Phil Steele: College Football Preseason Top 40

On3 imageby:Nick Kosko07/08/23


Phil Steele revealed his preseason top 40 teams heading into the 2023 college football season, with Georgia leading the way.

The Bulldogs are the two-time defending national champions and definitely poised for a third straight title. But others want to knock the Bulldogs off their perch and claim college football’s biggest prize.

In Steele’s rankings, there’s a bit of a surprise near the top. Below are his full top 40 going into the fall.

Phil Steele reveals Preseason Top 40

1. Georgia
2. Clemson
3. Michigan
4. Alabama
5. Ohio State
6. Penn State
7. USC
8. Florida State
9. LSU
10. Notre Dame
11. Texas
12. Texas A&M
13. Wisconsin
14. Washington
15. Oregon
16. Utah
17. Iowa
18. Oregon State
19. Tennessee
20. Oklahoma
21. North Carolina
22. Toledo
23. Pittsburgh
24. UTSA
25. TCU
26. Ole Miss
27. South Alabama
28. UCLA
29. Kansas State
30. Miami
31. South Carolina
32. SMU
33. Boise State
34. Tulane
35. Kentucky
36. Air Force
37. NC State
38. Illinois
39. Texas Tech
40. Maryland

Clemson coming in at No. 2 is the biggest surprise from Steele. It’s not that Dabo Swinney’s team isn’t talented, they are just ranked way higher than most pundits going into the season. Top 10? Sure, we can see it.

But the No. 2 team in the country behind the defending champions and head of the likes of Michigan, Ohio State and Alabama? That’s a harder sell.

Speaking of the Big Ten, Michigan leads the way in that conference ahead of Ohio State, a fellow top five team. Alabama is sandwiched there at No. 4 to be the second best team in the SEC at the moment.

The rest of the top 10 sees a lot of playoff contenders. Texas at No. 11 is generous but warranted because of the talent for the Longhorns. Now, it’s a wait-and-see approach to Texas actually putting it all together on the field.

There aren’t too many surprises in the top 25. Wisconsin came in at No. 13 with new head coach Luke Fickell, putting a lot of expectations on the Badgers.

How about last year’s runner-up TCU coming in at No. 25?

Going down the list, Miami is an interesting choice at No. 30, meaning the Hurricanes could rise this year after a disappointing Year 1 under Mario Cristobal.

Shoutout to Air Force for making the list and representing the service academies.

We’re less than two months from the start of the season.