2023 Season Preview: College Football Playoff and Heisman Trophy Predictions From the Eleven Warriors Staff (2024)

For many years, the Eleven Warriors staff has compiled a preseason predictions piece centered around forecasting the four teams that will appear in the College Football Playoff and guessing the future Heisman Trophy winner for that particular season.

We're back with another version of those predictions this year.But, this one feels like the final chapter before we head into a new era of college football in 2024.

Sure, next year's version of this piece will still be the same from the perspective of picking aHeisman Trophy winner, but our staff is going to have to use some more brainpower when it comes to forecasting a 12-team playoff field. If anything, that should makenext year's article all the more interesting.

But enough of that, that's a year away. You're here for the staff predictions of the 2023 season's CFP and Heisman winners. We've come prepared.

As you'd expect from a website primarily focused on covering Ohio State, the Buckeyes are well-represented in the playoff picks, with a couple OSU Heisman predictions as well. But while the Buckeyes were the consensus choice to win the 2023 national title, USC quarterback and reigning Heisman winner Caleb Williams was the leading vote-getter in the Heisman predictions, which would mean joining Archie Griffin in the exclusive two-time Heisman winners club.

Check out ourCFPand Heisman predictions below, then tell us yours in the comments.

Ramzy Nasrallah

CFP Field: Georgia, Ohio State, USC, Penn State

National Championship: Ohio State over Georgia

Breakdown: The title game will be a Peach Bowl rematch with the Buckeyes keeping Georgia from a three-peat on the strength of another Ryan Day offense — unleashed, unpuckered and unbothered — paired with a good-enough defense, finally.

Heisman Pick: TreVeyon Henderson, RB, Ohio State

Breakdown: TreVeyon Henderson is winning the Heisman, on the strength of being endlessly mad about how last season went for him.

Andy Anders

CFP Field: Georgia, Ohio State, Clemson, Alabama

National Championship: Ohio State over Georgia

Breakdown: As much as I'd like to throw at least one team in that hasn't already made the playoffs multiple times, my feeling is that Alabama and Georgia go undefeated until they play each other in the SEC title game and Cade Klubnik guides Clemson first to a key week four win at home against Florida State and then springboards them back to the top of the ACC from there. As far as my national champion goes, I think a stronger-than-ever run game and what has the potential to be a truly elite Ohio State defense more than pick up for a bit of a step back at quarterback in the wake of C.J. Stroud's departure. Having the best group of receivers in the country also helps.

Heisman Pick: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Breakdown: Williams has the perfect combination of media buzz, high-profile team and eye-catching talent. USC won some games last year strictly on his performance and even a similar year this year will see him as the frontrunner.

George Eisner

CFP Field: Georgia, Ohio State, USC, Florida State

National Championship: Ohio State over Georgia

Breakdown: A rematch of last year's semifinal, Marvin Harrison Jr. stamps his season to remember with revenge on the team that knocked him out of the Playoff a year ago. Ambiguous endzone targeting notwithstanding, even them Dawgs won't be able to track down Route Man Marv.

Heisman Pick: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

Breakdown: I talked about it with Johnny on the Dubcast a few weeks ago, but once Route Man Marv lost the Biletnikoff last year, his first response was to hit the Monarc machine that night. The best receiver in college football has been a man on a mission since before the season even started, and his elevated level of play will result in a Heisman-caliber campaign.

Matt Gutridge

CFP Field: Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, USC

National Championship: Alabama over Georgia

Breakdown: Alabama has never missed the College Football Playoff in consecutive years and the Tide won the championship following the only other season they missed the playoffs. As much as my fandom wants Ohio State to be the national champs, there are currently too many questions at quarterback and offensive line for me to go with the Buckeyes.

Heisman Pick: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Breakdown: Williams becomes the first preseason favorite to win the Heisman since 2009 and joins Archie Griffin as a two-time Heisman Trophy winner. Marvin Harrison Jr. is the best player, but this award rarely goes to the best player.

Chase Brown

CFP Field: Ohio State, Michigan, Georgia, Oregon

National Championship: Ohio State over Oregon

Breakdown: As it stands, I am not sure who will win The Game in 2023, but I am confident both teams will make the CFP. I expect both the Buckeyes and Wolverines to enter their rivalry matchup undefeated, and that should be enough to get both teams in. As for Georgia and Oregon, the Bulldogs are the back-to-back national champs — hard to bet against them — and I think Oregon will be a sneaky-good team this season with the return of Bo Nix and some nice defensive pieces. But I’m going with Ohio State over Oregon, why not?

Heisman Pick: Joe Milton, QB, Tennessee

Breakdown: Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel proved last season that he loves himself some good old-fashioned pass plays. The Volunteers had one of the most explosive offenses in the country, Hendon Hooker was a Heisman Trophy candidate last season and Jalin Hyatt won the Biletnikoff.Although Hooker and Hyatt are off to the NFL, I expect Tennessee to continue as an offensive juggernaut in 2023, led by former Michigan quarterback Joe Milton, who can absolutely spin the rock.

