College Football is a little over a month away, and the preseason vibe is starting to pick up. In the next couple of weeks, programs will attend their conference media days. After that, fall camps begin. With the golden hour inching closer, let’s take a look at who very well may end up in the preseason top 10.
10. Notre Dame
Every year it seems Notre Dame gets a lot of preseason love, has a great regular season, then gets bullied by another top tier team. Inevitably everyone always says they won’t buy the hype again, then the calendar flips and here we are again.
Their schedule is completely manageable and the Irish also return their QB. They go on the road to Georgia, Michigan, and Stanford this year so the likelihood of them having at least three losses this year is high, and they’ll almost definitely take a step back from the playoff appearance last year, but like I said it’s another year so let the Notre Dame hype roll.
The Gators capped off last season with a dominant victory over Michigan in the Peach Bowl. Felipe Franks is back under center and the Gators always have a hard-nosed defense, this year led by corner CJ Henderson.
The Gators have the opening game of the season against in-state rival Miami and have SEC crossover games with LSU and Auburn, so their schedule is no cake walk. Despite this, the Gators are primed to build on their 2018.
If you don’t know the name Sam Ehlinger, you should probably familiarize yourself with him. The Longhorns QB is the alpha male type QB that wills his team to victory. The problem for Texas however is key personnel losses, including most of the defense.
Texas has a pair of marquee matchups this year. One against LSU, at home, and the annual neutral-site game against Oklahoma. While head coach Tom Herman thrives as an underdog, his teams have had a tendancy to struggle with lesser teams in the past.
Michigan is another team that gets incredible hype every year but can’t get over the hump to being an elite team. Will this be the year? It should be considering the talent Michigan has across the board.
The biggest factor for Michigan’s perceived lack of success is that they can’t beat their rivals. Well, this year needs to be different for Harbaugh. Michigan State is down as a program right now, and Urban Meyer is gone from Ohio State.
For years, the biggest knock on LSU was their lack of an explosive offense. Even when they had the likes of OBJ, Landry, Fournette, etc, they were always a mediocre offensive team that won primarily with defense. Well, welcome to 2019, that doesn’t work anymore.
So what’s different this year? LSU brought in New Orleans Saints offensive assistant Joe Brady to run the offense. Based on their spring game, it looks much more open. More of what everyone else is running. What LSU really needs to do is remove that pesky thorn from their side, you know, Alabama.
Can Jalen Hurts make it a three-peat for Heisman. What Lincoln Riley has done to that offensive system is absurd. However, Hurts isn’t in the same mold of QB as the last two for the Sooners. They also lose a lot of offensive pieces from last years record-setting team.
The biggest thing to watch is how the defense improves under their new DC. if they can make at least a few stops a game, then Oklahoma will continue their success.
4. Ohio State
Urban Meyer is out, Ryan Day is in. We learned a lot about Day last year when Meyer was suspended and he didn’t show anything to make us think that there is going to be any sort of dropoff.
The biggest question is will Justin Fields step up to the spotlight? A highly regarded recruit, Fields transferred from Georgia and will be immediately eligible to play this year. He’s a prototypical Buckeyes QB, athletic and can throw. If he lives up to the billing, then the Buckeyes are going to be dangerous.
One of the most supremely talented teams in CFB, Georgia needs to take that next step to be considered in the same class as Clemson and Bama. They have all the talent, but now it’s about executing when it matters most.
There aren’t too many legitimate threats on Georgia’s regular season schedule. They take on Notre Dame and Texas A&M at home, and those are two of the tougher teams on their schedule. They take on Florida in a neutral site game, but they generally dominate that series.
It’s so rare to not see Bama at #1 in the preaseason. Like always they’re going to reload on defense, and still have Tua and his vaunted receiving corps. Oh ya, and a deep stable of running backs that would all start at most schools in the country.
Frankly, Alabama should roll pretty easily through their soft schedule. Tua really doesn’t even need to play till the SEC championship game, but hey that wouldn’t be any fun. The Iron Bowl has the potential to get weird, and Kyle Field(A&M) has given them a problem before but they are the vastly superior team in both games. They also have LSU at home, but they tend to win that one no matter where it is.
Te reigning National Champs are going to be dangerous again. Back are the likes of Lawrence, Etienne, Higgins, and Ross. They did, however, lose their entire defensive line, but they have a few mammoths ready to step in.
Now, I knocked Bama for having an easy schedule, but Clemson, man, Clemson might win half their games by foreit. The ACC just isn’t what it used to be so they should have no problem walking through this schedule with ease. Their biggest problem will be determining who’s stats to pad to go to New York, Lawrence or Etienne.