19 early questions for college football’s 2019 season | NCAA Football

Clemson capped the 2018 faculty soccer season with a 44-16 victory in opposition to Alabama within the Faculty Soccer Playoff championship sport on Monday.

Now, it is on to 2019: Who will the subsequent large participant to look at be? How will the conferences races pan out? Who will win the nationwide championship subsequent? It is by no means too early to ask.

MORE: Sporting News’ pre-preseason top 25

These questions — and others — will form the upcoming faculty soccer season and the chase for the subsequent Faculty Soccer Playoff all offseason. With that thoughts, Sporting Information asks 19 way-too-early questions for the 2019 season:

Who begins the season No. 1?

Most preseason publications can have both Alabama or Clemson at No. 1, and Sporting News’ has the Crimson Tide on high for now. When you have the Tigers at No. 1, we cannot argue an excessive amount of. These are the 2 superpowers in faculty soccer, and so they have the 2 greatest gamers heading into 2019. Talking of which. …

Who wins the Heisman Trophy?

This additionally seems like Heisman Trophy runner-up Tua Tagovailoa and Clemson sophomore Trevor Lawrence in opposition to the sphere. It is a quarterback’s award, and these two might be on the crash course towards a sequel subsequent season. These are the heavy favorites for 2019. Simply to spice it up, can we begin a marketing campaign for Alabama receiver Jerry Jeudy or Clemson receiver Justyn Ross?

How a lot SEC it an excessive amount of?

Our pre-preseason high 25 options seven SEC groups, together with No. 1 Alabama, No. Three Georgia, No. 7 LSU, No. 9 Florida and No. 11 Texas A&M, No. 15 Mississippi State and No. 16 Auburn. These group completed 5-2 in bowl video games this season, together with a 3-1 file in New 12 months’s Day Six Bowls that weren’t Playoff video games. This may prop up the SEC bias questions, however the league is deep and gifted heading into 2019. That’s solely going to enhance.

Is Texas again?

Texas is shut. It’s going to be again when it wins a Large 12 championship, which hasn’t occurred since 2009. The Longhorns want to interrupt up Oklahoma’s monopoly within the convention earlier than we will take that subsequent step. Tom Herman proved Texas can beat Oklahoma within the common season, after which beat Georgia in a New 12 months’s Day Six bowl. They’re getting nearer with every large win — and a Sept. 7 showdown with LSU will let you know let you already know if it is actual.

What about Texas A&M?

The Aggies are forward of schedule underneath Jimbo Fisher, however the 2019 schedule is what holds us again from predicting greater than a New 12 months’s Day Six bowl. The Aggies play at Clemson (Sept. 7) and face Auburn (Sept. 21) and Alabama (Oct. 12) within the first half of the season. They shut with highway video games at Georgia (Nov. 23) and LSU (Nov. 30). The place, precisely, would Texas match on that schedule?

MORE: Best nonconference games to watch in 2019

How can Jim Harbaugh silence the critics?

Open up the offense, beat Ohio State and win the Large Ten. The final two issues will not occur till Michigan exhibits a bit extra willingness to let the offense revolve round Shea Patterson and an NFL-caliber group of receivers led by Donovan Peoples-Jones, Nico Collins and Tarik Black. If the Wolverines could be go-for-broke aggressive on protection, there isn’t any motive to not do the identical on offense. The Wolverines get Notre Dame, Michigan State and Ohio State at residence. It is a large yr.

Which first-year coach intrigues you most?

Ryan Day at Ohio State. That is a straightforward reply, however the transformation of the offense with Dwayne Haskins took root in 2018. Day stuffed in for City Meyer for 3 video games, however now it is a full-time job with national championship-or-else expectations. The quarterback battle is intriguing as common, this time with three candidates in Justin Fields and Matthew Baldwin.

What was the very best rent of the teaching carousel to this point?

Neal Brown to West Virginia. It simply suits. Brown completed 31-Eight the final three seasons with Troy, and he is certain to deliver that energetic character to a program that has not been in a position to break by means of within the large video games within the Large 12. Brown ought to have the ability to enhance the recruiting, too.

What coordinator rent pursuits you most?

