This college football season had everything from early Fun Belt heroism to a Tennessee resurgence to a 200-1 long-range hit that made the college football national championship playoffs.

USC reemerged as a West Coast threat after a Heisman-worthy Caleb Williams season before losing to upstart Tulane in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl. Penn State proved there are more than two dominant teams in the Big Ten East with an electric Rose Bowl performance presented by Prudential, and Alabama lifted the Allstate Sugar Bowl trophy despite a “bad” season for Nick Saban & Co.

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Many storylines have materialized this season, but none have been greater than Georgia’s drive to be the first team to repeat in the CFP era. The Bulldogs, after a historic national championship win, captured their second title in a row, beating TCU 65–7. They will now be on the hunt for a third title in a row, something that hasn’t been seen since the Minnesota teams in the mid-1930s.

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After a season filled with drama, we bring you the final strength rankings for the 2022-2023 college football season.


1. Georgia Bulldogs (15-0)

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The Georgia team achieved two goals this year that they didn’t achieve last season: winning the SEC title and finishing undefeated. Both of them ended up winning CFP national championships and there is no doubt that the Bulldogs will be favorites for the top three in 2023. The priorities this spring will be finding a replacement for starting quarterback Stetson Bennett, a Heisman Trophy finalist who is only the fourth quarterback to win back-to-back titles since 1990. Star guard Jalen Carter, cornerback Keli Ringo, defenseman Christopher Smith and others are also leaving, but the Bulldogs gave a glimpse of what’s to come in Monday’s fourth quarter. night 65-7 defeat of TCU. Quarterback Carson Beck played the final 13.5 minutes, rookie quarterback Branson Robinson scored two touchdowns, and freshmen Bear Alexander, Mykel Williams and Jalon Walker combined for three sacks. Georgia is not leaving; it looks like under Kirby Smart it’s just getting started. — Mark Schlabach


2. Horned Frogs TCU (13-2)

After one of the most memorable seasons in college football history, where are the Horned Frogs going next? Books will be written about Sonny Dykes’ first season, culminating in a trip to a national championship game. Max Duggan, Heisman’s runner-up, is heading for the NFL Draft, as is Quentin Johnston. Chandler Morris, who was good enough to snatch a QB job from Duggan before suffering an injury early in the season, says he will return, with Dykes hinting that the Frogs may also be looking for a transfer to the position. The Horned Frogs will have many new faces next year, but Dykes & Co. has already placed TCU at the top of the new Big 12 pecking order by scoring the top recruiting class at the conference since the Oklahoma and Texas exits and snapping up big…time transfers from Alabama, among other places. But Baylor and Oklahoma State looked like new contenders a year ago. So what’s in store for TCU next year? — Dave Wilson


3. Michigan Wolverines (13-1)

The Wolverines ended the 2022 season with mixed emotions. They won a second consecutive Big Ten championship and won back-to-back wins against Ohio State for the first time since 1999 and 2000. touchdown outsider. Michigan may be waiting for a better shot at the national championship game for a while after failing to overcome a torrent of losses and other atypical mistakes against the Horned Frogs. Attention turns to the future of coach Jim Harbaugh and the NCAA investigation into Harbaugh and alleged program violations. But if Harbaugh does return, he will lead a talented team with quarterback JJ McCarthy and others, including several key transfer additions. — Adam Rittenberg


4. Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2)

The Bakeis have had tough losses over the years, but perhaps none of them were as painful, given the stakes, as the 42-41 loss in the CFP semi-finals against Georgia. Ohio State outplayed defending national champions, led twice by 14 points, got a heroic performance from CJ Stroud and still lost. A win would have made the Buckeyes the favorite to win their first national title since 2014. Instead, Ohio’s national title drought continues alongside its shorter Big Ten drought (two years). Coach Ryan Day has to replace Stroud and other key players and eventually build a defense that hasn’t been right for most of his tenure. Day is 45-6 at Ohio State but will face significant pressure early in the 2023 season. — Rittenberg


5. Alabama Crimson Tide (11-2)

It wasn’t the season anyone had planned after starting No. 1 in the polls and boasting two of the top five players in college football at quarterback Bryce Young and linebacker Will Anderson Jr. too many big games. Ultimately, Alabama’s championship hopes were dashed on the road by a Tennessee field goal and a two-point conversion to LSU. But give credit to Crimson Tide for not closing the store after that. No one refused, and they won the standings 4-0, including a landslide 25-point victory over Kansas State in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. — Alex Scarborough


