2023 college football predictions: Can Georgia pull off the three-peat?

Week 1 of the 2023 college football season is underway, marking the start of an exciting journey. The Yahoo Sports college football team has unveiled their predictions for the conference champions and the College Football Playoff. Nick Bromberg and Sam Cooper share their playoff insights below.

Predicting the College Football Playoff Teams

Nick Bromberg: From my perspective, the playoff contenders that stand out are Georgia and Michigan. Georgia remains a dominant force in college football, and I believe their offense will continue to shine despite losing QB Stetson Bennett and OC Todd Monken. With a relatively favorable schedule, Georgia has a good shot at securing a playoff spot with a record of either 13-0 or 12-1.

Michigan appears to be a well-rounded team in the Big Ten, especially with Ohio State playing on their home turf this season. I have more confidence in J.J. McCarthy than in Ohio State’s quarterback, despite the Buckeyes’ strong wide receiver talent.

While I’m less certain about my other two picks due to uncertainties within each team, Alabama has the ability to match up against Georgia across the entire roster. However, their success depends on solid quarterback performance from the chosen starter. As for USC, addressing their defensive challenges is crucial. Significant defensive improvement is needed for the Trojans to secure the Pac-12 title. Although I expect progress, the events of Week 0 did little to reinforce this belief.

Sam Cooper: Despite potential challenges in Georgia’s schedule that may have been overlooked in the offseason, I believe the Bulldogs will likely head into the postseason without a loss. Similarly, Michigan should navigate their regular season without major obstacles. I’m confident that Penn State boasts a defense that ranks among the top five in the nation, if not better. With anticipated records of 11-1 for Penn State and 10-2 for Ohio State, the Nittany Lions earn the No. 4 position in the CFP.

Selecting the No. 3 seed posed a challenge. It’s conceivable that both ACC and Big 12 champions might accumulate two losses. Consequently, I’m leaning towards USC. Given the strength of teams in the Pac-12, the Trojans may face a lone loss. A one-loss regular season, coupled with a victory over a top-10 or top-15 team in the conference championship game, should secure USC’s place in the top four. USC’s exceptional offensive talent and improved defense make their inclusion plausible.

Prediction for the National Championship

Nick Bromberg: My pick for the national championship is Georgia, achieving their third consecutive title. I base this on my belief that Carson Beck will emerge as a standout quarterback in the SEC. Alongside the additions of Dominic Lovett and RaRa Thomas, Georgia boasts a highly talented group of receivers. The defense remains formidable, with Jamon Dumas-Johnson and Smael Mondon forming the nation’s best linebacker duo. While Michigan makes it to the national title game after two successive semifinal losses, I anticipate them falling short against Georgia.

Sam Cooper: Though it may be a common prediction, I also foresee Georgia clinching a third consecutive championship. The team seems to lack noticeable weaknesses, and the early season provides opportunities for new players to adapt and for recovering players, particularly in the running back position, to return to full strength. This iteration of Georgia boasts one of the most potent skill position groups during Kirby Smart’s tenure. With a talented supporting cast, Carson Beck has the potential to excel right from the start.

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