The Associated Press announced the final preseason poll for the upcoming 2023-24 season, in which the national champion Georgia Bulldogs are the first-ranked team. A lot goes into evaluating where a team will be ranked, it includes the previous year’s success, coaching and staff changes, and recruiting and transfer portal additions. The board of voters will then conduct votes to fill out their ballot and then average it out among all the voters and conduct the associated press preseason poll. There is five big ten schools, six SEC (southeastern) schools, three ACC (Atlantic Coast Conference) schools, five pac-12 schools, five Big 12 schools, one independent team in Notre Dame and an American Athletic Conference team in Tulane ranked in the Associated Press Preseason Poll.
Obviously, there is no perfect poll when it comes out to the average fan, so I am going to give my takes on the matter. The top seven is pretty much straightforward, all were a two or three-loss team, you could flip USC with Penn State but I think many would trust Caleb Williams instead of Drew Allar, the new quarterback for Penn State. Now, for Florida State, I for one am not high on them, they have proven nothing to me that they deserve a top ten ranking.
For one yes they beat an LSU team that beat a down-year Alabama squad last year, but they also lost to Clemson, who is ranked ninth, one spot behind Florida State. The Seminoles also lost to North Carolina State on the road by two. Sure, Devin Leary went to Kentucky who is an upgrade over Will Levis, so it’s a respectable loss but are you going to claim they’re a top-ten team from a year ago? They lost to five loss Wolfpack team who was inconsistent. I guess so in their eyes. These are different teams from last year sure, but Clemson should be ahead of Florida State because of how similar their seasons went last season and how they recruited similarly in value.
The Atlantic Coast Conference has also been down, only having a few ranked teams in the poll every season, so does that factor in for the stance on Florida State at eight? It has to in my eyes and my evaluation at least a small bit. Finally, yes, recruiting wise they hit the jackpot, so that might be why they are ranked so high, as they hold the number six transfer portal ranking and 16th ranked freshmen class.
They added the 24th player in the nation in Hykeem Williams (wide receiver) and offensive tackle Lucas Simmons, two players ranked in the top 100, Williams as the lone five-star. In the transfer portal, they add a lot of former four-stars from power five conferences including Darrell Jackson from Miami, Gilbert Edmond from South Carolina, and Justin Cryer from Northwestern. You know we saw the same thing in the previous years with Texas in 2021 and Texas A&M in 2022, will it continue in 2023? For me, Florida State is no higher than 15, but high expectations relying on freshmen and transfers to mesh together puts them top ten in the voters’ eyes.
I also have an issue with the runner-ups from 2022 being 17, I think with losing a lot of their starters including quarterback Maxx Duggan that they should be on the back end of the poll, like 23. It sounds like Chandler Morris will win the quarterback job, but you could also see Chance Nolan, the Oregon State transfer at quarterback this season. They lose Darius Davis, their top receiver, Blair Conwright transferred to North Texas, Geor’Quarius Spivery transferred to Mississippi State, while they lose Taye Barber, Emari Demercado, and a lot of others on the offensive end. In all honestly, they are losing tons of talent. They will go back to reality, middle of the Big 12 standings. But based on last year’s results, TCU does deserve the ranking at 17.
North Carolina is another one that I have mixed feelings about, they could be as low as 30 and not in the poll but also be as high as ten with Heisman candidate and potential first-round pick Drake Maye under center. They hold the 28th freshmen class and 29th transfer portal ranking, so not mind-blowing but they did add talent to a borderline top 20 roster. Replacing Josh Downs with Devontez Walker, the transfer from Kent State who caught 58 receptions for 921 yards and 11 touchdowns. They add another receiver from conference opponent Georgia Tech, Nate Mccollum, who caught 60 receptions for 655 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tech did not have a great quarterback or offense, so expect those numbers to jump. They add a position-in-need in Alijah Huzzie from East Tennessee State who caught six interceptions last season. Armani Chatman is another cornerback that they added from Virginia Tech who had 13 solo tackles, three assists, and one interception. He will create depth for the Heels.
So all in all they added some great value and three starters to a team that was itching for a Atlantic Coast title last season. I would have them higher to be totally honest, probably in the 14-17 range.
Texas A&M and Wisconsin are two I wouldn’t have ranked because of how they did last season and Wisconsin entering the Luke Fickell Era. I mean Texas A&M went five and seven with the best recruiting class we’ve seen in some time to the statistic side of things that is. Aside from that, though, I have little issue with the bottom of the preseason poll.
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