The two-time reigning national champion Georgia Bulldogs will likely start the 2023 season where they have finished each of the last two seasons: the No. 1 spot. In fact, coach Kirby Smart's 2023 squad is indeed the No. 1 team as we present the 2023 Preseason CBS Sports 133, a comprehensive ranking of every FBS team.
What's perhaps a bit surprising is that this is the first time Georgia has been the top team in our rankings heading entering a season, coming in as the near-unanimous selection for No. 1 ahead of No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 Ohio State. The Bulldogs have often been among the top teams in our preseason rankings, just never this high Last year, Alabama was a near-unanimous No. 1 with Georgia placing No. 3.
In taking the top preseason spot from Bama, a program that held that honor across five of the seven prior years -- only falling short in 2019 and 2020 (Clemson) -- UGA has added another piece of puzzle to the clear transition of power that has taken place within the SEC. Whereas it used to be a coin-flip proposition as to whether the Crimson Tide would win a national championship before the games were even played, that honor now belongs to the Dawgs.
Alabama is not far away, though. It checks in at No. 5, though that is good for third in the SEC behind rival LSU at No. 4. USC joins the preseason top 10 at No. 6 followed by No. 7 Penn State, a duo of ACC title contenders (No. 8 Florida State, No. 9 Clemson) and Washington rounding out the top 10.
From a conference perspective, the SEC dominates the top of the Preseason CBS Sports 133, representing nearly one-third of the top 30 with nine teams between Georgia at the top and Arkansas at No. 30. The Pac-12 has five of its teams in the top 25 of the rankings, matching the Big Ten's mark. Tulane at No. 22 is the lone Group of Five program inside the top 25.
The moves from the conclusion of 2022 to the start of 2023 included a boost in stock for Ole Miss and Texas Tech, each up more than a dozen spots from where they finished last season. LSU is also up double digits as it crashes the top five, while Texas -- with all the excitement of a big step forward in Year 3 under Steve Sarkisian -- is just outside the top 10 with a similarly large leap.
For more on some of the notable changes between the final 2022 rankings and 2023 Preseason CBS Sports 133, check out the Mover's Report below the top 25 table.
There's guaranteed to be even more volatility as our voters take in all of the football that Week 0 and Week 1 have in store. We will reconvene after Week 1 for what will then be the first in-season update to the CBS Sports 133.
College football experts from CBS Sports and 247Sports contribute ballots each week, which are averaged together for our rankings. You can see the top 25 below and 26-133 on our rankings page.
Preseason CBS Sports 133 college football rankings
|Rank||Team||2022 Record||Final 2022 ranking|
- No. 23 Texas A&M (+47): Last season's 5-7 showing was an aberration compared to how most teams finish with a roster as talented as that of Texas A&M. This adjustment recognizes that talent will likely deliver more wins than a year ago and notes what could be a positive spark for the offense in the hire of Bobby Petrino as offensive coordinator.
- No. 19 Wisconsin (+35): Last year's Wisconsin team, under the guidance of interim coach Jim Leonhard for the latter stages of the season, was not in a state of disrepair. The Badgers were a bowl team, and now, that group will be led by one of the sport's most well-respected coaches in Luke Fickell. The expectation is that Fickell will have Wisconsin once again competing for the Big Ten West title and a shot at the conference championship.
- No. 25 Iowa (+21): The Hawkeyes neither had a notable assistant shake up like Texas A&M nor an outright coaching change like Wisconsin, but Iowa did do some work in the transfer portal to bring in quarterback Cade McNamara, and there's a contractual call for the offense to score more points. I suppose that's worth raising the floor of a team that has performed consistently at a top-40 level in recent years.
- No. 28 Kentucky (+19): The two notable changes here are Mark Stoops bringing back Liam Coen from the Los Angeles Rams as offensive coordinator and signing former NC State QB Devin Leary out of the transfer portal. Will Levis played some of his best ball with Coen as a Kentucky assistant, and the hope for Leary -- and Kentucky fans everywhere -- is that the offense will deliver results closer to that 2021 season than a year ago.
- No. 22 Tulane (-13): It's a tough go for Tulane from a rankings perspective in that nothing much has changed from last year's group that knocked off USC in the Cotton Bowl. Yet still, the Green Wave have fallen more than a dozen spots in the rankings. Willie Fritz chose not to pursue other coaching opportunities, and Michael Pratt is among multiple players who recommitted themselves to Tulane when other avenues may have been there in the portal. Still, our voters had a tough time slotting Tulane inside the top 10 to start the year.
- No. 17 TCU (-14): Last year's Horned Frogs team produced eight NFL Draft picks with three more players signing as undrafted free agents. It creates a picture of how well that group performed during the year but also what a challenge it was going to be restock the roster and maintain the level of success seen in Year 1 of the Sonny Dykes era. Respect for the program keeps the Frogs in the top 20, but the roster turnover provides a reason to slide TCU down from last year's finish.
- No. 43 Duke (-17): The Blue Devils finished at No. 26 last year after a 9-4 season in Mike Elko's debut. With QB Riley Leonard and several other key players returning, the quality of the group is easily that of a top 50 team. The challenge for Duke will be stacking as many wins as possible against a schedule that has increasingly more challenging in the ACC's new division-less format.
- No. 48 Troy (-29): Jon Sumrall's group went 12-2 and finished the year with a convincing win bottling up an electric UTSA offense in the bowl game. But when it came to reshuffling the FBS landscape, our voters have firmly placed the Trojans back in the middle class. For the record, Troy is the fourth highest-rated team from a Group of Five conference in our rankings, but that honor has them barely inside the top 50.
- No. 64 Cincinnati (-29): Luke Fickell averaged 9.5 wins in his six seasons with Cincinnati, reached the AAC title game three times, won the conference title twice and became the first Group of Five coach to lead his team into the College Football Playoff. Now Fickell is gone, replaced by Scott Satterfield, and the program has moved from a league that it largely ran for the last four years into a tougher position as one of the newcomers to the Big 12. With significant roster turnover as well in the wake of a coaching change, an adjustment for the Bearcats is understandable.
Check out the rest of the CBS Sports 133: Teams ranked 26-133