The College Football season has just ended. While the excitement is still fresh, it is never too early to look at who could contend or next season. Take these rankings with a grain of salt, as the rosters will change by the time next season comes around. Here is the college football 2019 way too early top 25.
1. Clemson Tigers
Trevor Lawrence will be back after a phenomenal freshman season. After dominating in the National Championship, they take the top spot. They’ll lose a lot of valuable members in the trenches, but Clemson recruits with the best of them. At this point, betting against Dabo Swinney or Nick Saban is just flat out wrong.
2. Alabama Crimson Tide
The Crimson Tide always lose talent to the NFL and this year will be no different. There are many reasons that the team should be ranked number high yet again. Saban will be back. Tua Tagovailoa is back for another year with a lot of his weapons. The defense will step up like it always does and the recruits are still pouring into Tuscaloosa.
3. Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia nearly made the College Football Playoff with a very young team. Kirby Smart and Jake Fromm will team up for a third straight year for a chance to win the SEC and possibly more. The defense loses shutdown corner Deandre Baker, but they have a lot of young and fast players returning.
4. Oklahoma Sooners
No, Kyler Murray won’t be back next season, but the way Lincoln Reilly has operated this offense, it is hard to believe they are going to take too much of a step backward. Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch will have his work cut out him, but has a nice cushion with that offense.
5. Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State qualifies as one of the teams that routinely loses talent to the NFL, but the bigger loss is Urban Meyer. Ryan Day will have the talent to win the Big Ten again, but he’ll have to prove that he has the coaching ability to keep Ohio State a perennial power.
6. Texas Longhorns
Tom Herman has provided Texas with a New Year’s Six Bowl win. Now it is time to see if he can squeeze out a few more wins. Sam Ehlinger is back after a big step forward as a sophomore. He’ll lose some of his favorite targets, but Herman has recruited well enough to help him out.
7. Oregon Ducks
This ranking is bolstered by the fact that Justin Herbert is staying at Oregon. They get 10 starters back on offense and with Herbert operating the offense, the Ducks should see improvements. It should be another down year for the Pac-12, which means Oregon can pick up a lot of wins.
8. Florida Gators
Dan Mullen did a lot in his first year at Florida. A lot of their players have declared for the 2019 NFL Draft, but if he can get more out of Feleipe Franks, and recruit well, the Gators can be a program that continues to rise.
9. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
An undefeated regular season is nice for Notre Dame, but they still aren’t quite at Alabama or Clemson’s level. Having Ian Book back at quarterback will make the offense balanced again, but the defense loses a lot including defensive tackle Jerry Tillery and cornerback Julian Love.
10. UCF Knights
UCF still has hope that McKenzie Milton will play next season. Even if he can’t Darriel Mack played well in his absence. They did lose to an LSU team that was very thin in the secondary, but UCF will pick up a lot of wins in the AAC again. The Knights only started a handful of seniors this past season.
11. Texas A&M Aggies
Jimbo Fisher’s first season at Texas A&M went well. With starting quarterback Kellen Mond progressing, A&M should be one of the top teams in the SEC. A lot of their key players will be back to help Fisher take the Aggies to the next level.
12. LSU Tigers
Losing linebacker Devin White and cornerback Greedy Williams to the NFL will sting. The Tigers reload talent though. The biggest question for LSU is the one that always comes up: How good will the quarterback play be?
13. Stanford Cardinal
Although it was seen as a down year for Stanford, they still won nine games. Bryce Love and J.J. Arcega Whiteside are headed off to the NFL, but the Cardinal do get back quarterback K.J. Costello.
14. Wisconsin Badgers
They struggled this season, but Jonathan Taylor is back, which will give them a running game. The quarterback play needs to improve, but it looks like Wisconsin has a few players to choose from. As always, the defense will be aided by the offense controlling the clock.
15. Boston College Eagles
Boston College briefly appeared in the top 25 this season, but they lost three straight games to end the season. With A.J. Dillon back at running back, the Eagles will have one of the country’s best. They’ll also have starting quarterback Anthony Brown returning, but will have to replace a lot on defense.
16. Michigan Wolverines
Jim Harbaugh will have a lot of his defense gone, which means it is time for quarterback Shea Patterson and wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones to step up. The defense should still be solid, but won’t be able to win them games without much support.
17. Utah Utes
Utah is the most physical team in the Pac-12 and that will continue in 2019. With a lot of their playmakers and defense back, Utah should compete in the Pac-12 South again.
18. South Carolina Gamecocks
Jake Bentley will be back at quarterback and Will Muschamp will love having a more experienced defense heading into 2019.
19. Virginia Cavaliers
Bronco Mendenhall has done a fantastic job turning around the Virginia program. The ACC Coastal shouldn’t be too tough, meaning the Cavaliers could win it. After getting eight wins in 2018, his recruits will start being the stars of the program.
20. Iowa State Cyclones
The Cyclones found a star in quarterback Brock Purdy. If Matt Campbell sticks around, Iowa State can be one of the most consistent Big 12 programs.
21. Penn State Nittany Lions
There was a mass exodus of talent for the NFL. They’ll need new players to step up, but James Franklin has done a great job recruiting.
22. USC Trojans
A 5-7 team in the top 25 for next season? The offense should be a lot better with Kliff Kingsbury (if he doesn’t bolt for the NFL) as offensive coordinator. Watch out for J.T. Daniels to take a huge step forward and for the Trojans to take advantage of a Pac-12 that hasn’t been good recently.
23. Iowa Hawkeyes
Nate Stanley will be back for his senior season and Iowa has a lot of players on defense back. They do lose Noah Fant at tight end, but T.J. Hockensen, the Mackey Award winner for the best tight end in the country, could be back. If Wisconsin doesn’t get it together, Iowa will likely win the Big Ten West.
24. Pittsburgh Panthers
Pittsburgh made the ACC Championship Game and Pat Narduzzi’s style of defense can generate similar results this season. Kenny Pickett is going to need to improve for next season at quarterback.
25. Cincinnati Bearcats
Luke Fickell is yet another coach that turned around a program faster than expected. With quarterback Desmond Ridder and running back Michael Warren back, the Bearcats could give UCF a run for their money in the AAC.
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