23 Things for Spring: College football teams, names and storylines you need to know entering 2023

We barely had time to catch our breath after the 2022 college football season. Seems like only yesterday when Georgia took over world. It seems like every day that Pac-12 keeps doing well, nothing.

But there is more to life. Start with Spring Training 23: real football with positional fights, scrums and transfers. (By the way, there will be a lot of them.) Everything for which it is worth living.

Get used to change. A lot of everything. BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and UCF will play in the same league as Texas and Oklahoma, even if only for the same season. Archie Manning’s grandson makes his debut with the Longhorns as perhaps the most famous recruit of all time. Nick Saban and Alabama are trying to bounce back from a two-loss season. TCU and Tulane are trying to prove that their performances in 2022 were not a fluke. The Northwestern will keep trying as it will have the longest losing streak in the country (11 games) in 2023.

Grab a cooler and sun lounger and head out for the second week of April. Over the course of three days (April 13-15), the Spring Games will be held in Florida, Miami, USC, North Carolina, Clemson, Florida State, Clemson, Texas, Ohio State, Arkansas, Georgia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas A&M.

Is that enough snack for you?

1. Georgian tripeat bog: The opportunity is real and it’s impressive. The day after the Bulldogs played in a row, it became obvious that they could win three games in a row. This would be a first in the AP Top 25 era (since 1936). We have evidence that this can happen. Georgia actually got better last season after losing a record 15 players in the 2022 NFL Draft. If Trainer Kirby Smart can do this, he will be able to reboot again instead of rebuilding. The 15 starters returned despite a loss projected to be around 13 draft eligible players. (That could be 28 in two years!) The deck is finally cleared for prospects Carson Beck and Brock Vandagriff, who will fight at quarterback. Todd Monken has gone pro, but Mike Bobo is known as a replacement offensive coordinator. You know the defense will rock even with the Philadelphia Eagles reportedly targeting defensive coordinator Glenn Schuman. Another proof: Charmin soft chart. The country’s longest winning streak (17 games) could be extended to 32 this season.

2. Trainer Prime: The biggest offseason story is just getting started in Colorado. Deion Sanders makes a surprise Power Five debut at Mountain Time Zone. Think of a Hall of Fame media icon who would put herself in this position without needing money or fame. There isn’t one. CU has lowered its standards to welcome more transfers. The previously disinterested administration increased the annual salary to $6. Sanders brought his Louis and enough swag to fill Folsom Field. Will he be successful? The Buffaloes ended 2022 as the worst Power Five program ever. they can only go up from 1-11. The venerable Bill McCartney proved that you can win a national championship in Colorado (a quarter of a century ago) if you recruit hard enough. Sanders will. Surprisingly good staff. Coach Prime’s son, Schedeur, is a quarterback. Don’t be surprised if the Buffs make it to the bowl game in 2023.

3. Restructuring: By the time spring training is over—perhaps by the time you’ve finished reading this column—American football may have changed. Pac-12 may fall apart. Big 12 is ready to pounce on the remains. This would leave Oregon and Washington with a choice: try to make it on the remnants of the Pac-12 or knock on the door of the Big Ten. It’s a prelude to where the game is heading: three or four big conferences. Fourteen teams will play in different conferences than in 2022. That’s before Texas, Oklahoma, USC, and UCLA move in 2024.

4. Late transfer window: Some order was put in place when the Wild, Wild West, which became a transfer portal, was limited to two transfer windows. At the end of the first window (January 18), 1200 players entered the portal. This does not mean that they received a scholarship. Simply means they rolled the dice. The second window is open from May 1 to May 15, mainly after the completion of the 2023 spring practice. Expect a rush to the (transfer) window with a lot of positional battles playing out.

5. Jim Harbaugh Decade: Who would have thought a Michigan coach would reach 9th grade? Not after that start against Ohio State. It’s not like he was forced to renegotiate his contract only to turn around and force Wolverine to do the same in his favor twice. Looking ahead to 2023, Harbaugh more than doubled his longest tenure with the team than any previous coaching job. Longevity came with typical Harbaugh baggage. He appears to have a strained relationship with his athletic director. He continues to communicate with interested NFL teams. His oath of allegiance seems to lose its meaning the more times he is forced to repeat it. It also defines a man. Harbo will do what he wants, when he wants. He also enters his ninth season at the peak of his coaching career, winning back-to-back Big Ten titles and two back-to-back college football playoff appearances with a loaded roster to make a deeper run in 2023.

