The Circuit’s 2023 CFB Playoff Predictions & Awards
The 2023 regular season is in the books, and it’s now time to look ahead to the College Football Playoff! All that, plus we make our pick for the Heisman winner! Circuit Artwork Circuit Top 25 Poll Getty Images 1- Michigan Wolverines 2- Washington Huskies 3- Georgia Bulldogs 4- Texas Longhorns 5- Alabama Crimson Tide 6- Oregon Ducks 7- Ohio State Buckeyes 8- Florida State Seminoles 9- Penn State Nittany Lions 10- Missouri Tigers 11- Ole Miss Rebels 12- LSU Tigers 13- Louisville Cardinals 14- Oklahoma Sooners 15- Notre Dame Fighting Irish 16- Arizona Wildcats 17- NC State Wolfpack 18- Oklahoma State Cowboys 19- Oregon State Beavers 20- Iowa Hawkeyes 21- Tennessee Volunteers 22- Clemson Tigers 23- Liberty Flames 24- Kansas State Wildcats 25- Utah Utes Michigan and Washington clearly separated themselves from the rest of the country. Going undefeated in 2 of the 3 best conferences in the country (arguably the 2 best) has to mean something. And Michigan did it while being subject to witch hunts all year long. You might be thinking, “How can Florida State be at #8??? They’re an undefeated Power 5 conference champion you know!” Yeah, so I’ve heard. But if they played any of the 7 teams I have above them, I would pick the other team to win, probably by double digits. It’s cool you won every game, it’s cool your third stringer helped you “win” that visually brutal ACC title game. But you just aren’t good enough to be in the Playoff. The rest of my top 25 is pretty similar to the actual rankings, just in a different order. But the more interesting story is who isn’t there: USC, North Carolina and TCU. All entered the season with high expectations, USC in particular, and all ended with very disappointing seasons. Circuit Heisman Watch Rankings Getty Images 1- Michael Penix Jr (Washington QB) 2- Bo Nix (Oregon QB) 3- Jayden Daniels (LSU QB) 4- Marvin Harrison Jr (Ohio State WR) 5- Caleb Williams (USC QB) Caleb has not lived up to the hype this season, but not for lack of trying. He still had phenomenal stats this year, he just didn’t have the greatest season we’ve ever seen. It’s also not his fault his defense gets 45 hung on them regularly. And Harrison is probably the best college receiver I’ve watched, and if he had a more dynamic quarterback this season he easily could have won this award. But this really comes down to Penix, Nix and Daniels. Daniels feels like he is going to win, but call me old school, winning matters? I understand that guys have won the award on mediocre teams; Tebow in 2007 and Jackson in 2016 to name a few. But when you have two guys with insane numbers in the thick of the Playoff race, I give the edge to them. And in the end, Penix beat Nix head to head. Twice. Give me the Huskies QB in an incredibly close race! Let’s look at some things I got right about this season! Getty Images Michigan Was the Team to Beat… I’ve been on Michigan since day 1 and I’m not about to bail now! They have a dynamic quarterback who can kill you with his legs and is hyper-accurate. They have maybe the best rushing attack in the nation, and they have a coach out for blood. Their schedule wasn’t the toughest, but when it mattered all they did was win, baby. My Heisman Predictions… The top 4 in my preseason Heisman rankings all wound up on my final Heisman ballot (Williams, Penix, Harrison & Nix). That’s pretty darn good! Seems like I had a pretty good feel for who the elite players would be this season. Texas was Back, Baby… I picked Texas to win the Big 12 before the season and what do ya know, they did it! The Longhorns are clearly back, and have exceeded even my highest expectations for them. Now let’s have some fun! Here are the things I really whiffed on… Getty Images Clemson was Back, Baby… Holy moly, what has happened in Clemson??? Sure they came on a bit at the end of the season, but it was far too little, far too late. Klubnik just doesn’t appear to be the guy I thought he was, and Dabo no longer has that program rolling downhill. Maybe next year, Tigers fans. USC Would Make the Playoff… In Caleb I trusted. I knew that defense wouldn’t be good, but I thought Williams could simply outscore anyone and everyone he played. That didn’t happen, and now he’s gone viral for crying after a loss. Not the season I pictured, and I’m sure not what he saw on his vision board. Texas A&M is… Competent??… What in the world is going on in College Station? I understand you expect to win, but to fire a national championship winning coach when he is continuously churning out top-5 recruiting classes is insane. Not to mention how much you’re now paying a second coach not to coach. That Oil money must be flowing good and proper down in Texas. Let’s turn to the College Football Playoff! Who gets in? Who doesn’t? Who advances to the title game??? Prudential Rose Bowl: Getty Images 1 Michigan Wolverines def 4 Alabama Crimson Tide As someone rooting for the Wolverines to win it all, I was really hoping Florida State would get in at #4. Which means Florida State didn’t actually deserve to get in. I’m terrified of Milroe and this Tide team, but I’ll stick to my guns and take Michigan coast to coast! AllState Sugar Bowl: Getty Images 3 Texas Longhorns def 2 Washington Huskies This is a fascinating game. I think the Huskies are great, and will be able to throw over the top of the Longhorns defense. But Texas feels like the more physical team, and it feels like their year to break through and get to the title game. National Championship Game: Getty Images 1 Michigan Wolverines def 3 Texas Longhorns I believe Michigan is the best team in the country. They will try and run it down Texas’ throat, and if that doesn’t work McCarthy can throw darts all over the field. Texas is officially BACK, but the Wolverines have been here for a while. In Harbaugh’s final college game, give me Michigan! There you have it! My College Football Playoff predictions! Make sure to check back in and see how I did, and come back next fall for the 2024 college football predictions!