It seems like every college football season has at least a couple of traditional powers that believe that they are back to being at the top of the college football food chain. So far, this season has a plethora of formerly great programs on the rise. The AP Top 25 polls have looked more like preseason polls in the 1990s. With programs like Michigan, Tennessee, and USC all becoming national title contenders in the past couple of seasons, it seems like the bluebloods of the sport are rightfully claiming their seat at the table.
Obviously, teams like Ohio State and Alabama have been in the spotlight for years and will continue to compete for national titles for years to come. So the question is, what traditional powers are actually back in college football?
Are College Football’s Traditional Powers Back?
Florida State Seminoles
The Seminoles were praised all off-season about how good they were, and I was curious to see how they would respond to all the hype. Florida State proved to the entire country that they were legit on opening night. The Seminoles trounced No. 5 LSU with the whole country watching and really sent a message to college football fans. Florida State will more than likely be favorites to win the rest of their games this season, and besides a road test at Clemson, I do not see anybody in the ACC challenging the Seminoles as the top dog.
Florida State has had a long road to get back to where they are, and I do not see them going anywhere anytime soon. The buzz around the Seminoles program has not felt like this since their last national championship team. They’re a legit College Football Playoff contender in 2023, and they are finally back at the top where they belong.
Texas has had so much negative energy around its program for so long. The Longhorns just have not been able to get over the hump and win big games. This fanbase has been dying for something to rave about, and let me tell you they have it. What Texas did in Bryant-Denny Stadium, a place that no one wins at, against No. 3 Alabama, a team that is very tough to beat, is absolutely mindblowing. That game in that moment will completely change this football program.
The Longhorns have not had a team like this since the Vince Young days. They also have not had a quarterback like Quinn Ewers since they were winning national championships. Texas is the favorite in the Big 12. They are favored to win the rest of their games if they are not back, when will they ever be? I think the “Texas is Back” meme can finally be put to rest. Texas is definitely back and they have a great shot to compete for a national title in 2023.
Miami has flirted with being back in the past, but it never lasts long. The Hurricanes picked up a program-boosting win against No. 23 Texas A&M on Saturday. This was a huge win for Mario Cristobal and a big step forward as a program. Miami will go as far as Tyler Van Dyke can take them in my opinion. The Hurricanes have athletes all over the field, but the past couple of years something just has not clicked.
They are getting closer to breaking through, however, I think they are still a work in progress. Miami has to start taking care of business in games that they are supposed to win. Last year was a disaster, but Cristobal has his team playing well and the Hurricanes could make a little noise in the ACC.
Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Notre Dame has been in the playoffs and played in national championship games as of late, however, the 2023 version of the Irish may finally get them over the hump. The Fighting Irish have definitely looked the part of a college football playoff team so far this season. With a quarterback like Sam Hartman, the Irish have a chance to beat any team they will play this season. Notre Dame has a tough schedule ahead of them, but if the Irish continue to play well defensively, I do not see how the Irish would not be College Football Playoff contenders.
Other Traditional Powers
Other notable traditional powers that have made their way back into the spotlight include Tennessee, USC, and Penn State. All three teams have outside chances of making the College Football Playoffs.
USC has what is probably the best offense in the country led by star quarterback Caleb Williams. If the Trojans can improve on the defensive side of the ball, USC will compete for not only the Pac-12 title but a national title as well.
Tennessee has a great offense yet again, led by quarterback Joe Milton. The Vols defense has improved, however, the offense has started off a little slow but I expect that change soon. I trust in Josh Heupel and the program he is running, and I expect the Vols to compete for an SEC title in 2023.
Penn State has a great team. The Nittany Lions’ defense has been outstanding, and the offense is not far behind. The only question mark for Penn State is how Drew Allar will perform down the stretch. I love this team, and I believe that they will be in the College Football Playoff discussion all year long.
So are the traditional powers of college football finally coming back to life and claiming what is theirs? The traditional powers of the sport have a significant advantage when it comes to donors and NIL. The bigger the brand, the more the program will succeed in the NIL era. I believe that having these traditional powers competing for championships again is great for the sport. I hope to see these historic dynasties continue to be relevant and be in the College Football Playoff talk every year.
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