Central Oregon DailyOregon finishes tied for 6th in final AP poll; Oregon State drops...

Oregon finishes tied for 6th in final AP poll; Oregon State drops out

Oregon finishes tied for 6th in final AP poll; Oregon State drops out

Bo Nix

The preseason Associated Press Top 25 college football poll held up pretty well in 2023.

The final AP Top 25 was released early Tuesday after Michigan defeated Washington in the College Football Playoff national title game to finish No. 1.

The Oregon Ducks, which started the season ranked No. 15, finished tied with Florida State at No. 6. The Oregon State Beavers finished just outside the Top 25 after starting the season at No. 18.

Seventeen teams that began the season ranked in the Top 25 finished in the rankings and only eight did not. Typically, about 10 or 11 teams that start the season ranked end the season unranked.

That comes after two seasons in which there was record turnover from start to finish in the poll. Fifteen teams that started the 2021 season ranked ended it unranked. That tied a record. Last year, the record was broken when 16 preseason ranked teams finished unranked.

In a chalky 2023 with very few upsets, six of the top 10 teams in the preseason rankings landed in the final top 10. Only one preseason top 10 team didn’t finish ranked at all: Southern California.

A look at the final AP Top 25 with a look ahead to next season when realignment will dramatically change regular-season matchups:

No. 1 Michigan (15-0)

2024 key games: vs. Texas, Sept. 7; vs. USC, Sept. 21; at Washington, Oct. 5; at Ohio State, Nov. 30.

Leaving: As many as seven offensive linemen; as many as eight defensive starters; RB Blake Corum.

Returning: DT Kenneth Grant; CB Will Johnson; TE Colston Loveland.

Reality check: With coach Jim Harbaugh’s future uncertain – as well as QB J.J. McCarthy’s – next season see a huge reset in Ann Arbor. Though it could still start as a fringe top-10 team.

No. 2 Washington (14-1)

2024 key games: vs. Michigan, Oct. 5; vs. USC, Nov. 2; at Penn State; Nov. 9; at Oregon, Nov. 30.

Leaving: QB Michael Penix Jr., WR Rome Odunze; DE Bralen Trice.

Returning: C Parker Brailsford; CB Elijah Jackson; WR Germie Bernard.

Reality check: The Huskies will look drastically different, starting with Mississippi State transfer QB Will Rogers. Only respect for coach Kalen DeBoer will keep them in the preseason Top 25.

No. 3 Texas (12-2)

2024 key games: at Michigan, Sept. 7; vs. Oklahoma at Dallas, Oct. 12; vs. Georgia, Oct. 19; at Texas A&M, Nov. 30.

Leaving: DT T’Vondre Sweat; DT Byron Murphy II; WR Xavier Worthy.

Returning: OT Kelvin Banks; RB CJ Baxter; LB Anthony Hill; QB Arch Manning.

Reality check: QB Quinn Ewers seems to be leaning toward a return and the Longhorns have recruited well enough to start in the top 10 next season.

No. 4 Georgia (13-1)

2024 key games: vs. Clemson in Atlanta, Aug. 31; at Alabama, Sept. 28; at Texas, Oct. 19.

Leaving: TE Brock Bowers; OT Amarius Mims; C Sedrick Van Pran.

Returning: QB Carson Beck; S Malaki Starks; DT Mykel Williams.

Reality check: The Bulldogs are the presumptive preseason No. 1 and FanDuel Sportsbook already lists them as the favorite to win the national championship.

No. 5 Alabama (12-2)

2024 key games: at Wisconsin, Sept. 14; vs. Georgia, Sept. 28; at LSU, Nov. 9; at Oklahoma, Nov. 23.

Leaving: OT JC Latham; OLB Dallas Turner; CB Kool-aid McKinstry.

Returning: QB Jalen Milroe; S Caleb Downs; WR Isaiah Bond.

Reality check: The Crimson Tide will be looking to run their streak of preseason top-five rankings to 16.

No. 6 (tie) Florida State (13-1)

2024 key games: at Notre Dame, Nov. 9; vs. Clemson, TBD; at Miami, TBD; vs. Florida, Nov. 30.

Leaving: QB Jordan Travis; WR Keon Coleman; DE Jared Verse.

Returning: OL Darius Washington; RB Lawrance Toafili; K Ryan Fitzgerald.

Reality check: The Seminoles are another team losing a mountain of productive and experienced talent. Transfer QB DJ Uiagalelei will hope to lead a rebuild that’s likely to start toward the back of the Top 25.

