With the ugly College Football Playoff National Championship between Georgia and TCU in the rearview mirror, now is the time to look into the future and make predictions that come this time next year could easily look laughable at best. Thinking back to the start of the 2022 season, much was made all year about Desmond Howard’s preseason picks for the College Football Playoff, with those being Texas A&M, Michigan, Baylor, and Pitt. Not exactly close!

We’re going to do the same thing here, but hopefully this will wind up being a bit more accurate. Let’s now lay out some way-too-early picks to be the final four teams standing in the College Football Playoff next season.

4. USC

This one is entirely dependent on the defense actually showing up in big games. But if they can do so often enough to win the Pac 12, USC should be in the College Football Playoff discussion at the very least well into November thanks to Caleb Williams. Again, though, that’s if they can find enough defense to get there.

That was certainly an issue for USC all year in 2022, and there might be no direction for them to go on defense but up. They’ve certainly got competition in-conference from the likes of Washington and Oregon, both of whom will have their prolific quarterbacks back under center in 2023.

3. Alabama

The giant won’t stay down long, and they’ll be right back in the College Football Playoff Playoff come the end of the regular season in 2023. Of course, it’s hard to say for certain how the Crimson Tide will look with a new quarterback under center, but come on. This is Alabama we’re talking about here. They’ll be more than fine.

The reason they’re at No. 3 is because they’ll lose the SEC Championship to the reigning national champions, who we’ll get to in a moment.

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2. Michigan

They return J.J. McCarthy. They return Blake Corum. They return Donovan Edwards. Assuming they’ve still got Jim Harbaugh as head coach next year, and maybe even if they don’t, how can you pick anyone else to win the Big Ten and make the College Football Playoff as a result?

Sure, Ohio State will probably be very good again, but they’re going to have to adjust to life without C.J. Stroud, and quarterback changes can breed uncertainty, especially when your rival has two bona fide Heisman candidates in McCarthy and Corum. Michigan will actually have to win their CFP game to get some real respect, but there’s no reason to believe they won’t get there again in 2023.

1. Georgia

Could it be anyone else? They have the best coaching staff in America and the best roster, as long as whoever takes over for Stetson Bennett under center is competent. Their schedule should allow Georgia to be right back in the College Football Playoff hunt to become the first three-peat national champions since the 1930s.

Tennessee on the road will be a tough game, as could Ole Miss at home, but there’s nothing I’ve seen so far in either of their portal classes that would lead me to believe they beat Georgia next fall. That’s how large the gulf in quality between Georgia and the rest of the country is.

Good luck everybody else, because 2023 looks like Georgia’s national championship to lose. We could be entering an era of dominance in college football that would make even Nick Saban blush.