6. Ohio Depth: Earlier this month, Ryan Day revealed that eight players will miss spring training due to various health issues. More importantly, where will the Buckeyes head in 2023? There’s a strong case to be made that they won all of last season by beating Georgia in the CFP. They won’t fall too far, but maybe far enough to squeeze Day again. We need to find a new quarterback. (Five-star Kyle McCord vs. Top 50 Devin Brown in the spring.) The group of wide receivers remains one of the best in the country. But Michigan (for sure) and Penn State (maybe) will challenge. Day received a playoff mulligan after his second loss in a row to Michigan. There are no years of recovery in Columbus, Ohio, just constant demand for another Big 12 title and a spot in the CFP.

7. By the way, Penn State: Michigan and Ohio State are still the bad guys at the top of the Big Ten. Penn State, however, is quietly loading into 2023. There was emotional bloodshed at the Rose Bowl. Penn State won their first such game since 1995, completely dominating Utah. This could be a preview of 2023. Drew Allar replaces Sean Clifford as the highest ranked quarterback in program history. Nick Singleton and Kytron Allen form one of the most explosive rear groups in the country. Protection from the top 10 of 2022 returns almost in its original form. Michigan visits Beaver Stadium November 11th.

8. Working hours of the mall: At some point this spring, the new SEC meeting schedule format for 2024 will be unveiled. It will most likely feature nine games featuring three permanent rivals and six alternating home and home rivals, with no more East-West divisions. Teams will play each other home and away at least once every four years. Since this is the SEC, waiting for the schedule is treated like a royal wedding. Much ado about nothing? You can have royal weddings. Seeing who Texas and Oklahoma get as regular contenders will be special for the SEC Network.

9. Miami Return Coordination: Perhaps only TCU’s success last season keeps Mario Cristobal from calling him a complete failure. The 5–7 campaign was Miami’s worst since 1977. The Hurricanes lost to Middle Tennessee. Quarterback Tyler Van Dyke regressed. Talented offensive coordinator Josh Gattis bombed. Defense coordinator Kevin Steele couldn’t resist Saban’s call to Alabama. The new coordinators are Lance Guidry (Marshall, defense) and Shannon Dawson (Houston, offense). Raise your hand if you’ve heard of any of them. But hey, if TCU can go from 4-8 to the national title, Miami has hope. That’s all Cristobal needs now, who could become the first Cains coach since Lou Saban in 1978 to not win at least seven games in his second season.

10. 17th year of the reign of Saban: Great shows no signs of slowing down. There are only comparisons with oneself. And while Georgia is a new force in the SEC — and the country — Alabama remains a solid number 2. After a subpar two-loss season — with an equal number of losses under Saban since 2010 — there’s every chance Bama can bounce back. returned with a championship campaign. Spring will be scrutinized with the looming quarterback battle and the insertion of two new coordinators. After the departure of Pete Golding, Steele was a sure bet. Tommy Reese as offensive coordinator is something else. Some in Notre Dame were not sad to see the 30-year-old gone. Rhys can spread his wings a bit with an overall offensive talent upgrade. He won’t have a choice. Mark your calendars: The greatest coach of the generation turns 72 on Halloween.

11. Wisconsin Makeover: Paul Krist got out the door after winning 72% of games. New coach Luke Fickell didn’t bring in talented offensive coordinator Phil Longo to run the wishbone. It will be exciting to watch Wisconsin transform from its decades-old ground and pound culture. Quarterback Tanner Mordecai is an established starter with one of the best games of this century. The Badgers will go through more, have more fun and possibly take the next step towards becoming a Big Ten contender under Fickell.

12. Golden rule: Stop me if you’ve heard this before: Nebraska got it right this time. Okay, deep breath. Nebraska Really this time it worked out with new coach Matt Rule. The revolutionary artist who worked wonders at Temple and Baylor returns to (college) armed with much experience…


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