COLLEGE FOOTBALL 2019 TOP 10 PLUS 5 TO WATCH

ARTICLE: CHRISTOPHER DINKINS  [@LEFTYNICE]

IT'S ALMOST THAT TIME TO STRAP UP THE CHIN STRAPS, GET THE FOOTBALL’S AND SHOULDER PADS. AND GET READY FOR ANOTHER FIVE MONTHS OF OPINIONS, POLLS AND GOOD OLD ARGUMENTS REGARDING WHAT TEAMS WILL END UP IN THIS YEAR’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF. LAST YEAR CLEMSON BEAT THE BRAKES OFF OF ALABAMA AND WON THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP FOR THE SECOND TIME IN THREE SEASONS. THE SEASON THEY DID NOT WIN ALABAMA TOOK THE CROWN, BUT THIS SEASON WITH ALL THE ROSTER CHANGES, TRANSFERS, AND UPSETS COMING MOST TEAMS KNOW HOW THEY WILL LOOK IN 2019 FOR THE MOST PART. THIS A LOOK AT THE TOP 10 TEAMS FOR THIS SEASON AND WHO SHOULD END UP IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF. THE SEMIFINAL GAMES THIS SEASON ARE THE FIESTA BOWL AND THE PEACH BOWL. AND THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP WILL BE PLAYED AT MERCEDES-BENZ SUPERDOME IN NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA ON JANUARY 13, 2020.

1.    CLEMSON TIGERS WILL COME INTO THE 2019-20 SEASON OFF OF SECOND CHAMPIONSHIP IN THREE YEARS, AND WILL BE PRIMED TO REPEAT WITH A LOADED OFFENSE LED BY HEISMAN FRONTRUNNER QUARTERBACK TREVOR LAWRENCE AND RUNNING BACK TRAVIS ETIENNE. THE QUESTIONS ARE ON DEFENSE, WHERE ENTIRE STARTING FRONT LINE WILL BE REPLACED. BUT THOSE UNDERCLASSMEN WILL GROW UP QUICKLY IN DABO SWINNEY’S SYSTEM.

2.    ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE SHOULD PICK UP AND DUST THEMSELVES OFF AFTER GETTING BLASTED IN TITLE GAME BY CLEMSON BACK IN JANUARY. TUA TAGOVAILOA WILL LEAD AN OFFENSE WITH JERRY JUDY AS HIS TOP RECEIVER. THE DEFENSE, WHICH LOST SOME STANDOUTS WILL BE SUPPLEMENTED BY THE NEXT WAVE OF PLAYERS WAITING TO GET THEIR SHINE.THE TIDE WILL MOST CERTAINLY BE IN CFP PICTURE.

3.    GEORGIA BULLDOGS NEEDS THIS SEASON TO BE VERY BIG TO REMOVE SOUR TASTE OF LAST SEASON’S VERY DISAPPOINTING FINISH. THEY BLEW A SECOND HALF LEAD TO ALABAMA IN SEC CHIP. THEN PROCEEDED TO LOSE TO TEXAS IN THE SUGAR BOWL. THIS TEAM FEELS DIFFERENT THOUGH, JAKE FROMM AT QUARTERBACK AND D’ANDRE SWIFT THE LEAD BACK SHOULD MAKE THIS OFFENSE VERY GOOD. THEIR MISSION IS TO BEAT ALABAMA. THAT’S IT, THAT’S ALL.

4.    OKLAHOMA SOONERS THE HOME OF THE LAST TWO HEISMAN WINNERS, REMEMBER BAKER MAYFIELD AND KYLER MURRAY? JALEN HURTS COULD PULL OFF ONE OF THE MOST IMPRESSIVE FEATS IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL HISTORY IF HE CAN LEAD THIS OFFENSE TO THE CFP. HE WILL NEED HIS DEFENSE TO GET IT TOGETHER BECAUSE THEY GAVE UP AN AVERAGE OF 450 YARDS A GAME LAST YEAR AND CANNOT COUNT ON OUT SCORING TOP TEAMS EVERY WEEK.

5.    MICHIGAN WOLVERINES THIS YEAR HAS TO BE THE YEAR JIM HARBAUGH’S CREW ACCOMPLISHES SOMETHING, LIKE BEATING OHIO STATE OR BEING A FACTOR IN THE LAST WEEKS OF THE SEASON. SHEA PATTERSON RETURNS AT QUARTERBACK WITH DONOVAN PEOPLES-JONES AND NICO COLLINS LEADING THE RECEIVING CORPS. THE DEFENSE SHOULD BE STRONG BECAUSE COORDINATOR DON BROWN IS ABSOLUTELY AMONG THE BEST IN COLLEGE FOOTBALL.

