The Circuit’s 2023 CFB 2nd Quarter Polls
The Red River Rivalry is behind us, and it’s time to start seriously looking ahead to the Playoff! Is Texas now not back? Can Alabama Michael Myers it? And can anyone stop Michigan? Find out! Circuit Artwork Let’s kick things off with my top 25 poll; How many Pac-12 teams can we cram into 25 spots??? Find out! Circuit Top 25 Poll Getty Images 1- Michigan Wolverines 2- Georgia Bulldogs 3- Ohio State Buckeyes 4- Oklahoma Sooners 5- Penn State Nittany Lions 6- Florida State Seminoles 7- Oregon Ducks 8- Washington Huskies 9- USC Trojans 10- Texas Longhorns 11- Alabama Crimson Tide 12- North Carolina Tar Heels 13- Louisville Cardinals 14- Ole Miss Rebels 15- Utah Utes 16- Duke Blue Devils 17- Oregon State Beavers 18- UCLA Bruins 19- Washington State Cougars 20- Colorado Buffaloes 21- Notre Dame Fighting Irish 22- LSU Tigers 23- Tennessee Volunteers 24- Kentucky Wildcats 25- Miami Hurricane Michigan and Georgia have clearly separated themselves from everyone else, and both have been on auto-pilot for 6 weeks now. The real intrigue is the cluster of teams between them and the Pac-12 trio; Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State and Florida State. I don’t believe in OU or FSU as real Playoff contenders, but OSU and PSU will have real chances to get there, if whoever beats the other can also beat Michigan. And shout out to the Pac-12! It’s a sporting tragedy that greed has ripped this conference down to the studs, but they’re going out with a bang! 8 ranked teams, and 3 legitimate Playoff contenders. 3 Things I Got Right… Getty Images USC is good… but Shaky… I liked the Trojans to make the Playoff before the season and I’m sticking with it! But of the 4 teams I picked to get there, they were the team I felt the least confident in (clearly I was wrong. Jesus Christ Dabo, what is going on in Clemson!) To their credit, they haven’t lost. However, the last 3 weeks it’s looked rough. They need to put it on the Irish (who might also not be good?) to start to convince me this team has what it takes to get through the Pac-12 gauntlet. Michael Penix Jr. is a Baller… I had Penix second in my preseason Heisman rankings and I might have been too low! He’s been flat-out incredible this season, driving Washington’s high-powered offense to an undefeated season and a real shot at the Playoff. We’ll see if he can go the distance, but early returns are looking good. This Wasn’t Your Slightly Older Brother’s ‘Bama… Saying “this isn’t your father’s Alabama” would be comparing this squad to the teams in the ‘80s. Even your cousins ‘Bama probably played in the 90’s. But your slightly older brother probably knows Alabama as the team that ripped everyone to shreds from 2009-2015. Being unproven at quarterback and offensive coordinator made me think this would be the worst ‘Bama team in a while, and it looks like I was right (and they’ll still go 10-2). And now for the fun stuff! What I got really, really wrong… Getty Images Oklahoma Couldn’t Play with Texas… I’ll admit, I bought in! I thought Texas was back! I really thought they would put it on this Sooner team, but credit where credit is due! Texas is in fact not back, and Oklahoma now has the inside track to the Playoff. LSU Could Compete in the SEC… LSU hasn’t been bad this season, but they haven’t looked as good as I expected them to. Maybe they can turn things around, but I wouldn’t bet on them to beat Alabama, and I certainly don’t feel confident they can make the SEC Championship. Notre Dame Would be Really Good… You should be good when your quarterback has played two full college careers worth of collegiate football! The Irish are a good team, but they should be better than this. Maybe, just maybe, if they had played with 11 defenders they might have beaten Ohio State. But the world will never know. Circuit Heisman Watch: Getty Images 1- Bo Nix (Oregon QB) 2- Michael Penix Jr. (Washington QB) 3- Caleb Williams (USC QB) 4- JJ McCarthy (Michigan QB) 5- Brock Bowers (Georgia TE) Penix and Williams have been awesome, but what Bo Nix did to Colorado was plain rude. The beauty of this year's Heisman race is that the top three quarterbacks are all going to have to play each other, so one of them will inevitably rise above the rest. But for now, Bo for the Heisman! Now let’s take a look at how the Power 5 conferences are shaping up heading into conference play! SEC Getty Images SEC Championship: Georgia Bulldogs def Alabama Crimson Tide Dammit even when Alabama is down, they’re up! This is not a bet on how good they will be, but rather how Ole Miss, Texas A&M and LSU all either have or will let the rope slip. And Georgia will bash whoever they face. Big Ten Getty Images Big Ten Championship: Michigan Wolverines def Wisconsin Badgers Whether it’s Wisconsin, or Iowa, or Minnesota, or those cry babies in Northwestern, Michigan is going to obliterate their opponent. The REAL B1G Championship is going to be played in round-robin format this year; Michigan @ Penn State, Penn State @ Ohio State, and Ohio State @ Michigan. If anyone can go 2-0 there, they will be the champs. ACC Getty Images ACC Championship: North Carolina Tar Heels def Florida State Seminoles I really want to find a way to get Louisville in here, but I just don’t think they’ll be able to get in over the Seminoles. And Miami might have gotten there had they just taken a bloody knee. But now that Tez Walker is BACK (!!!), I like the Heels to win the ACC and maybe, just maybe, sneak into the Playoff. Pac 12 Getty Images Pac 12 Championship: USC Trojans def Oregon Ducks I think I’m going to flip-flop between Oregon and Washington each week for the next 6 weeks. But I’m gambling on the talent of Caleb Williams and the pedigree of Lincoln Riley to get the win and find their way into the Playoff. Big 12 Getty Images Big 12 Championship: Texas Longhorns def Oklahoma Sooners I don’t know, man. I think these are clearly the two best teams in the Big 12, and I just have a hard time believing Oklahoma will beat Texas twice in the same season. Let’s turn to the College Football Playoff! Who gets in? Who doesn’t? Who advances to the title game??? Rose Bowl Getty Images 1 Michigan Wolverines def 4 North Carolina Tar Heels Wouldn’t it be nice to see Mack Brown in the Playoff? To see the potential #2 pick in the draft in Drake Maye? To see Tez Walker show the NCAA where they can stick it? All fantastic. Unfortunately, they’re about to be blown out by the speed and athleticism of the Wolverines. Only down side for Michigan will be that Jordan might revoke his brand in Ann Arbor. Sugar Bowl Getty Images 2 Georgia Bulldogs def 3 USC Trojans Caleb Williams vs. the ‘Dawgs defense would be a fantastic chess match. I’ll take the Georgia offense with Bowers and Ladd over the shaky-at-best USC defense. National Championship Getty Images 1 Michigan Wolverines def 2 Georgia Bulldogs Harbough is on a revenge tour this season, from the infamous pay-cut a couple years ago to the ridiculous suspension this Fall. He has an elite quarterback, the best rushing attack in the nation, and an SEC-level defense. Give me the Wolverines and Harbough also showing the NCAA where to stick it in his swan song before he comes back to the NFL! There you have it! My 2nd Quarter Polls for the 2023 college football season! Make sure to check back in towards the beginning of November for my 3rd Quarter Polls to see what I got right, and more importantly, what I got wrong!