Yea we know…it’s way too early to be thinking college football. The season officially gets underway Saturday August 24. But, why not take a look at the top 25 pre-pre season college football poll? Will we see another Alabama-Clemson National Championship game? Can Ohio State, Georgia, Oklahoma or Notre Dame break through? Every football season will be full of surprises, disappointments and surprises and we expect nothing different this time around. By the way, the National title game is January 13 in New Orleans in case you are interested in marking it on your calendar.

HERE IS OUR TOP 25:

  1. CLEMSON: The Tigers have enough returning talent to re-peat as national champions. QB Trevor Lawrence will be much better and he has some very talented receivers to throw to. The OL returns four starters and the defense will replace Wilkins, Bryant, Ferrell and Dexter Lawrence with a new wave of developed stars.
  2. GEORGIA: Yes we know you were expecting Alabama at #2. We just feel the Bulldogs are a little better going into the season than Alabama. QB Jake Fromm threw 30 TD’s last season and he returns to lead a very talented offense. Their ground game is deep and talented. The OL could be the “BEST” in the nation.
  3. ALABAMA: Ok Alabama fans, here are your Tide….at #3. I know. That’s an insult. But, we think Alabama isn’t as good as Clemson and Georgia overall…..at least right now. QB Tua Tagovailoa was the Heisman runner-up and passing for 3,966 yards and 43 TD’s. He has a great receiving corp and RB Najee Harris will get plenty of carries behind a talented OL. The DL lost a lot in Quinnen Williams and Isaiah Buggs.
  4. OHIO STATE: Ryan Day has quite an act to follow. Urban Meyer did it all in his career in Columbus. Day also has to find a suitable replacement for QB Dwayne Haskins. Five-Star transfer (Georgia) Justin Fields will get the shot at replacing Haskins. RB JK Dobbins will make it easier on Field’s. The Buckeyes defense MUST get better if they plan on even getting to the national playoff.
  5. MICHIGAN: The Wolverines have to get past Ohio State before they even think about a national playoff. QB Shea Patterson returns for his senior season giving Coach Jim Harbaugh experience under center. Patterson will be under the direction of first-year OC Josh Gattis and that means some growing pains. Michigan is planning on a new up-tempo offense to help utilize the talented WR’s.
  6. OKLAHOMA: Losing QB Kyler Murray will hurt…for a minute. Alabama transfer Jalen Hurst takes over in Norman after accounting for nearly 8,000 yards for the Tide. One area Hurts must improve upon is his passing. RB’s Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks will make Hurts’ transition much easier. The OL and the WR’s are some of the best in the nation. The defense must improve the run game after giving up nearly 160 yards per game last season.
  7. FLORIDA: The Gators surprised the football world going 10-3 after a 4-7 campaign in 2017. The Gators look to build off that momentum and the win over Michigan in the Peach Bowl. Feleipe Franks showed vast improvement after throwing for 2,457 yards and 24 TD’s. The running game will be in good shape with feature back Lamical Perine returning. The top six receivers are back but the OL returns only one starter. Like Oklahoma, Florida must improve their run defense to be a legitimate contender.
  8. LSU: The Tigers are planning on implementing a new and improved offense. They will be a spread, run-pass-option offense thanks to OC Steve Ensminger and assistant Joe Brady. QB Joe Burrow should benefit from the change after throwing for 2,894 yards and 16 TD’s last season. WR Justin Jefferson is back (54 receptions) and will help a young receiving corp. In order to be successful this season, the OL must be more consistent. LSU’s defense lost Devin White and Greedy Williams to the NFL, but they have plenty of talent returing.
  9. TEXAS A&M. Head Coach Jimbo Fisher is being paid a lot of money to make the Aggies a national contender. They are headed in the right direction after posting a 9-4 record last fall, a win over LSU and a bowl victory against North Carolina State. QB Kellen Mond showed great improvement throwing for 3,107 yards and 24 TD’s. The offense lost some key pieces but thanks to a great recruiting class and several talented returning players the Aggies should be very good this season on offense. The defense showed improvement as well ranking second in the SEC in run defense. Pass defense needs improvement ranking 12th in the SEC. By the way, the schedule is brutal.
  10. NOTRE DAME. The Fighting Irish have several holes to fill but they also have enough talent to make another playoff run. Coach Brian Kelly will have the luxury of returning quarterback Ian Book. Book threw for 2,628 yards in 19 touchdowns with an incredible completion percentage of 68.2. It’s likely Notre Dame will throw more this season with the return of three out of the top five receiving targets. Running game will feature Tony Jones and Jafar Armstrong. The defense lost several key players including Jerry Tillery but they aren’t hurting for talent on that side of the football.
  11. TEXAS: Tom Herman made great progress in just his second season in Austin. QB Sam Ehlinger accounted for 41 touchdowns last season for an offense that averaged over 31 points per game. The running game will be important in keeping Ehlinger healthy throughout the season. Both Keaontay Ingram and Jordan Whittingham will be more involved in the offense. The defense returns just two starters from last season so DC Todd Orlando will have his work cut out for him.
  12. UTAH: The Utes claimed their first South division championship last season and they are hoping to take the next step under head coach Kyle Whittingham. Utah’s defense ranks among the best in college football led by Bradlee Anae, Leki Fotu and John Penisini. Staying healthy on offense will be a key for quarterback Tyler Huntley and running back Zach Moss.
