HERE. WE. GO.
The grass is mowed, pads are popping, and fans are starting to make travel and tailgating plans for the next few months. Talking season on social media is getting fired up. College football is back. One of the many great things about college football is the constant debate on what team is the best. And our writers will kick off that discussion with our Last Word On College Football 2018 Preseason Top 25.
Last Word On College Football 2019 Preseason Top 25
At the top, it’s a two-team race. Again. The Clemson Tigers, coming off yet another championship and a fourth consecutive playoff appearance, garnered all by two first-place votes among our 20 voters. Alabama captured the other two first-place votes and sits comfortably in the second spot. The “previous” box was our end of season, 2018, positioning.
Without further ado, let the discussion begin.
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LAST WORD ON COLLEGE FOOTBALL
2018 PRESEASON TOP 25Rank
CLEMSON 3981Now that the ostarine scandal is behind them, and the rage over losing RB Tavien Feaster to in-state rival, South Carolina is done, will Clemson be passing out National Championship rings again this season? The Tigers lost defensive depth to the NFL, but with quarterback Trevor Lawrence, running back Travis Etienne, and wide receiver Justyn Ross, Clemson has the power to do so.
ALABAMA3962After last year’s devastating title loss to Clemson, Alabama will be looking to roll back into the CFP with a vengeance. Their biggest weapon being the performance of star quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. With 36 touchdown passes last season, look for Tua to make a run for a Natty and a Heisman.
OKLAHOMA 3524Apparently good things come in pairs in Oklahoma, with two Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks, two Big 12 titles, and two College Football Playoff trips in the two years that Lincoln Riley has been head coach. Now with Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts, who accounted for 7,602 total yards in his career with the Crimson Tide, look for the Sooners to boom into the playoffs again.
GEORGIA3488Who remembers that 2nd-and-26 TD pass in OT in the 2018 National Championship game? Or how about the fake punt in the 2018 SEC title game? Even though they are an SEC powerhouse, Georgia seems to fall short every year. It certainly is not due to a lack of talent. Jake Fromm will return after throwing for 2,749 yards and 30 touchdowns, combined with the top offensive line in the nation. Combined with the skills of D’Andre Swift and a seasoned offensive line, maybe this will be the year.
OHIO STATE 3453Speaking of Georgia, Ohio State will seek a third consecutive Big Ten title and eighth consecutive win against Michigan with former Bulldogs QB Justin Fields at the helm. Not to mention new head coach Ryan Day. While he has big shoes to fill, he will be stepping up to a fully-loaded roster with J.K. Dobbins, Chase Young, Tyreke Smith, Jonathon Cooper, Zach Harrison, Robert Landers, Davon Hamilton, Jashon Cornell, Tommy Togiai, and Malik Harrison. Need I say more?
MICHIGAN31314Luck may be swinging towards Ann Arbor this season, as Shea Patterson returns for his senior year. Combine Patterson’s experience and talent with a first-time offensive coordinator, Josh Gattis, who plans to utilize the spread RPO to capitalize on Patterson’s talent… and we may have a ball game.
LSU3006The Tigers will face several ranked opponents this season, however with coordinator Joe Brady, who is a former offensive assistant with the New Orleans Saints, the Tigers look forward to seeing the stats rack up with a new run-pass option and quarterback Joe Burrow, who threw for 2,894 yards and 16 touchdowns in his first year. Rawr!
TEXAS2949The Longhorns are looking for more to talk about than Bevo trying to hook Uga on the sidelines. Something more along the lines of gunslinger Sam Ehlinger leading the offense to an average of 31.1 points per game, personally accounting for 41 overall touchdowns like they did last season. Another double-digit win season and trip to the Big 12 Championship Game should be well within reach for Herman’s third year as head coach.
OK. Cool. Hook Em!
OREGON231NRThe Ducks will be returning with nearly the entire starting line up, but let’s do the math here. Bypassing the NFL, Justin Herbert will return to center. Herbert starting = Oregon averaged 40.3 points per game over two seasons. Herbert not starting = 15 points per game in five games. Duck, Duck, Herbert.
TEXAS A&M22216Alabama at home, not to mention Texas A&M, Auburn, Mississippi State, South Carolina, Georgia, and LSU. Welcome back to the SEC, Jimbo.
FLORIDA 2187Aside from all the scandals, the Gators have a lot of positive things going for them heading into the season, as they have improved over recent years. Feleipe Franks threw for 2,457 yards and 24 touchdowns and rushed for 350 yards and seven scores, and Lamical Perine rushed for 826 yards and seven scores in 2018. It will be intriguing to see what head coach Dan Mullen has up his sleeve this year in the Swamp.
WASHINGTON21813The Huskies know how to win. Especially with a defense that can hold teams to 16.4 points a game and 4.67 yards a play. Who will head coach Chris Petersen pick to handle the ball this season after losing Jake Browning: Georgia transfer Jacob Eason or sophomore Jake Haener?
UTAH155NRWith one of the best defensive lines in the nation, expect Kyle Whittingham and company to make a run for the Pac-12 title and play in a New Year’s Six.
WISCONSIN135NRLet’s hope that ranking the Badgers again this year isn’t a curse, as they sat on the top five of the AP preseason poll, but then finished the season nowhere on the list. With a Heisman in his sight, Wisconsin will lean heavily on RB Jonathan Taylor again this season, after he led the nation in rushing with nearly 2,200 yards in 2018.
SYRACUSE 3915After a sluggish couple of years, the Orange finished 10-3 in 2018, the program’s first double-digit win total since 2001. They also took home a 34-18 victory over West Virginia in the Camping World Bowl. With a schedule packed with likely wins (aside from playing the defending National Champs), Syracuse has a real shot at making another 10-win season.
Others Receiving Votes: Michigan State (34), USC (30), Virginia Tech (20), Washington State (16), Missouri (12), Iowa State (12), Mississippi State (5).
About the Poll: Twenty LWOCFB writers ranked the Top 25 teams across the nation to determine the best teams from around the country for the preseason poll.
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