No. 6 (tie) Oregon (12-2)

2024 key games: vs. Ohio State, Oct. 12; at Michigan, Nov. 2; at Wisconsin, Nov. 16; vs. Washington, Nov. 30.

Leaving: QB Bo Nix; WR Troy Franklin; DE Brandon Dorlus.

Returning: C Jackson Powers-Johns; OT Josh Conerly Jr.; DE Matayo Uiagalelei.

Reality check: With QB Dillon Gabriel on board, the Ducks look like a preseason top-10 team.

No. 8 Missouri (11-2)

Key games: at Texas A&M, Oct. 5; at Alabama, Oct. 26; vs. Oklahoma, Nov. 9.

Leaving: OT Javon Foster; CB Kris Abrams-Draine; RB Cody Schrader.

Returning: QB Brady Cook; WR Luther Burden III; DL Johnny Walker Jr.

Reality check: Coming off one of the best seasons in program history, the Tigers could have their highest preseason ranking since starting sixth in 2008.

No. 9 Mississippi (11-2)

Key games: at LSU, Oct. 12; vs. Oklahoma, Oct. 26; vs. Georgia, Nov. 9.

Leaving: RB Quinshon Judkins; DE Cerdic Johnson; CB Deantre Prince.

Returning: QB Jaxson Dart; DE Jared Ivey; WR Tre Harris.

Reality check: The Rebels and their monster transfer portal haul — highlighted by WR Juice Wells and DT Walter Nolen — should be preseason top 10 and one of the most interesting teams in the country.

No. 10 Ohio State (11-2)

Key games: at Oregon, Oct. 12; at Penn State, Nov. 2; vs. Michigan, Nov. 30.

Leaving: WR Marvin Harrison Jr.; DT Michael Hall; TE Cade Stover.

Returning: DE Jack Sawyer; S Lathan Ransom; DL Tyleik Williams.

Reality check: There is much angst in Buckeye Nation these days, but depending on how a few more NFL draft decisions go, Ryan Day could go into next season with another top-three team.

No. 11 Arizona (10-3)

Key games: at Kansas State, Sept. 14; vs. West Virginia, TBA; at Utah, TBA.

Leaving: OT Grant Morgan; DL Taylor Upshaw; DT Tyler Manoa.

Returning: QB Noah Fifta; WR Tretairoa McMillan; LB Kamuela Ka’aihue.

Reality check: The Wildcats are trending up under coach Jedd Fisch and could start the season as the highest-ranked team in the new-look Big 12.

No. 12 LSU (10-3)

Key games: vs. USC at Las Vegas, Sept. 1; vs. UCLA, Sept. 21; vs. Mississippi, Oct. 12; vs. Alabama, Nov. 9.

Leaving: QB Jayden Daniels; WR Malik Nabers; DL Mekhi Wingo.

Returning: QB Garret Nussmeier; LB Harold Perkins; OT Will Campbell.

Reality check: The Tigers didn’t meet expectations in 2023 and will still likely start next season ranked, but more middle of the pack.

No. 13 Penn State (10-3)

Key games: at West Virginia, Aug. 31; at Wisconsin, Oct. 26; vs. Ohio State, Nov. 2; vs. Washington, Nov. 9.

Leaving: OT Olu Fashanu; DE Chop Robinson; CB Kalen King.

Returning: QB Drew Allar; RBs Nick Singleton and Kayvon Allen; LB Abdul Carter.

Reality check: With two new coordinators and lots of returning players, the Nittany Lions will be on the fringes of the top 10 with heavy skepticism.

No. 14 Notre Dame (10-3)

Key games: at Texas A&M, Aug. 31; vs. Louisville, Sept. 28; vs. Florida State, Nov. 9; at USC Nov. 30.

Leaving: QB Sam Hartman; OT Joe Alt; RB Audric Estime.

Returning: CB Ben Morrison; S Xavier Watts; RB Jeremiyah Love.

Reality check: Slide QB Riley Leonard into Hartman’s spot and pencil the Irish in for another preseason top 10ish ranking.

No. 15 Oklahoma (10-3)

Key games: vs. Tennessee, Sept. 21; vs. Texas at Dallas, Oct. 12; at Mississippi, Oct. 26; vs. Alabama, Nov. 23.

Leaving: QB Dillon Gabriel; WR Drake Stoops; RT Tyler Guyton.

Returning: QB Jackson Arnold; S Billy Bowman; LB Danny Stutsman.

Reality check: The Sooners will head into the SEC as a top-15 team.