Dan Hope

CFP Field: Georgia, Michigan, Washington, Ohio State

National Championship: Michigan over Georgia

Breakdown: I expect this year’s Michigan team to be better than the one that beat Ohio State and lost in the CFP semifinals the last two seasons. The Wolverines might be the most well-rounded team in college football this year, and a favorable regular-season schedule plus quarterback uncertainty at all of Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State only helps their chances of winning their first national championship since 1997.

Heisman Pick: Michael Penix Jr., QB, Washington

Breakdown: I was tempted to pick Marvin Harrison Jr., but more attention from defenses and Ohio State spreading the ball around to its many skill-position stars could prevent him from putting up the sky-high numbers needed to win a wide receiver Heisman. Penix became one of college football’s best quarterbacks in his first season at Washington, and he has the benefit of throwing to the nation’s second-best receiving corps. If he can lead the Huskies past reigning Heisman winner Caleb Williams and USC to a Pac-12 title and CFP berth, he could take Williams’ trophy in the process.

Garrick Hodge

CFP Field: Michigan, Georgia, Ohio State, Oregon State

National Championship: Ohio State over Michigan

Breakdown: Ok, do I REALLY think Oregon State is making the playoff? No, but I’m doing it in solidarity with sticking it to the college football overlords as we pour one out for the Pac-12 in its final year of existence. Replace them with Washington (because an Alex Grinch-led defense ain’t making it unscathed) and you’d get the same result anyway. In a title game that will be a ratings bonanza, the Buckeyes will avenge their third straight loss to their archrival with a victory that could never be topped, giving fans a taste of what may be coming in future years in playing the Wolverines multiple times in one season.

Heisman Pick: Drake Maye, QB, North Carolina

Breakdown: Sadly I cannot pick Marvin Harrison Jr. because a wide receiver needs such gaudy numbers to win the Heisman and Ohio State has an embarrassment of riches at that position. Plus, I picked Jaxon Smith-Njigba to win it last year, so I have wide receiver prediction PTSD. This award almost always goes to a quarterback, with six of the last seven Heismans going to a signal caller, and the voters seemingly hate giving it to a guy in back-to-back years, so we’ll roll with Maye. He’ll put up eye-popping numbers en route to an 8-4 record and Duke’s Mayo Bowl victory.

Johnny Ginter

CFP Field: Georgia, Michigan, LSU, USC

National Championship: Georgia over LSU

Breakdown:Michigan has the best running back tandem in the country. As much as I would love for Ohio State to roll into Ann Arbor and snatch the crown from their heads, the Wolverines are peaking in terms of talent and the Buckeyes (while I think they'll be surprisingly good on defense) have a lot of questions that Michigan already has the answer for. LSU and USC are here for similar reasons; they have their top talent locked into place and ready to go.Georgia wins the championship over LSU, because life isn't fair and sometimes the worst outcome is the most likely one.

Heisman Pick: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Breakdown: Marvin Harrison, Jr. is the best overall player in college football and will likely deserve it on that basis alone, but he's also going to be triple-teamed and sharing catches with Emeka Egbuka, who in any other year would be a strong contender for the best WR in America. So give me USCquarterback Caleb Williams, who has the advantage of going to USC and playing quarterback.

Josh Poloha

CFP Field: Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama, USC

National Championship: Ohio State over Georgia

Breakdown: TheBuckeyes will beat Michigan win their first national championship since 2015. With a first-year starting quarterback, Ohio State will prove to have so much talent on both sides of the ball that it won't matter.

Heisman Pick: Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

Breakdown: The best player in college football deserves to win the most prestigious individual award in the sport. Ryan Day and Brian Hartline are going to do anything and everything to get Harrison the ball and the majority of defenses won't be able to contain him.

Chris Lauderback

CFP Field: Georgia, Ohio State, USC, Alabama

National Championship: Ohio State over Georgia

Breakdown: For all the angst about the QB situation in Columbus, the Buckeyes captured a natty in 2002 and 2014 without optimal QB situations. Improved defense and balanced offense while a QB develops over the season proves enough for Ryan Day to bring home the title over Georgia.

Heisman Pick: Caleb Williams, QB, USC

Breakdown: I hate to say it but I'll go Caleb Williams to win the Heisman. Let's hope that doesn't happen to preserve Archie's standing as the lone two-timer.

Jacob Rhee

CFP Field: Ohio State, LSU, USC, Clemson

National Championship: Ohio State over USC

Breakdown: Ohio State takes a 13-0 record into the playoff, with LSU, USC, and Clemson following behind as one-loss conference champions. The Buckeyes survive the semifinaland return to college football’s throne with a win over a future Big Ten foe.

Heisman Pick: Jordan Travis, QB, Florida State

Breakdown: There’s nothing that the college football world loves more than a good story. Heisman voters will get behind Travis, who endured Florida State’s darkest days before helping lead the program back to national prominence.

2023 Season Preview: College Football Playoff and Heisman Trophy Predictions From the Eleven Warriors Staff (2024)
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