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What the 2023 AP Preseason Poll Got Right and Wrong

NCAA Football: Houston at Texas Tech

The 2023 AP Preseason Poll dropped on Monday, with four Big 12 schools represented in the inaugural rankings.

Texas (No. 11), Kansas State (No. 16), TCU (No. 17), and Oklahoma (No. 19) represent the Big 12 teams to make the Top 25, and in a lot of ways that makes sense. However, I do feel there were some snubs in the poll, and some things that they simply got plain wrong.

So, what did the AP Poll get right and wrong this time around? Let’s take a look.

 

Right: Kansas State at No. 16

Kansas State will start the 2023 season ranked 16th, its highest ranking to start the year since 2004. Will Howard is back at quarterback after a spectacular showing as the starter for half the season in 2022, and will have another offseason of experience. The entire offensive line returns, as do three rotational pieces in the unit, while five starters return from a solid defensive unit. With Chris Klieman at the helm, this team is well-deserving of a Top 20 ranking, and No. 16 feels about right.

Wrong: Omission of Texas Tech

Texas Tech finished the season red-hot in 2022, winning each of their final four contests and blasting Ole Miss in the Texas Bowl, which is ranked 22nd in this poll. Texas A&M went 5-7 a season ago, and while they’ve got the talent, they just haven’t figured it out with Jimbo. And Iowa? Are we forgetting what they’ve looked like offensively under Brian Ferentz? There’s absolutely no reason why Texas Tech shouldn’t be ranked in the Top 25 heading into the year. Sure, they were atop the “receiving votes” list and just behind the Hawkeyes, but they should’ve been in. However, I’m quite certain Joey McGuire doesn’t mind the bulletin board material.

 

Right: Oklahoma at No. 20

By just looking at the records from last year, a 6-7 team probably should have to prove something before being ranked, right? Well, Oklahoma fell on its face in 2022 under Brent Venables, but there are lots of signs pointing upward. The Sooners have signed back-to-back Top 10 recruiting and transfer portal classes, and have completely overhauled their roster since the regime change. OU also lost five games by one possession last year, including four by exactly three points. That means just a little improvement could go a long, long way. That’s why Oklahoma being ranked, but toward the back of the poll, is a perfect spot for them to start.

Wrong: Big 12 Teams Not Receiving Votes

As discussed earlier, Texas Tech (101) topped the list of teams receiving votes and is on the verge of breaking into the poll. However, besides them, only Kansas (10) and Baylor (3) were the only teams to receive any votes, which honestly shocked me. Not a single vote for UCF? Oklahoma State? BYU? The Big 12 is as competitive a league as there is from to top to bottom, and that has been the case for a few years now. Likely, that will be the case again in 2023. So, how is it that only half the league received a vote? It just doesn’t make any sense.

 

Right: Georgia at No. 1

There’s not really much explanation needed here, but Georgia has won each of the last two national championships. They return 13 starters from a season ago and have recruited as well as anyone in the country. Kirby Smart is still at the helm and the Bulldogs have won 18 games in a row. Anyone else at the top of this poll would be nothing short of a joke.

Wrong: USC is a fringe Top Five team

Am I missing something here? Yes, USC has a returning Heisman winner returning at quarterback in Caleb Williams, but he wasn’t the issue a year ago. As has often been the case with a Lincoln Riley-led program, the defense was atrocious last season, giving up just under 30 points per game. With nine starters back on that side of the ball, is it just magically going to get better? Teams like Utah and Tulane did whatever they wanted offensively last year against the Trojans, and I’m not expecting that to change. USC at No. 10 or 11? Sure. I could hear that argument. But ahead of Penn State, Florida State, or Clemson? No way.

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