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Who will win the 2023 College Football Playoff?

It won’t be Illinois.

2022 CFP National Championship - Georgia v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It’s back!

TCR Staff Predictions are back for the 2022 college football season! The first installment is predicting the 2023 College Football Playoff. Here’s what six of our writers think:

Will Charlton: #3 Ohio State defeats #1 Alabama

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Ohio State has a total redemption season after a “disappointing” 2021 campaign where they still won the Rose Bowl. CJ Stroud wins the Heisman in a 14-1 season where they also win the Big Ten once again. Bama isn’t able to stop the high powered offense in the final and the Buckeyes win a shootout national championship. In the semifinals, #1 Alabama defeats #4 Utah, #3 Ohio State beats #2 Georgia.

Raul Rodriguez: #4 Georgia Beats #3 Clemson 28-20

Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images

The Dawgs, led moreso by their offense this time around, get into the playoff with 1 loss and no SEC title while Clemson, led by freshman superstar Quarterback Kade Klubnick, runs through the ACC. In the semifinals, Georgia upsets #1 seed Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl 37-24. Meanwhile, in the semifinal Peach Bowl, Clemson pulls a massive upset of SEC Champion and #2 seed Alabama 38-28.

Drew Pastorek: #1 Alabama defeats #2 Ohio State

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Ryan Day said at Big Ten Media Days that 11-2 and Rose Bowl may be a great season for some programs but not for his program. Nick Saban said that last season was a “rebuilding year” for the Crimson Tide – YOU PLAYED IN THE NATIONAL TITLE GAME, YOU INSUFFERABLE PRICK! OH, POOR NICKY POO, YOU LOST TWO WHOLE GAMES WITH YOUR HEISMAN TROPHY WINNER! HERE’S ANOTHER OATMEAL CREME PIE FOR YOUR OUCHIE…

Anyway, these two programs and fan bases deserve each other, and college football fans don’t deserve nice things. Roll damn tide.

Kyle Tausk: #2 Ohio State defeats #1 Alabama

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Buckeyes bring a national title back to the Big Ten. That offense is just going to be absolutely electric with CJ Stroud, TreVeyon Henderson, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba all at the very least Top 2 at their respective positions in the country. I certainly don’t see anybody in the Big Ten taking them down and I think they ride the best offensive production in the nation through the College Football Playoff as well, even past the big bad Alabama defense. I’m going Ohio State over Georgia, who gets in despite an SEC championship loss, and Alabama over Utah, a dark horse pick who wins the Pac 12, in the semifinals.

Mihir Chavan: #4 Ohio State (13-1) beats #2 Utah (14-0)

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Too early to see what team is good, what team is bad. College football is so dynamic anything can happen (see: 2021 Cincinnati). However, Ohio State has too many weapons on offense. They cruise to the title game, without beating powerhouse Illinois (8-4) (who beat Michigan (10-2), who beat Ohio State). Rankings have a bias to what teams draw eyeballs. Utah has a chance to draw those eyeballs playing Florida, San Diego State, and hopefully under the lights during #Pac12AfterDark against Lincoln Riley’s USC and Oregon. 2 loss Alabama (11-2) somehow makes the SEC Championship and beats Georgia (11-2) taking the Bulldogs spot in the CFP at #3 and rounding out the CFP is Quinn Ewers led Texas (13-0) at #1. (Texas beats Bama in a nailbiter and that’s why Alabama is number 2).

Jack Jungmann: #1 Alabama defeats #3 Utah

Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Nick Saban literally just said last year’s 13-win squad was a “rebuilding year.” While statements like that are lame, it’s just not a good idea to bet against the Crimson Tide, generally. #1 Alabama defeats #4 Baylor, who sneaks into the CFP after a wild conference championship weekend. I love what Dave Aranda is doing with this Baylor program, and I believe the Bears build off of their Big 12 championship from last fall. In the second semifinal game, I see #2 Ohio State falling at the hands of the #3 Utah Utes. I’m predicting a 2022 Rose Bowl rematch just because that game was so fun to watch. Both squads return key pieces from last year’s Rose Bowl teams, I see them taking the next step. This semifinal will go down as an all-time great. As for the championship, I just don’t see anyone stopping Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide this year. It’s a boring pick and it hurts me to make this pick just as much as it pains you to read it, but it’s what I think is gonna happen.

Next week’s staff predictions will be the Big Ten Champion predictions!