Clemson vs Alabama 2019 Live, The 2018 season will conclude at the College Football Playoff championship game between No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Clemson on Monday at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. Per Sporting News’ tradition, it’s never too early to think about next season’s top 25 — and that’s the case for 2019 as well. For those who don’t like the process, keep in mind that all the teams in this year’s Playoff opened in our top 10 — with Notre Dame the lowest team, at No. 9.
Clemson vs Alabama 2019 Live
With that in mind, here’s an early peek at how next year’s rankings might look. Sporting News will update throughout the offseason after transfers, NFL defections and spring football. The 2019 season will be here before you know it.
“Row the Boat, indeed.” We know the risks of ranking the Gophers, but P.J. Fleck had this team playing at a high level with blowout wins against Purdue and Wisconsin in November before an impressive bowl rout against Georgia Tech. Plus, the Gophers’ schedule is a little easier than the other contenders.
Pat Fitzgerald typically does more with less, and the Wildcats have improved facilities and recruiting to back up the success that has come both in the division and bowl games. It will be a test to do it all over again without Clayton Thorson, but the steady success under Fitzgerald comes with interchangeable parts. Five-star Clemson transfer Hunter Johnson will be a player to watch this spring.
Matt Campbell continues to impress as the Cyclones’ coach, and there’s an excitement around sophomore quarterback Brock Purdy. Iowa State plays four of its first five games at home and is set up for a fast start, but it will have to win at Oklahoma and West Virginia to keep their Big 12 championship hopes alive.
The Badgers slipped in Paul Chryst’s fourth season and didn’t handle preseason expectations well, but there are enough pieces, starting with Doak Walker Award winner Jonathan Taylor, to believe the Badgers can get back atop of the Big Ten West. They did not win the crossover draw with games against Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State, however. Can Alex Hornibrook — or whoever is under center — rejuvenate the passing game?
This is a default setting of sorts for Stanford, which will be in the Pac-12 hunt as usual under David Shaw. It’s time for K.J. Costello to lead this team to something more. The Cardinal will get all the attention they need in season-opening stretch that includes Northwestern, USC, UCF and Oregon.
Dino Babers has the best-equipped team to challenge Clemson in the ACC Atlantic, something the Orange have proven the last two seasons. The Orange have to replace quarterback Eric Dungey and an experienced offensive line, but most of the skill position players return on a team that averaged 40.2 points per game.
Mike Leach won’t have Gardner Minshew, but he continues to make it work with a pass-happy system where it’s next man up. The Cougars have been close to a Pac-12 championship, but that next step won’t happen until they unseat rival Washington in the Apple Cup. The Cougars travel to Utah, Oregon and Washington this season. That won’t be easy.
UCF remains the best team in the AAC, and quarterback McKenzie Milton’s status will be talked about, given the long recovery from a gruesome leg injury. Darriel Mack Jr. proved he can play, however, and UCF faces FAU, Stanford and Pitt in nonconference play.
The Black Knights won a record-11 games in 2018, and have a 21-5 record the last two seasons under Jeff Monken. Star quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. returns on a team that has experience on both sides. Defensive coordinator Jay Bateman’s departure to North Carolina is the only downer heading into next season. The Black Knights gave Oklahoma a scare in 2018; if they can do the same at Michigan on Sept. 7, this independent team could work into the New Year’s Day Six conversation.
This is a pivotal season at Auburn for Gus Malzahn, who will be more involved in the offense than he was in 2018. The Tigers have had four or more losses in each of the last five seasons. The good news? Alabama and Georgia must come to The Plains this year.