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ESPN’s Rece Davis: ‘I think I’d put Michigan No. 1’

The host of College Gameday stated a case for the Wolverines to be the No. 1 team to open the season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 01 West Virginia at Pitt Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

ESPN host and personality Rece Davis thinks very highly of the Michigan Wolverines. In fact, based on the information he has at hand, he would rank the Wolverines No. 1 to open the 2023 college football season.

Davis explained his reasoning by highlighting the expected improvement from second-year starting quarterback JJ McCarthy and the play of Will Johnson, or as Davis describes him, “the best cornerback in America.”

Michigan’s transfer portal success —especially on both lines of scrimmage— and its returning players are also key points supporting Davis’s belief in the Wolverines.

Check out Davis’s complete thoughts below.

The honor of being the preseason No. 1 team is not one most fans or teams want. Since 1993, only three teams have begun the season ranked No. 1 in AP Poll and won a national championship (1999 Florida State, 2004 USC, 2017 Alabama).

The sweet spot seems to be No. 2. Since 2000, teams that opened the season ranked No. 2 in the rankings have won seven national championships. During the College Football Playoff era, only one team ranked outside of the preseason top five has won a national championship (2019 LSU). Here is a breakdown of preseason rankings for each national champion since 2000.

2000: Oklahoma, preseason No. 19

20001: Miami, preseason No. 2

2002: Ohio State, preseason No. 13

2003: LSU (BCS Champion), preseason No. 14

2004: USC, preseason No. 1

2005: Texas, preseason No. 2

2006: Florida, preseason No. 7

2007: LSU, preseason No. 2

2008: Florida, preseason No. 5

2009: Alabama, preseason No. 5

2010: Auburn, preseason No. 22

2011: Alabama, preseason No. 2

2012: Alabama, preseason No. 2

2013: Florida State, preseason No. 11

2014: Ohio State, preseason No. 5

2015: Alabama, preseason No. 3

2016: Clemson, preseason No. 2

2017: Alabama, preseason No. 1

2018: Clemson, preseason No. 2

2019: LSU, preseason No. 6

2020: Alabama, preseason No. 3

2021: Georgia, preseason No. 5

2022: Georgia, preseason No. 3

Michigan has not been the preseason No. 1 team since 1989, a season in which they finished 10-2 and No. 7 in the final poll.

Where do you think the Wolverines should be ranked to open the 2023 college football season? Do you like the idea of Michigan being the No. 1 team in the country?