Alex Grinch to Oklahoma. The Sooners’ protection held them again once more in 2018, and regardless of what number of factors this offense generates in Large 12 play with Lincoln Riley, the protection should be higher with a purpose to win the nationwide championship. The added wrinkle of Grinch coming from Ohio State after a one-year stint — a group that has jostled for Playoff spots with the Sooners the final three years — makes that much more attention-grabbing.

Which second-year coach has to ship?

Willie Taggart at Florida State. UCLA’s Chip Kelly and Nebraska’s Scott Frost had struggles too, however Kelly beat USC and Frost can be given a much-longer good thing about the doubt in Lincoln, particularly contemplating he quarterbacked this system’s final championship group in 1997. Florida State had its bowl streak snapped in 2018, and persistence has by no means been a advantage in Tallahassee.

MORE: SN’s final Power Rankings for 2018

Notre Dame at Georgia on Sept. 21. The winner will take an enormous chunk of actual property within the Playoff race. The loser will really feel the warmth of a fan base questioning if they’ll win the massive sport with their respective coaches. Kirby Sensible and Brian Kelly really want this one. Jake Fromm established himself because the Bulldogs’ starter with a game-winning landing drive in South Bend in 2017. Can Notre Dame’s Ian Ebook return the favor?

Which division race pursuits you most?

The Large Ten West. Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Northwestern all gained their bowl video games. Nebraska and Purdue be ok with coaches Frost and Jeff Brohm, respectively. You may choose any a kind of groups to win the division subsequent yr and would not be mocked. Which group pursuits us most? The Gophers, who’re constructing confidence by means of recruiting with third-year coach P.J. Fleck. Minnesota avoids Ohio State and Michigan within the crossover video games, too.

Who’s the Pac-12’s greatest Playoff hope?

Washington has an opportunity to be good once more, and the Huskies have USC, Oregon and Washington State at residence. We’re excited to see what Jacob Eason can do at quarterback on a roster Chris Petersen continues to improve with expertise. The Geese are also trending upward with Mario Cristobal, and which means this convention rivalry can be that rather more vital. Oregon could make a press release for your complete convention at Jerry World within the opener in opposition to Auburn, the identical one the Huskies virtually made final season.

Will USC be higher?

That is what led to Kliff Kingsbury’s very temporary stint in USC before he bolted for the NFL. Clay Helton’s teaching employees underwent a serious renovation, and there can be stress to carry out after a 5-7 season. The Trojans face Fresno State, Stanford, Utah and Washington earlier than their bye week. The place will Helton be when the Trojans journey to Notre Dame on Oct. 5? That is an intriguing query.

Who’s your favourite non-Energy 5 faculty?

The one which dropped 70 factors in opposition to Houston in its bowl sport. Military returns an skilled group that gained 29 video games and three bowls the final three seasons, and the Black Knights can be led by star quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. A Sept. 7 date at Michigan is on our must-watch record for September.

MORE: Ranking the best teams to never win it all

Will City Meyer coach once more?

Not this yr, and the record of faculties Meyer would entertain down the highway may be very brief. These are names like Notre Dame, USC, Florida State and maybe an SEC faculty with the easy-bake nationwide championship elements. Each time a serious Energy 5 faculty fires a coach, Meyer would be the first identify talked about.

When does the eight-team Playoff begin?

Not this yr. The commissioners made that very clear after their assembly on Monday. Regardless of the outcry, it is not easy to have a fool-proof, comprehensive plan in an surroundings the place the ACC and SEC play eight convention video games and the Large Ten, Large 12 and Pac-12 play 9. That is not even making an allowance for the Group of 5, which can produce one other UCF-like argument subsequent yr. The four-team Playoff would be the reply for the subsequent few years, however the eight-team chatter is nowhere close to completed.

Who’re your Playoff groups for 2019?

Alabama and Clemson make it again, and they’ll play the winner of Ohio State-Michigan and Oklahoma-Texas (once more, within the Large 12 championship). Notre Dame won’t get within the away this time.

Who wins all of it?

The winner of Clemson-Alabama V. This seems like a best-of-seven sequence the place everybody else is watching. They’ve alternated wins, so do not be stunned if the Crimson Tide strike again and Nick Saban surpasses Bear Bryant with a seventh nationwide championship.

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