  13. WASHINGTON: When it’s all said and done will come down between Washington and Oregon for the top spot in the North division. Washington’s defense held opponents to just 16.4 points per game last season. The secondary will be one of the most talented in the nation. Georgia transfer Jacob Eason is slated to replace Jake Browning at quarterback. The offensive line will be one of the best in the nation.
  14. OREGON: The Ducks return all the pieces to win the conference championship. Quarterback Justin Herbert ranks among the best in college football after throwing for 3,151 yards and 29 touchdowns. He will be protected by one of the top off offensive lines in the nation and a 1 – 2 punch at running back with CJ Verdell and Travis Dye. The Ducks ranked fourth in the conference in pass efficiency defense.
  15. PENN STATE: The Nittany Lions must find a replacement for quarterback Trace McSorley. Sean Clifford could be the answer after Tommy Stevens transferred to Mississippi State. Clifford has a big arm and Penn State is hoping they can utilize that talent downfield. The running game will be as deep as anyone in the nation. The front seven will be the strength of this defense led by DE Yetur Gross-Matos who recorded 20 tackles for loss and eight sacks last season.
  16. MICHIGAN STATE: Defense will be the key for the Spartans once again in 2019. They allowed opponents only 17.2 points per game and 77.9 rushing yards per contest. Eight starters return including DE Kenny Willekes, LB Joe Bachie and CB Josiah Scott. The Spartans must improve on offense if they plan on challenging for a conference championship.
  17. NEBRASKA: Head Coach Scott Frost will enter 2019 trending upward. The Cornhuskers lost to Ohio State and Iowa by a combined eight points. Quarterback Adrian Martinez averaged 295.1 total yards per game as a freshman and is expected to be better with another off-season of work. Martinez could be the best quarterback in the Big Ten. The offensive line returns just to starters and the running game has question marks due to the legal issues facing Maurice Washington. Nebraska must improve its defense after giving up over 31 points per game last fall.
  18. WISCONSIN: Another Big Ten team jumps into the top 20 for 2019. The badgers failed to record 10 wins or more for the first time in coach Paul Chryst’s tenure. Getting to 10 wins this season will be tough with crossover games against Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State and a road trip to Nebraska. The offense will rely on Jonathan Taylor who could reach another 2,000 yards season but will have to do it behind a reloaded offensive line. The Badgers must replace quarterback Alex Hornibrook. The defense has to deal with more turnover, but the pieces are in place to have another strong season.
  19. IOWA: The Hawkeyes should be the most complete team in the division. The schedule will not play in their favor with games at Iowa State, Michigan, Northwestern, Wisconsin and Nebraska. Senior quarterback Nate Stanley leads the offense after throwing for 2,852 yards and 26 touchdowns last fall. The running game must improve after ranking 10th in the Big Ten last season. Replacing TE’s TJ Hockenson and Noah Fant will not be easy. The offensive could be one of the best in the conference. I was defense will be led by DE AJ Epenesa who led the Hawkeyes with 10.5 sacks in a limited role.
  20. SYRACUSE: 2018 was a breakout year for Syracuse finishing 10 – 3, the programs first – digit win total since 2001. They capped the season with a 34 – 18 win over West Virginia in their bowl game. Another 10 – win season is within reach for coach Dino Babers. The offense is loaded with a group of skilled players including running back Moe Neal, Oklahoma transfer Abdul Adams and receivers Sean Riley, Nykeim Johnson and Trishton Jackson. The defense improved from 2018 giving up 32.2 points per game down to 27 last season.
  21. AUBURN: The Tigers fell short of expectations last fall finishing 8 – 5 and outside of the top 25 rankings at seasons end. Gus Malzahn could be on the hot seat if they don’t return to national prominence this season. Talent isn’t an issue at Auburn as they return several key players on both sides of the football. The defense returned seven starters that limited opponents to 19.2 points per game. Finding a starting quarterback will be the issue heading into the fall along with improving the offensive line.
  22. CENTRAL FLORIDA: Another unbeaten regular-season isn’t likely for Central Florida this season, but they will remain one of the top teams in the country by the end of 2019. Notre Dame grad transfer Brandon Wimbush and sophomore Darriel Mack are fighting for the starting quarterback position. There is plenty of talent including running back Greg McCrae and all – purpose threat Adrian Killins. There are many concerns about the defense which gave up 222.3 rushing yards a game last season.
  23. IOWA STATE: The Cyclones are coming off back – to – back winning seasons in Big 12 play for the first time in the school’s history. Tom Manning will call the plays for quarterback Brock Purdy who threw for 2,250 yards and 16 touchdowns as a freshman last season. All five starters return upfront. Iowa State led the conference in rush defense and held opponents to just 22.9 points per game.
  24. MISSOURI: Missouri was banned from postseason play this year due to NCAA violations, but the school filed an appeal hoping to overturn the decision. Coach Barry Odom possesses a dynamic offense led by Clemson transfer Kelly Bryant. Bryant will give Missouri’s offense more mobility than last year starter Drew Lock. The line returns three starters and one of the best type and’s in college football. The Tigers are hoping to continue momentum on defense that improved in the second half of the season. The Tigers will play five of their first six games at home.
  25. VIRGINIA: Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall continues to make progress with the Cavaliers. Quarterback Bryce Perkins accounted for 34 total touchdowns and averaged 277.2 total yards per game last season. The line must improve after giving up 32 sacks. Virginia also lost their leading rusher and receiver from a year ago. The good news is the defense return seven starters that limited opponents to just 20.1 points per game.