NEW YORK — We’re less than two weeks away from the start of college football season and we now know the team to beat to start the 2023 campaign.

There are also a few teams of Chicago area interest that have found their way into the conversation when it comes to the Associated Press preseason Top 25 poll.

Defending national champion Georgia begins the season as the No. 1 team after receiving 60 of 63 first place votes. Michigan received two of those and is ranked second in the AP Top 25, their highest to start a season since 1991.

Ohio State, who got the other first place vote, Alabama, and LSU round out the top five.

Notre Dame, who finished 18th in the final AP poll after a 9-4 season in 2022, will start this season ranked 13th in rankings in Marcus Freeman’s second season. They’ll open the FBS season on Saturday, August 26, when they face Navy at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, which is set for a 1 p.m. central time start.

Illinois, which finished with eight wins for the first time since 2007 last season, got three votes in the poll. They open the season against Toledo at Memorial Stadium in Champaign on Saturday, September 2 at 6:30 p.m.

Other teams from the Big Ten that are ranked in the AP Top 25 include:

  • 7. Penn State
  • 19. Wisconsin
  • 25. Iowa

If this were 2024, that number would grow, since three teams that will join the conference next year from the Pac 12 are currently in the Top 25.

  • 6. USC
  • 10. Washington
  • 15. Oregon