored 406-155 in Pac-12 play and just one of the team’s 11 losses was decided by one score.
  • 12. Stanford

Pac-12’s Toughest Non-conference schedule? CU again (of course)

From the San Jose Mercury News

The dates of the 2023 conference games haven’t been finalized, but the opponents for each team are known. Do you agree that Utah has the toughest out-of-conference schedule and Oregon has the toughest in-conference schedule? — Jon Joseph

Sure, you could make the case for Utah, which plays Florida at home, Baylor on the road and Weber State. Anytime two of the three opponents are Power Five programs, the challenge is substantial.

But Colorado typically plays one of the toughest non-conference lineups, and 2023 is no exception. The Buffaloes open on the road against TCU, then host Nebraska and also play Colorado State.

Granted, Weber State is a quality FCS program. But the Hotline would prefer to face Utah’s trio of opponents.

And let’s not discount Washington’s schedule. The Huskies visit Michigan State, and they host Boise State, which should have a top-25 team, and Tulsa.

When the weakest opponent (purportedly) is a five-win team from the American, there are no cupcakes.

And yes, the conference schedule rotation for 2023 is set. In fact, the Hotline published all the schedules (in cross-division format) a few years ago.

Oregon plays everyone in the old North division, plus USC (home) and Utah (road).

But I’d argue the toughest intra-conference lineup belongs to Cal, which is set to face not only the Northwest schools but also USC, Utah and UCLA, plus Colorado.

Oh, and the Bears play Auburn, as well.

Read full story here

ESPN’s First Preseason Top 25 includes five Pac-12 teams 

From ESPN … The team that couldn’t win a national championship for more than four decades can’t stop winning them.

After winning its first national title since 1980 last season, Georgia crushed TCU 65-7 on Monday night in the College Football Playoff National Championship presented by AT&T. The Bulldogs became the first team in the CFP era to win consecutive national titles.

And it seems like Georgia coach Kirby Smart is just getting started. With a plethora of young defensive stars, a deep receiver corps and a cupboard full of former five-star recruits coming back, the Bulldogs are the No. 1 team in the 2023 Way-Too-Early Top 25.

The Bulldogs are followed by Ohio State, Michigan, Florida State and Alabama.

CFP participants Ohio State, Georgia and Michigan were all ranked in the top five of last year’s Way-Too-Early Top 25. TCU wasn’t ranked at all.

Among the teams that were ranked too high: Texas A&M (No. 4!), NC State, Oklahoma State and Michigan State. In addition to TCU, teams ranked too low (or unranked) included Tennessee, Kansas State, Washington and Tulane.

From the Pac-12 … 

7. USC Trojans

2022 record: 11-3, 8-1 Pac-12

Expected returning starters: 5 offense, 7 defense, 2 special teams

Outlook: The Trojans just missed out on winning a Pac-12 championship and reaching the CFP in coach Lincoln Riley’s first season. Then they collapsed late against Tulane and lost 46-45 in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. This past season looked all too familiar for a Riley-coached team: a Heisman Trophy winner leading an explosive offense and a defense that couldn’t stop anyone. The Trojans will have plenty of firepower coming back on offense in 2023, including Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams and receivers Mario Williams, Tahj Washington and Brenden Rice. Singer, who led the Pac-12 with 1,105 receiving yards at Arizona this past season, was a nice addition from the transfer portal. So was Cobb, who had 96 tackles at Oklahoma State, and Roland-Wallace, who started 29 games at Arizona the past three seasons. Tarquin was an important addition with three starters leaving the offensive line. The Trojans will play Notre Dame and Oregon on the road next season, and they’ll get UCLA, Utah and Washington at home.

9. Oregon Ducks

2022 record: 10-3, 7-2 Pac-12

Expected returning starters: 6 offense, 5 defense, 2 special teams

Outlook: Dan Lanning’s first season as a head coach started with a thud, as the Ducks fell to Georgia 49-3 in their opener. But Lanning and his staff did a remarkable job keeping the team together, finishing 10-3 and defeating North Carolina 28-27 in the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl. The good news for 2023: Quarterback Bo Nix announced he’s coming back after throwing for 3,594 yards with 44 total touchdowns. The bad news: Four starters from a very experienced offensive line are expected to depart. Lanning worked the transfer portal hard to pick up Angilau, who was a multi-year starter at Texas before missing 2022 with an injury, and Cornelius, who was one of the top transfers from Rhode Island. Lanning helped build a defense that led Georgia to a national title in 2021, but his first unit at Oregon wasn’t very good. Losing Sewell, Gonzalez and Johnson won’t make things easier. Lanning proved his recruiting chops by signing the No. 8 class in the FBS, according to ESPN Recruiting.