6.    OHIO STATE BUCKEYES WILL START A NEW ERA UNDER HEAD COACH RYAN DAY AND NEW STARTING QUARTERBACK JUSTIN FIELDS, WHO TRANSFERS FROM GEORGIA. THIS TEAM HAS POTENTIAL TO BE SPECTACULAR OFFENSIVELY. J.K. DOBBINS IS BACK TO HELP CATCH WRECK ON OPPOSING DEFENSES. WHILE DEFENSIVE STALWART CHASE YOUNG WILL LEAD AN EVEN BETTER DEFENSE IN COLUMBUS.

7.    LOUISIANA STATE TIGERS SHOULD BE HIGHER BECAUSE ITS OFFENSE WILL BE VERY DYNAMIC. LED BY FORMER NEW ORLEANS SAINTS OFFENSIVE ASSISTANT JOE BRADY WHO WILL HANDLE PASSING GAME AND BE THE RECEIVERS COACH. JOE BURROW SHOULD BE MORE COMFORTABLE IN HIS SECOND YEAR AS THE STARTER. IF LSU CAN WIN AT TEXAS AND SHOW UP AGAINST ALABAMA THEY MAY HAVE A SAY IN WHO ENDS UP IN CFP.

8.    TEXAS LONGHORNS HAVE A LEADER IN QUARTERBACK SAM EHLINGER, AND WE WILL FIND OUT EARLY BECAUSE THEY SEE LSU IN WEEK 2. THE CONCERNS ARE REAL ALONG THE OFFENSIVE AND DEFENSIVE LINES, BUT HEAD COACH TOM HERMAN APPARENTLY LIKES HIS TEAM BEING IN AN UNDERDOG POSITION. EHLINGER BETTER STAY HEALTHY.

9.    TEXAS A&M AGGIES NEED TO BE BETTER IN HEAD COACH JIMBO FISHER’S SECOND SEASON. THEY FINISHED AT 9-4 LAST SEASON, BUT THIS SEASON’S SCHEDULE IS MAD TOUGH, IT INCLUDES ROAD GAMES AT CLEMSON, GEORGIA AND LSU. AND A HOME GAME AGAINST ALABAMA. QUARTERBACK KELLEN BOND SHOULD BE BETTER THEY JUST HAVE TO HELP HIM OUT AND MAYBE THEY WILL HAVE A SHOT AT MAKING SOME NOISE.

10.    FLORIDA GATORS HAVEN’T WON SEC CHIP SINCE 2008, BACK IN THE TIM TEBOW DAYS BUT THEY HAVE TO FIGURE OUT HOW TO KNOCK OFF THE GEORGIA BULLDOGS. THEY HAVE LOST THE LAST TWO SEASONS TO THE DAWGS, BUT FINISHING 10-3 LAST YEAR THEY SHOULD HAVE SOME PURPOSE IN GETTING BETTER BECAUSE THEY KNOW WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE.

THE FIVE TO WATCH

OREGON DUCKS: THEY WON NINE GAMES LAST YEAR AND REMAIN A THREAT TO WASHINGTON HUSKIES IN PAC-12. JUSTIN HERBERT HAS TO REMAIN HEALTHY, IF HE CAN GET THIS TEAM TO OVER 10 VICTORIES HE CAN WIND UP IN NEW YORK AS A HEISMAN FINALIST. DEFENSE SHOULD BE BETTER WITH KAYVON THIBODEAUX, A FIVE STAR PLAYER ON THE DEFENSIVE LINE.

WASHINGTON HUSKIES: THIS TEAM SHOULD BE IN THE MIX WITH GEORGIA TRANSFER JACOB EASON LEADING THE OFFENSE. A TON OF NEW FACES ON DEFENSE, BUT THAT SHOULD NOT BE MUCH OF A PROBLEM, THEY ARE ALWAYS NICE ON THAT SIDE OF THE BALL.

NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH: THEY HAVE A MURDEROUS SCHEDULE WITH ROAD GAMES AT MICHIGAN, DUKE AND STANFORD. THE GEORGIA GAME WHICH IS ALSO ON THE ROAD HAS TO MEAN SOMETHING FOR IRISH TO STAY IN THE MIX.

UTAH UTES: THIS MAY BE THE SEASON THIS TEAM CAN SNEAK IN AND UPSET ANOTHER TEAM’S PLAYOFF PLANS. UTAH PLAYED WASHINGTON FOR PAC-12 CHIP LAST SEASON. THE OFFENSE WILL BE LED BY QB TYLER HUNTLEY AND RB ZACK MOSS WHILE ON DEFENSE, ENDS LEKI FOTU AND BRADLEE ANAE WILL KEEP THIS TEAM SHARP VERSUS THE RUN.

PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS: HOPEFULLY THEY WILL HAVE MOMENTUM AND WIN SOME GAMES IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON. THE DEFENSE WILL BE STRONG WITH DE YETUR GROSS-MOSS AND LB MICAH PARSONS LEADING THE WAY. IT SHOULD BE A STRONG START OF THE SEASON IN HAPPY VALLEY.

Troy Hendrickson