6. Tennessee Volunteers (11-2)

It might be premature to say Tennessee is back in time, but the Oxen have made their biggest leap in two decades. They won 11 games for the first time since 2001, including a 31–14 victory over Clemson in the Capital One Orange Bowl to end the season. Josh Hoipel’s offense was amazing again (leading the nation with a 46.1 ppg average) and quarterback Hendon Hooker had a sensational senior season until he tore his ACL in a 63-38 loss in South Carolina. The crushing defeat of the Gamecocks was inexplicable and cost the Vols a place in the college football playoffs. Still, no one would have predicted Heupel’s 11 wins in his second season, the biggest of which was a 52-49 thriller over Alabama that snapped a 15-loss streak to the Tide. — Chris Low


7. Penn State Nittany Lions (11-2)

The Nittany Lions put on a show in the Rose Bowl presented by Prudential in a 35–21 win over Utah. Penn State won 11 games, with only two losses coming to Michigan and Ohio State, both of which qualified for the college football playoffs. In quarterback Sean Clifford’s last game, he threw for 279 yards and had two touchdowns. Real freshman runner Nick Singleton ran 120 yards and threw two touchdowns, leaving him just 16 yards away from breaking Sakwon Barkley’s Pennsylvania rookie record. Fellow freshman Kytron Allen also ran for a touchdown and showed why the Nittany Lions have a bright future. — Tom Van Haaren


8. Washington Huskies (11-2)

Coach Calen DeBoer’s rise from a wildly successful NAIA coach to Power 5 has been a success. He inherited a 4-win team that was on the brink of collapse just two years after Chris Petersen left, and led the team to an 11-2 record – and Utah upset USC in a Pac-12 title game without a berth in the championship. Pink bowl. Under the guidance of DeBoer and offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb, quarterback Michael Penix Jr. – who came from Indiana – has been one of the top passers in college football and will return next season when the Huskies start the season in the playoffs. — Kyle Bonagura


9. Tulane Green Wave (12-2)

Tulane’s first 12-win season since 1998 ended with a thrilling 46-45 victory over USC in the Cotton Bowl. The Green Wave scored 16 points in the final game in 4:07, which helped set up a successful debut in the New Year’s Six. Tyge Spears’ season-high 205 yards and four touchdowns kept Tulane within striking distance of the Trojans all day. Spears (1,581 yards, 19 TD) ended his junior year with eight consecutive 100-yard games. — Blake Baumgartner


10. Florida State Seminoles (10-3)

Perhaps there is no hotter team in the offseason than the Seminoles right now. Florida State has won 10 games for the first time since 2016 and is clearly on the rise under coach Mike Norvell. Quarterback Jordan Travis ended a terrific season with a remarkable performance in the Cheez-It Bowl against Oklahoma, throwing for 418 yards, rushing for 50 more and scoring two touchdowns. Travis is set to return in 2023 along with several other key players including running back Trey Benson and defenseman Fabien Lovett. Expectations are sure to skyrocket for this group. — Andrea Adelson


11. Utah Yutes (10-4)

It was another successful season with a bittersweet ending for the Utes as they won a second consecutive Pac-12 title but lost in the Rose Bowl to a Big Ten contender. However, the Cliffs remain the most consistent team in the conference, even if they aren’t the brightest or the most talented. There is still plenty of optimism for Kyle Whittingham’s team on the horizon, starting with the return of some of their best players for another year. Quarterback Cam Rising and tight end Brant Kuite announced on Monday that they would be returning to Salt Lake City for another season. What’s more, Whittingham’s track record is starting to pay off in hiring: in 2023, the Utes will have the best class in the top 25, the best in program history. — Paolo Uggetti


12. LSU Tigers (10-4)

There were many ups and downs in Brian Kelly’s first season as Tigers head coach. Losing the first week in New Orleans to Florida could be a terrible sign of things to come. And losing 27 points at home to Tennessee could have been the start of a tough second half of the season. Instead, LSU went on to go for five consecutive wins, including a win over Alabama in overtime. The team selected in the preseason to finish fifth in the SEC West ended up winning the division. And while the loss