11. Washington Huskies

2022 record: 11-2, 7-2 Pac-12

Expected returning starters: 7 offense, 7 defense, 1 special teams

Outlook: Kalen DeBoer, who won three NAIA national championships at the University of Sioux Falls, didn’t need long to completely transform Washington’s program. After going 4-8 in 2021, the Huskies finished 11-2 this past season. They beat rivals Oregon and Washington State and four ranked opponents. With quarterback Michael Penix Jr. deciding to come back, along with a handful of other underclassmen who were eligible for the NFL draft, Washington might be a CFP sleeper in 2023. Penix Jr. flourished in DeBoer’s offense, throwing for 4,641 yards with 31 touchdowns. The Huskies will have to rebuild their interior offensive line, but most of its skill players are expected back. Leading tackler Cook and Bright are key losses on defense.

12. TCU Horned Frogs

2022 record: 13-2, 9-0 Big 12

Expected returning starters: 5 offense, 7 defense, 0 special teams

Outlook: The Horned Frogs struck paydirt in hiring former SMU coach Sonny Dykes, as he led them to a 12-0 record in the regular season and an unexpected trip to the CFP after starting the season unranked. Maintaining that success isn’t going to be easy. With some key additions through the transfer portal, however, TCU should remain a Big 12 title contender. Duggan is gone after a storybook senior season. Chandler Morris, who opened the 2022 season as the starter, is in line to replace him, although Dykes said he might add another passer from the transfer portal. Miller, the leading rusher, and Johnson, the top receiver, are also probably entering the NFL draft. TCU’s nonconference schedule in 2023 includes home games against Colorado, FCS program Nicholls and SMU.

13. Utah Utes

2022 record: 10-4, 7-2 Pac-12

Expected returning starters: 7 offense, 8 defense, 2 special teams

Outlook: The Utes have reached unprecedented heights by winning back-to-back Pac-12 championships and making consecutive trips to the Rose Bowl. Unfortunately, both of those games ended in losses after starting quarterback Cam Rising was hurt. Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said Rising’s leg injury wasn’t good and his recovery would take a while. It’s unclear how much that affected his decision to return to Utah for one more season. Rising announced on Monday that he’s coming back, and if he’s healthy, the Utes could be very good again in 2023. Kincaid is leaving, along with leading rushers Thomas and Bernard, who entered the transfer portal. Phillips was one of the best cornerbacks in the country and is also departing. Damuni, a team captain at Stanford last season, might be able to replace Diabate at middle linebacker.

17. Oregon State Beavers

2022 record: 10-3, 6-3 Pac-12

Expected returning starters: 8 offense, 6 defense, 1 special teams

Outlook: Jonathan Smith has quietly done remarkable work at his alma mater, guiding the Beavers to only their third 10-win campaign in school history this past season. The Beavers closed the season with four straight victories, including a 30-3 rout of Florida in the SRS Distribution Las Vegas Bowl. Oregon State ranked 11th in the Pac-12 in passing in 2022, and Smith hopes Uiagalelei, a former starter at Clemson, can once again find his confidence. Four starting offensive linemen are expected back; Starck, a 12-game starter at Nevada in 2022, might fill the lone hole. Omotosho had 6½ sacks and 46 tackles at Wyoming last season. The Beavers will have to replace three starters in the secondary. Oregon State’s nonconference schedule in 2023 isn’t overwhelming, and it will play Pac-12 opponents UCLA, Utah and Washington at home.

Just missed the Top 25: South Carolina, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma, UCLA, Troy, Maryland and Boise State

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7 Replies to “Preseason Magazines”

  1. Buffs get 6 wins as follows: Cornholers, Little Bros. in FoCo, Stanford, ASU, Arizona and WSU. More are possible, those 6 are reasonable to count as wins given the obvious roster upgrades. If things come together by mid to end of the, maybe some upsets are possible like Beavers at home or UCLA on the road. UCLA will be starting a true freshman QB.

    1. Ya know……………………that game with the Kornholer kommunity kollege in stinkn linkn knebraska
      is just kinda bothersome for me………………..weird

      But in case you didn’t know the

      kornholers have not beaten the Mighty Buffs since

      11-26-2010

      so there is that.

      go buffs kornhole the kornholers

  2. Anyone who follows the sport could have easily predicted these pundolt’s predictions this time of year. Every bit of it based on last year with the exception of giving the Biffs a one spot improvement citing that Prime will need more time to build. I guess replacing half the team the entire coaching staff doesnt register with them. One thing that stands out to me is that I haven’t seen any of the new coaching hires that have recently been fired somewhere else. Both coordinators were very successful at their last positions.

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