No. 16 Oklahoma State (10-3)

Key games: vs. Arkansas, Sept. 7; at Kansas State, TBA; vs. Utah, TBA,

Leaving: LB Xavier Benson; TE Josiah Johnson; DE Anthony Goodlow.

Returning: QB Alan Bowman; QB Ollie Gordon II; WR Brennan Presley.

Reality check: The Cowboys exceeded expectations in 2023 and return a lot of key players and that should land them a spot in middle of the preseason Top 25.

No. 17 Tennessee (9-4)

Key games: vs. North Carolina State in Charlotte, Sept. 7; at Oklahoma, Sept. 21; vs. Alabama, Oct. 19.

Leaving: QB Joe Milton; RB Jaylen Wright; DE James Pearce.

Returning: QB Nico Iamaleava; WR Bru McCoy; RB Dylan Sampson.

Reality check: Just a glimpse of former five-star Iamaleava will be enough to get Tennessee into the preseason Top 25.

No. 18 Kansas State (9-4)

Key games: at Tulane, Sept. 7; vs. Arizona, TBA; vs. Oklahoma State, TBA; vs. Kansas, TBA.

Leaving: OG Cooper Beebe; TE Ben Sinnott; DE Khalid Duke

Returning: QB Avery Johnson; CB Jacob Parrish; RB DJ Giddens.

Reality check: The Wildcats have become a rock-solid program that deserves to be perennial Top 25.

No. 19 Louisville (10-4)

Key games: at Notre Dame, Sept. 28; at Kentucky, Nov. 30; at Clemson, TBA; vs. Miami, TBA.

Leaving: WR Jamari Thrash; RB Jawhar Jordan; QB Jack Plummer.

Returning: DE Ashton Gillotte; LB TJ Quinn; WR Kevin Coleman.

Reality check: Coach Jeff Brohm’s first Louisville teams exceeded expectations and slumped to the finish. Team two is likely to also start unranked.

No. 20 Clemson (9-4)

Key games: vs. Georgia in Atlanta, Aug. 31; Louisville, TBA; at Florida State, TBA; vs. North Carolina State, TBA.

Leaving: RB Will Shipley; LB Jeremiah Trotter Jr.; DT Ruke Orhorhoro.

Returning: QB Cade Klubnik; LB Barrett Carter; DT T.J. Parker.

Reality check: The Tigers might not be national title contenders, but they should easily be top 20 in the preseason.

No. 21 North Carolina State (9-4)

Key games: vs. Tennessee at Charlotte, N.C., Sept. 7; at Clemson, TBA; at North Carolina, TBA.

Leaving: LB Payton Wilson; QB Brennan Armstrong;

Returning: WR KC Concepcion; DE Red Hibbler; S Devan Boykin.

Reality check: Former Coastal Carolina QB Grayson McCall joins an experienced team that finished well and could crack the back half of the preseason Top 25.

No. 22 SMU (11-3)

Key games: vs. TCU, Sept. 21; at Louisville, TBA; vs. Florida State, TBA.

Leaving: DE Elijah Roberts; DT Elijah Chatman.

Returning: QB Preston Stone; TE RJ Maryland; LB Kobe Wilson.

Reality check: The Mustangs will have a lot to prove in their first season in the ACC.

No 23 Kansas (9-4)

Key games: at Illinois, Sept. 7; vs. Iowa State, TBA; at Kansas State, TBA.

Leaving: DB Kenny Logan; TE Mason Fairchild.

Returning: QB Jalon Daniels; RB Devin Neal; DL Austin Booker.

Reality check: The Jayhawks are no joke any longer and could end up ranked in the preseason for the first time since 2009.

No. 24 Iowa (10-4)

Key games: vs. Iowa State, Sept. 7; at Ohio State, Oct. 5; vs. Wisconsin, Nov. 2; at UCLA, Nov. 9.

Leaving: CB Cooper DeJean; P Tory Taylor; DE Joe Evans.

Returning: LB Jay Higgins; RB Leshon Williams; TE Luke Lachey.

Reality check: Might be tough for voters to buy in on the Hawkeyes until they show they can play a little offense.

No. 25 Liberty (13-1)

Key games: vs. East Carolina, Sept. 21; at Appalachian State, Sept. 28; vs. New Mexico State, TBA.

Leaving: LB Tyren Dupree; DB Brandon Bishop.

Returning: QB Kaidon Salter; RB Quinto Cooley; WR CJ Daniels.

Reality check: The Flames are positioned to be perennial contenders in Conference USA, but that might not be enough to earn them a preseason ranking.

Central Oregon Daily News contributed to this report.

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